Labels: abomination, criminalization of homosexuality, demonizer, Family Research Council, gay marriage, gay rights, James Dobson, Lou Engle, Rick Warren, the Bible, The Call, Tony Perkins, Uganda
The word "abomination"* is considered by some to be the king of buzz words. It's the word that triggers the most disgust in Fundamentalists. It has been used to describe horrors against God and nature. It has been used to distinguish whole segments of society as sinful and unfit for any consideration. It has been used to fashion a weapon out of the Bible. It has been printed in letters three feet tall on placards used in vehement protest during Gay Pride festivals. It is not, however, a word used to describe self-styled prophets such as Lou Engle.
It should be.
Another name/attribute that could be given to Lou Engle: The Demonizer, for Lou Engle's sole purpose in life seems to be to demonize homosexuals out of existence. And quickly. When you hear Lou Engle's raspy voice, there is, above all else, an immediacy to contend with: homosexuality has done so much to demoralize America that only strong punishments will stem the evil's tide. Punishments like imprisonment and execution.
Do I sound extreme? Am I simply being hypocritical by actually "demonizing" Engle myself? Like many progressive souls, I try to research items of injustice. Occasionally I come up with some salient points amongst a myriad of negative comments. Unfortunately, I've given up trying to find something, anything, of value in a Engle's rhetoric, for after experiencing it even at its mildest, I feel my humanity violated.The highest level of passion always reeks of the sinister, to say the very least.
Referring to his son Jesse's call to minister in San Francisco:
"... to go to San Francisco to launch a house of prayer, one block from the Castro District - where the homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness."
His followers hissed and booed at the mere mention of San Francisco. Are we to believe that they will turn around 180 degrees and love those who "boast the dominion of darkness?" Delusion has its purpose I suspect, but few, if anyone, are quite that delusional - or clueless.
And lest someone think that Engle is completely clueless, his purposes are quite clear: eradicate homosexuality by eradicating homosexuals. His son's ministry and his teen followers' witnessing in San Francisco's Castro district were dismal failures. The district's population feel rightly insulted whenever a self-righteous group starts singing hymns to pray away their gayness because they know that the meek exteriors of the choir house feelings of disgust. Abomination. Hypocrisy fairly glows from Engle's young followers.
The Darkest Raison d'etre Exposed
Five days ago, Engle's purposes were exposed by TWO (Truth Wins Out) reporter Evan Hurst. He attended one of Engle's smaller revivals in St. Louis (June 19 to July 12) and was able to tape Engle's tirade, this time aimed at a more select (and apparently more discreet) group of followers. Hurst's professionalism is evident in his restraint, even while giving the reader his thoughts on Engle's extreme rhetoric. And extreme it is:
“If we’re struggling with a homosexual, same-sex desire, LET THE BIBLE KILL YOU, rather than make it easier for you, and say well, there must be a better scriptural answer to this … Brothers and sisters, let the Bible kill you rather than you twist the scriptures!"
Hurst went "underground" to capture a speech/sermon given to a group much smaller than Engle's more public rants. He openly admits that his words are too violent for larger groups and that he will be "vilified" if a tape of it ever surfaces. He peppers his speech with anxious asides of "Are we taping?"Engle calls his followers "Yahweh Separatists." And in the midst of relating the story of Jezebel and Ahab - paralleling to our own government - he says:
Reporter Hurst tries to maintain an objective, even keel, but finally notes:“The Yahweh separatist prophets gotta kill those guys!”
But this is the kind of eliminationist rhetoric that, when it goes into the ears of certain kinds of crazies, can be deadly.
As deadly as the kind of "imprecatory prayer" Rev. Wiley Drake called upon to kill President Obama? Hardly. Drake's call for a curse on Obama was summarily laughed at by the public, both secular and religious. The Demonizer doesn't pray for a curse, but instead let's his followers decide whether or not to act:
“Our president two days ago came out and said ‘We bless the fathers of families that have two fathers’! This is a decree, a blessing, called this month, LGBT pride month. When decrees come from high places, it actually opens doors! It is a key! It unlocks the spiritual realm for the fueling of the demonization of culture! Is this being taped?” (voice from bouncer/heavy off to the side interjects “We can erase it.")
It is rather ironic that it is Lou Engle who considers acceptance of gays as demonization of culture. Then again, it's not clear as to which culture he's referring to, his own culture or the humanist culture** of Western Civilization.
