Lou Engle is an American charismatic Christian leader, best known for his leadership of The Call, a program that hosts twelve-hour prayer rallies, and his association with prominent members of the Christian Right. Engle was a senior leader of the International House of Prayer and has assisted in the establishment of several smaller "houses" of prayer.
Engle has been organizing large prayer rallies since 1999, with hundreds of thousands of people in multiple countries participating. The size of these events, in addition to Engle's political statements, has raised his prominence among the Christian Right. Journalist Bruce Wilson referred to Engle as "the unofficial prayer leader of the Republican Party". In addition to these meetings, Engle established several small houses of prayer through his Justice House of Prayer ministry. These ministries are often located near prominent landmarks, such as Harvard University or the United States Supreme Court. The locations of the ministries are strategically chosen, to specifically contend issues such as abortion.
In 2008, Engle focused the attention of his prayer groups towards supporting California's Proposition 8 ballot measure. He organized 24-hour protests in front of the United States Supreme Court, whereby the young participants symbolized the powerlessness of terminated fetuses by placing tape over their mouths with the word "LIFE" written on it.
Prayer and politics
Engle has focused on the issue of abortion. He frequently encourages his audiences to pray that the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court ruling will be overturned and to vote for "pro-life" political candidates. Taking a firm stand on issues traditionally associated with the Christian Right, Engle's events have drawn support from Evangelical leaders such as Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins. He criticized other Evangelical leaders regarding the issue of political correctness.
Engle maintains that issues such as abortion and homosexuality should remain at the center of the evangelical movement. In keeping with his stance on these issues, Engle has been sharply critical of U.S. President Barack Obama, claiming that his beliefs "counter my convictions and the convictions of masses of believing Americans."
While living in Washington, D.C. Engle was briefly a roommate of then-Senator Sam Brownback. Brownback later spoke at The Call Nashville rally and worked with him while drafting Senate apologies to Native Americans and African-Americans. Brownback's association with Engle became an issue in his successful run for Governor of Kansas. During the campaign, the Kansas Democratic Party ran ads criticizing his association with Engle. Brownback stated that he had not spoken to Engle in several months and that they disagreed on some issues.
In May 2010, Engle traveled to Uganda and organized a rally there through The Call. During the rally, he praised the Ugandan government's efforts to combat homosexuality, which included the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill which called for life imprisonment or the death penalty for gays and lesbians with AIDS who engage in sexual relations. Engle later claimed that he opposes the Ugandan bill and called for the church to examine its own sins and to oppose violence against homosexuals, but he did not reject the criminalization of homosexuality.
As of March 2013 Engle resides in Pasadena, CA. He and his wife Therese have seven children. He is known for his gravelly voice, cheerful demeanor, and vigorous rocking back and forth while praying and speaking.
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