Christians of all denominations pray, rally at Michigan's capitol to defeat Proposal 3

Christians of various denominations gather at the steps of the state capitol building in Lansing on Saturday, Oct. 15, to pray and demonstrate against Proposal 3, which the state's Catholic bishops have called "the most extreme proposal related to abortion ever proposed" in the United States. (Photos by Gabriella Patti | Detroit Catholic)

Prayer rally emphasizes sacredness of life, necessity of prayer in overcoming evil presented by abortion proposal

LANSING — Christians of different denominations gathered at the steps of Michigan's capitol building Saturday, Oct. 15, to raise their voices to God in prayer and raise awareness about Proposal 3.

Proposal 3, also known as the “Reproductive Freedom for All” amendment, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, would amend the state’s constitution to remove virtually all restrictions on abortion in the state and eliminate a host of other pro-life laws. The bishops in Michigan’s seven dioceses have called the measure “the most extreme proposal concerning abortion this state or country has ever seen.”

The three-hour prayer rally was as much about action as it was about prayer, one of the event organizers, Dan Devine, told Detroit Catholic in a phone interview.

Sylvia Williams, a National Day of Prayer area leader, speaks to the crowd about the dangers of Proposal 3 from the steps of the state capitol Oct. 15.
Sylvia Williams, a National Day of Prayer area leader, speaks to the crowd about the dangers of Proposal 3 from the steps of the state capitol Oct. 15.

“We are bringing Christians together of all denominations to pray, but we also have to instruct people that they have to vote,” Devine said. “You can't just trust the Lord and walk away from our Godly duty of voting and getting other people to vote no. It is all about prayer and action.”

Devine’s parents, Barb and the Honorable Dan Devine, who was a circuit court judge in Oakland County, were at the forefront of Michigan right-to-life movement in the 1970s, Devine explained. When he was a young boy in 1971, he remembers standing alongside his parents on the steps of the Michigan capitol building for a rally to raise awareness about the dangers of a proposal similar to Proposal 3.

Knowing how effective that rally was in 1971, Devine was driven to help make this one happen.

“That measure was beaten at the polls, and then Roe v. Wade came along, and so for 50 years, my family and I have been fighting to keep the life of the unborn sacred,” Devine said.

Linda Lee Tarver, who is running for a seat on the Michigan Board of Education, holds up a sign at the Lansing prayer rally.
Linda Lee Tarver, who is running for a seat on the Michigan Board of Education, holds up a sign at the Lansing prayer rally.

Pastor Ralph Rebandt, who ran for Michigan governor in the Republican primary in August (Tudor Dixon won the primary), also spoke at the event and led a prayer, emphasizing the importance of pastors and priests using their voices to speak up for the unborn.

“Pastors and priests will receive the greater judgment if we don't use our platform for righteousness,” Rebandt told Detroit Catholic. When he stands before Jesus, Rebandt said, he hopes to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Every person of faith, whether Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist or even no faith at all, should stand up and vote no on this proposal, Rebandt added.

Fr. Gordon Reigle, pastor of St. Thomas Student Parish, which covers all of East Lansing, was “delighted” to see people of different denominations unified in their pro-life stance.

A Chaldean sister holds up a sign written in English and Arabic urging voters to reject Proposal 3.
A Chaldean sister holds up a sign written in English and Arabic urging voters to reject Proposal 3.

Proposal 3 is written by the abortion lobby for the abortion lobby, Fr. Reigle said, adding he hopes voters can recognize its extremity.

“(Proposal 3) is so far beyond anything that seems rational to the good of parents and families and the dignity of life,” Fr. Reigle said. ”I'm hoping that we can have that goodwill across Christians and non-Christians, and even those who might feel, for whatever reason, that there is a certain need for abortion … I'm hoping that we can find people of goodwill to say, ‘No, this is not the amendment that we want.’”

Fr. Reigle said he sees a real pro-life generation emerging among Generation Z, who have been able to see through the rhetoric and misinformation the truth about the effects of abortion.

‘They were all born after Roe … I was born before Roe and my generation had a different outlook, but because they were born after Roe, they recognize that their lives are not protected,” Fr. Reigle said. “I've seen a real pro-life generation growing up because they're seeing the effects of it, that one-third of their generation is gone; one-third of the millennials are gone.

Catholics in the Diocese of Lansing are participating in a 54-day rosary novena, "Fight Like Heaven," to combat Proposal 3, said Fr. Gordon Reigle, pastor of St. Thomas University Parish in East Lansing.
Catholics in the Diocese of Lansing are participating in a 54-day rosary novena, "Fight Like Heaven," to combat Proposal 3, said Fr. Gordon Reigle, pastor of St. Thomas University Parish in East Lansing.

"That's 25 million on average, and so one-third of their future spouses, of their future employer, co-workers, of their future friends and neighbors are gone," Fr. Reigle added. "And they know that, and they feel that. I'm seeing a real pro-life generation coming. I'm glad that they see they're living with the effects of a decision that was made long before them.”

In addition to ministering to students, Fr. Reigle started a 54-day rosary novena for life in the Diocese of Lansing. Leigh Heskitt, a parishioner at the Church of the Resurrection in Lansing, briefly came to the rally from the Catholic Women’s Conference taking place down the street. Heskitt said most people she knows in the Diocese of Lansing are participating in the novena.

“I was so excited that so many people I know are participating in that, because that's a big deal: an entire rosary every day for 54 days. That's a big commitment, but it's a sacrifice of time that's well worth it,” Heskitt said. “I hope our prayers storm heaven and God will hear and save lives.”

While Fr. Reigle emphasized the importance of advocacy, action and community effort to drive awareness about important issues, he encouraged Catholics, in particular, to take up the rosary as well.

“Our Lady of Fatima has given us the rosary for the solution to our modern times because the spiritual attack is on marriage and family, and therefore life itself,” Fr. Reigle said. “This is a spiritual battle, first and foremost. If we don't pray as if our salvation depends on it, we're not likely to win. So prayer has to surround it all. Pray the rosary. Pick it up whenever you can."



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