There are more than several ways of analyzing Engle's mind when confronted with the possible effects of his own rhetoric: a. he simply doesn't care because "God's word" trumps all consequences, b. he honestly doesn't think it's toxic enough to warrant concern, c. he means it and hopes that someone will act on it without implicating him directly. In the final analysis, however, all we have to go on is his actual rhetoric:
“Saint means HOLY and Louis means WARRIOR. Holy war! I like that!”
I think "c" may be the only reasonable answer, unless we are to relegate Engle to the role of crazy cult leader. And even if he is, we can't negate the fact that he is a growing force in today's Christofascist movement. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, U.S. senators and congressmen have already paid him obeisance and African leaders and legislators are eager to give The Call their stamp of approval.
The Infamous Lie:
Before his May 2nd appearance in Uganda for TheCall Ministries, Engle released this statement:
TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written...
But apparently, The Demonizer didn't think that anybody outside Uganda would pay attention to what he would say inside Uganda: he warned the youth in the crowd that when America allowed homosexuals freedom it was the end of their nation.
Waymon Hudson, The Huffington Post:
He [Engle] called upon the government of Uganda to be firm and hold on its righteous stand against the evil. He mentioned that homosexuals have penetrated the educational system and Ugandans must be aware of the evil.
The Engle-Warren Connection
Every public luminary has a mentor, so it is interesting to note that Lou Engle's mentor and Rick Warren's doctoral dissertation advisor are one and the same: C. Peter Wagner, founder of New Apostolic Reformation which holds as one of its immutable dictums that homosexuality is a sin. It is also notable that Rick Warren openly lied about his association with Wagner. Wagner, along with Engle, have both been credited with assisting Uganda in structuring the "Kill the Gays" bill.
The Demonizer never sites a Biblical scholar. That's no surprise, since scholarship of the Bible encourages people to think about all of its contradictions and historical/anthropological inconsistencies. A following of questioning minds tends to be not much of a following. Inerrantists need total control of their flock. And total control can only be achieved by convincing an uneducated group that every word is absolutely true. And supreme.
Engle skirts scholarship by telling people that he is a prophet. Or moreover, Engle trumps scholarship by relating his "visions" and dreams which, of course, have been sent to him directly by God. What Engle has experienced, scholars can only make "educated" guesses at.
The quick and easy denunciation of progressive Christians is that they are false prophets:
“When men leading this nation as Christian leaders speak of gay Christians, they are actually false prophets! There are Christians struggling with same-sex desires, but those who are gay Christians, who say, “This is my lifestyle, and God is pleased with it!”, this is false prophets! I’d like to just shout it in the news, but they’ll vilify me."
People For The American Way has a "hit parade" list of Lou Engle's rants. Not all of them can be viewed because most have been removed. While The Demonizer's public demeanor is horrendous enough, it is noticeably softer than his smaller gatherings. Evan Hurst's TWO post (and tape) should be examined closely.
On the latest SCOTUS ruling that Christian groups must allow gay membership:
“This is the first time in U.S. history where the Supreme Court has actually ruled that gender rights now trump religious rights, which means this is the beginning of the possible coming harassment and persecution of the church because it’s going to be clear that the true church will take a stand only on the Word of God,”
The Demonizer echoes the likes of Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson with the subject of "Christian Persecution" while mangling the English Language ("...beginning of the possible coming?")
Lou "The Demonizer" Engle calls for martyrs to his cause. But while some of his martyrs will be "persecuted" for singing hymns in the Castro, some others may go down with guns blazing. Just the way Engle wants it. And if some of his followers question Engle, asking if there are some good gays worth saving from imprisonment and death, his response might be similar to that of Arnaud Amaury, abbot of Citeaux and military leader besieging the town of Beziers, France and before the massacre of its ten thousand inhabitants:
*The word "abomination" was the keystone of Judaism. From Religion Dispatches:
The term toevah (and its plural, toevot) occurs 103 times in the Hebrew Bible, and almost always has the connotation of a non-Israelite cultic practice. In the Torah, the primary toevah is avodah zara, foreign forms of worship, and most other toevot flow from it. The Israelites are instructed not to commit toevah because other nations do so. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 makes this quite clear..."
** The Demonizer thinks that every person outside of his ring of adherents has no relevance whatsoever to God's world whether spiritual or physical. To most people, humanism simply means a system of secular ethics, but to Fundamentalists and people of Engle's ilk, humanists are ungodly and therefore, worthless until being "saved."