By: Joshua Tijerina
When I was very young, my parents took me to abortion clinics to pray, to protest, and to express the importance of building a society that values life. People would honk, flash obscene gestures, and yell at us about how we were “behind the times.” Those that oppose the family today use a similar phrase, but now it is that I am “on the wrong side of history.” They still yell and make obscene gestures, but now it is through social media. While the mediums are different, those who oppose the family don’t seem to change much, and neither has their agenda.
This past Saturday I was at the March for Marriage in D.C. Being there conjured up the old feelings of praying outside of those abortion clinics as a kid. There was a sudden and emotional appreciation that came over me for my parents, as I realized that my desire to stand up for the family and for my faith has been passed down from them. Growing up Hispanic, faith was more than what we did on Sundays. Faith and family were indistinguishable parts of our culture.
I arrived about twenty minutes early to the March for Marriage. The crowd was sparse, but proud. Due to the small “crowds” I grew up protesting with, this was nothing new. Those that oppose the family will remark on how “small” a crowd the thousands of people made up, but as Christians we know better than to worry about crowd size. In 1 Kings 18, we read about Elijah, who proclaims “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left.” Despite being outnumbered, he takes on 450 prophets of Baal, and is victorious with the crowd chanting “The Lord--he is God!” Or consider St. Athanasius, who is often referred to as Athanasius Contra Mundum, which means “Athanasius Against the World.” When “the whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian,” as St. Jerome put it, St. Athanasius stood up for the truth. I have no idea what the final numbers were of those who marched this past Saturday (probably several thousand), but it doesn’t matter and never will.
I stood watching an empty stage, waiting for the rally to begin. I got a phone call from a co-worker, and as I turned to walk away from the stage, I saw something I will never forget. Droves of people were piling off of a long line of buses. Their banners held high. The prayers and praise of the people echoed through the freezing air. The diversity of the crowd struck me immediately. Races and ethnicities of all kinds approached the stage with zeal and excitement. Parents pushed strollers and guided their young ones to the rally.
Especially important for me was a Hispanic father who had a sign in one hand and his son’s hand in the other . . . much like my father had done with me.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in preparation for their decision that could, in fact, redefine marriage in America. We pray that will not be the case, but after the March for Marriage, I am not too worried no matter how the Court decides. Ultimately, our struggle, our cause of truth, love, and family doesn’t hang on one court’s decision. Our cause is to be lived in the streets. It is generations marching together for the family, or it could be one person, perhaps you, that makes the difference--much like Elijah and Athanasius.
Whichever way God decides to use us, one thing is certain: He calls us all to have the courage to stand for the truth, even when we stand alone, no matter the opposition before us.