Pro-Life Wave Sweeps the South

by John Horvat II on March 2, 2020

 

Pro-Life Wave Sweeps the South

By John Paul Tomba

On January 17, 2020, ten volunteers from Tradition, Family, Property Louisiana (TFPLA) set out on the annual “winter caravan” to defend life. The caravan of young activists covered hundreds of miles across three states, reinforcing the main marches for life and doing street campaigns along the way.

Campaigns in Dallas, Texas 

With banners, signs, suitcases, flyers, camping supplies and enthusiasm, we set off for Dallas. Along the way, everyone became better acquainted with each other, heard stories of past caravans, sang ‘caravan songs’ and were told what they might expect in the days to come.

Our Lady in Dallas

We arrived in Dallas earlier than expected, so we decided to do a short “honk campaign” at a nearby intersection, using hand-held signs that read “Honk against abortion.” The best reaction was from a man inside an SUV who exclaimed: “I hate abortion man! I hate it!, I am going to stay here and honk, you guys keep doing what you are doing.” As he laid on his horn, those in the intersection felt encouraged to do the same. Once the light turned green, we thanked him for his support and he drove away, still honking.

This warm welcome to Dallas was repeated with the reception that the TFP’s Statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the city’s March for Life. For the first time, she was given a place at the front of the March.

This position had a special significance for those marching. The Roe v. Wade case was decided in Dallas in 1973, so the fact that Our Lady was symbolically present remind people that Our Lady is on our side and that we might hope that one day this scourge of America will be gone. It appeared like she was  leading the faithful to that goal. Her presence also gave the March a religious tone and put God’s law at the center of the abortion debate.

The message of the TFP flyer was titled “Keeping God’s Law at the Center of the Fight for America.” It insisted that  the pro-life movement must “frame the abortion debate.” The feminist movement wants to keep the issue on a secular level or reduce it to a mere “women’s rights” issue. The success of the pro-life movement is due to insisting that it is , and has always been, a religious issue.

Little Rock Arkansas

The caravan then traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to attend the March for Life there. As in previous years, the March was short but enthusiasm was great, especially when the TFP bagpipes started playing. The event concluded with speeches on the capitol building steps by prominent pro-lifers. A Catholic priest led the final prayer and blessed the crowd. He accepted a flyer saying that he receives emails from TFP.org.

TFP Standard in Little Rock, Arkansas

Many people recognized the TFP from the Rosary of Reparation against the Satanic Temple’s attempt to install a statue of Baphomet on the capitol grounds back in 2014. Organized by the TFP’s America Needs Fatima campaign, over 300 faithful Catholics attended the event. The Satanists had hoped to display their statue next to the nearby Ten Commandments monument. They failed.

We were kindly offered lodging that night, but we told them that we had brought camping supplies for a reason. We camped out in the Ouachita Mountains in West Arkansas. The temperature plummeted in the tents that night, but spirits remained high. We were all so exhausted from the hike that the pack of coyotes howling nearby didn’t deter anyone from turning in early.

Lafayette, Louisiana

The next battle ground was the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL) in Louisiana. We received a lot of support with hundreds of cars honking while passing through the intersection. Friendly students came out between classes and said hello.  One man yelled from his car that “If this country doesn’t turn around, it’s going to become like Sodom and Gomorrah!”

The Campaigns in Houston, Texas

We did an evening “honk” campaign in front of Tanglewood Middle School in downtown Houston. We expected a good reception from such young children on the abortion issue.

While most students by took a good position, a couple of boys and a girl favored abortion. The most shocking thing about the conversation was that they repeated many of the standard Planned Parenthood talking points. They repeated that “It’s a woman’s choice,” “it’s a clump of cells,” “her body, her choice,” and “women have a right to healthcare.” This probably reflected the sex-ed programs at the school. As they left, the adolescent girl said that she had an abortion.

