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On Saturday 24th March 2012, about 20,000 atheists gathered for a rally in Washington DC.

After about five hours, Richard Dawkins addressed the rally and called on the crowd not only to challenge religious people but to “ridicule and show contempt” for their doctrines and sacraments, including the Eucharist, which we Catholics faithfully believe becomes the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ during the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

David Silverman, Reason Rally organizer revelled in the group’s reputation as the ‘marines of atheism’, as the people who storm the faith barricades

Silverman may have gone a bit further in his rhetoric than he intended. In a thundering call for “zero tolerance” for anyone who disagrees with or insults atheism, Silverman proclaimed, “Stand your ground!”

The phrase “stand your ground” has been in the news this week as the legal cover for the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida last week by the neighbourhood watch leader. Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, George Zimmerman could claim he feared Trayvon, a teen armed with iced tea and Skittles, would harm him. It appears that Dawkins is calling atheists to arms. Comments such as these by Dawkins are no less inflammatory than those uttered by extremist clerics who stir up racial hatred.

We Christians must be on our guard. We must remain vigilant in the face of spiritual warfare and need to pray for protection, for ourselves, our families and our communities. Satan is alive and well in the western world and has many disciples who are no longer prepared to be simply indifferent to faith but wish to ridicule it and to encourage physical attacks on believers. So we pray:

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us the in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

We should also implore the intercession of our Blessed Lady who is often pictured standing with her foot crushing the head of a snake:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Jesus also promised to ask His Father to send an advocate and so we ask for support to stand His holy ground as we pray:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.