On a Saturday afternoon all across America, something absolutely extraordinary happened. What happened was the June 13th holding of 3,258 rallies in highly public places in which participants prayed for the future of God’s marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
It might seem strange to label as “extraordinary” the defense of something that is so common. But that is the tragedy of the times. Marriage is under attack on all sides. The effort to redefine marriage, especially by those who advocate same-sex “marriage,” is brutal and aggressive. It now takes courage to be out in the public square to defend a bond that is holy and normative.
The mass rallies were a project of the America Needs Fatima campaign which takes to heart the message of Our Lady at Fatima to pray the rosary for the conversion of America and the world. Campaign organizers named these particular rallies “Saint Joseph Traditional Marriage Rallies” and asked participants to pray for the nation in light of the coming Supreme Court decision on same-sex “marriage.”
The format of a rally is rather simple. Rally captains are asked to gather together as many as they can around a highly visible banner declaring God’s marriage as between one man and one woman. There might be five, ten, fifty or even hundreds in attendance. The captains pick a prominent place with plenty of traffic and visibility. All then pray the rosary and any other prayers for nearly an hour.
Once the rally is set up, extraordinary things start to happen.
The first extraordinary observation is the incredible people who attend. There is nothing rabid or hateful about these crowds. Those defending marriage are ordinary, apple-pie Americans who are concerned for the nation. They come from all walks of life. Some passersby will even stop their cars and join the rally. Even more significant is the fact that there are young people and children present. They participate with all their exuberance and dispel the myth that the future lies with the other side.
The polarized debate that has surrounded the issue plays out in the cars and passersby. However, one extraordinary fact is that there are many more manifestations of support for the rallies than disagreement. Everyone is led to believe that all public opinion is on the side of those railroading same-sex “marriage” into law. The experience on the street proves the contrary. In fact, the support is usually overwhelming.
While praying for marriage, rally attendees see people honking horns, giving thumbs up or shouting encouragement. It is not uncommon to see people jumping with joy when they see other people give public witness to true marriage. It is as if they feel free of the tyranny of the media and liberal establishment that tries to force people to accept the unacceptable.
Also extraordinary is the opposition to the rallies, which is usually sporadic and limited to four or five cases per rally. One is saddened by the rabid reactions of intolerance on the part of those who disagree. Rarely is there rational debate. At times, protesters will throw objects at the peaceful rally attendees; other times they will shout horrible expletives without regard for any children present. Occasionally there will be makeshift counter-protests. Usually, opposition is marked by a desire to remain anonymous. The person will scream at the rally or use an obscene gesture while barreling away in a car—thinking that attendees will be discouraged by the act of cowardice. The offense has the opposite effect, often inciting rally participants to redouble their efforts since they see that their message causes such a reaction.
There are also the curious people who pretend not to see the rally or the banner. They drive by, careful not to manifest any emotion. But like it or not, they take notice of the event. Inside their heads, the pro-marriage side gains a few point of influence. The rally breaks the unanimity that these observers were told exists around the issue. The neutral passersby register the fact that there is another side that dares to contest the homosexual agenda that they are told to think is invincible and monolithic.
The most extraordinary fact about the rallies is the realization that pro-family defenders are not alone in this fight. Each rally is held realizing that it is part of a massive movement that is growing. The participants are encouraged by the fact that the other side cannot muster such grassroots support in so many places throughout the country. They realize that millions of people see these rallies. Many of these millions thought they were alone in their opinions, and now know that there are courageous Americans willing to stand up for marriage in the public square.
On June 13th, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something extraordinary happened in America. Tens of thousands of Americans stood up for marriage in the public square. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the issue (and everything indicates it will not be good), those who participate in this extraordinary event can expect extraordinary aid from God and the Blessed Mother.