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Not Many Get TheCall

Timothy Kincaid

November 3rd, 2008

An evangelical fast and prayer-meeting was planned for Saturday in San Diego. Part of a movement named TheCall, they hoped for an attendance of 70,000 and planned to fill Qualcomm Arena to pray for the success of Propositions 4 and 8 and other spiritual matters.

But the crowd didn’t appear. Karen Ocamb reports

If TheCall organizers hoped to fill Qualcomm Stadium, which holds 71,000 people, their expectations fell far short. A public relations person associated with TheCall reported 33,000 participants, based on “clickers” recording people coming through the gates. However, two journalists independently concluded that there were no “clickers” at the main entrance. The two journalists guesstimated the crowd at between 10,000-15,000 people.

A Latino Yes on 8 participant, who works at Qualcomm Stadium, placed the crowd count at around 5,000 and called the event “a failure.” And since many of TheCall participants flew in for the rally and not to help pass Prop 8, the effect of the rally is uncertain, at least in the short run.

A picture taken by the San Diego Union-Tribune (above) shows a nearly empty stadium. But they acknowledge the difficulty estimating the attendence at the event.

Organizers estimated there were 33,000 people inside the stadium by 3:30 p.m., but a crowd count was difficult to obtain because attendees could come and go throughout the day. Although a cluster remained in front of the stage as the hours passed, the stands, which can hold 71,000 people, never looked more than one-third full.

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AJD
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

We should support their fast! With any luck, they’ll be too weak from malnourishment to make it to the polls!

ted
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

If it really was only 5000 people, then the counter protest / vigil had as many, if not more. Ha.

While the Pentacostal’s spoke in tongues, we lit candles and marched for equality. We win. at The Gideonse Bible
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

[...] not obsessively reading the news on Prop 8 as I am, you may not have heard that possibly as few as 5000 people heard TheCall and as many as 6000 showed up to light candles, hear Mayor Sanders and his daughter [...]

kevin
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Perhaps they should be conservative with their wallets, as they are with religion, and rent out a smaller venue next time. Nothing is so disappointing than to show up at an event and seeing it underattended. On the flipside, it does look like some folks got in some heavy-duty praying and they were probably stoked about it afterwards…”Dude, did you see me praying? I totally was down on my knees, n-stuff, gettin’ all in the spirit, you know what I’m sayin’?”

“My arms are tired.”

John
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

One issue that is very important with elections is the enthusiasm gap. Hopefully this is an indication that there is more enthusiasm among the No on 8 crowd, than the Yes on 8 crowd.

Joe
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

The young age of most of the participants is really disheartening.

Why are there so many kids being sucked into this culture of Christianist hate?

Willie Hewes
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

“And since many of TheCall participants flew in for the rally and not to help pass Prop 8, the effect of the rally is uncertain, at least in the short run.”

I’m sure that’s missing the point. These people are working on the assumption that they can persuade a supernatural entity to influence the outcome of the vote. It doesn’t really matter if they have the numbers or if those people can vote in California, we’re talking divine intervention here, not mundane polling.

God can do anything. They’re praying for a miracle, because they need one.

MR Bill
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Rex Wockner (great gay journalist, his site is generally worth a weekly check) attended, and has a good take on it..
http://wockner.blogspot.com/2008/11/jesus-v-homosexuals.html
“Lots of words came into my head during my hours there: Cultlike. Brainwashing. Frenzied. Frightening. Depressing. But, interestingly, there wasn’t really any hate on display. They seemed to just want to “save” marriage. And, as for the homosexuals, they love us, they pray for us, they want us to be set free from sin and demons.”

cowboy
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

I am curious to know: How many in attendance were Mormons?

You see…Mormons pray differently than those Evangelicals.

There is no way to know but I can bet my horse that if the Mormons were in charge of this prayer rally they would have easily filled that stadium.

Ben in Oakland
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Cowboy: they can’t really pray together because according to the fundies, mormons aren’t really Christians, (ARC’s) but they are ATM’s.

