Newt Gingrich Teams With Anti-Gay Zealot Lou 'Uganda' Engle For U.S. Cyber-'Revival'
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Official endorsers of Pray & Act includes neo-Pentecostals who are, like Engle, leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (much discussed at Talk to Action) such as Bishop Harry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs, and Samuel Rodriguez; as well as conservative Catholics like Robert P. George and Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone of Maine; and such notable Christian rightists as Jim Garlow, Richard Land, Charles Colson, Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins, and Jim Daly (James Dobson's successor as head of Focus on the Family.
The Call’s Sacramento event is now billed as the National Preparation for Pray & Act and will be Webcast on God TV on September 3rd. The second event is also a "youth rally" billed as a Seven Day Countdown Event on September 12 at Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., which will also run on God TV. The Washington launch on September 19 will be Webcast on the Web site of the American Family Association, as will the closing ceremonies on October 30th from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a few days before the election.
These events may fairly be seen in the context of the ongoing transition of the religious right as the founding generation of movement leaders passes from the scene. R.J. Rushdoony, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Bill Bright, and John Giminez (among others) have died. Pat Robertson, Don Wildmon, James Dobson, and Beverly LaHaye are in varying stages of passing the torch; and each of their designees are coalescing via Pray & Act, which in turn is appealing to and seeking to register young people to vote.
For decades, movement leaders have sought to defuse historic tensions between conservative factions of fundamentalism, Catholicism, and Pentecostalism (among others). This is understandably no easy task, and Pray & Act signifies a potential new milestone in the effort. If so, much of the credit will go to the development of The Manhattan Declaration, whose principal author was Robert P. George. Not only did it signal a new level of cooperation, it even attracted an unprecedented level of public support from top Catholic bishops and cardinals. The manifesto itself has lent itself to a common agenda to guide their coalition politics. The first "act" that people are asked to take in the Pray & Act project is to join more than 400,000 others who have signed the declaration since its release in 2009. The Pray & Act agenda, following from the declaration, has been distilled down to three main matters which are in turn, the sole criteria for voting. People must vote "only for candidates who affirm the sanctity of life in all stages and conditions, the integrity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and respect for conscience."
Ginning-Up an Elijah Generation
While the the Pray & Act events are timed to the heat of the political moment, Engle et al also have their eyes fixed on the future. Christians are entering the darkest of days, they warn, as a vast and terrible federal government and judicial tyrants seek to snuff faith itself from the land. For example, after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University that alleged a student was expelled from the graduate counseling program because she refused to counsel clients about homosexual relationships, Engle claimed:
"The federal judge is declaring that Christian kids do not have a voice to stand for a moral truth [and their] biblical convictions on the issue of homosexuality and immorality in the nation. This is a profound moment." He characteristically then set the incident, in the context of persecution, and the end times: "To compromise for the sake of getting a grade, you're practicing to receive the mark of the beast."