Lou Engle

From the Intelligence Files of the Southern Poverty Law Center:



Lou Engle

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              Date of Birth:



Kansas City, Mo.



In recent years, thanks largely to his leadership of TheCall Ministries, Lou Engle has become one of the more prominent players on the American religious right. A zealous opponent of abortion and LGBT rights, he has called homosexuality a “spirit of lawlessness,” suggested that it should be criminalized, and spoken at a highly controversial rally in Uganda where speakers backed a bill authorizing the death penalty for gay men and lesbians in some circumstances.

Engle is known for staging massive prayer rallies in cities around the globe since 2000 and is also a senior member of a radical Christian movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, which seeks to unite Protestants, vanquish demons, and evangelize the planet. At the same time, he has associated closely with several archconservative politicians, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

He’s also taken time out from his core issues to suggest that Muslims are “fueling the demonic realm” and in the thrall of “spiritual dark powers.” Last November, he led a huge and controversial Detroit prayer rally so that “the love of Jesus would break in on Muslims all across this area.”

After drawing widespread criticism from more moderate Christians and others, Engle has worked to improve his image. In 2010, before speaking at the rally in Uganda, he issued a statement saying he did not support the death penalty for gay people. However, according to The New York Times, when he spoke he only “praised the country’s ‘courage’ and ‘righteousness’ in promoting the bill.”

Later, speaking to a reporter with Religion Dispatches magazine, he repeated that he did not support the death penalty for homosexuality — but said that his “main thing” was to prevent its legalization (homosexual conduct is illegal in Uganda, but not in the United States since the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence decision). He suggested that there should be “some kind of restraint, a legal restraint and a punishment.” He added that the Ugandan anti-gay legislators merely wanted “to protect their society” and “were just wanting to do the right thing.”

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