San Francisco Christian Youth Rally Draws 25,000

|PIC1|Battle Cry, one of the world’s largest Christian youth rallies, drew more than 25,000 people to AT&T Park in San Francisco this past weekend, with the intention to guide young people away from a popular culture that organisers say glamorises drugs, violence and sex.

As an initiative of U.S. based Teen Mania, one of the world’s largest youth organisations in the world, founder Ron Luce said the event will hopefully inspire a "reverse rebellion" against such corrupting influences.

"This is more than just a spiritual war," said Luce, 44,"It’s a culture war."

The rally, which will also tour Detroit and Philadelphia, featured Christian rockers Toby Mac, Delirious?, Jeremy Camp, Pillar, Cross Movement, and the Groovaloos.

Speakers at the two day event included Ron Luce, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Steve Saint, whose father Nate Saint was one of five young men killed in 1956 in the jungles of Equador by the Waodani Indians they were trying to reach with the gospel. Saint’s story also provided the basis for the film End of the Spears.

|AD|Luce noted that he has had the unique opportunity over the years to share with millions of confused and hurting teens the path to healing through Jesus Christ. “I have seen the worst of the worst as I travel ... and I know that no one is beyond the reach of God’s loving hand,” he writes in Battle Cry for a Generation, the book that prompted the upcoming stadium events. “But never before have I felt so compelled to sound an alarm, a call to take up arms in the battle of the new millennium.”

Meanwhile, San Francisco leaders condemned the event for the "act of provocation" by an "anti-gay," "anti-choice" organisation that aimed to "negatively influence the politics of America’s most tolerant and progressive city."

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told counterprotesters that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they’re disgusting and they should get out of San Francisco."

Luce said it was the first time one of his events has been officially condemned.

Scott Thompson, a youth pastor who attended the Friday gathering, denied any political agenda.

"I’m not here to hate anybody," he said. "This isn’t about Bush or gays or anything other than being here to worship together."

Fuelled by their faith, those who attended "Battle Cry for a Generation" rallied and prayed for a return to time when teen sex, drug & alcohol abuse, and porn was “not cool".

The live event was telecast on TBN, Saturday night to a worldwide viewing audience and concluded with an alter call, which around 2,500 people responded to.