Try as they might, media and other natural enemies of an undiluted Christian message have been unable to give the organizers of TheCall rally at Ford Field a black eye.
There was this lead in USAToday:
DETROIT (AP) – An area with one of the largest Muslim communities outside the Middle East is bracing itself for a 24-hour prayer rally by a group that counts Islam among the ills facing the U.S.
One would almost think that east Dearborn has been busily boarding up windows and stockpiling bottled water like gulf-coast homeowners facing the next big hurricane.
That’s not really happening.
Because no one with a shred of sense really believes that thousands of cheerful Pentecostals gathered for a giant prayer and worship service pose a threat to anyone, the media have had to turn to professional fearmongers to spice up their stories.
As we saw last week, CAIR’s Dawud Walid did his best to pretend that every Muslim in southeastern Michigan was in danger. When even he didn’t think he sounded serious, he played the race card by accusing TheCall of feeding “divisiveness,” likening them to the “heydays of the White Citizens' Council in the turbulent 1960’s.”
The Detroit Free Press’s Niraj Warikoo took up the same theme in his coverage, emphasizing that rally organizers “were heavily targeting African Americans in Detroit, but most of the crowd was white.” (“Sides of faith collide at Ford Field prayer rally”). I haven’t been to Ford Field, so I can’t say what the proportions are, but the photo below of participants waiting to get in that ran with Warikoo’s story shows a fairly even mix. We already know there is significant participation from the area’s black clergy.
Or did the same kind of thing happen in the heyday of the White Citizens’ Council?
Anyway, every reporter knows that if the group you’re opposed to doesn’t live down to all the bad things you want to tar them with – like bigotry, intolerance, and violence -- you can always find a protest group who’ll gladly accuse them of all those things anyway.
So Warikoo and others have turned to the trusty Reverend Charles Williams II, whose words of wisdom on this occasion were, “God did not call us to hate.” Williams is Al Sharpton’s local Minister of No Justice No Peace ®, and he can always be depended upon to organize a march. (“The Preacher, the Prosecutor, and the Lynch Law”). If there’s one thing no one can ever accuse Al Sharpton of, that’s spreading hate, division, and intolerance.
This time, according to Warikoo, Williams’s counter-rally, “featured Catholic, Baptist and Methodist pastors from Detroit, as well as gay rights and women's activists. Chanting ‘Stop the hate’ and ‘Spread the love,’ the protesters said the prayer rally inside the stadium promotes division and intolerance.”
Williams also managed to fill out his ranks with some unoccupied Occupy Detroiters he came in Grand Circus Park across huddled under a blue tarp beneath a banner reading: “WILL HOLD UP SIGNS FOR FOOD.”
What better way to show their love for Detroit’s Muslims, whose religion by and large opposes both homosexuality and abortion, than by protesting on behalf of those things? I also thought the “DEMOCRACY NOT THEOCRACY” sign added some comic relief.
Though there’s no indication that any of them have been inside the rally, or even have any first-hand knowledge of what it’s all about, Warikoo makes free use of protesters’ comments:
"Their message is not one of inclusion; it's of hate," said Jennifer Teed of Detroit, who opposed Engle's prayer event. "I don't see how that's religious . . . .
“Cheryl Voglesong of Royal Oak held up a sign outside Ford Field that read: "Take Thy Fearmongering back to Kansas. We don't want it."