Christian Resistance to TheCall Growing in Detroit and Beyond
gregmetzger printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 03:48:03 PM EST
Christian leaders on the ground in Detroit are increasingly pushing back against TheCall Detroit. The extremist agenda behind the event is finally being understood by pastors in Detroit and every frantic effort by TheCall leaders to sanitize this event as a loving prayer rally will not dissuade those in Detroit who now can see it for what it is--a deceitful attempt by leading New Apostolic Reformation leaders to use the language of racial reconciliation to market this event to black leaders in Detroit after having spent months framing the event as a fight against Islam to their national and international networks.
An African-American Christian leader in Detroit, D. Alexander Bullock of Detroit's Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, has seen through this manipulation. He is not only warning his fellow Christian leaders of TheCall's true agenda, he is now organizing a counter event in opposition to TheCallDetroit. Bullock will help lead a "Crusade Against Hate" that will march from the OccupyDetroit base to the outside of Ford Field where TheCall Detroit will be happening. After the march, the Crusade Against Hate will hold a prayer vigil of their own outside Ford Field as part of their effort to, as Bullock puts it, "organize against hate." News of this kind of grassroots effort has TheCall Detroit leaders scrambling, but their attempts to repackage the purpose of the event are happening under the glare of a more educated local media. For instance, this is how the Detroit News is characterizing the duplicity of TheCall's organizers:

Lou Engle, co-founder of TheCall, based in Kansas City, did not return phone calls. On its website, [TheCall] says the purpose of the event is to pray, fast and call out to God. And to save Detroit from itself. The website says, "We will gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis --economic collapse, racial tension, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn." It also says it is calling the nation to a 24-hour solemn assembly, "daring to believe that Detroit's desperation can produce a prayer that can change a nation." But missing from the website were what followed "racial tension" in the sentence last week: "the rising tide of the Islamic movement."

It is significant that at the same time Detroit area pastors and media are wising up to TheCall's agenda, national mainstream media are likewise responding to TheCall with more aggressive reporting.  Wednesday night the Associated Press put out a story on the event that included this quote from another leader of the "Crusade Against Hate" event, Rev. Charles Williams, explicitly rejecting the beliefs of TheCall organizers that the Muslim presence in Detroit is the reason for the bleak economic realities of Detroit:

"We certainly don't believe that the Muslim community is what cast a dark shadow over the city of Detroit in terms of economics," said Williams, pastor of Historic King Solomon Church in Detroit. "Our prayer will be a prayer where we will be calling on God to help us solve the foreclosure crisis; to help us solve the job crisis; to help us solve the education crisis. This is the prayer we should be calling on, not a message of hate against those who are United States residents."

This AP story has been carried in major media outlets like the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, as well as the newspaper of the city of the national organizers of TheCall events, The Kansas City Star. The AP story makes clear that the organizers of the protest event are Christians, and most media outlets carrying the news are being careful to highlight this important fact. Nonetheless, leading groups opposed to "the Islamization of America" are taking the AP story and framing the Crusade Against Hate counter-rally to TheCall as, incredibly, an example of Muslim paranoia against Christians. For instance, the virulently anti-Islam website Atlas Shrugs now has a post up under the heading "Muslims Plan to Protest Christian Event" in which the author, Pamela Geller, introduces a quote from the AP story with her own unique Orwellian twist:

"Hamas-tied CAIR is warning mosques in Dearborn to `step up security' in advance of a Christian prayer summit. Only in bizarroworld, where the majority of mosque incidents are committed by Muslims. Now they are protesting the Christian prayer event."

Expect to see plenty more attempts to portray Christian resistance to TheCall as being somehow a plot by paranoid Muslims against the "innocent" Christian organizers of TheCall. This kind of transparent misinformation has been appearing for days at other blog sites like Jihad Watch and so it is important that national Christian leaders are beginning to express their solidarity with the Crusade Against Hate and other forms of Christian opposition to TheCall Detroit. For instance, Brian McLaren, a significant figure in American Christianity, has come out firmly on the side of the Crusade Against Hate in a blog posted Wednesday night. McLaren stated that "if I were in Detroit, I'd be marching" in the Crusade Against Hate and he linked to two different Talk To Action articles as evidence that the New Apostolic Reformation can not "be written off as fringe phenomena."

In addition to McLaren, another evangelical voice, Aaron Taylor, a blogger and author of a book on Christian/Muslim relations, has come out strongly against TheCall's inconsistent views on racial reconciliation. In an interview with me last night Taylor expressed concern that African-American supporters of TheCall are unwittingly "exchanging one form of bigotry for another form." He noted that NAR's views on racial reconciliation among blacks and whites stand in sharp contrast to their beliefs about permanent hostility between Christians and Muslims, Jews and Palestinians. He finds it ironic that "the same theological tree that once justified discrimination against blacks because of a supposed `curse of Ham' now justifies discrimination against Muslims, Arabs and particularly Palestinians because of a supposed `curse of Ishmael.'"

More important, perhaps, than these two individual criticisms is the fact that an influential conservative evangelical publication, The Christian Post, has published a story on TheCall Detroit. This news story represents the most balanced article on TheCall Detroit from a publication that can be considered friendly to the Religious Right. The story does not defend TheCall, gives an evenhanded account of the religious leaders organizing the Crusade Against Hate and quotes the part of TheCall's agenda that they have recently pulled from their website about curbing "the rising tide of the Islamic movement." This article, together with McLaren and Taylor's condemnations, is a clear sign that the radical agenda of the Oak Initiative and TheCall is facing public backlash among Christians outside of Detroit.

It's important that Brian McLaren linked to Talk2action articles. McLaren's influence in moderate Evangelical circles can bring many more people to this website, where they will, I think, find much that will fortify their understanding of the importance of respect and cooperation with people of all faiths for the good of the country and the world.

by RevRuthUCC on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:49:06 PM EST
Brian's voice is an important one and a welcome one.

by gregmetzger on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:43:07 PM EST

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