Filed under: TheCall
#TheCallTurnoutFAIL exposed: Organizers planned for 30,000, not 6,000; Endless, empty blocks of JumboTrons, Porta-Potties unused
(Andy Kelley, Courage’s New Media Organizer, was at TheCall yesterday, and wrote this piece revealing how the event was actually a total failure in terms of turnout, compared to what the organizers expected. Lou Engle expected 30,000 people, it appears, if the multiple JumboTrons and Porta-Potties stretching on for blocks… of empty grass… are any indication. Not to mention the 55,450 unused water bottles, outnumbering actual attendees almost tenfold. Great reporting by Andy, who also got video footage that will be uploaded later. Check it out. — Eden)
by Andy Kelley
It is difficult to call an event with an estimated turnout somewhere around 6,000 a small event. In truth, it’s a far cry from the few dozen people we came to expect during the NOM tour. TheCall Sacramento, however, is a totally different creature.
While driving to do an interview with a Minister from a local church (video to follow), Anthony and I couldn’t help wonder why so many streets were blocked off in downtown Sacramento. After all, everyone was down in the capital.
So I decided to get out of the car to find out what was going on. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered “Road Closed” signs at the intersection of 4th St. @ L St. (some 7 plus blocks from the Capital Park).
I passed another solitary JumboTron, followed a block later by yet another massive screen with but one viewer besides myself. Here, I discovered another 16 pallets of water, 3 pallets (5040 bottles) appeared to have been used, bringing the grand total 55,440 unused water bottles!
With so much water around, it’s no wonder there were another 200 Porta Potties located closer to the venue, meaning that I’d walked by 250 or so in total, and had yet to see a line. According to their vendor, United Site Services website, 242 Porta Potties would service the a crowd of 30,000 people for 10 hours. This begs the question, how many people had The Call’s planners been anticipating. United Site Services states only 48 such toilets would be needed for the crowd of 6,000 present on Saturday.
Even as I got closer to Capital Park, there was enough room for several participants to set out picnic blankets, while leaving space in between (as the picture to the right of TheCall attendees bowing in prayer shows quite clearly).
Based on the Porta Potties provided, the scattering of JumboTrons accross capital mall, and the over-abundance of water bottles a conservative estimate could place their expectations somewhere around 30,000.
Clearly, this was not the case. It took me over 10 minutes from the first road closure, to even reach a semblance of “The Call.” Turnout was only 20 percent of what organizers may have expected, and considerably lower than the events from even the night before.
Let’s keep in mind that Lou Engle and Mike Huckabee claim that more than 400,000 people attended TheCall in Washington, D.C. in 2000, as this promo for TheCall Sacramento hypes to the, er, heavens:
By Eden James
If you’ve ever wondered what our coverage of the NOM summer rallies and TheCall have to do with the Prop 8 trial, all you have to do is listen to the audio of Cindy Jacobs on stage today, speaking (er, screaming) at TheCall Sacramento. (I uploaded an mp3 to YouTube that commenter “NG” emailed to me. We don’t have actual video yet, but if we’re able to locate it, we’ll post it later):
You might have to adjust your volume about halfway through — or else her screams of “girl-on-girl kissing (and) lesbianism is a plague on our society today” and “Madonna kissing Britney” might blow out your eardrums:
One person can’t possibly watch every video of Cindy Jacobs on YouTube, but if P8TT community members would like to crowdsource this and subject yourselves to this torture in order to add links to the “greatest hits” in the comments, just click on this YouTube search for “Cindy Jacobs.”
(Here’s the first report from Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento from Arisha, along with pictures and video from Anthony, Phyllis and Andy. You can watch it live, streaming on God TV, if you don’t mind boosting their view count. To catch up on all of the posts thus far, click on the new “TheCall” category just created. — Eden)
By Arisha Hatch
Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento is in full gear, without thousands of worshipers in attendance.
Unlike the NOM summer rallies, in which we could actually hand-count NOM’s paltry attendance in the low two figures, we have to estimate TheCall’s much larger crowd. Compared to last night’s Raley Field event on Day 1, which we estimated at 10,000, my estimate of today’s attendance is about 6,000.
Lou Engle, dressed in a black button down shirt and jeans, stands on a large stage in front of the California State Capitol. With him on stage are a line of plain-clothed speakers — various pastors, and a California State Assemblymember.
The jumbotron finally begins showing the name of each speaker 45 minutes into the rally. None introduce themselves before they begin to pray. There haven’t been a lot of speeches, per se — just a steady stream of prayer. Here’s video of one of the first moments in which a speaker invoked a prayer after citing polling on abortion (“public opinion has shifted [on abortion from] 38% pro-life to 52% pro-life… “I believe that’s because of TheCall”). Anyone want to fact-check his numbers? He then raises his voice…
“Lord, we’re asking again that everything that can be shaken will be shaken”:
Depending on the speaker, the message varies. We seem to have just entered the sexual perversion segment: pornography, sex-trafficking, abortion, homosexuality, bisexuality – with a dash of “gender confusion” rhetoric.
Cindy Jacobs asked the women in the audience to get on their knees and repent “girl on girl kissing [because] lesbianism is a plague.”
“Madonna kissed Britney [Spears] … and look what happened to [Britney].”
(Katy Perry might have been a more current example, but I digress).
“God, we ask you to forgive us as women for bisexuality, lesbianism and pornography,” another woman prayed. “We repent for opening up church doors to homosexuality.”
More to come, including several pictures…
UPDATE BY PHYLLIS: They requested people to fast for 12 hours but volunteers are eating Little Ceasars pizza:
UPDATE BY ARISHA: More and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that this movement that we’re witnessing today is wholly distinct from the Tea Party (and even NOM, although some of the players are the same).
For example, you’d never hear this at a Tea Party rally:
“The immigrant community will no longer be exploited; the immigrant community will be the source of the revival” said one speaker.
Even the older Latino man carrying around a 20-ft wooden cross attached to a wheel told Phyllis that she should be free to live her life as a lesbian. When he asked if he could pray for her it didn’t even come off as condescending.
(We’ve all heard “God bless you’s” that feel more like “f— you’s” today, but this didn’t feel the same).
A couple of local press cameras have gathered just outside the “backstage” gates, hoping (in theory) to get some on-camera time with a few of the bigger name speakers.
Another band is performing now.
UPDATE BY ARISHA: TheCall attendees have now formed small prayer circles throughout the mall and are praying for San Francisco “for those who live in the Castro” specifically “and for the mothers and fathers of children” who are struggling with sexual identity.
Four marriage equality activists are standing with signs just outside the event. Every few minutes they are approached by a reporter or a rally attendee. The conversations are civil — sometimes long. Equality supporters have been passing out articles detailing some of Lou Engle’s more controversial actions to attendees; most are shocked to find out about Engle’s “TheCall Uganda” event earlier this year.
UPDATE BY EDEN: This will be the last update to this post. Arisha is working on a new post, as is Andy Kelley, our New Media Organizer. Meanwhile, I just posted the following audio of what Cindy Jacobs said and an analysis of its connection to the Prop 8 trial here.