A Black Eye For Feminism and Atheism: Watch This Nasty Mob Attack Catholics With Paint and Gobs of Spit

My mind is still reeling after I just watched the footage of a recent feminist protest outside a cathedral in San Juan, Argentina. In the NSFW video, shot on November 24, the pro-choice demonstrators are seen attacking a cordon of non-violent Catholic volunteers who said they were trying to protect the building from vandalism (apparently, the attendees of the annual women’s rights conference that spawned the demonstration had been on graffiti rampages before).

How can people do this and still look at themselves in the mirror the next morning?

The protesters, many of whom were topless, sprayed paint on the men, wrote on their faces with markers, and spat on them, in addition to other indignities. The men stood with linked arms and prayed during the assault. Inside the church the Archbishop Alfonso Delgado also led 700 people in prayer.

If I were merely reading about this, I admit I’d be inclined to bring some skepticism to these allegations. Did exaggerations or miscommunications color the reporting?

But the video — as far as I can tell — doesn’t lie. Even if some creative editing occurred, it’s a stunning record of nastiness and malignancy. And it seems to go only one way.

Again, the footage is not safe for work.

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Like lots of people, I can appreciate a passionate, vigorous protest. A woman’s right to choose is worth fighting for. But not — never – like this. Spitting on your opponents? Waving your middle finger in their personal space and screeching at them like unleashed banshees? Shoving them, and draping your worn underwear over their necks and faces? Using black marker to draw upside-down crosses on their foreheads? Spray-painting their shirts, faces, and genital areas? Four of those five things qualify as battery, perhaps even assault.

And apart from the criminality of it, such acts are by definition a debasement of your arguments and intellect; a self-inflicted blow against your cause; and a classless, losing PR strategy if I ever saw one.

If any atheists or feminists are disinclined to find all this a big deal (I hope they’re few and far between), I invite them to reflect on how they’d feel if the roles were reversed. What if a mob of shrieking Catholics spray-painted feminists’ genitals and clothing, spat in peaceful atheists’ faces, et cetera?

Collectively, atheists hate it when Christians in the Western hemisphere depict themselves as martyrs whose love of Jesus brings out “hate” in others. In a country where Christians make up the majority of citizens, to hear of how victimized they are is tiresome and off-base. But in this case, the complainers are right for once.

I admire the men in the cordon for keeping their cool in the face of such extreme hostility, and I hope that the video will help in tracking down the culprits — and in letting the victims see their tormentors held accountable in court.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    —If we resort to violence, because one time . . . , or even a thousand
    times . . . ., we will only make it harder to improve laws.—

    If you walked into a public bathroom and saw someone molesting a child, would you shut the door and walk away and call the cops and maybe petition for some laws about not molesting a kid in a public bathroom?

    Or would you grab the molester by the throat and slam him into the wall, hand your cell phone to the kid, and say ‘call 911 and tell them this guy fell down the stairs a couple dozen times?’

    —The people protesting are unintentionally providing support for what they are protesting.

    Their behavior is promoting their oppression.—

    That’s a neat bit of hypocrisy there, isn’t it?

    The behavior of the men involved was promoting the oppression of the women, intentionally providing support for the behavior the women are protesting.

    Why aren’t you angry?

  • Hibernia86

    There are two problems with your comment. First of all, one does not have to experience something to morally judge it. For example, say that someone who failed out of medical school decided to go and murder someone. No one would say “Well I’ve never failed out of medical school so I can’t judge how he is feeling at this time. Maybe it is understandable that he would feel angry enough to kill and he shouldn’t be held responsible for that.” That would be a ridiculous claim to make. Just because you haven’t failed out of medical school yourself does not mean you can’t judge those who misbehave after doing so. You are capable of using your basic understanding of morality to judge that his action wasn’t right.

