Going South

Civics and spirituality. Politics and prayer. In the ongoing battle against inertia, Goulds bares the conflicts at its core.

"The Devil's gonna be mad with you," Broussard's prayer continues. "He's gonna try to make you go back." The people clap their hands. "I'm gonna pray a little bit harder," she says. "We pray our government will not do corrupt things. Remember: God put them up there, and He has the power to put 'em down."

Then, as the Israelite army did upon the orders of the Lord thousands of years ago outside the city of Jericho, the tiny congregation marches seven times around the building. Broussard holds a multicolored umbrella over her head as she walks. "We're marching up to Zion/The beautiful city of God," they sing. Down steps, through a courtyard, up more steps, holding on to red metal railings, clapping hands.

"We are soldiers in the army. We got to hold up the banner," Broussard chants. After each circuit, everyone stops to rest in the heavy heat. Finally Cleo Bethel, the congregation's associate pastor, offers a closing prayer.

As the amens fade, Broussard steps back and observes with satisfaction: "While you were praying, I saw the angels in the atmosphere. Blowing their horns for victory. Trumpets for the Lord's people.

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