I'll miss the excitement since I'll be on my return flight to Chicago, but tomorrow is shaping up to be a (hopefully!) significant occasion for making our voices heard in opposition to the HHS mandate and the government's presumption of defining what does/doesn't constitute a "religious" organization. Just about wherever you are, you will probably find a rally to join tomorrow.
I don't have any real confidence that half a dozen rallies of particularly ardent people is going to change anything. Coming as it does in the middle of a workday, and predominantly in large downtown settings, it's not likely to draw the impressive numbers that would be available on a weekend. But sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted, even if it's a futile gesture.
If, as President Obama famously said while campaigning, "We are the change we are looking for," more than rallies are needed. More than political action is needed. Lasting change, real change, has to come from the inside: from people's convictions. The kind of convictions that guide people's choices and not just their rhetoric.
The other night, at a dinner meeting here in New Orleans (where the parish mission wraps up tonight), the local pastor had a humorous take on the reality/rhetoric divide. The context wasn't politics, it was how many people call themselves Catholic when they can barely remember the last time they darkened the door of a Catholic church (much less actually participated in the Mass). Father Herb, who is a bit chunky, said, "Speaking for myself, I am a gymnast. I haven't been to the gym in ten years, but I used to be there all the time, and I still consider myself a gymnast, and nobody better tell me otherwise."
So the real question is how to reach out to all those fallen-away gymnast types!