I want to say something clever about this piece from Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action, to add something to it, but I really can’t. Lou Engle, founder of “TheCall,” is scary. He also seems to be the new “semi-official prayer-leader” for the GOP, as he hosted Senators Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback, as well as Rep. Michele “Obama is going to put us all in concentration camps!” Bachmann in praying the other night for the defeat of socialist* healthcare.
As Wilson explains, Lou Engle is not your garden variety anti-gay wingnut:
In previous stories . . . I’ve detailed Lou Engle’s political extremity – video from a November 1, 2008 TheCall event shows Engle onstage at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium calling for acts of Christian martyrdom to stop legal abortion and gay marriage. Engle has forecast that legalized abortion will lead to a second American civil war and appeared, in the documentary “Jesus Camp,” alongside Becky Fischer – who specializes in evangelizing children and has stated she would like Christian children to learn to be as dedicated as Hamas suicide bombers.
Wow. Wilson explains in another piece that Engle’s connections spread far and wide:
Engle . . . could be found last summer blessing and anointing Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee at a Virginia Beach megachurch. Engle represents a religious right tendency that had become so dominant that known potentates such as James Dobson and Tony Perkins travel to Engle’s TheCall events – such as the San Diego stadium rally which served as the capstone to the successful anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight push in California.
Engle’s religious movement has also played a significant role in inspiring, and even organizing, legislators who pushed the pending, draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda that some have described as a “kill the gays” bill.
Let’s see here…
Mike Huckabee wants to be president. Newt Gingrich, for some absurd and inexplicable reason, is still considered one of the leading voices in the GOP, even though he hasn’t held elected office in a decade. He’s buddy-buddy with at least two sitting Senators. And the supposed leaders of the Christian Right, Jim Dobson and Tony Perkins, are traveling to Lou Engle’s events. And he has connections to the impending genocide bill in Uganda.
It’s scary that this guy is no longer considered “fringe” by the GOP. In fact, many on the Right seem to revere him.
In Wilson’s second piece, we also are reminded that Lou Engle played a key role in the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and we’re given this little nugget:
Lou Engle’s son Jesse Engle specializes in casting out gay “demons” and has established a ministry in San Fransisco, which Lou Engle has described as a place “where the homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness.”
What I want readers to notice is the side-by-side here.
On one hand, Engle, those he supports and who support him, are working in an extremist, yet non-violent manner to hurt gay people in the United States. Yet on the other hand, where they are able to take it further, they are quite willing to openly support and advocate violence and genocide for the sake of their radical beliefs. (See Wilson’s excellent piece on C. Peter Wagner, who is tied to pretty much everyone mentioned here, including the genocidal clerics and legislators of Uganda. OH, by the way, he’s also Rick Warren’s mentor.)
I would argue that the difference between what they do in the West and what they do in Uganda (and wherever else) is simply a matter of what each respective society will allow them to get away with. American Christians (especially conservatives) love to hold themselves up as superior, to act like there is some major difference between their beliefs and the beliefs of, say, radical Muslims. But let’s not kid ourselves: Lou Engle is a radical cleric. Mike Huckabee is a radical cleric. Rick Warren is a radical cleric. And they count among their followers people who hold office in the highest echelons of power in the United States and abroad.
It’s easy to get complacent in our relatively civil society here in the United States, to see the situation in Uganda as something far away. But make no mistake: If these people thought they could bring Uganda-style law and order to America, they would do it in a heartbeat. And the most frightening thing of all is that they, like Islamic terrorists, believe they’re acting out God’s will.
If you have time, you should click through all the links, and be sure to watch the videos Wilson posted. As you watch, mentally strip away the expensive sets, the music, all of the Christian accoutrements and Jesus-speak we’re so used to in the United States, and tell me what’s left.
For a taste, I’ll post one of the videos Wilson posted. It’s from the documentary “Jesus Camp,” in which Lou Engle appeared. He’s not in this video, though. This is a woman named Becky Fischer, and in this clip she speaks with a thinly veiled admiration of the dedication of radicalized Muslim terrorists, of the passion they have for their cause, and of how she seeks to indoctrinate Christian children with a similar intensity. And listen for her justification, for it is no different than the justification proffered by every religious extremist/terrorist in human history: “Excuse me, but we have the Truth!”
God help us all.
*Wingnut definition of “socialist”: Created by someone with dark skin, especially if he has a funny name.