A few weeks after Lou Engle tweeted about those who complain about their leaders and protest "with a bitter spirit", he condemned the Women's March. In a March 3rd commentary piece posted at Elijah List, Engle cast the Women's March as "the first shot across the bow" in a "spiritual battle" meant to undermine President Trump. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
First, Engle sought to convince readers that his fellow Christians were actually the first ones to dream of a large-scale women's march. He claimed that he and other New Apostolic Reformation leaders envisioned a Christian women's march in the nation's capitol years ago.
"Three years ago in a leaders summit in Fredericksburg Virginia, our meeting was sovereignly hijacked as the Lord shifted our focus toward the hidden taproot of strength in the godly women of America. We began to envision something of a million women gathering on the mall in Washington DC, similar to the Promise Keepers gathering, that would be a last-stand breakthrough to hold back darkness in America. Those hours of corporate intercession were as strong and clear as any prophetic moment I have ever encountered in thirty plus years of prayer, but at the time we could not see how it could be brought to pass."To Engle's disappointment, the 2017 Women's March on D.C. and its sister marches brought together millions of women. The Women's March, which Engle denigrated as "a false heiress", caused Engle to realize that the allegedly "true empowered woman" must make her voice heard.
"That moment arrived January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, as we watched hundreds of thousands of women take to the streets with the purported aim of "empowering women." A vacuum had been created by this election, by historic women's injustices, and it seemed that a false heiress rushed in and was seeking now to become the hinge of history by framing the narrative of a future America that does not acknowledge God's exalted view of women and His Biblical design for her glorious purpose in the earth. Instinctively we had a corporate knowing: it was the time for the true empowered woman to stand up, for the meek (strength-filled humility) shall inherit the earth.
Much like his Religious Right brethren, Engle characterized the Women's March as "radical" and dripping with "vitriol", insisting that godly women would not identify with it. The fact that the Women's March and its sister events resonated with millions of women and men around the globe did not strike him as important.
Hundreds of thousands of women watched the March, heard the vitriol, and could not identify with the radical ideologies being expressed that would not acknowledge God's Word and ways in the public controversy. This new woman declared deep inside her heart this is not my revolution." Now, like Esther, she is arising for such a time as this. It's time for this corporate Esther to frame the future by recognizing and taking up her God-given role of persistent public persuasion in the open square as well as that of her humble appeal to God in prayer."
Engle then warned readers that the Women's March heralded a "revolutionary rise" against the president and the "Biblical truths" upon which America was supposedly founded. This "brazen challenge of the [supernatural] powers" warranted a response from Christians, he argued.
"The Women's March was the first shot across the bow, heralding a revolutionary rise against the President of the United States, "We the People", and in reality, the foundational Biblical truths upon which our nation was founded. Soon after, the second shot was manifested publicly: an unprecedented global summons of witchcraft to curse President Trump, his cabinet and all of those aligned with a Biblical worldview. Suddenly, the whole controversy was elevated to a global spiritual dimension, inaugurating a spiritual battle that cannot be won on the playing field of protests and political arguments.Likening the situation in the U.S. to that of Esther and Haman in the Book of Esther, Engle urged readers to participate in a fast so as to "break a major spiritual power of death". He encouraged his fellow believers to take part in a three-day "Esther fast" from March 8-11 to "counter this witchcraft" and pray for President Trump.
Only the Church has the answer to this unprecedented manifestation of witchcraft. Spiritual strategy must be used to overcome this open-faced, brazen challenge of the powers."
Going without food and ecstatic praying haven't brought about the changes you want so far. What makes you think they'll work this time? I wondered.
Engle just can't accept that millions of people dislike his adored president and have no interest in his dominionist vision. Nor can he accept that millions of women and men are rejecting sexism (including the sexism of fundamentalist Christianity) and demanding a more just society. As with issues such as LGBTQ rights and abortion, Engle casts his opponents as angry radicals and puppets of infernal "powers" because demonizing them is easier than actually listening to them.