Taking place today, January 18th, the Awaken 2020 event will take over Sun Devil Football Stadium in Tempe, Arizona for a full 10 hours of worship. Born again West is expected to bring his Sunday Service group to the evangelical rally, which wouldn’t be terribly surprising or necessarily upsetting — until you realize a number of other controversial figures at the event have long espoused vehemently anti-LGBTQ views.
Some of those leaders include Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed “prophet” who has warned of God sending “a whole lot of shaking” in response to gay marriage, and has called on Christians to “rise up” in response to the Equality Act. She also claimed God warned German Jews of the impending Holocaust, implying they died because they didn’t listen, and that abortions “curse the land.”
Then there’s Guillermo Maldonado, who wrote a book called Spiritual Deliverance in which he said homosexuality could be caused by sexual abuse, “a generational curse, or even a demonic attack while in the womb” (via The Advocate). And Ché Ahn, who has called LGBTQ equality “offensive to those who are minorities” because LGBTQ rights are “not a civil rights issue… because they’ve never had those rights taken from them.” “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it legitimate,” he said of gay marriage.
Another speaker at Awaken 2020, Lou Engle, co-founded political prayer organization The Call with fellow dominionist Ahn. He’s called for God to “sweep away” pro-choice Supreme Court Justices in “bloodshed,” and has been an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ equality movements.
Look, it’s one thing when Kanye’s recent religious turn leads him to operatic expressions of faith, circular thinking, and the support of FOX & Friends. But when it finds him even tacitly supporting such dogmatic homophobia and prejudice, it’s another thing altogether.
Awaken 2020 is streaming live, if you want to see if Kanye addresses the opinions of his co-speakers. (Note: As I’m writing this, someone on stage claimed they’d prayed for a girl born without an ear and “God regrew a brand new ear right on her head,” so head’s up.)