If these propositions lose, i am truly wondering whether the fundies will turn on their ATM’s. The ensuing religious war might be interesting.

On another note, cowboy, maybe you can answer this question. When 8 loses, I am very interested in picketing the temple with such signs as “I guess God doesn’t agree” “Did you get a good ROI”
“How many starving Children can be fed for $35M” “Save marriage. attack gay people” and as many others as I can come up with. What’s the best day to do it? Is it a good idea?

kevin
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

I went to Wockner’s site. It’s interesting that some of the photos show the fundamentlists praying in the manner of Muslims (aka on knees and bowed down, touching head to the floor). I wonder if this is some kind of cultural coopting of Islamic religious practices, perhaps influenced by the West’s increased involvement in the Middle East and of Muslims becoming the topic of interest for many religious and non-religious alike.

It does make me a little nervous to see Evangelical Christians adopting Islamic traditions, since those Islamic benevolent traditions could be warped by the Evangelicals to include a full-on jihad in the manner of the fundamentalist, sectarian Islamists.

Afterall, Army of God (the anti-abortion terrorists) are not very much different than Islamic Jihad, and we have our own theocrats in the form of the Reconstructionists.

cowboy
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Ben,

Save your time/efforts. I appreciate your ideas. I personally would love to hold up a sign that says: “I’m NOT inferior” across from the big mamma Temple here in Salt Lake City.

But, it would not make any difference. This is an age-old conflict that will only be finally resolved by the adoption or the failure to amend the U.S. Constitution. The money will flow into each and every legal challenge to give gays equality.

And even after that, the Mormons will continue to exclude or demonize or marginalize gay Saints from their Church of Jesus Christ…in these Latter-Days.

I would just say: Have a Party tomorrow Ben. Have a BIG party.

Ben in Oakland
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

I’m not interested in doing it for them. i’m interested in doing it for me and my friends.

I still can only hope that the failure of the initiative will cause a greater rift between the mormons and the rest of the ufndie crowd. They’ll be back trying to convince each other that they alone hold the absolute truth.

No big party tomorrow, tho’ i suspect there will be a big one if SF when we win. I think I may go buy a couple of lobsters, have a special dinner for the husband. we’ll open up our $75 bottle of superb hungarian cabernet.

Ephilei
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Who could blame them? Have you ever tried using a clicker?! It will drive you insane after 200.

cowboy
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Ben: The time & money you save from not picketing the Mormon Temple should go a long way towards buying those lobsters.

I’m not much of a wine connoisseur. I only embibe a little 1)at New Year’s Eve 2) in Business-Class flights or 3) with freebies when I visit Las Vegas.

But, we should all have a mid-week celebration tomorrow in our own little special way. I’m not going to be terribly upset if we lose tonight. But I’m not going to be smug and snarky about winning either. I’ll walk a little taller and I’ll be more than receptive if anyone wants to talk to me about the election results. I think it’s time I have a discussion with my co-workers about who I am. They know…but how my private life is compared to theirs has been a mutually respected taboo topic.

Tomorrow might be different.

Josh
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

About the “Muslim” style prayer: actually, that’s all very typical, and has been for quite some time. The Bible talks about raising hands in worship, prostrating oneself before God, and Evangelicals, especially charismatics, take it very literally. I should know, I was into all that during my self-hating days.

If the attendance at the event wasn’t so hot, it’s because it’s becoming absolutely brutal to fly anywhere nowadays. That, and burnout is pretty common in charismatic circles. One can only take so much of whipping oneself into spiritual frenzies, and after awhile, you just realize “is this all there is?” Herd mentality and mass peer pressure only goes so far.

There may not be much outright hate on display, but it’s still there. I had what I thought were good friends when I was a charismatic, and when I eventually left the movement and embraced the truth that I am a gay man and God loves me no matter what, they never called me or saw me again. Typical.

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