Sat 18 September, Protest the Pope
Assemble 1.30pm, Hyde Park Corner, W1
March to Downing Street for rally
Cameron urged to "distance" from Pope's "bigoted" views
Saturday 18 September 2010
Assemble 1.30pm Hyde Park Corner, London W1K 1QZ (by the start of Piccadilly)
March to Downing Street for a rally at 3.30pm
This Saturday's Protest the Pope march and rally will condemn the Pope's sexism and homophobia, his collusion with the cover up of child sex abuse, and his welcome back into the church of the holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson.
The British government is being urged to publicly distance itself from the Pope's "bigoted, backward" teachings.
Speakers at the rally include Richard Dawkins, Catholic priest Father Bernard Lynch, President of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association Andrew Copson, LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, science writer Ben Goldacre, sex abuse survivor, Sue Cox, Iranian secularist Maryam Namazie and Asian feminist campaigner Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters.
Protest the Pope co-organiser Peter Tatchell said:
"We are urging David Cameron and Nick Clegg to disassociate the British government from the Pope's often harsh, intolerant views.
"Pope Benedict XVI does not deserve the honour of a State Visit. He says women are unfit to be priests, childless couples should be denied fertility treatment and potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research ought to be banned. The Pope insists that rape victims should be denied an abortion, using condoms to stop the spread of HIV is immoral and gay people are not entitled to equal human rights. On all these issues, Benedict is out of step with the majority of British people, including many Catholics.
"Most shockingly, the Pope is accused of covering up child sex abuse by clergy. In 2001, he wrote to every Catholic bishop in the world, ordering them to report all child sex abuse cases to him in Rome. They did. He therefore cannot claim that he was unaware of sex abuse. Moreover, his letter to the bishops demanded that they observe 'Papal secrecy.' It did not advise them to report abusers to the police.
"Even today, the Pope refuses to open the Vatican's sex abuse files and hand them to the relevant police forces worldwide. Many people see his inaction as collusion with sex crimes against children. Such a person should not be feted by our government," said Mr Tatchell.