Lou Engle is a prominent religious and political activist associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). He 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 California’s ultimately successful Proposition 8, 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.
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 groups 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 the 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO, as “God’s redemptive judgment” for abortion.
Engle is the founder of Bound4Life, Justice House of Prayer, and several other youth-oriented entities that focus on antichoice and anti-LGBTI activism. Engle’s TheCall is affiliated with another key NAR institution—International House of Prayer of Kansas City—and he 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. In 2009, he led prayers at the Family Research Council-sponsored “prayercast” against the Affordable Care Act. The event included such high-profile Republican politicians as Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and Jim DeMint.
In 2013, Engle moved to Pasadena, CA, where he previously worked with leading NAR apostle Ché Ahn before moving to IHOPKC. He now partners with the Joshua Project at the U.S. Center for World Missions, an evangelization research center that seeks to “highlight the ethnic people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Christ.” Engle’s ongoing project there brings together several conservative Christian organizations and is working to “raise up an army of itinerant preachers filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to re-evangelize the Western World.”
For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.