Filed under: TheCall
Right now Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Andy are on the ground for Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento. Late last night, Arisha filed the report below about Day 1 of TheCall — a Christian music concert at Raley Field that did not include speakers. Today, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Lou Engle’s followers will be hearing from speakers all day long. And we’ll be covering it here, as internet connections allow. It should be interesting to say the least.
For those curious about Lou Engle and TheCall’s background, I highly recommend this in-depth piece on TheCall that Linda linked in last night’s comment thread. More to come from the Courage crew on Day 2 of The Call… — Eden
By Arisha Hatch
I was standing in line to register for Day 1 of TheCall Sacramento, when an 8 year-old-girl with freckles and pig tails ran over my foot with her Razor scooter. I pressed my hand against my mouth to keep from screaming out an expletive, as the little girl – followed closely by her mother – rushed to hug me and apologize.
“Oh God bless it,” the little girl said grabbing for my toe. “I am so so sorry.”
“Where are you from,” her mother asked.
“Los Angeles,” I said, avoiding eye contact. After two rental car company mixups, an eight hour drive that should’ve taken six and Andy’s broken air conditioner, I just wasn’t in the mood.
A man in a red volunteer shirt put a wristband on my arm for the field level and handed me a bag of books that I was still too pained to look at.
Limping into a sea of people arms raised – some laying on the grass of Raley Field stadium – singing along to catchy, professionally-produced pop-Christian music, I felt confused.
“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought, but dare not say aloud.
As I looked around, there were no signs of the contentious social issues that are often linked to gatherings of this kind.
No, Friday was about a concert. Two large jumbo-trons showed close-ups of the performers on stage with Christ-inspired lyrics along the bottom so that the crowd could sing along.
A volunteer attendant quoted an unverified attendance figure of 16,000. I wouldn’t put it at 16,000 (we’re told capacity was 15k), but they definitely hit around 10,000, to my estimation (to judge for yourself, check out the panorama pictures we posted earlier).
I sat down on the field and reached into the bag that the volunteer handed me. Three books were inside: “The Purple Pig and other miracles;” a pamphlet by Derek Prince titled “Orphans, Widows, the Poor and Oppressed; and TheCall weekend agenda, including a map and a list of Terms and Conditions. (“It’s a fast, not a festival” the pamphlet reads).
The books felt entirely disconnected from the scene before me.
Needing air, I walked out of the stadium to begin to blog. While sitting I was approached by a Caucasian man in his late 20s.
“Do you like rap music?” he asked.
A conversation was struck. He introduced himself, rapped a few new song lyrics, talked about how he came to Christ and about how political/value disagreements left me feeling disconnected from the church.
“When I was younger, I liked to break dance,” he said. “I wanted to start dancing again so I looked up a place and it was called Lord’s Gym. I didn’t think anything of it – I thought it was just a cool name. When I went in for the first time, I found out that it was a Christian breakdancing group. I stayed. I came back.”
He quoted scripture often and well; thoughtfully applying the scriptures to his own life experiences.
“I’ve gone through a lot of bad things in my life – put myself through a lot of bad things – drug addiction, homelessness,” his voice trailed off a bit. “But I’m renewing myself through Christ . . . finding my way. I told him that even if I slip up, that I will always run back to him – never away from him.”
He paused. “But this is just my Testimony,” he said. “I hate it when it gets all politicized. I mean, murder is wrong so that is why I am pro-life. Are you?”
“I’m pro-life for myself, but think others should have choice. But how am I supposed to be pro-life and pro-death penalty at the same time?”
It’s strange, unlike Brian Brown he actually stopped to think about my question before answering.
“Yea, it’s all mixed up. Man mixes things up.”
“And what about gay marriage? Isn’t it possible that God created gays and lesbians with purpose?”
“Yea, that’s definitely possible,” he easily conceded after admitting that he believed homosexuality was a sin. “I wouldn’t vote for it (same-sex marriage), but I wouldn’t –I didn’t – vote against it.”
