(TheBlaze/AP) — Thousands of Christians gathered Saturday on Independence Mall in Philadelphia to pray for the future of the United States in the weeks before the upcoming presidential election.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins topped a full day of speakers at “The America for Jesus 2012″ prayer rally.
Robertson, a former Republican candidate for president, called the election important, but didn’t mention either major political party or candidate by name.
Here is a promotional video for the event:
“I don’t care what the ACLU says, or any atheists say. This nation belongs to Jesus, and we’re here today to reclaim His sovereignty,” said Robertson, 82, who founded the Christian Coalition and Christian Broadcasting Network, and ran for president in 1988.
Organizers plan another prayer rally Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C., two weeks before President Barack Obama faces Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential election.
Perkins asked the crowd to pray for elected officials, including Obama.
“We pray that his eyes will be open to the truth,” Perkins said.
A number of event organizers, though, have been vocal critics of the Democratic president.
Steve Strang, the influential Pentecostal publisher of Charisma magazine, which was distributed at the rally, has also said Obama “seems to be moving toward some form of European socialism.”
One pro-life protester was reportedly so disruptive during the prayer that Robertson intervened and said “shut your mouth,” according to philly.com.
After the protester shouted from the crowd that “Obama is sin” and everyone needs to support Mitt Romney, Robertson reiterated that “this is not political.”
Speakers throughout the day condemned abortion, gay marriage and what the Associated Press described as “population control” as practiced by Planned Parenthood.
Christian rock music filled the historic mall as speakers challenged the crowd to overcome their sins and pray for the country’s leaders.
“Jesus, we pray for America,” one man tweeted. “She was founded on the principles of God. She has been a force for good in this world. Use us still.”
The rally was held outside of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Pennsylvania is also where evangelist George Whitefield preached during the first Great Awakening, the 18th-century religious revival that spread through the American colonies.