WASHINGTON, D.C. - An estimated 210,000 and more people showed up at the National Mall in Washington D.C. in participation of the 'May Day for Marriage' event Friday afternoon to fight for the preservation of traditional marriage.
This was the second mayday rally in the U.S., following the first held in Washington state.
Despite drowsy weather and small rainfall, the participants held onto their passion in expressing their stances on family moral values at stake on the November ballot.
The rally was sponsored by the Family Research Council, a pro-family group based in Washington D.C., in cooperation with Focus on the Family and Seattle’s Antioch Bible Church pastor, Ken Hutcherson.
President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, oversaw the event as main speakers such as Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Alan Chambers of Exodus International, Former U.S. Ambassador Alan Keyes, Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife, and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention spoke to the crowds.
Throughout the event, speakers rallied the crowd urging them to keep strong commitments to vote for their beliefs.
Multi-award winning Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, also showed up during the performances to support the event.
A testimony was given by Exodus International president Alan Chambers voicing the desperate need to embrace homosexuals despite their morally incorrect lifestyle. Speaking from past experiences, Chambers emphasized that homosexuals are weak and lost human beings who need godly guidance.
In response to the outcry from opposing political and social groups, Dr. James Dobson said that the rally was not an “anti-gay’ event.
“We’re not here for the purpose of hate. It has been played by the media that this is an anti-gay rally. That is not true. We’re here because we believe in the institution of marriage,” Dobson clearly stated. ”[Although] there are differences for every human, we [still] treat everyone with respect. There are many in the homosexual community that have been hurt by us [Christians]. As Christians we must pull them into the church. You can’t win people to Christ without respect. However, there are some things that are right, and others that are wrong."
“It is because we [care] for the welfare of children. There have been 10,000 studies that children do best raised with a mother and father committed to each other.”
Stressing the importance of voting in the presence of all the attending Christian citizens, Dr. Dobson explained that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ must represent the majority voice and moral stance of the people, not the voices of the minority making decisions in the courts.
“The court cannot take that away. Even though we cannot make a difference by showing up today, we can reach the senate. I urge you to remember this in November,” Dobson stressed.
Hutcherson took a stand by declaring strongly that acknowledging only heterosexual couples is not denying civil rights to homosexuals. ”Homosexuals do have civil rights [already]. This is not a civil rights issue.”
The event concluded elegantly as the whole crowd sang “How Great Thou Art” in unison, honoring the natural creation of God, and then participating in a closing prayer given by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership group.
Regarding the estimated counts, Perkins emphasized “We were very pleased with the turnout.”
At the press conference held afterwards, Hutcherson to reporters: “The church must make a stand, and this issue is a very large issue, not just a small issue. I believe that God helped us today and we also believe that this is just the beginning. Mayday for marriage is not just a one-time event, it will move from state to state. We will continue to make that stand and partner with other churches. It’s a unique movement, because it’s led by pastors. We thank God for supporting ministries by Dr. Dobson and Perkins. We believe it is the role of the local church to take this stand to take part in this issue. Our hope is that the fire will catch on and we will go on supporting president Bush’s constitutional amendment.”
Answering the questions regarding future steps of the “Mayday’ movement, Hutcherson stated, “Mayday can be resurrected for events, as needed. We know that there is a mayday need for adoption, to get this out of the adoption issue. There needs to be a may day for abortion, to stand up against abortion, for divorce among heterosexual Christians. Those are the issues that need immediate attention in the church. This marriage issue is clear as possible. It’s the last game of the season, and the challenge is across the states. If we win this, we can turn and win others. This fight is a time for us to come altogether to make sure we’re being very pleasing to God.”
Rabbi Daniel Lapin voiced his opinion of the success of the event, stating "If we were to go back a generation, and take a look at civil rights movement, it was a movement fueled by faith. The political structure of the United States could not ignore it, because it was fueled by faith from committed believers and citizens. Same with the abolition of slavery, it was driven by faith. The Declaration of Independence was also driven from churches and politics cannot ignore that. All these great moral movements were fueled by faith, and it is the same for this marriage movement."
Hutcherson added, "We believe this is catalytic event. Both the secular politicians and many pastors in the leaders in the church, the reason that there were many people here, it's not because there were many big names, or we had big money, but all we did was provide an outlet for people in the country who have something to say [about marriage]. I did not promote this event in my church, people came to me and asked to go. They came and said, 'We feel so strongly about this issue, and this gives us a place to express it'."
Urging Christians to make their stand, Hutcherson admitted, "The average Christian commitment [to vote] has never been good. If we don’t succeed, the real losers are our children and grandchildren."