Live Blogging from the Rally to Restore Sanity

rally23:17 pm: After a long Metro Ride back (never ride the DC Metro with Joe Williams… bad luck always follows), Joe, Carolyn, and I talk about the place of religion in the public discourse in the hopes we can have a more open conversation as a whole, with people feeling free to both challenge and be challenged. We get back to St. Paul’s College and we drink beer. T’was a grand day!

2:35 pm: We decide to head out. We see someone holding a sign with a picture of Jesus that says something like, “That’s not what I said!” Had to get my picture taken with it.

2:02 pm: It’s funny, because there are so many people dressed up here today, not many people really notice me wearing a collar. BUT they do notice that I have a collar and a microphone. Most people are pretty cool, but a few have their suspicions when a guy wearing clerics want to ask them about religion. I wish I were also wearing a sign that said, “Not trying to sell you anything… just want to find out where you’re coming from!”

1:58 pm: I REALLY want a rally hat… but they are SO far away. So far all I have to show for this even in the way of paraphernalia is a sticker. Sigh.

rally11:45 pm: one thing that I am noticing from the interviews. I start off by asking about why fear is an aspect of religion and almost everybody has a list of (usually very valid) reasons. What’s been especially gratifying is that when I ask the next question, what is SANE about religion, those same people have another list of very valid reasons. What it’s made me realize is that people are usually asked one question or the other in order to support one’s particular point of view… I hope we can ask the follow up question (no matter which bias one may have) a little bot more often.

1:32 pm: We are in front of the Smithsonian Castle. We are very far back. We are far from alone. So we start interviewing some more. We WERE going to stop and just sit for a while, but Joe caught sight of Captain America and out came the camera. Have to say, I can’t blame him.

1:15 pm: Okay, so there are a lot of people here. We keep, like the pioneers of the 1800s, heading west. West… because that’s where the crowds thin out and we might actually be able to get to the Mall.

1:05 pm: Almost two years ago… on January 20, 2009… I had the honor of attending one of the most momentous events in human events in human history at this very National Mall. The event: the LARGEST assembly of port-o-potties known to man. For Obama Inauguration, the entire mall was lined with these things. I only point that out now because, by that metric, this event dramatically falls short of that historic day… and I’m REALLY feeling it right now. Fortunately, the doors to the Museum of Natural History are open. How fitting that a building dedicated to the science of biology is really bailing me out right now.

1:02 pm: Sorry for the delays in posting updates… I forgot that this is what happens when hundreds of thousands of people with AT&T data plans gather in one place.

<< Internet Signals Jammed >>

12:38 pm: Carolyn has noted that every rally, no matter what the cause, someone ALWAYS brings a legalize pot sign. It makes me wonder what signs other people bring to “legalize pot” rallies.

12:15 pm: o the mass of humanity! There are so many people here, it’s insane!!! (ironically)

11:42 am: talked with a lot of great people from all over the country and of all faith traditions. Just scarfed down a sub and we’re heading to the Rally now!

10:05 am: interviewing people right now outside of Union Station. Bathroom lines are long. Talk about keeping fear alive!

1:15 am: Heading to bed before the big day tomorrow. We are going to be out in front of union Station interviewing Rally-goers. If you are around, stop by and say hi!

12:15 am: Joe and Carolyn got in after some bus traffic. Had a great time catching up at Colonel Brooks bar and grill. Think A LOT of people are going to be there tomorrow.

Follow Busted Halo at the Rally via FACEBOOK or TWITTER

Father Tom Gibbons was ordained a Paulist priest in 2012. Prior to becoming a priest, he spent time as a Jesuit Volunteer in Phoenix, AZ, working with immigrants in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. He's also worked as a graphic designer and web developer, serving nonprofits like Success For All Foundation, Baltimore City Head Start, and Catholic Relief Services. He previously wrote a blog entitled “Kicking and Screaming” for Busted Halo. After serving as a deacon at Holy Trinity Parish in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., Father Tom was sent to St. Peter’s Church in Toronto, where he first served as Associate Pastor and then as the Parish Administrator. In 2016, he produced a documentary on the founder of the Paulist Fathers, entitled “Isaac Hecker and the Journey of Catholic America” – featuring celebrity voices of Martin Sheen, Matt McCoy, and Bob Gunton. Father Tom is currently at work on a new documentary investigating the complicated legacy of the Catholic Church in California with the film “Junipero Serra: Statue of Limitations,” scheduled for release in 2022. In addition to his work as Vice President of Paulist Productions, Father Tom also performs pastoral work at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and Transfiguration Catholic Church in Los Angeles, CA.