When Jon Stewart's DC rally meets Pray & Act

It is going to get interesting.

stewartrally2Many of you may know that Jon Stewart, in a jab at Glenn Beck, announced a competing rally in Washington DC on Saturday, October 30. It will take place at the Washington Monument. He is calling it "The Rally to Restore Sanity." Stephen Colbert announced a counter rally at the same time and place.

Now it gets interesting -- Things have taken a wild twist.

prayandactThere are also going to be a lot of Christians on the Mall the same day. The Pray & Act movement, which kicked off Monday, September 20, is planning to end an intense 40 days of prayer and fasting on Saturday, October 30 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. How many will be there? It is hard to tell, but tens of thousands have joined the movement and many may make the trip to Washington.

There you have it: Tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of Jon Stewart fans in a party mood (he likens it to Woodstock without the drugs and nudity) together with an unknown number of praying, repentant Christians seeking God's guidance for our country and culture -- literally facing each other.
As those familiar with the National Mall know, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument  face each other across a very modest expanse of grass, sidewalks and the Reflecting Pool. You can't help but mix. It earns its moniker as America's Front Yard.

Some details:

Stewart's rally:
  • Stewart's rally will really happen.
  • It may be huge. Ryan Witt, at The Examiner's Political Buzz blog, says Stewart's rally is outpacing Beck's rally in commitments to attend. The rally's Facebook event page lists 100,000 already RSV'ing to attend, with another 50,000 maybes.
  • Stephen Colbert announced he was going to have a competing rally at the same place and time a la the Beck-Sharpton spectacle. Colbert's Facebook event page has almost 50,000 attending and 15,000 maybes.
  • Safe to say the mood in these rallies will be a party mood. But many in his crowd are very angry at conservatives, especially Christian ones.
  • There is actually a movement behind Stewart's rally. A bunch of people reportedly pressed him to take on Glen Beck's movement with a "Restoring Truthfulness" rally. He obviously decided to do that and get allies (Colbert).
  • What will it mean? Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post writes: "So will the Oct. 30 rally come off as nothing more than comic relief? I wouldn't bet on it."

Pray & Act
  • Plans to wrap up its 40 days of prayer and action with a gathering at the Lincoln Memorial the same day, at 6:00 PM. There will be a live webcast on AFA.net. This could bring significant numbers of praying Christians to the Mall that Saturday afternoon.
  • Some of the leaders of Pray & Act are those who organized the prayer and fasting events leading up to the passing of Proposition 8 in California in 2008. An estimated 33,000 attended one such rally at Qualcomm statium November 1 of that year (right before the election when it was passed).
  • Involves tens of thousands of Christians and many churches ending a 40-day period of intense prayer for the nation and our culture.
  • Accompanies a large drive to promote signing Manhattan Declaration and a renewing of its one-year-old publicity push.
  • Will wrap up a strong push from Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox, to lift the issues of family, the sanctity of life and religious freedom to the national stage on the eve of one of the most important elections in American history.

So far I think this "coincidence" has escaped the media's attention. Perhaps so because few have heard of Pray & Act on the national scene.  I am part of that prayer movement and I plan to be there. (See Colson Center's page on Pray&Act). God has put everything in its time and place, and it can get very exciting. This is going to be one of those times.

I would really like to hear comments on this one.


Personal experience of conflicting rallies on the
It can get really interesting. I was on the lawn on Capitol Hill the day that Health Care passed last spring, doing some video filming of the Tea Party folks and other protesters for a project.

That was also the day of the huge march for immigration reform in DC. There were tens of thousands out on the main Mall, across the street from the capitol.

Well, someone in leadership at the pro-immigration rally thought the large group protesting outside the House of Representatives was protesting against immigration, so they quickly diverted a couple hundred protesters across the street. Here they came, flags waving, drums beating and singing. I was filming away, not knowing what would come next.

When it became obvious to the group that the protesters at the capitol were there for some other reason (and when a number of police intervened) the charge dissipated. But it was highly interesting. A few people from both sides did get into discussions on the lawn, some heated, some friendly, but it ended amicably and the health care protesters returned to trying to divert congress.

That is how things happen around there.

Having a group of fasting, praying and singing Christians meeting up with bunches of Jon Stewart fans trying to "restore sanity" still beats that in my book, though.

The real question comes down to your definition of sanity and who is really doing the most to restore it.
I wish I could be there too but as a homeschooling mom I'm needed here. We can't really afford for me to go to DC anyway but I can (and am) praying for the event finale.
Pray & Act
Many evangelicals aren't aware of this, but the primarily-Catholic 40 Days for Life prayer and fasting movement ends the following day. Also featuring people from all over the nation praying and fasting, specifically against abortion.

I think things will be VERY interesting.

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