As Rolling Stone has already reported, Al Gore has twice been defeated in his attempts to hold the U.S. leg of his seven-continent, twenty-four-hour Earth Day event -- featuring stars like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kanye West -- in Washington D.C. on July 7th. First the National Park Service (a division of the Interior Department, headed by Bush appointee Dirk Kempthorne) denied organizers a permit for the Mall. Subsequently, Gore enlisted Senate majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Sen. Olympia Snow to propose a resolution allowing Live Earth, which is expected to attract 200,000 to 500,000 people, to be held on the west lawn of the Capitol. But Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe vowed to stall the resolution indefinitely, leading organizers to withdrawal the request and look for another location for the event.
Initally, officials at the National Park Service denied Gore's request on the grounds that it had approved an earlier application for an event July 7th on the Mall, and because an adjacent area had been reserved for a Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
On March 12th, the Park Service revealed to D.C. blog The Hill the identity of the group that had been granted a permit for July 7th: "Anna Godfrey-TOU." Who is Anna Godfrey and what is TOU? A Google search reveals that she's a church administrator who claims that God spoke to her and instructed her to unite all the world's churches on July 7th. From her website:
On, November 30, 2004, God spoke to her in a vision called T.O.U. (Together One Unity). From this vision, God began to speak specifically to her of what He wanted done in the earth. God said, T.O.U., Together One Unity (the Body of Christ). God said, "no more division," "no more separatism." He said, "we are nowhere near ready for the return of His Son because we are too divided." He went on further to say that we have 5 and 6 churches on one corner (what message does this send to the unbeliever). This togetherness starts in the home (marriages, parents and children) then to go the churches (cliches and certain groupings) and ultimately throughout the world.
This vision will launch on July 7, 2007. The number (7) is God's number of completion. The completion will be the end of division and pride throughout the body of Christ and the beginning of togetherness, oneness and unity.
Contacted at her desk at the Refuge Living Sanctuary International in Bladensburg, Maryland, Godfrey says she submitted her permit in August, 2006. She says that she had no idea that Live Earth hoped to use the Mall that day, nor had she been contacted by the National Park Service about changing her plans, but that she might have considered integrating her event with Gore's if she had been asked. She also tells us that her group doesn't have a following yet and that she's just beginning to get the word out about the event, but after her email and poster campaign to spread the news is finished, she hopes for a draw of anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 people. "This is not a thing that I'm doing," she says. "This is a mission and a mandate from God Himself."
Parks Department spokesman Bill Line says Godfrey's permit application estimated that 100,000 people would attend her event. "We have to trust the information that people give us. There are over 6,000 applications that come in every year, andover 3,800 events that are permitted every year. The National Park Service does not have the staff to research each and every solitary application that comes in to that level." Line says that he has no intention of revoking Godfrey's permit based on her comments.
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