    Secondly, your claim that as a man you have all the privilege in situations of reproduction or violence simply isn’t true. If there is an accidental (or purposeful) pregnancy, in a pro-choice society she would get to decide whether she wanted children or not while you would be forced to have kids whether you wanted to or not. You have fewer reproductive choices than she does. If you are sexually assaulted by a woman, you are much less likely to be believed or get justice in court. If a woman slaps, hits, or otherwise attacks you, many people will assume that you deserved it, will laugh at you, or will consider you weak for not just handling it yourself. This isn’t to dismiss the many reproductive and domestic violence issues that women face, but the idea that men have all the privilege in these issues is simply false.

  • Hibernia86

    Men are described in negative gender specific ways all the time in protests. They are said to be “beating their chests” even if they weren’t literally. They are described as “thugs”, something women almost never get described as.

  • Hibernia86

    And yet Susan B Anthony is who everyone remembers so maybe she had a greater effect after all. Same goes for Martin Luther King and civil rights.

  • Hibernia86

    It is a political reality. If you react violently when there are other options available, you slow down reform. This is the same debate Malcolm X and Martin Luther King had. MLK (like Gandhi) is the one remembered fondly today. There is a reason for that.

  • Hibernia86

    “To me, baring breasts as protest seems less like sexual harassment,
    because the point tends to be that women’s breasts aren’t inherently
    more sexual than men’s.”

    Women’s breasts are considered a sexual part of their body even not used in reproduction. That isn’t true for men because their breasts are so undeveloped as to pretty much not be there at all. If you mooned someone, that would be considered to some degree sexual even though the butt isn’t used directly in reproduction. Having developed breasts is a sexual characteristic just like having balls is.

  • Hibernia86

    Except the men were there to protect the building against vandalism so it isn’t as if they went out of their way to follow the women to their protest site. The men were on their “home turf” so to speak.

  • Hibernia86

    I don’t have time to analyze each one of these links, but let me at least try one. In the second to last link, the author claims that a frat party called “pig tails and pedophiles” was supporting rape culture. This ignores the fact that the party was specifically to mock pedophiles. It was supposed to shock you the way a gruesome Halloween costume might shock you. Twisting that around to suggest that they were somehow supporting pedophilia is just dishonest of the author.

  • Hibernia86

    Funny, that is exactly the same justification that men who bomb abortion clinics use. They were protecting babies, according to them.

  • Hibernia86

    Because that is the exact same excuse that abortion bombers use. They were just protecting babies, according to them.

  • Hibernia86

    Except that this very blog often points out bad behavior of Christians and treats it as representative of Evangelical culture as a whole. We can’t criticize every example of bad behavior from the religious right and then claim that any bad behavior from our side just didn’t represent us. We should be able to call out people on our own side as well.

  • Hibernia86

    They were clearly advocating the pro-choice cause. With rather unique methods, but we shouldn’t pretend that we didn’t know that they were pro-choice.

  • Hibernia86

    “Someone else is doing something worse” is not an excuse for bad behavior.

  • Hibernia86

    This is pure victim blaming. If your property is being vandalized and you stand it front of it to stop it, and people in the mob say “you’ve got us mad now!” and attack you, then the mob and ONLY the mob is responsible for their actions. I do think that the police should have been called if they weren’t and anyone who spray painted a building or person arrested immediately.

  • Hibernia86

    “And I’m sorry, but the best I can say to the victims of this mob is that you reap what you sow.”

    What evidence do you have that any of the men had spat on anyone else or spray painted anyone else? How many clinic protesters spit or spray paint others?

  • Hibernia86

    Stealing this

  • Hibernia86

    I would hope that if people were spray painting Klansmen at a protest that people would not excuse that.

  • Hibernia86

    Yes and if a bunch of Catholics had spray painted a feminist gathering, the pro-life blogs would have been going on about how it was the feminists fault for killing all those babies. Each side is willing to excuse its member’s misbehavior.

  • Hibernia86

    Again this kind of thinking will just cause pro-lifers to vandalize abortion clinics because it would bring to everyone’s attention what they see as child killing.

  • Hibernia86

    Yeah but isn’t that true of a lot of stories that are on feminist blogs as well?