I suddenly realized that this Christian rapper didn’t necessarily fit into the “Yes on 8” box that I had put him in; he was somewhere in the middle; he was a “maybe.”
And “Maybes” we can work with. I’ll take a maybe any day out here.
As he gathered his things to meet his friends, he stopped to say the following:
“You know earlier, I was wondering why I came out here today. It was good to talk with you.”
“Me too,” I thought.
More tomorrow, as Day 2 of TheCall commences on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento…
By Eden James
Well, there’s one thing we can definitely say about The Call Sacramento — it’s a much better-attended event than the typical NOM rally.
Anthony reports that the stands are about half to two-thirds full. The capacity of Raley Field is 14,680 so that means attendance is in the, er, ballpark of 7-10,000, to be generous, as there are a lot of people on the field as well.
But you can judge for yourself in this field view and panorama view split between two shots:
Meanwhile, it looks like Arisha won’t be able to access a reliable internet connection until midnight at the earliest, so we’re going to post her report in the morning along with some more pics, etc.
Stay tuned for Day 2 of The Call, which will be happening all day Saturday (9 am to 9 pm) on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento…. if you can possibly stand it.
(Arisha and crew are on the road to Sacramento to cover “The Call,” which we told you about this morning. Before leaving today, she wrote the following. — Eden)
By Arisha Hatch
It’s been more than two weeks since the last NOM Tour rally in Washington D.C. and I still don’t feel back to normal yet.
Home just doesn’t seem the same somehow. I’ve been going through NOM withdrawals. Have you?
But the road calls again and just in time. We have another opportunity to expose the religious right’s attempts to harm LGBT families. Phyllis and Anthony are in, as well as, a couple of additions to our Courage Tracker team.
Fortunately, we won’t be putting as many miles on the rental car this time because this event is in our own backyard. We’re headed to Sacramento to attend Lou Engle’s two-day mega-rally “The Call.”
We’re not quite sure what we’re in for but a statement from The Call’s web site describes it as “summoning thousands of young and old . . . to gather in Sacramento as consecrated, intercessory representatives from, and on behalf of, California and every state to “altar” their lives, “altar” their states, and “altar” the nation.”
Oddly, The Call’s website did not list any public speakers until just recently and no specific agenda (but we’re sure there will be one). We hear Newt Gingrich is linked to the event somehow and we know that he shouldn’t be talking about monogamy or marriage. All this is to say, we’re not quite sure what kind of show it will be, but we’re betting it will provide an interesting window into the intersection of fundamentalist religion and right-wing politics.
For those who haven’t seen The Call’s promotional video yet (what Eden called the “NOM tour on steroids”), here it is again:
By Eden James
Tonight and tomorrow, thousands of religious extremists will gather in Sacramento for “The Call” — an event organized by Lou Engle’s organization and promoted by right-wingers like former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
If this must-watch promotional video is any indication, it will probably be like the NOM Summer Tour on steroids — and Arisha Hatch and staffers from the Courage Campaign Institute will be there to document it all:
For Americans concerned about the separation of church and state, this leading presidential contender’s words are harrowing.
Huckabee’s support for Engle comes just a few months after Huckabee compared same-sex marriage to incest, drug abuse and polygamy, going on to say that gay and lesbian couples should not be allowed to parent, because kids “aren’t puppies.”
We can’t let Huckabee and Engle get away with their attacks on LGBT families or Judge Walker’s Prop 8 decision. That’s why Courage staffers are going to “The Call” tonight to expose Engle’s extremism for the world to see on on the Prop 8 Trial Tracker. Will you make a contribution right now to help us fight back and defend Judge Walker’s decision? Just click here to help us cover our costs, including staff time, travel expenses and video production.
In a few hours, we’ll have an update for you from Arisha and crew, as they get on the road to Sacramento.