Thursday, September 1, 2011

NEW VIDEO: Statewide Tour for Traditional Marriage Meets Incredible Support in Illinois

In a new effort to protect true marriage in Illinois, ten young TFP volunteers departed from Pennsylvania to Chicago on August 19 for an action-packed 18-stop tour.

“Where the rubber hits to road” is a good way to describe the Saint Joseph Caravan in defense of traditional marriage. Before reaching Chicago, our first destination, leaking trailer tires forced us to stop for repairs. Back on the road, torrential rain mixed with hail forced us to pull off the highway again, and only 740 miles later we were graciously welcomed by a family near Chicago. They fed us a delicious dinner, generously provided lodging, and in the morning, saw us off after a hearty round of German pancakes.

Spiritually fortified by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St. John Cantius in Chicago, we prepared for an intense week.

First stop: Downtown Chicago

Our first campaign stop on August 22 was at Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago, a location with plenty of pedestrian traffic. Although a few passersby stopped to argue, most were vocal in their support of authentic marriage. In addition to our usual compliment of banners, fliers and bagpipes, our campaign was enhanced by the presence of local pro-family volunteers.

Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago.
Our next stops for the day were at the Thompson Center, the Art Institute and Union Station. The amount of people walking the sidewalks was incredible making it easy to distribute fliers, 10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must Be Opposed.

“I’ve seen you at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.,” remarked several passersby who were enthusiastic to see us on the streets opposing the culture of death in their hometown. Seconds later, an angry pedestrian yelled “go home!” But two men within earshot immediately came to our defense: “No! Don’t go home,” they said, “we need you to stay here.” And we stayed, of course.

Traditional marriage campaign in Daley Plaza
TFP volunteer explains why true
marriage must be protected.
One man approached each TFP volunteer, repeating: “Your ignorance and hate is not appreciated.” When asked why he was not demonstrating tolerance, he shot back: “I do not tolerate the Church!” What a revealing comment.

The anti-family bully at Union Station

At Union Station, a self-proclaimed homosexual who claimed to be a Notre Dame graduate, class of 1982, rudely interrupted our final prayer with loud shouts. As we peacefully recited the Hail Mary on the street corner, he attempted to disturb our prayer: “Why won’t you talk to me?! You straight stalkers!” He continued: “I’ve been ‘married’ to my ‘husband’ long than you’ve been alive…”

About fifty people waiting at the crosswalk just stared and listened in various degrees of shock. As soon as a TFP volunteer offered a reply, the anti-family advocate simply raised his agitated voice: “These guys want to tell us how to live.” He obviously wanted to turn the pedestrians against us, but his plan backfired.

“You don’t know anything. You aren’t even married?” he continued. TFP member Preston Noell replied: “As single men, we live celibate lives and we cherish the virtue of chastity.” When he heard that, he was momentarily struck dumb. Then a middle-age man stepped out of the crowd, and said: “I’m married to a woman and support their message.” By now, a sizable crown had gathered, reaching out for fliers and information about the campaign. It was great. We got out a record amount of fliers in no time. Moments later, two ladies walked forward and confronted the yelling pro-homosexual individual toe to toe, making a strong case for traditional marriage with passion and courage.

Another TFP volunteer chimed in. “It’s interesting how the homosexual movement shut down Catholic Charities’ adoption program in Washington, D.C., which served thousands of children, for refusing to place children with same-sex couples. Why do they put their agenda above the good of children and persecute those with moral convictions?”

No answer…

Wearied by a long yet successful day we returned to our host family’s home for a very welcome rest.

Non-Stop Honking for God’s Marriage on the South side of Chicago

August 23: Today’s first campaign was on the South side of Chicago on Stoney Island Ave. Here, support was overwhelming. During the entire campaign there were no more then perhaps ten negative reactions, while non-stop horn honking by about 90% of those driving past the intersection was so, so loud that is was almost impossible to hold a conversation on the sidewalk without shouting. Local pro-family leaders joined the campaign, multiplying the number of pro-traditional marriage signs and “Honk for Traditional Marriage” posters on display.

Traditional marriage campaign in Chicago
WOW! So many people honked their support for traditional marriage on the
south side of Chicago that is was vitually impossible to hear oneself talk.
Reporters from Chicago’s Channel 5, who just happened to be driving by, were so impressed with the sight that they decided to pull over to film the event, even though they were on a different assignment.

