It was unreal. One moment we were peacefully praying the rosary, the next we hear scuffles by a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. We all turned. A woman came from nowhere and had lifted the statue up. We didn’t know what her intention was. She had her arms wrapped around Our Lady almost like a mother lifting a child up. Without warning and to our horror, she threw the statue down to the ground.
One prayer warrior, Christopher Dunlap, realized what she was about to do and broke the impact of the fall. Only his timely intervention prevented the statue from being destroyed completely. As it was, the base of the statue broke off. The crown fell from her head and was bent out of shape. There is now a hairline fracture along the right side of the statue and on the top of the head.
This attack happened in Indianapolis at noon on February 23, 2019. We were holding a rosary rally against a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) event at a bookstore called Indy Reads Books. We only found out about the event some days before, and thus invitations for the protest went out late. Despite the short notice, cold weather and forecasted rain, about 25 people joined us and peacefully prayed around the statue. We also held a banner saying; “Dear God: Let not the little children be perverted by Drag Queen Story Hours.”
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We were heckled by a few advocates of the LGBT community right from the start. Ironically, the first counter-protester accused us of being intolerant and warping children. We told him about the testimony given by a DQSH performer in Lafayette, La. who told city council members that the Drag Queen Story Hour program is designed to “groom the next generation.” In other words, they were the ones indoctrinating and shaping children’s sense of morality.
Another man kept blaspheming against God and the Catholic faith. He told us to keep our faith in the church since we did not have the right to be out there. LGBT activists have long complained that they were confined to a closet. Now they want to force Catholics defending Christian morality off the public square. They behave as if sin must be allowed complete freedom and virtue must be suppressed.
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A woman kept telling us that we were being un-Christian for judging and hating “queer” people. Ironically, she was judging us. Danny, an 11-year-old prayer warrior, pointed out the obvious contradiction. “They are the ones hating,” Danny says. “They just threw the statue of Our Lady to the ground.”
Their hatred was evident right from the start. We did nothing but pray. We barely engaged them in discussion and only spoke to them when they came up right to our faces. They kept claiming we were intolerant. Yet, they showed nothing but aggression and provocation, frequently calling us names and even blaspheming God and the Church. They behaved like bullies.
Fortunately, the police were on the scene. We told the police we had mothers and their children praying in our group, and we felt the counter-protesters were invading our space. The police intervened and told the hecklers to give us our space.
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However, nothing prepared us for the attack on the statue. Because the counter-protesters had behaved aggressively, we naturally kept an eye on a nearby group of five aggressive counter-protesters, who came and left sporadically. There was also a woman across the street with a stars and stripes version of the rainbow flag, who seemed content keeping her distance.
One protester with a rainbow flag, however, was aggressive right from the start. He tried to intimidate us by standing behind one of the young men holding the banner. We didn’t think this was a “safe” distance and the police thankfully told him to keep his distance. If trouble came, we thought it would come from him.
The woman that attacked Our Lady came from nowhere. The sidewalk we stood on was actually a nature walk that had been busy all morning. However, no one caused any problem. We had not seen the attacker earlier.
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One of the young ladies that was part of our protest filmed the episode. The video shows the attacker appearing out of nowhere and going straight to the statue without engaging anyone. She grabs Our Lady and without hesitation, dashes her to the ground. Then she turns away and walks away calmly yet defiantly.
It was curious that she attacked Our Lady directly. Why the statue? The statue was not holding the banner, praying out loud, or debating with the counter-protesters. It was simply a statue of Our Lady of Fatima standing in a position of prayer.
Then the symbolism of the moment became evident. This was a clash of two queens. We were praying to our Heavenly Queen against a drag queen event.
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Inside the bookstore, a drag queen was being applauded surrounded by children. Outside, the Queen of Heaven and Earth was crowned solemnly also surrounded by children. Inside, the attendees hailed a drag queen in his ostentatious display of vanity and immodesty. Outside, the faithful sang praises to the Queen of Virgins.
Since the base was broken, the statue could not stand on its own. We felt Our Lady would want to be with us as we finished the last rosary after the attack.
Since the statue could not stand upright, Mr. Dunlap held her in an embrace that was distantly reminiscent of the scene of the Pietà. Our Lady cradled Our Lord in her arms after the Crucifixion. It seemed very symbolic that Mr. Dunlap cradled her in his arms after the attack. Mrs. Dunlap held the broken crown in her hands. Thus, we recovered quickly from the attack and continued to pray the rosary.
Our Lord told Sister Lucy, the Fatima seer, that one cause of the thorns that injure the Immaculate Heart is the hatred towards her statues. Clearly, this was an event of extreme hatred that pierced the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It only seemed proper that we offered acts of reparation to her in response to this horrific attack.
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[Author’s note: The woman was arrested by the police and taken into custody at the scene. The statue she broke is a special statue custom-made in Brazil. It is not something you buy in the local Catholic gift shop. The attorney general’s office filed charges against her. Acts of hatred have consequences.]