The “A-political” International House of Prayer

A new documentary called God Loves Uganda exposes the many ways that the American Christian right used its influence in that country to push the harsh new anti-gay laws that are brutalizing gay people on a daily basis. That includes Lou Engle and the International House of Prayer, which bizarrely claims to be apolitical.

Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in U.S. politics, let alone politics in another nation.

Not involved in U.S. politics? Seriously? Right Wing Watch shows this to be a rather astonishing lie:

“God Loves Uganda” includes footage of Engle’s pro-Prop. 8 rally in California at which he warned that allowing same-sex couples to get married would unleash “sexual insanity” and a spirit “more demonic than Islam.” In 2011, he organized an event in Detroit that was pitched to local pastors as a unity event for people of faith to pray for Detroit’s economy when its actual purpose was to “invade Dearborn” and convert followers of “demonic” Islam to Christianity…

Lou Engle, an IHOP co-founder, is a dominionist who believes the church’s role is to “rule history with God.”

“The church’s vocation is to rule history with God…The same authority that has been given to Christ Jesus for overwhelming conquering and dominion has been given to the saints of the most high….We’re God’s rulers upon the earth…We will govern over kings and judges will have to submit…We’re called to rule! To change history! To be co-regents with God!”

Engle has been intensely involved in US politics, hosting “The Call” prayer rallies in election years to denounce legal abortion and politicians that support it. He worked hard to mobilize support for anti-gay Proposition 8 in California.

In 2008 he passionately opposed the election of Barack Obama and declared that by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain had “gone to war for America, for our families, and for our children. And this war, we cannot afford to lose.”

In 2009, Engle introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann and asked her to lead a prayer at an anti-health-care-reform “prayercast” organized by the Family Research Council.

More recently IHOP and its leader Mike Bickel were at the center of organizing dominionist leaders to put on “The Awakening,” a 2011 prayer rally that served as the launch of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign.

So much for the claim of being a-political.

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  • D. C. Sessions

    But they are. For suitable definitions of “political.”

  • Johnny Vector

    I hope at least they’re not against pancakes.

  • Much like standing up for and supporting gravity, my stances aren’t political. It’s yours that are.

  • pocketnerd

    Dammit, Modusoperandi, stop making the exact points I want to make, and making them far more cleverly than I ever could.

  • Al Dente

    Johnny Vector @2

    I hope at least they’re not against pancakes.

    They’re imposters. We know who the real IHOPis.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I hope at least they’re not against pancakes.

    Heretic! Pancakes are for Coastal Elitists! The True House of Godly Food is the Waffle House!

  • Out of both 1) a sense of duty and 2) unhealthy masochistic tendencies, I listen regularly to right-wing fundamentalist Christian radio, and I can tell you that this “apolitical” canard is a common one, and I see 501(c)3s committing it the most (gee, who would’ve thunk it?). The way they justify it by saying that gay marriage (for instance) is “a moral issue, not a political one.”

    And then they go on to ask their audience to call their congressperson and tell them to vote “yes” on whatever the latest Christian spite bill is.

    Which is funny, because I didn’t think 501(c)3 organizations are supposed to do that. But then I’m no lawyer.

  • I have also seen a particularly nasty hate group leader/television host* named Matthew Trewhella describe himself—while keeping a straight face, mind you—as a “Biblical centrist” just moments after nearly collapsing in a pool of rage-tears over the fact that poor schoolchildren in his district get free lunches. If you can point to any issue on which this man is a centrist, I will eat a pound of boiled hair.

    *No exaggeration here: he is literally a hate group leader according to the SPLC. He is also literally the host of VCY America’s In Focus program. And no, there is nothing too extreme for these people to latch onto anymore.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    This is like the “I’m not a racist, but…”

    It’s a cover, everyone knows it, no one (with any power to do anything about it) seems to care.

    This is particularly frustrating to me because I worked as part of a (non-religious) 501(c)(3) for years, and we had to be careful lest we lose our status, but if you’re a church, fuck it, do whatever….