by David Martin
Lou Engle is taking his unique brand of bug-eyed fundamentalism to Michigan. The frothing preacher says God has told him to hold one of his prayer rallies in the Detroit area.
Engle, who is affiliated with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, is planning an ambitious agenda for the Detroit event. He wants to fix race relations and teach Muslims the love of Jesus.
Engle's obsession with gay sex has made him a notorious figure. In 2008, he led prayer rallies in California in the weeks leading up to a vote on a same-sex-marriage ban. Last year, he visited Uganda, where homosexuality is already a crime, as lawmakers there considered even harsher penalties.
The Detroit rally is scheduled for November 11. In a conference call last month, Engle said he wanted whites to take the opportunity to repent their racism. In turn, blacks must forgive whites, he said. "You've got to set us free," he said. "If you don't forgive the white people, you are actually holding us as slaves."
In a video message, Engle goes into more detail about the decision to take his ministry, TheCall, to Detroit. Dearborn, a suburb, has a large population of Arab Americans. Engle says God wants "Muslims to know the love of Jesus."
The influence of Engle and the International House of Prayer is being felt in the 2012 race for president. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is considering a bid, is holding a prayer rally for a "nation in crisis" in Houston on August 6. The event's leadership team includes five IHOP ministers.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Engle roomed together for a time when both were in Washington, D.C. During the governor's race, Brownback indicated that he has become uncomfortable with Engle's bloodthirsty style of evangelism. At the same time, he doesn't want to miss an opportunity to appear before a large crowd of believers. Brownback has said he's going to attend Perry's rally.