In an April 18, 2011 article, author John Horvat demonstrated the success of protests against blasphemy. He reported on the effects of protests against a blasphemous 2001 exhibit attacking Our Lady of Guadalupe was on display at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The article highlighted the conclusions of a panel discussion at the American Association of Museums Expo held in Dallas, Texas. Speakers analyzed the effects of these protests “from the other side of the museum door.”
Panelists at the meeting said that protests at blasphemous or immoral exhibits do not encourage attendance at their events or provide “free publicity.” Ask any businessman if he would mind if picketers were outside of his establishment. If he is honest, he will respond with a resounding no!
Indeed, journalist Hollis Walker claimed that protests are disastrous for museums and offered this advice in the face of protesters: “Accept that you are not going to win. There is no win in such a controversy. You’re just going to survive. Those are the facts. It’s not pretty, but those are the facts.”1
Such considerations from the other side need to be remembered when protesters feel discouraged when holding events against blasphemy and immorality.
In a world that focuses only on the material, there is also the tendency to forget the far greater importance of the supernatural impact of protest. When a rally of reparation or protest takes place, Our Lady sends her angels to magnify the effect of these meager yet, important actions. One never knows who was dissuaded from attending because of the prayers and presence at the protest. No one knows how many similar events were canceled when owners withdrew support for fear of protests.
Sometimes protesters can see how effective rallies are by the rage they cause in sons of darkness. They also have the happiness of seeing those who change sides when they realize the evil of the scheduled event.
A concrete example of why protests matter was a recent event in Topeka, Kansas. A video game venue held an event called “Pride Night.” A small group of six souls gathered with rosaries and signs on the sidewalk near the place. At the end of the rally, a man who claimed to be the owner approached the protesters. He was enraged at the rally and asked how long it would last. “As long as we wish,” replied one rally participant. The owner informed the group that it could not be in front of his business. He was reminded that protesters were on public property and had a legal right to be there.
Imagine such hatred for a few Catholics praying the rosary and holding signs.
He particularly hated the sign that read, “Wasn’t Sodom and Gomorrah enough of a warning?” However, his attempt to intimidate failed, and he left in a rage.
Protests matter. Protesters must not let the devil discourage them. Instead, they must resolve to be on call for Our Lady at every opportunity, defending her honor and the infallible moral teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.
As Lent approaches, remember that one way to do penance is to defend the Faith in the public square, offering reparation and praying for conversions. This is a difficult penance since it involves the effort of confronting evil publicly in a world that thinks only of comfort and cowardice.
You see, protests do matter!
- All statements from museum panelists quoted in this article are taken from tapes 02446-0901 and 02446-0902 of the talk “Our Lady of Controversy: The Cyber Arte Exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art,” recorded at the American Association of Museums’ Annual Meeting & Museum Expo 2002. Tapes were produced by Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications, Inc. Elkridge, Maryland, 2002.