Televangelist M.G. Pat Robertson exhorted a crowd of thousands to reclaim the nation for God at a prayer gathering Saturday on Independence Mall.

"I don't care what the ACLU says or any athiest says, this nation belongs to Jesus," said Robertson, 82.

The founder of the 700 Club and stalwart of the Christian Right addressed a crowd who met on the mall for America for Jesus 2012, a national prayer gathering.

A park ranger estimated the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000.

The two-day event was organized by One Nation under God, a coalition of ministries that organized a similar series of events in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s and 1990s. The first, "Washington for Jesus," drew 500,000 and is viewed as critical turning point in establishing the political power of the Religious Right.

Organizers are calling for 40 days of prayer prior to the presidential election. Saturday's speakers included Robertson and Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, who is on a nationwide "Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote" bus tour.

But America for Jesus is not about partisanship, organizers said but about a nation that is spiritually sick.

During his speech, Robertson was nearly shouted down by anti abortion protestor Rives Grogan, who described himself as a pastor of the New Beginnings Christian Church in Los Angeles. He was holding up a plaque with several photos of bloodied images.

"Obama is sin. Support Mitt Romney," Grogan shouted from the crowd.

Robertson continued his speech and then prayer, but eventually told Grogan to "shut your mouth" because "this is not political." Robertson also told Grogan that he was disrespecting the prayer.

Attendees surrounded Grogan and began to pray for him. He continued to shout and told people not to touch him. He eventually stopped as the crowd broke into song. Event security came over and told him that they would pray for him.

Speakers discussed the seven deadly sins and connected them to government issues and social problems including crime, joblessness, poverty, substance abuse and government stewardship.

The day began with two-hours of "praise-and-worship" with Christian bands and singing groups leading the crowd in songs and prayer. Speakers took to the podium at 9 a.m. for a day-long program scheduled to end at 5 p.m.

Two pre-event worship services were held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Living Faith Christian Center in Pennsauken. A youth rally at Independence Mall kicked off the official events on Friday evening.

Contact Kristin E. Holmes at 610-313-8211 or