Lou Engle

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Lou Engle at TheCall Nashville

Lou Engle is an American Charismatic Christian leader, best known for his leadership of The Call, which holds prayer rallies. He is the president of Lou Engle Ministries. 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.[1] Journalist Bruce Wilson referred to Engle as "the unofficial prayer leader of the Republican Party."[2] 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 building. The locations of the ministries are strategically chosen, to specifically contend issues such as abortion.[3]

In 2008, Engle focused the attention of his prayer groups towards supporting California's Proposition 8 ballot measure.[4] 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.[5]

Prayer and politics[edit]

Engle is strongly anti-abortion, and encourages his audiences to pray for the overturning of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling 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.[6]

Engle maintains that issues such as abortion and homosexuality should remain at the center of the evangelical movement.[5] In keeping with his stance on these issues, Engle has been sharply critical of former U.S. President Barack Obama, claiming that his beliefs "counter my convictions and the convictions of masses of believing Americans."[7]


Engle was described by Joe Conason as a "radical theocrat".[8] The Southern Poverty Law Center says he can occasionally "venture into bloodlust."[9]

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.[10]

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, and praised those promoting 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. Prior to traveling to Uganda, Engle has released a statement condemning the penalties.[11] Engle later stated that he opposes the Ugandan bill and says he was misunderstood while on the platform in Uganda. He called for the church to examine its own sins and to oppose violence against homosexuals.[12]

Engle was featured in the 2006 film Jesus Camp, briefly in the 2012 film Call Me Kuchu and in the 2013 film God Loves Uganda.

Following anti-Islamic comments by a 2018 Singapore conference hosted by Cornerstone Community Church, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs opened an investigation into Engle's inflammatory rhetoric. Organizers apologized to local Muslim leaders, and pledged not to invite Engle back to speak.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Engle 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.[6][14]


  1. ^ Hornick, Ed (13 August 2008). "McCain, Obama to address 'values voters'". CNN. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  2. ^ Wilson, Bruce (17 May 2010). ""It's Scary" - GOP's Lou Engle Problem Getting Bigger". Daily Kos. Archived from the original on 2010-09-13. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  3. ^ CHELSEA L. SHOVER (18 November 2010). "Missionaries to Harvard". The Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on 2012-10-04. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  4. ^ Garrison, Jessica (20 October 2008). "Prop. 8 and the prayer pros". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Evangelical Protestants looking for a leader but preferably not Glenn Beck". The Economist. 2 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b Hemmingway, Mark (18 August 2008). "Hearing TheCall". National Review. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  7. ^ Montopoli, Brian (15 August 2010). "Obama, McCain And The Evangelical Divide". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  8. ^ Conason, Joe (30 August 2010). "Is Glenn Beck mobilizing the religious right for November?". Salon. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  9. ^ Sanchez, Casey (Fall 2008). "'Arming' for Armageddon". Intelligence Report (131). Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  10. ^ Milburn, John (13 October 2010). "Brownback discusses ties to evangelist Engle". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  11. ^ Kron, Josh (2 May 2010). "In Uganda, Push to Curb Gays Draws U.S. Guest". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2010-05-07. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  12. ^ Throckmorton, Warren. "Lou Engle issues statement regarding The Call Uganda and Anti-Homosexuality Bill". Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  13. ^ Ong, Justin (5 April 2018). "Singapore pastor apologises to Muslim leaders for US preacher's alleged statements on Islam". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 2018-04-06. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  14. ^ Johnson, Bonna (8 July 2007). "Christians pray for nation's soul". The Daily News Journal. Murfreesboro. Retrieved 3 December 2010.[dead link]

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