First, as a guest of Marcos Barrientos, Lou Engle gave an impassioned speech to a Spanish-speaking audience on May 22nd.
At the start of this video, Engle describes abortion as a demonic force that is allegedly threatening the Hispanic community. Speaking through Marcos Barrientos as his interpreter, he urges listeners to refrain from voting for pro-choice candidates.
"There's a young Hispanic lady right here ... This young lady, she called me last year, said they're building the largest abortion clinic in the western hemisphere in Houston. Six stories high, the fourth story for late term abortions. It looks like an ancient Aztec temple. The ancient bloodshedding that fuels demons is rising in America. Psalm 106 said you offered up your babies' blood and you gave them to demons. Abortion's demonizing the whole culture. It's fueling the powers of darkness. And when I looked at the demographics of Houston, that abortion clinic was in the middle of three super-neighborhoods. Ninety percent Hispanic. Abortion's targeting our children. You don't want to come and immigrate to America for the sake of your children, and then offer up those very babies for the destruction of your community. I hear a voice of prophesy coming out of the Hispanic people: we will never vote for anyone who's pro-choice."Engle's May 22nd talk can be seen as part of his ongoing anti-abortion outreach to Hispanic communities, which includes projects such as AVIVA and previous talks to/about people of color. His literal demonization of abortion, however, is not new, as New Apostolic Reformation rhetoric often includes references to the supernatural.
Second, in the June 20th edition of God Knows, Generals International founders Mike and Cindy Jacobs talked with Mark Gonzalez of the U.S. Hispanic Prayer Network. Gonzalez began with a discussion of drug cartel violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, including human trafficking and killings. Although his talk began with reasonable observations about a devastating problem, the conversation took an unusual turn at the 7:17 mark.
GONZALEZ: There's really only one way, truly, to deal with those matters. And that's for the body of Christ coming together and dealing with this at the spirit level because whebn it comes to the cartel ... there's a lot of, when you get to spiritism, occultic practices, and it depends so much on that.I agree that the violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is harrowing, and that prayer might bring spritual comfort to communities scarred by violence. I do not agree, however, that drug cartel violence has demonic links, no do I see prayer as a concrete, practical solution to the border violence. To attribute such violence to demons is to ignore the complex roots of cartel violence, as well as the need for prudent real-life solutions to the crisis.
CINDY JACOBS: They pray to all these gods for demonic protection.
MIKE JACOBS: Even idols, Cindy. Recently they tore down some of the idols along the border that these drug cartels had been using. I think it was San La Morte, Saint Death.
Why do some New Apostolic Reformation preachers blame demons and the occult for things they consider evil? Does their theology assumes that social forces have cosmic underpinnings, be they divine or infernal? Do they seek to motivate believers to resist these social forces by giving them supernatural significance? Is it simply easier to attribute situations to demons rather than analyze their messy, complex roots? Perhaps all of the above are in play.
The problem with blaming situations on demons and "witchcraft" is that it makes it nearly impossible to have rational dialogue about those issues. For example, if one assumes that abortion is demonic, one immediately excludes the possibility of respectful dialogue with pro-choice people. Why have dialogue over an evil, demonic activity? If one assumes that homosexuality is caused by demons, why listen to LGBT people's demands for rights? Demon rhetoric reduces situations to evils that must be destroyed, rather than issues that must be understood.
Parts I, II, III, IV, and V of Engle's talk are available for viewing at YouTube. Episodes of God Knows are available for viewing at godknows[dot]tv/video/