More than a million people worldwide took part in the Women's March on Saturday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump and show their support for women's rights, specifically abortion. Conservative Christian evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, however, has warned that the movement is "destructive" and will lead women to their "spiritual and moral graves."
CNN reported that over a million people around the world marched in rallies, ranging from New York City, Melbourne, Accra, Berlin, London, Rome, New Delhi, Athens, to even Antarctica. That number apparently did not include figures from the main protest in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the day after Trump's inauguration, which was estimated at 400,000.
Prominent statistician Nate Silver said that estimates from law enforcement or public officials differed from estimates from organizers, however, and included statistics on some U.S. cities that marched in a Twitter post.
The protests hit every single continent, with even visitors and workers at Paradise Bay, a remote corner in Antarctica, organizing a small rally of around 30 women and supporting men, holding signs against discrimination and hate.
Organizers behind the worldwide rally said the protest was primarly a pro-choice rally in defense of abortion and abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, amid fears that Trump will appoint a pro-life justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lotz took to Facebook to share her feelings about the Women's March, and said that while the protestors claimed to represent all women, what they were really looking out for was access to unrestricted abortion.
"My heart aches for many of the women I saw marching ... women who have joined a 'movement' that is deceptive and in the end, will be destructive and lead them to a spiritual and moral 'grave.' I pray earnestly for them to turn to the one, true, living God, who is the only One who can give them the deep, permanent peace, love, hope, and security we all long for," Lotz wrote.
"My prayer for beloved Bell [Lotz's granddaughter] ... and for the women of the world ... is that as she fears God and seeks to grow in her personal knowledge of Him, she would become a woman of great wisdom and understanding who shuns evil and serves Him faithfully," she wrote, referring to her 15-year-old granddaughter, Ruth Bell.
Notable celebrities took part in the Women's March, though singer Madonna stirred controversy when she admitted that she had thought "an awful lot about blowing up the White House."
Madonna later took to Instagram to clarify that she was not advocating for violence.
"I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things — one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt," she wrote.
"However, I know that acting out of anger doesn't solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love."
While The Guardian, Vox, and other news outlets have attempted to portray the rally as a "huge, spontaneous groundswell" and as a "grassroots effort," others, such as Asra Q. Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who describes herself as a "liberal feminist" who voted for Trump, suggested that billionaire investor George Soros backed many of the protesting groups.
Nomani wrote that Soros, who is behind the Open Society organization and was one of Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's largest donors, has either funded or has a close relationship with at least 56 of the march's partners, including Planned Parenthood.
Nomani included her findings in an open document on GoogleDocs, and in an article published in The New York Times. The newspaper also included the response by Open Society, however, with a spokeswoman denying that Soros has been funding the protests.
"We support a wide range of organizations — including those that support women and minorities who have historically been denied equal rights. Many of whom are concerned about what policy changes may lie ahead," the spokeswoman said.
"We are proud of their work. We of course support the right of all Americans to peaceably assemble and petition their government — a vital, and constitutionally safeguarded, pillar of a functioning democracy."
The Christian Post further reported on Sunday that some pro-life supporters and street evangelists were treated roughly during the rally in Washington on Saturday, with Christians preaching against homosexuality and other sins reportedly shouted down and spat on.
"We expect that to happen because they are living according to the flesh and we shouldn't expect anything less because people killed Jesus because He preached righteousness and called people to repent," Joseph Neigh, a U.S. Army veteran and D.C.-based evangelist affiliated with the group, told CP.
"There have been a lot of people who have done dirty dancing around us, flicked us off, cursed at us but we are not going return evil for evil. We say, 'God bless you.' We are not out here casting stones, we are throwing life preservers," Neigh added.