Richard Dawkins at Protest the Pope Rally September 19, 2010

Richard Dawkins at Protest the Pope Rally

***Update***: Dawkins’ full speech can be read here.

Richard Dawkins spoke at the “Protest the Pope” rally the other day. He spends quite a bit of time explaining (and debunking) that whole “Hitler was an atheist” claim. My friend Josh Kutchinsky passes along the video:

“Joseph Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity. He is an enemy of children whose bodies he allowed to be raped and whose minds he has encouraged to be infected with guilt. It’s embarrassingly clear that the Church is less concerned with saving child bodies from rapists than with saving priestly souls from hell. And most concerned with saving the long-term reputation of the church itself.”

Damn. Harsh words, but I can’t say I disagree with them.

Josh adds in an email:

Everyone who attended, as you would expect, did so as a free-thinking individual. They came with their own order of priority of concerns. Some were religious. I strolled along chatting very amiably with a guy, similarly bearded, older than me, who told me that he was “Church of England” and would be telling his church congregation all about the event.

He wasn’t anti-Catholic but shared our concerns about equality and human rights and, of course, about child abuse. I spoke with a young man, a Muslim, who supported secularism and was totally opposed to stoning as a punishment. In the main, people were free thinkers, atheists, agnostics, Humanists, secularists and human rights defenders. All were angry but in a positive and friendly way. They were angry about child abuse. They were angry about homophobia and sexism and many other of the unpleasant, unkind and disgusting attitudes, not least on secularism and the beliefs and views of people like us, opined by this Pope in his rigid interpretation of Catholic dogma. And, of course, we were protesting the fact that his odious views were, in effect, being honoured by this state visit.

The numbers I’ve heard for the Protest the Pope rally seem to hover around 20,000 people… but even if that number is a bit off, the fact remains that there are thousands of people who oppose what this Pope stands for, and the more of them who speak out, the better off we’ll all be. The worst thing we can do is be silent about his dangerous policies and irrational beliefs.

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  • UK_Steve

    I wasn’t at the popey events these last few days, but I believe I protested in my own small way by having lots of lovely protected sex 🙂

  • 20,000 people?

    As I began to hear stories of the protest, I assumed they were talking about 500 protesters or less.

    The large turnout makes me ask, where is the major news coverage of these protests?

  • Sailor

    Richard gave a great speech. Thanks for posting it. The Catholics are bigoted against women and gays and bugger little boys, then do their best to cover it all up and accept no responsibility. adding insult to injury the pope lies about Hitler and atheism to try and distract attention from his own crimes. Why does anyone still belong to this corrupt church?

  • ChrisTK:

    The news seems to be putting a moderate effort into avoiding too much coverage of it. The Chief Inquisitor Pope’s tour route was being protested by a number of people with signs, and the BBC news switched to an aerial shot just as he was going to pass them.


    Na’vi Noodlemaz has posted some great crowd shots, and has links to even more. Definitely worth a look.

  • Baconsbud

    ChristopherTK do you really have to ask why the media coverage isn’t as massive as it would be for say a Tea Party rally? I see this as just another form of censorship used by people trying to avoid dealing with the truth. It isn’t in their best interest to let those sitting on the fence know how many actually have a problem with what is going on.

    Look how media sources will not publish much of the actual footage if it fails to promote what they want the public to know. Until people quit sitting by letting life go by without a word, we will keep getting this bull for news. I’m not talking about the liberals or the conservative. The ones that enable this type of news reporting are the moderates that won’t speak out against it.

  • Anonymous

    I love Noodlemaz. That is all.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, not quite all…

    Let’s not over-inflate numbers. Most accounts had the numbers at 10-12K, including the National Secular Society. A triumphant turn-out.

    Also, how wonderful is the lovely Johann Hari?

  • muggle

    This is why I run hot and cold with Dawkins. For every one thing he says that kinda of ticks me off or I find snobbish, he says at least three more things that are absolutely marvelous and keep me from hating him. This speech was marvelous. Absolutely marvelous.

    And, yes, Anonymous, Johann Hari was wonderful.

    If you want to see some good coverage, I do recommend watching the video at the BBC link. It was actually pretty good.

  • Baconsbud, clearly the responsibility to push the story is ours, to continue to discuss our position and to make available every video and photo that shows the level of public discord with those in powerful positions controlling much of the public with outrageous ideas.

    The media will follow the story, when it becomes good business to do so. The tea party has proven that.

    Somewhat related,
    PBS will debut a six-hour special in October, God In America, a co-production from AmericanExperience and Frontline.

    These shows are widely popular and drive many people to the PBS site following airing.
    I’m asking everyone to set up a page on the faithbook page early @

    Doing so early, will give us tremendous exposure to the religious believers that will swarm to the site. At the same time, it will demonstrate that we are a growing minority that is no longer willing to stand aside while belief for many in America means the rest of us suffer religious interference by our government because of them. And to be accurate, we must also have a voice in the discussion, as we represent a powerful influence concerning God In America.

  • Vanessa

    FWIW, most Catholics just ignore the pope anyway. I know the church I used to go to never said one bad thing about homosexuality, abortion, or condoms. I really wish those who remain Catholic would stand up against the pope and tell him they’re not going to take his crap anymore, instead of just ignoring him.

  • Peregrine

    I don’t always agree with Dawkins. In this case, about midway when he starts talking about “original sin”, and a little bit after that, if I were in his place, I might have left that bit out; though for my desire not to offend my Catholic friends and family, rather than any disagreement I might have with Dawkins. But then, I’m an old softie. The rest is spot on.

    And although, if I were in his place I might have left that part unspoken, as an atheist and as former Catholic, I think I’d be entitled. After all, it was the former member of the Hitler Youth* who dared to compare me and others like me to Nazis. And did so, among other reasons perhaps, to get our attention. Well, Dawkins made clear in no uncertain terms, that he’s got our attention. Now what’s he going to do with it?

    *And yes, I’m aware that he was drafted, and had no choice in the matter, and under different circumstances, I’d grant him that.

  • That must be the hardest thing the sign language translator has ever translated. Love the Hitler sign.

  • Ah, cheers Christopher (and Anonymous…!)

    I’m just ‘noodlemaz’ though – the Na’vi thing is just re: the Avataravatar 😉

    Thanks for the link lurve.

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