DETROIT — A Pentecostal minister with a history of preaching intolerance against gays and Muslims brought thousands of people from Michigan together for a 24-hour prayer meeting in this city on Friday and Saturday, despite condemnations from local faith leaders.
The minister, Lou Engle, has organized a series of prayer meetings in arenas and amphitheaters over the past decade. The events, known as TheCall, have often targeted abortion rights and gay rights. He is notorious for speaking in support of legislation in Uganda that would have sentenced gays to death simply for being gay.
The promotional website for TheCall Detroit had warned about “the rising tide of the Islamic movement,” but after complaints about that phrase, TheCall dropped it from its website.
Still, inside Ford Field on Friday night and Saturday morning, warnings that Muslims needed to be converted continued. But those warnings didn’t reach as many people as Engle expected. Although organizers had predicted more than 50,000 would attend, the mostly empty stadium seemed to have perhaps a tenth of that.
Before the event, Engle said the reason the event lasted 24 hours was that “you got to pray all night long because it’s when the Muslims sleep,” according to the Christian Post.
“We are going to pray in nightwatch that the love of love of Jesus would break in on Muslims all across this area, dreams of Jesus,” Engle told a rapt crowd on Friday night. “Let Dearborn see the face of Jesus,” he said, referring to the nearby city, which has a large Muslim population.
Mike Bickle, a close associate of Engle’s from the International House of Prayer in Kansas, asked for the Christian God to be “magnified over every other false God” in the Middle East.
Their rhetoric about defeating “every other false God” mixed uneasily with some of Engle’s more conciliatory statements during the night about interracial and interdenominational unity. In the weeks leading up to TheCall, Engle made extensive attempts to enlist black Detroit ministers to his cause, and on Friday he said he had “never been received” like he had by his “black American brothers and sisters.”
Cf. “Pastors challenge the extremism behind ‘The Call: Detroit'”, Right Wing Watch, 9 November 2011
And “Geller in “bizarroworld” over The Call: Detroit”, Right Wing Watch, 11 November 2011