It is hard to be believe on a beautiful day in warm, sunny Florida that tomorrow scores of Ave Maria University students will be arriving in Washington, DC in the midst of a snow storm, with the wind chill temperature expected to be in single digits by the time these students find their “home” on the gym floor of St. John the Evangelist parish in McLean, VA. The March for Life is the next day and the forecast is for sunshine – and miserably frigid conditions. The high is expected to be 20. Gusts of high winds will make it worse.
Come to think of it, it seems every year the March for Life takes place during miserable DC weather. I can’t recall a March that didn’t include either freezing rain, biting cold, snow, high winds, or some combination. Makes you miss even the summer mosquitoes on our campus!
Sixty of our students will be getting up well before dawn tomorrow and going by plane to our Nation’s Capitol, and around another 30 will be joining up with the group in time for Wednesday’s march. When the March for Life doesn’t fall mid-week, we usually have twice this number making the 1,000 mile trek - by bus. Our Bishop, Bishop Dewane, is coming, too, and will be celebrating a Mass on Capitol Hill for the pilgrims from the diocese.
Why do our students go? It is because they embrace the Gospel of Life. It will take more than foul weather to keep them from putting their faith in action, particularly at a time when our University is in Federal Court fighting for our religious liberty and right of conscience against the same Federal officials who work within earshot of the cries of the protestors.
And the only thing more predictable than the annual foul weather for the March will be the major media conspiracy to ignore it.
On this very day the United States remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for civil rights, it seems like there is a double standard when the gathering he led from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is of approximately the same size as that which gathers – annually – on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I remember seeing The Washington Post’s coverage the day after the March saying that “thousands” assembled. How incredibly misleading, how intentionally misleading, was that? It just seems dangerous when there is an intentional effort by the media to under-report the significance and magnitude of the March for Life, year after year.
Our students aren’t going to DC try to get media attention even if it were available. They are going because of their heartfelt convictions.
I admire them and look forward to shivering with them as we walk and pray together and slog through the frozen slosh.
Indeed young people from all over America will be coming regardless of the obstacles and hardships. That’s because the right to life is worth marching for, freezing for, fighting for.