Thousands to Pray, Fast Together for California Marriage Protection

( [email protected] ) Oct 31, 2008 08:05 AM EDT

Tens of thousands of people will gather Saturday at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium for twelve straight hours of intercessory prayer and fasting for the protection of traditional marriage in California and the nation.

“TheCall California” is expected to draw pro-family advocates from across the nation for prayer and worship from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including notable figures such as Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family. The gathering also concludes a 40-day fasting period for California that began September 24.

"It (TheCall California)’s a fast, not a festival,” exclaims TheCall Team.

“We are asking God for the release of undeserved mercy, a great spiritual awakening, and the shaking of political thrones of iniquity in California that have legalized evil,” they add.

“We will set aside our individual agendas, and with one collective voice cry out for another wave of revival in our land.”

The one-day gathering will take place just days before California voters head for the polls to cast their vote for or against a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, effectively banning gay marriage.

According to the latest Field Poll released Friday, opponents of the ban are ahead with a 49 percent to 45 percent edge, widening much closer gaps that were revealed in previous surveys on Proposition 8. In mid-September, the measure was losing by 17 points.

"In the minds of many people, Proposition 8 is the most important thing nationally on the ballot," commented Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, which supports the measure.

For many who back “Yes on 8,” that includes even the presidency.

"We have survived bad presidents. But many, many are convinced we will not survive this redefinition of marriage," Perkins explained to The Associated Press.

In the days leading up to Nov. 4, the battle over same-sex marriage has intensified, with Hollywood celebrities providing last-minute support to the “No on 8” campaign after weeks of criticism from opponents of Prop. 8.

As a result of the last-minute fundraising blitz in Hollywood, “No on 8” out-raised the “Yes on 8” campaign by a 9-1 margin over the past 2 weeks and took back the overall fundraising lead.

Supporters of “Yes on 8” have also intensified efforts. Though notably lacking the star power behind “No on 8,” “Yes on 8” has received strong backing at the grassroots, particularly among religious and social conservatives – both spiritually and financially.

“The campaign is a campaign of the people,” said “Yes on 8” spokeswoman Sonja Eddings Brown, who told AP that the campaign had not reached out to Hollywood.

“It's not intended to be dotted with celebrities," she added.

Since Sept. 24, hundreds of churches across the nation have been participating in a 40-day fast to rally support for the California marriage amendment and to ask God to send revival to a state that some say “is poised to lead the nation in a moral rebellion.” The fast initiative, known as Facedown 40, is being spearheaded by TheCall, a prayer movement of Christian youth that started during the 2004 elections.

Lou Engle, founder of TheCall, has been leading the 40-day fast from San Diego, where he has been visiting churches and asking them to join in support for Prop. 8.

“We are coming to a Mount Carmel moment which I believe could be the church’s finest hour,” he says, referring to mountain on which the prophet Elijah had challenged 450 false prophets to determine whose deity was genuinely in control of the Kingdom of Israel.

“The church is not at the mercy of political decrees of destruction,” he adds. “God is the one who reverses the edicts of man, using the church as an agent of righteous revolution to displace kings and overthrow their decrees through the weapons of fasting and prayer.

“Therefore, we are summoning believers from all across the state of California and the nation to gather … and cry out to God believing that California could become the flash point of real change in America not the open door to societal collapse,” he says.

Since 2000, Engle’s massive prayer gatherings have drawn tens of thousands in New York, Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, and Kansas City. The prayer movement has also extended overseas to Australia, Germany, the Philippines, Norway, England and Israel.

This year, besides California, Florida and Arizona are considering a ban on gay marriage. Conservatives in Connecticut, meanwhile, are hoping to draw enough votes in support of a state constitution convention that may reverse the recent court ruling that turned the state into the third to legalize gay marriage.

To date, three states have legalized same-sex marriage, beginning with Massachusetts in 2004. Twenty-seven states, meanwhile, have approved ballot measures opposing gay marriage, including seven in 2006.