For the last few days, I’ve been covering the right-wing effort to mobilize it own Christian forces to counter the “dark spiritual content” of the upcoming Muslim prayer rally. Tonight, activists gathered for a conference call/prayer rally hosted by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, headed by Shirely Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Lou Engle of The Call, and featuring other activists like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Cindy Jacobs.
Tonight, this effort revealed itself to be part of the much larger Religious Right battle against Islam in America when the Religious Right’s latest cause célèbre, Rifqa Bary, joined the conference call.
At the beginning of the clip, Lou Engle is told by one of the other participants that “their little sister” is on the line, at which point Engle introduces Rifqa Bary to the conference call participants and asks her to share her story. Bary, sounding like a somewhat nervous but otherwise perfectly average teenager, recounts her conversion to Christianity and her decision to flee from the home of her Muslim parents in Ohio. Following that, Engle declared Bary to be “an Esther for such a time as this” and asks her to lead the call in prayer, which she agrees to do, at which point she becomes seemingly hysterical and rather incoherent while sobbing and praying, making it nearly impossible to understand what she is saying outside of her repeated cries to Jesus.
And then, just like that, she stops, seemingly catching the other participants off guard until Engle then chimes in with his own fervent prayers to God to “use Rifqa to be an Esther.” Soon Engle is joined by various others, all of whom pray for this modern day Esther who will lead Muslims out of Islam and into Christianity while asking God to spread Rifqa’s “so that the testimony of Jesus will go out to CNN, will go out to talk shows and use this little story so that all across America the Gospel will be preached” and to “expose the hidden darkness that is rolling into the nation through these ideologies.”
Eventually, Engle unmutes the conference call’s participants and asks them all to pray for Rifqa, at which point the call the descends into little more than chaos and static: