Profiles on the Right: Lou Engle & The Call

Lou engleLou Engle is a prominent religious and political activist associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and a former leader of The International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC), a Neocharismatic ministry founded by Mike Bickle, another C. Peter Wagner devotee. Engle has become a lightning rod for controversy due to his leadership of TheCall, an organization that holds huge prayer and worship rallies in stadiums and other sites around the world. The rallies feature day-long programs of ecstatic music, prayer, speeches, and calls for repentance.

In 2008, Engle held a mass rally in support of Proposition 8, a ballot initiative in California which banned recognition of same-sex marriages in the state. In 2010, he staged TheCall Uganda to promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, amidst heated debate over its death penalty provision. The event was organized with the assistance of NAR apostle John Mulinde. Jeff Sharlet, an American journalist, noted “[Ugandan leaders] told me that Engle had explicitly expressed his support for the bill, telling them that he had to lie to the Western media because gays control it.”

Engle is also deeply involved in efforts to undermine women’s reproductive freedom. In the 2006 documentary, Jesus Camp, he is shown handing out tiny plastic fetuses to young children and leading them in repeatedly chanting, “Righteous judges! Righteous judges!” The film also shows Engle leading a group of young people in protests in Washington, D.C., wearing red tape over their mouths with the word “LIFE” written across the tape. Engle is credited with initiating the now-popular practice. He has described natural disasters, such as a deadly 2011 tornado, as “God’s redemptive judgment” for abortion.

Engle is a founder of Bound4Life, Justice House of Prayer DC, and several other youth-oriented entities that focus on anti-choice and anti-LGBTI activism. Engle maintains close ties to several prominent leaders of the U.S. Christian Right. In 2011, Charisma magazine, the flagship publication of Charismatic Christianity, featured Engle in an article about the “rising tide of influence” of Charismatic and Pentecostal religious leaders in U.S. politics.

For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.

Africa Profiles ArrowUpdated 5/8/18.