WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of evangelical Christians converged on the National Mall here Saturday to highlight moral issues before the fall presidential election with a day of fasting, prayer and music.
Organizers of TheCall DC said 70,000 people turned out for the event, though that number could not be confirmed independently by the National Park Service.
"It was a spiritual confrontation," said Lou Engle, the evangelical activist who founded TheCall in 2000, "challenging the nation to end abortion and releasing God to act on behalf of ... the unborn."
The 12-hour event featured a variety of speakers, including former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and [Alveda] King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
At times, the event seemed to have all the makings of a rock concert, with speakers blaring power chords and stadium-size Jumbotrons flanking the stage.
But the message of the day was anything but sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
"America needs revival," said Bob Ream, 47, of Manassas, Va. "Just look at the way things are these days."
Fighting abortion took center stage, but a range of issues was addressed, including immigration and gay marriage.
Engle warned of the "homosexual agenda," and announced a plan for "40 days of prayer and fasting for California" ahead of the state's fall referendum on gay marriage.
TheCall was first held here eight years ago, when an estimated 400,000 people attended the event. Similar Calls have been held in 12 cities and six countries.