The Fourth of July has always been an occasion for Americans to unite together in family, community and faith to celebrate our country’s birth. However, it should also invite us to ponder our foundational institutions and principles. The date should be a time to take action to defend those traditions and moral values that have always defined us as a nation.
This is especially necessary in our times because we have strayed so far from the founders’ vision. The moral consensus that once united us has been so shattered that we are now a polarized and fractured republic. The Fourth of July invites us to reflect upon the sad state of the nation we have become…and do something about it.
That is why it was so significant that a little over a week before this Independence Day, tens of thousand of Americans from all walks of life gathered nationwide to make these reflections and act upon them. On the eve of the June 26 anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision approving same-sex “marriage,” these Americans held 2,217 rosary rallies registering a loud “No!” to this major step that undermines one of America’s fundamental institutions.
The link between family structures and the birth of our nation could not be clearer. It was the strong foundation of families with a father as the head and the mother as the heart that made America great. Throughout our history, dynamic American families brought America together as one big family to confront war and depression, good times and bad, prosperity and growth. In our literature and culture, we still remember with great longings those times when the family was the basic social unit.
The Sexual Revolution of the sixties did much to destroy this notion of family by putting sexual gratification over the sacrifice of raising children. It promoted sterile unions that make the contracepted self the center of all relationships. This Revolution has glorified the pleasures of the individual and diminished the concern for the common good. We have departed a long way from the sturdy virtues that saw us born 240 years ago.
The rallies are a response to this America we have become. They are sponsored by the America Needs Fatima campaign, a group of Catholics dedicated to spreading Our Lady of Fatima’s urgent message for society. The idea of these gatherings is to bring the fight for America’s heart and soul to the public square by inviting people to pray publicly for the nation. On June 25, groups of five, ten, fifty or hundreds gathered at conspicuous locations with a large banner promoting marriage, to pray the rosary, and clearly bear witness to the need for America’s return to order.
Nothing could be more American than to question a reigning tyranny, in this case, that of the sexual revolution. Likewise, nothing is more American that confronting corresponding adversity. These brave Americans take on the media and liberal establishment that peddle the absurd view that sexual license is an embodiment of American freedom.
Rally participants know that they will be reviled, ridiculed and even physically attacked by “tolerant” individuals who rabidly disagree with the rallies. However, they are often surprised by a much greater outpouring of support from countless passersby, young and old, who are relieved to see defenders of the family in the public square.
This witness to the family is not just an occasional event. What has come to be called “Saint Joseph traditional marriage rallies” are now held regularly and are growing in locations all across the country. It is a healthy reaction to the sexual revolution and the misguided public policy and judicial fiat that force its agenda upon the nation. It is an encouraging sign that the issue will not go away.
On this Fourth of July, let us celebrate with our families those great American institutions and principles that gave birth to our great nation. But let us also celebrate and resolve to defend marriage and the family, as a means to return to the America we should be.