Pro-life protesters march outside of the Assembly Center (Source: Cheryl Mercedes/WAFB)
Protests formed outside of Jindal's prayer rally (Source: Cheryl Mercedes/WAFB)
Inside the Assembly Center (Source: Cheryl Mercedes/WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Governor Bobby Jindal's call for spiritual renewal was met with steep opposition.
The prayer rally, held at LSU, was hosted by a conservative Christian group.
That prompted immediate action by some students who led a protest through campus.
Thousands packed the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a day of reflection, reformation, and revival.
"We are nothing apart from God. We need to tap in. We want to encourage that with others," Ashley Spencer said.
"I think it's important that we stand together," Anne Shu said.
The American Family Association (AFA), a group known for opposing gay rights and promoting what it refers to as "traditional moral values," hosted the event known as The Response. Some in attendance traveled across the country to be a part of it.
"We came down here to pray and to fast with this governor, with this state, to turn back to God," Justin Giles said.
The crowd listened and worshiped with speakers who encouraged them to reach out to others, pray with them, and show them the path to a more spiritual life.
Governor Jindal, the keynote speaker, shared with them moment he said he found Jesus Christ.
"He's dying because of my sins, what I have done, what I have failed to do. How arrogant for me to do anything else but get on my knees and worship him," Jindal said.
The event also included a call for change by one speaker, in particular, who zeroed in on homosexuality.
"If a pastor would preach that a marriage was one man, one woman ten years ago, people would say, of course. Say it today and it's, pastor you're being too political," the speaker said.
The remark was what some students and community members who protested the event feared.
Many of them took to the streets carrying signs, protesting the AFA and its views.
"They are not bringing unity. They are bringing hate," Pink Guidry said.
"They are praying for the unity of people who agree with them but they are not here for an inclusive society," Ben Neighbors said.
The LGBT and pro-choice supporters were soon met with a pro-life group also hoisting signs and voicing their disapproval of abortion.
"It's not about all these other issues. We can handle them. We are talking about life when it's in the womb," Sam Mistretta said.
But not everyone came to deliver their opinions. Some said they simply wanted to listen.
"I'm just here to be a part of something positive. I don't care what anybody does in their bedroom, what they do with their personal life,” Keith Dean said.
Jindal said his goal was for everyone to walk away with a positive message they can spread to others.
"I'm hopeful today will change people's lives in a way we can't predict, for many years to come," Jindal said.