Lou Engle - June 27, 2011 from Bound4LIFE on Vimeo.
As hypnotic music played in the background, Engle preached feverishly about abortion. At the 0:57 mark, Engle claimed that the Joplin disaster was a divine sign regarding abortion.
"I believe that God is beginning to center his plan for a major strike against abortion. Out of the heartland of America, Missouri and Kansas. It was that way in the slavery movement. It was the Missouri Compromise and it was Bloody Kansas. I believe that the Lord is doing something in these days. Concerning Misourri, after the Joplin tornadoes hit -- this is just my perspective -- I began to share with my friends that I believe that Joplin was a sign that God's rependptive judgments are now beginning to be manifest concerning the issue of the shedding of innocent blood and abortion."Engle then recited the story of a pastor who dreamed that he was golfing with President Obama. In the dream, when the pastor arrived at the tee, he was overcome by the spirit of the Lord and spontaneously sang lines from "America the Beautiful." Some time later, the pastor's daughter had a dream in which she saw a paper with President Abraham Lincoln's face on it. On the other side of the paper was a numerical code: 52911. This, Engle claimed, coincided with President Obama's visit to Joplin, MO on May 29th, 2011. At the gathering, when the crowd began singing "America the Beautiful," the pastor saw this as a sign to approach the president and urge him to end abortion.
Just as Abraham Lincoln had an epiphany about slavery, Engle argued, so too does President Obama need to have a spiritual epiphany about abortion. At the 8:44 mark, Engle begged God to visit dreams upon the Obama family and haunt the president until he opposes abortion.
"And we ask you to come and begin to invade President Obama's life, God. Give Michelle Obama dreams like Pilate's wife. Let the children get dreams. Send the prophets to our president ... We would ask that a black man would end abortion in America, Lord ... I pray that word will live in his mind day and night. Haunt him with the prophetic word like Nebuchadnezzar. Don't let him sleep at night. Let the babies' cries be heard, and let him arise, God, and fulfill a calling that no one would have expected."Anti-abortion rhetoric in the U.S. has long compared abortion to race-related horrors such as the Holocaust and the enslavement of blacks. Likewise, at the 7:47 mark, Engle spoke of abortion in the same breath as racial injustice toward blacks and Native Americans.
"We ask forgiveness for the breaking of our covenants, Lord, with the Native peoples, the black Americans, the unborn, the offspring of our own womb. We stand before you God."Engle's use of racially-charged language to oppose abortion is nothing new, as he and other anti-abortion advocates have done so before (see here and here). In doing so, such speakers try to equate abortion with the horrors of racism and oppression, or even try to pain abortion as an alleged eugenics tool.
Furthermore, Engle's use of a natural disaster to undergird a religious message is nothing new either, as other fundamentalist preachers have attributed natural disasters to God's wrath (see here). While he did not blame the residents of Joplin per se for God's wrath, he suggested that the Joplin tornadoes were a message from God to America regarding abortion. This struck me as tasteless and insensitive to Joplin's many victims, who deserve compassion and should not have their sorrow marketed for political ends.