UPDATED: Yes, 100,000 Peruvian Christians Did Hold a Prayer Rally for Kim Davis
(Editors note: Think Progress has updated its blog and linked to a Facebook post date stamped May 25, 2014, which, at the very least, calls into question the origin of the photograph given to Liberty Counsel by Congressman Rosas. BarbWire will continue to seek answers as to where this photograph first originated and why, apparently, someone within Congressman Rosas’ office (or elsewhere) represented to the congressman that it was a photograph of a prayer rally held in Peru for Kim Davis when, as it now seems, such was not the case. To the extent that we at BarbWire appear to have received inaccurate information, and, further, to the extent that Zack Ford and Think Progress appear to have been correct about the questionable nature of this photograph, it seems that they were right and we were wrong. We will update our readers as we receive further explanation.” ~ Matt Barber)
Think Progress is a left-wing extremist blog that exists to push “progressive” propaganda. Zack Ford is an atheist homosexual activist who blogs for Think Progress. When Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, announced at this past weekend’s Values Voter Summit (VVS) in Washington, D.C., that Peruvian Congressman Julio Rosas, who attended VVS, shared with him that around 100,000 Peruvian Christians held a prayer rally on September 13 to pray for embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, Mr. Ford thought the news was too bad to be true. And so, using that fail-proof journalistic device called Google, he searched for a news report covering the rally. When he found none he declared, boldly (and erroneously, by the way), that, “No, 100,000 People Did Not Gather In Peru To Support Kim Davis. Here’s Proof.” In his blog post Ford features a video of an evidently different rally held at the same venue, allegedly in 2014, rather than the rally held for Kim Davis on September 13, 2015. While the two events appear to be in the same stadium, there are noticeable differences between them (the 2014 rally is more raucous, clearly has more attendees, there are flags being waved throughout the stadium, etc.).
After verifying the veracity of the prayer rally and that the photo provided by Congressman Rosas was, in fact, from the Davis prayer rally, Liberty Counsel issued the following statement. It turns out that, in his excited “gotcha”-driven effort to discredit Liberty Counsel and deny that the Kim Davis rally ever occurred, Mr. Ford has, instead, discredited himself and embarrassed Think Progress. At the time of this report neither Zack Ford nor anyone at Think Progress has responded to inquiries as to whether they even bothered to reach out to Congressman Rosas’ office for verification of the rally before posting Ford’s irresponsible hit piece. That, of course, is the kind of thing that actual journalists do, so we at BarbWire aren’t that surprised. Nonetheless, we anxiously await Think Progress’ retraction and apology.
Peruvian Prayer Meeting for Kim Davis (Liberty Counsel Release)
Washington, DC – Last Friday prior to Kim Davis being presented with the “Cost of Discipleship” award by Tony Perkins at the Value Voters Summit, Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, showed a picture of thousands of people in Peru who gathered to pray for the Rowan County Clerk jailed for her religious beliefs. One constant critic has questioned whether the event occurred.
Julio Rosas, a member of the Peruvian Congress, met personally with Mat Staver and Kim Davis the day prior to the award, explained the prayer meeting, and presented the photograph. Congressman Rosas was involved in announcing the prayer gathering. This past Saturday Congressman Rosas again confirmed the event, and this morning he again reaffirmed the prayer meeting.
On September 6, the day prior to Labor Day while Kim Davis was in jail, Congressman Rosas was part of the call for the prayer meeting that occurred the following Sunday, September 13, the day prior to Kim’s return to work on September 14. Congressman Rosas left for the U.S. on September 10 to attend meetings in Washington, D.C., so he was not at the event. Until today when he returned to Peru in the early hours of the morning, he was in constant meetings. He is currently in session at the Peruvian Congress.
As noted above, Congressman Rosas flew to the U.S. on September 10. His media advisor, Reynaldo Aragon, a former CNN journalist, called Congressman Rosas on September 14, the day after the prayer meeting, to inform him that the prayer meeting had occurred and sent him a photograph of the event. Prayer meetings were held throughout Peru for Kim Davis and persecuted Christians around the world. The only mistake in the announcement at the Value Voters Summit was that Staver said the picture was taken in Lima, Peru, when the actual photograph was of a different soccer stadium in northern Peru on September 13, 2015. Many churches canceled their Sunday services to attend the prayer meeting in the soccer stadium. [Editors note: At the time of this report, and since its press release, Liberty Counsel has indicated to BarbWire that it is still trying to determine for sure whether the stadium is located in Lima Peru or northern Peru. BarbWire will provide clarification once the location is determined].
Mat Staver was already known in Peru, as he spoke to Congress in November 2013, and that speech was broadcast on national Peruvian television. Staver also met with many other high-ranking government officials and actually attended a Christian event held in Lima, Peru, in which Staver was acknowledged to the large Christian gathering. That meeting was also broadcast on Bethel TV.
While meetings of 70,000 to 100,000 Christians in a soccer stadium may shock people in the United States, they are much more common in Peru. Oftentimes such gatherings do not appear on traditional media any more than the weekly church services in the United States appear on television.
Not only did people gather to pray in Peru on September 13, but Liberty Counsel has received reports of churches in other parts of the world gathering to pray for Kim Davis. For example, a church in Lagos, Nigeria, participated in fasting and prayer for Kim Davis.
“People underestimate the worldwide support expressed by Christians for Kim Davis. The conflict of her faith with a governmental policy on the matter of marriage has universal interest, because this conflict is not just in the United States. The matter of religious liberty is a human right that resonates with people around the world,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.