We had dinner that night with some members from the Our Lady of Lourdes prayer group at Notre Dame church in Houston. They were excited to hear about our campaign adventures. After explaining more in-depth to them about what the TFP does, they promised to pray every day for us.

At the University of Houston

The next morning we went to the University of Houston (UH). On the way there, we had a debate practice with the newer members of the caravan. Unlike the intersection campaigns where there is little foot traffic, university campaigns are all foot traffic. You never know what to expect so you better have your arguments ready.

Once we had unfurled the TFP standard and banner that read “Thou Shalt Not Kill, Stop Abortion,” the students quickly noticed and began asking questions. Both male and female students stopped to argue the pro-abortion side. This was curious because, in the past, female students always told us that since we are all men, we could not have a say on the issue of abortion.

Many student contacts and friends came out and stood with us to show their support for the unborn. They even entered into debates with the other students and called out their classmates to join as they passed by.

Downtown Houston

We later campaigned in Houston’s business district. It is hard to attract support in such areas because many businessmen tend to be too absorbed in their affairs. However, we had a plan, in which we positioned the banner and standard under the skyscrapers. We arranged to get the honks of the cars as we distributed flyers to those coming out of the offices. The haunting harmony of the bagpipes and the thunder of the drum echoed off the tall towers.

Downtown Houston

Over the course of three hours, there were a few shouts from passing cars, and a few unhinged liberals who screamed at us as they walked by. When it seemed we were being ignored; however, we had to remind each other that the skyscrapers were full of employees who had the best view of the campaign.

One deranged man approached us carrying a hockey stick. He screamed that “women need abortions!” There was no reasoning with him but thankfully he walked away, still screaming loudly down the block.

A middle-aged man approached us claiming that he was “way more educated than any of you.” When asked when a baby receives its DNA, the “educated” man replied that “the baby receives it’s DNA when it’s born.” Even some passers-by who overheard looked puzzled.

While walking back to the van after the campaign, we kept displaying our “honk” signs. One man, visibly pleased shouted “spiritual honk!” from across the street.

We reached the van feeling cold, hungry and tired. A woman suddenly appeared and said: “I know you are all tired, but you made an impact today, God bless.” No one had seen her following us, or knew where she came from, she just ‘appeared’ next to the van and left.

Austin Campaigns, Texas

Everyone was up early the next morning and we set off for Austin for the city’s March for Life. Before the march, we unfurled our banner on an overpass and caught the attention and the honks of the traffic passing below. We were surprised by the overwhelming support in this very liberal city.

Just as in Dallas, the presence of Our Lady was noticed and applauded by all. A small group gathered around and marched with Our Lady and the bagpipes while praying the Rosary.

TFP’s 2020 MFL flyer

Another notable spectacle  was the TFP grand standard that has become so feared in leftist cities and  college campuses. The lion swung and ducked under power lines and traffic lights, all the while advancing with joyful resolve.

The progress of the standard was halted by a new law that prohibited poles of a certain length on the Capitol grounds. While disappointed, Our Lady had other plans. We stood outside the main gate  and found it to be a perfect place to meet young college students who watch TFP Student Action videos and wanted to take pictures and say hello. Many asked “When are you coming to my university?” One mentioned an event at Texas A&M called “Draggie Land” and led to further contact and a protest at the horrible show.

The Growing Pro-life Movement and the Culture War

Tens of thousands honked

The large attendance at each March for Life was proof that the pro-life movement is not only large, but young and growing. In Dallas, organizers estimated 5000 in attendance, in Little Rock, 2000, and in Austin, at least 10,000. Tens of thousands honked against abortion during our eight-day tour.

In the face of today’s culture war, we would do well to follow the counsel of Saint Joan of Arc, who said: “In God’s name, the soldiers will fight, and God will give the victory!”

TFP Louisiana calls upon all Americans to never give up and to turn to God and His Blessed Mother for succor and help. Let us confide in the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, as promised at Fatima.

 

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