25,000 Christian youth stage huge rally in San Francisco
Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO, Mar. 25, 2006 (www.sfgate.com) - More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native, Ron Luce, who wants "God's instruction book" to guide young people away from the corrupting influence of popular culture.
Luce, whose Teen Mania organization is based in Texas, kicked off a three-city "reverse rebellion" tour Friday night intended to counter a popular culture that he says glamorizes violence and sex. The $55 advance tickets for two days of musical performances and speeches were sold out, but walk-up admission was available for $199.
After stops in Detroit and Philadelphia in the next few weeks, Luce wants to unleash a "blitz" of youth pastors into the communities to do everything from work with the homeless to find new ways to bring others to Christ. He challenged youth leaders to double the size of their groups in the next year.
And then he plans to return to San Francisco next year to chart their progress.
That's bad news to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday 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 didn't flinch in the face of the counterprotest. The author, host of the "Acquire the Fire TV" cable television program and a President Bush appointee to a federal anti-drug abuse commission, wants teens to find Bible-based solutions for the spread of sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and suicide.