On Saturday, out-of-state evangelical Christian leaders will finally appear in the flesh and press for the passage of Proposition 8. The Call co-founder Lou Engle, a resident of Kansas City, and Dr. James Dobson, a Colorado Springs resident, will be among the heavy weights who will take the stage at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on November 1. The day-long event, called “The Call,” may be a total success…or a complete and utter fiasco.

For months now, the “Yes on 8” team, headed by campaign manager Frank Schubert, has focused its TV ads on two things: the possibility of children learning about gay marriage in California's public schools and churches losing their tax exempt status. The so-called “immorality” of homosexuality has rarely been mentioned by the political pros who support Proposition 8, probably because that kind of holier-than-thou talk gives live-and-let-live Californians the willies.

On Saturday, though, all that will change. When Engle and Dobson address their fellow evangelicals–many of whom have been fasting and praying for the past 40 days so that God will help pass Proposition 8–they will most definitely talk about the real reasons behind the proposed gay marriage ban in California…and it has little to do with kids or lost tax exemptions. It's about religion beliefs, and how Catholics, Mormons, and evangelical Christians, the major, behind-the-scenes players in the “Yes on 8” campaign, think homosexuality is an “abomination” and gays and lesbians are “sinners.”

True believers may get awfully excited by that kind of preaching on Saturday night and turn that excitement into a big turn out in favor of the “Yes on 8” campaign. But if Engle and Dobson get too carried away with the vibe of the event and start letting things rip, well, the “No on 8” campaign may have its next commercial. Engle and Dobson, in other words, could supply the major gaffe both sides are hoping will fall their laps in these final days of the Proposition 8 battle.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly