Kanye West to Headline Evangelical Event Alongside Figures Who Have Expressed Anti-LGBTQ Views
The rapper and his Sunday Service choir are headed to Awaken 2020—a prayer rally that will feature controversial religious leaders.
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Kanye West will stop in Phoenix this weekend to headline Awaken 2020—a 10-hour evangelical event that has garnered criticism from LGBTQ community members and their allies.
As pointed out by the New York Daily News, the Christian gathering features a lineup of controversial religious leaders who've expressed anti-gay views. These figures include Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet who encouraged Christians to "rise up" and stop the Equality Act; Guillermo Maldonado, a Miami-based pastor who believes homosexuality is a result of "a generational curse, or even a demonic attack while in the womb"; Ché Ahn, the president of Harvest International Ministry who once compared gay rights to racist laws: "just because 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"; and Lou Engle, a senior leader of the International House of Prayer who was a vocal proponent of Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, and who once claimed Nazism was fueled by homosexuality.
"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," John Gimenez, a gay student at Arizona State University, told The Arizona Republic. "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 marginalized, is a very bitter feeling."
He continued: "Have your opinions on same-sex marriage and whether you think gay people are real or not, but advocating in Uganda that people who engage in same-sex relations should be locked up for life is contrary to the message of God, in my opinion."
A number of Twitter users also condemned Kanye's participation in Awaken 2020.
Of course, not everyone was critical of Kanye's involvement. Engle told the Western Journal that the rapper, who recently recommitted his life to Christianity, was a 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.
According to Awaken 2020's website, Kanye will speak at the event and his Sunday Service choir will perform. The event will go down this Sunday at the Sun Devil Stadium in Phoenix.