In the afternoon, we campaigned in the Pilsen Neighborhood, where our Spanish version of the flier was a big hit. At this location, a Catholic priest joined us and several policemen kept a watchful eye on the intersection. “Where are you going next?” asked one of the officers. “We want to make sure you’re protected.”

Stops in Springfield and Peoria

August 24: Today’s first campaign was in Springfield, the capitol of Illinois. Again, more outstanding pro-family defenders joined us.

A Catholic priest paused at the intersection near the Old Capitol for a long while to read our banner and signs. “Are you getting a lot of support?” he asked. “Yes. Just listen to all those honks,” responded a TFP volunteer. “That’s good,” he continued: “I’ve become bolder in my old age. Now, when I see evil, I confront it. To give you an idea just how bad things have gotten at my parish, I had to stop giving the sign of peace at Mass because same-sex couples would make out in Church,” he said with concern. “Now, instead, I just bow to the Cross and say ‘may God have mercy on us.’”

From the Old Capitol, we marched about six blocks to the current Capitol building. On the steps of the complex, in front of the large statue of Abraham Lincoln, we resumed our campaign. As the sound of bagpipes echoed across the green, we held our “Honk for Traditional Marriage” signs high, and distributed flyers. Wearied by the heat, but with enthusiasm undiminished, we proceeded into the domed capitol. Entering the rotunda, the sound of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes reverberated in the dome. A final prayer was said and we left to our next destination: Peoria.

In Peoria we campaigned at two locations: Bradley University and the Court House. Local pro-life volunteers with the Family Resources Center joined both these rallies for traditional marriage, which garnered radio and television coverage.

Please pray for us as we move forward on this crusade to defend traditional marriage.

Campaigning in Joliet, Aurora, and Naperville

August 25: Today’s campaigns, along busy roadways and intersections, brought some of the most polarized reactions yet.

On the positive side, we received countless expressions of thanks, encouragement, applause, and support. Especially in Aurora, the number of young people who honked in support was noticeable. With a broad smile, a motorist remarked: “I’ve never seen so many people honk for a sign.”

Traditional marriage campaign in Illinois
Aurora: Many young adults supported the campaign at this location.
From his car, a veteran said: “I was in the Army, and that’s what we believe; one man, one woman. Thank you!”

“Are you going to get in front of my car so that I can run you over?” was how another man reacted after erupting into a string of overused profanities and direct verbal attacks against God. “If you ran me over,” responded TFP member John Ritchie, “it would be a crime.” Without hesitation, the pro-homosexual individual loudly retorted: “No, it wouldn’t be a crime, you half-breed, zombie God-worshiper.”

In the first such incident of the caravan, TFP volunteer Joseph Jordan was the victim of a criminal assault. A full can of soda was hurled with significant force from a passing car driving at about 35 mph. Fortunately, the sign he was holding deflected most of the impact. If the soda had hit him on the head, for example, it would have caused considerable harm. Before the day was out, another soda can, this one empty, came our way. This second projectile was dodged, and clattered harmlessly on the sidewalk.

Despite these displays of “tolerance” from pro-homosexual individuals, the campaigns continued with enthusiasm. Contrary to what many people have been led to believe, those who know God’s Law, and wish to see it respected, are a clear majority.

Great Turn Out for Traditional Marriage in Rockford

Our first stop today, August 26, was Rockford, where we were joined by almost 20 local pro-lifers. With our ranks thus swelled, we were able to take our message to the public more visibly than ever.

Traditional marriage campaign in Illinois
TV interview in Chicago.

To support TFP Student Action's work,
please consider sending a donation here.
“I’m surprised how much support you’re getting,” commented one motorist. “Most people agree with you. The problem is that the politicians are out of touch,” he lamented. “What do we do about that?”

Another: “Thank you so much. You give us hope for the youth!”

Our next two stops were in Crystal Lake and Palatine, northwest of Chicago. Again, support was excellent. A reporter with the Daily Herald covered the campaign in Palatine.

And after we wrapped up with a prayer, dismantled our standard and rolled up our banner, we directed our steps to the van. As we crossed the busy cross walk, a gentleman in his car honked and joyfully said: “You cleaned up pretty well.”

The tour is now over, but the spiritual crusade continues.

May God protect America from the homosexual agenda and continue to fortify those who defend the sacred institution of marriage from redefinition.

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