San Francisco Examiner, 30 Oct 1990
Local gays plan rally against televangelist's "Prayer Army"
10,000 'warriors' want to save S.F.
by John D. O'Connor
S.F. Examiner staff
You gotta love this town.
Where else but The City would a Texas televangelist at the head of a 10,000-stonrg "Prayer Army" square off against the likes of the [sic] Scarlet Harlot and Sadie Sadie the Rabbi Lady?
The Harlot, Sadie and a growing number of residents -- as many as 3,000 at last count -- are expected to mass outside the Civic Auditorium Wednesday in a colorful answer to preacher Larry Lea's call to cast out the demons he claims have transformed The City into a Sodom and Gomorrah by the Bay.
"I mean, what's with these televangelists?" said Carol Leigh, a.k.a. Scarlet Harlot, who when she isn't delivering jokes in comedy clubs across the country says she occasionally performs "safe sex" acts for money.
Lea and San Jose minister Richard Bernal, pastor of the Jubilee Christian Center, said they chose to "liberate" The City from itself after hearing of the "spiritual vacuum" that existed here.
"There are 700,000 people in San Francisco and every one of them needs God," Bernal said Tuesday.
While they have called off a potentially confrontational parade through some of what they regard as The City's more sinful districts, Lea and Bernal say plans for their three-day prayer fest will get under way as scheduled at 7:14 pm -- a time chosen for a biblical reference promising deliverance from wickedness.
Prayer Warriors from as far away as New York and Seattle are converging on The City to help deliver it from evil.
"I think it's terrible to live in a city where it's easier to get a condom that it is to get a Bible," Lea told the Wall Street Journal before jetting off to Detroit to battle with the demons responsible for "Devil's Night" vandalism there.
The 39-year-old TV preacher's tirades against "sinners" have angered a cross section of people that includes gay people, pagans, prostitutes and pro-choice factions.
While his "Prayer Breakthroughs" have attracted large crowds in cities he felt were afflicted by "life without God and Christian values," many San Franciscans feel his claims of religious turpitude here are a mere cover for his anti-gay, pro-right sentiments.
"He (Lea) should know that people here are extremely angry and are not going to sit by while he parades into town to pass judgment," said Mark Pritchard, spokesman for an ad hoc group called GHOST -- Grand Homosexual Outrage at Sickening Televangelists.
In protest of Lea's visit and what many regard as a wave of fundamentalism sweeping the nation, representatives of groups singled out for damnation plan to launch a nonviolent counterdemonstration across the street from the auditorium when things get underway.
"We can't let this happen without some form of protest," said Leigh/Harlot. "He's criticizing gay people and saying that San Francisco is perverse. We know it is, but we like it that way."