Kanye West headlining Christian event alongside notorious anti-LGBT evangelists

Roisin O'Connor
Kanye West during his meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on 11 October, 2018: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Kanye West has been announced as the headliner for a mass prayer rally that will also be attended by a number of anti-LGBT preachers, including one who previously compared same-sex marriage to incest.

Awaken 2020, a free 10-hour event that will take place at the 50,000-capacity Sun Devil stadium in Tempe, Arizona, will include a performance by West and his Sunday Service choir.

The event’s website says it will be “time for you to be part of the Jesus awakening that is shifting HISTORY. Open the door and enter into a new era, a new decade, of revival that is bringing a movement of signs and wonders, healing of the sick, and preaching of the gospel.”

The New York Daily News has pointed out that among those named on the lineup are a number of controversial religious leaders who have expressed anti-LGBT+ views.

These include Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet who has spoken against the Equality Act, and Che Ahn, the president of Harvest International Ministry who compared same-sex marriage to incest and also likened gay rights to racist laws, claiming: “Just beccause it’s legal does not mean that it’s right, at one time we had a law saying blacks were not citizens, that didn’t make that right.”

Also on the billing is Lou Engle, a senior leader of the International House of Prayer who once claimed Nazism was “fuelled by homosexuality”.

In an interview with the Western Journal, Engle said West’s recent recommittal to Christianity was testament to the power of god.

“We believe Kanye is a sign to this nation that in a moment, thousands and thousands can be swept into the kingdom when [God] converts key people and their voices will be like thunder,” he said.

John Gimenez, a gay student at Arizona State University, told the Arizona Republic: “I can give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think it is disappointing [West] is going to associate himself with people like Lou Engle.

“As someone who grew up listening to Kanye, only to see him embrace people who, if they had their way, would see people like me marginalised, is a very bitter feeling.”

Awaken 2020 takes place on Sunday 19 January.

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