I was one of the 20000-odd (some very odd) people who turned up to protest against the Pope on Saturday - a fact which I'm quite proud of because, hey, it's good to stand up for what you believe is right. Or rather, to stand up against what you believe is wrong - and I think Pope Benedict is very, very wrong.
My reasons for this are multiple, but basically it's that I feel he kills hope; to children abused by priests he kills any hope for justice by covering up the actions of paedophiles, to the people of Africa he destroys any hope for sexual health by falsely claiming that condoms perpetuate aids, to homosexuals & women he kills any hope of equality by opposing their human rights at every turn, to families worldwide he kills hope for a truly integrated society by encouraging segregated schooling. Plus, as far as I can tell, his election to the primacy killed the hope of many practicing catholics for a pontiff who actually represents and reflects their belief in a modern catholic church. This has all been expressed far more eloquently (and in far greater detail) on numerous websites & blogs, but I'd recommend starting here if you're interested in some of the reason's why this particular Pope is so controversial. I just don't think it's appropriate for our country, with it's poor battered economy, to be spending 20 million pounds for him to visit. I appreciate that taxpayers are paying because it is a state visit - he was invited by the queen, rather than by members of a church. But, well, when I invite my friends to come to my house, I don't expect my housemates to pay for their expenses. It's the same thing.
Oh, and he called me a Nazi, which is clearly a ridiculous thing for anyone to accuse me of - but particularly someone with a background as shady as Ratzinger's. It's a lazy and nonsensical thing to say, in accordance with Godwin's Law. *blows raspberry*
Anyway, I got together with fellow Feet-ers Amy and Sarah, plus a few of their friends to go for a pre-protest lunch a Beetroot, which was a tasty way to fuel ourselves for the march. Then we pulled on our DM's and headed off to Hyde Park.
We were a little concerned upon emerging from the tube to see so many people carrying little yellow pilgrim packs, but things were friendly enough between the various groups of catholics & protesters, and we made our way to the rallying point in high spirits. Waiting around for the march to begin could of been rather tedious, as the unexpectedly high turn-out meant we were running a little behind schedule - but we were jollied along by a particularly comedic man-with-megaphone, a few of Amy's yummy vegan brownies and a chatter with some delightful fellow-protesters whilst blowing up condom balloons (even giving one away to a small child - with it's Mother's permission of course. It felt quite appropriate to be arming the kid against any roaming priests, but equally odd to be handing a toddler a cock-sock. FYI - the lube makes it nigh on impossible to make condom-balloon-animals, which is clearly a real shame).
|Sarah, Adrian, Josh, Amy & I|
Once we got underway we had opportunity to appreciate some truly excellent banners and placards (Personal favourites being 'Absitence Makes The Church Grow Fondlers' and 'Kiss my Ring.' Which I fear indicates that i have a highly juvenile sense of humour.) as we strolled down Piccadilly waving at the stander-bys - who were all very supportive and frequently congratulated us. Our little group got a few compliments on the 'pope rosary beads' I'd knocked up, which made me smile - they were very simple as I just used this PDF, printed out + backed onto red card then stuck together with double sided tape to make the paper popes in the photo above, before being hung onto embroidery thread & decorated with beads from a kids art set to make the necklaces you can see us wearing. I was a little disappointed in the lack of en masse chanting (despite a lady near us who was determined to kick-start 'Get your rosaries off my ovaries,' at every opportunity, plus an LGBT group behind us trying to cram 6 extra syllables into 'one two three four... '). I wished I were better with words so I could come up with some thing good n' quippy, but alas, it seems I am not destined for a career writing jingles.
Unfortunately, I had to abandon the rally half-way through because we had over-ran and I wanted to take the opportunity of a rare Saturday night off work and go on an actual date with my delicious boy - but I fully recommend to watch the videos of speakers, they really are all excellent.
Onwards and upwards - next weekend I'm facing the holy trinity in a Bananagrams Challenge - I reckon I'm a shoe-in to win, given that I'm the only non-fictional participant. Hurrah for me