April 17, 2014 by Alex Johannigman
I’ve spent a lot of time since last Thursday thinking about, praying about, and taking action against SB 175 in Colorado. My missionary community has been very involved in understanding its implications and making our voices heard by the senators who would be voting on it. One missionary spent a couple afternoons at the Capitol personally testifying against it in front of the Health and Human Services Committee and speaking in person to different senators as the final vote drew nearer. Others were very active in sending emails and making phone calls both to the senators and to friends so that they would lend their voices to the cause.
Over the weekend, Archbishop Aquila voiced his concern in a letter read throughout the archdiocese, urging all Coloradans of goodwill to pray and take action against the bill. Then with only one day of notice, he urged Catholics to gather at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon for a prayer service which about 1000 Coloradans attended.
Emails and phone calls voicing opposition to the bill became so frequent that many senators stopped answering their phones or even unplugged them. Archbishop Aquila told us at the protest that senators told him they had never been contacted so much about a bill in their entire career. Opposition was loud and persistent.
It was so vocal that yesterday, while at the State Capitol for the hearing, we were told that the bill would not be voted on, presumably because the bill’s sponsors believed they no longer had the support of enough Democrats in the senate. It was incredible news to hear, not just because it stopped a dangerous bill, but because of what it showed me about the power that prayer and petition have.
This week was the first time that I saw how much of an impact a single voice (Archbishop Aquila) leading a large group of voices could have in the political sphere. When people of goodwill unite and work together, making their petitions known to both God and to those holding political power, real change can happen. The opinions of at least one senator were changed. Lives were saved. The voice of reason and justice was heard.
In the current political climate in the US, it can be discouraging to see the direction that some policies are going, and to watch public opinion on some issues be swayed by emotionalism rather than reason and the desire to serve the common good. I remember several friends totally despairing after the results of the 2012 election. Yesterday, however, there wasn’t as much of a reason to despair. The good guys won this round, and we were reminded (or perhaps learned for the first time) that we can have a positive influence in the political sphere when we gather together and make enough noise.