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 and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Goape

    Well, that’s one group of catholics who I now feel even more sorry for. Nobody deserves that shit.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    This is not a black eye for feminism. This is not a black eye for atheism.

    They are described as pro-choice demonstrators. That isn’t feminism, and it isn’t atheism. And the very fact that we see something like this as extreme and unusual demonstrates that it isn’t typical behavior even for those who are pro-choice.

    We should deplore this behavior. But we should not view it as a blow against any cause, and we should not feel the need to apologize for what others foolishly did. Certainly, nothing that happened here represented my, my views, or any organizations I’m associated with.

    • Art_Vandelay

      That’s what I was thinking. What does this have to do with atheism? Where I live, most of the Catholics are pro-choice too.

      • Terry Firma

        Do you think there’s any reasonable chance that the protesters you see in that video are practicing Catholics?

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          In Argentina? Absolutely. And even if they aren’t practicing Catholics, that doesn’t mean they are atheists.

          • joey_in_NC

            You and Art have a rather distorted view of what practicing Catholic means.

        • Art_Vandelay

          Yes. Completely reasonable chance. I’ve seen the difference between liberal and fundie Catholics. They pretty much agree on nothing except that Jesus is awesome.

        • atheismFTW

          I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were. It’s like the Catholics who take communion, yet don’t believe it’s the body and blood of Christ. Or the Catholics who don’t go to confession for their sins and still take communion. Or the unmarried Catholics couples who are using birth control while living together and lying through their teeth to their marriage-prep priest about it. Or the Catholics who choose to live in mortal sin by getting a tubal ligation or a vasectomy for the sole purpose of not having any more children. Catholics are pros at internally justifying their non-conformities with Church dogma.

          • Amor DeCosmos

            That pretty much sums up all my South American “practicing” Catholic relatives. They are all divorced or philanderers or all the other things listed above. …and they think that I am a morally terrible person for being an atheist.

            • MD

              Yup. I’m South American, and most people my age are having/had pre-marital sex, use birth control or had fertility treatments, some are divorced, etc. they all consider themselves Catholics and are getting their kids ready for their First Communion.

        • MD

          In Argentina? I’d say most were practicing Catholics. Maybe they skip a Sunday mass here and there, have forgotten most of their catechism. If asked, most people in South America identify as Catholic.

        • $84687101

          So the reason for this being a black eye for atheism is the assumption that the protesters are not Catholic and that they’re pro-choice? And atheists are not Catholic and many atheists are pro-choice?

          I see a logic error here.

    • Finkel

      Well said and damn straight.

    • Brian K

      I think we have to accept that it is a blow to our cause. I repeatedly bring up evils done in the name of Christianity, only to have Christian friends throw a “no true Scottsman” argument in my face so they don’t have to own up some of the very real consequences for their creed. They always denounce abhorent behaviors, but always there is a “but” somewhere in their apology that minimizes our complaint. We can’t do the same thing.

      These shameful things were done in the name of a cause we hold dear. For that we can only unequivocally apologize, and promise to do better ourselves.

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        This is not a blow to any cause of mine.

        Mobs happen. Nothing was done here in the name of any cause I associate with. And there’s nothing in this story that seems to be remotely associated with atheism. Nothing even suggests that these people are atheists. And it is a mistake to conflate the social environment in one country with that everywhere. “Feminists” in Argentina are not the same as “feminists” in Sweden, or in the UK, or in the U.S.

        And I’d say that your Christian friends are correct in condemning you if you blame them for the acts of other Christians.

        • Terry Firma

          And again with the strawmen. You don’t want to be blamed for the acts of others, you say. Well, I wasn’t apportioning blame to anyone but the women who engaged in this despicable behavior. No one expects you to apologize. It still is, as a wrote, a black aye for atheists and feminists. How much of it you want to “own,” as you contemplate the meaning of “No true Scotsman,” is up to you.

          P.S. Disqus is being weird again.

          • Ewan

            There’s a difference between ‘No True Scotsman’ and pointing out that someone isn’t actually Scottish, not everyone is.

          • Cake

            You know atheists don’t own the pro choice movement, right?

          • $84687101

            OK, but could you just tell us where the connection to atheism is?

        • Brian K

          I didn’t say I blamed them for the acts of others (though I’ll admit to being a bit vague in terms). What I’m referring to is conversations where I suggest that certain Christian positions are harmful, to which they reply they are not. I then list harms visited by Christians under the exact pretenses that they are defending, and they disqualify my examples as not “true” examples. This is a problem. When people foster an environment where harmful ideologies influence others’ behavior, they bear partial culpability in the harm their ideas contribute to. We can’t do the same and pretend to be on higher moral ground. When we see people hurt in the name of ideals we hold dear, our first instinct can’t be to protect the well-being of our own image. It ought to be empathy for the victims.

          • Art_Vandelay

            Atheism is not an ideology. It has no moral edicts. It has no divine mandates. It’s simply the rejection of a claim. That’s why your argument fails and that’s why this headline is shit journalism. The only way that there will ever be a black eye for atheism is when super space-monster comes down and reveals himself.

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Certain Christian positions are arguably harmful. That’s an assertion that can be rationally discussed, with evidence presented. What has that to do with a mob in Argentina?

            If I heard about an atheist somewhere who committed some crime, I’d feel no inclination to publish his story on my blog and try to distance myself from his actions simply because I, too, am an atheist.

            If I hear about a mob of Christians somewhere who attack a mosque, or a mob of Muslims who attack a Hindu temple, I don’t assume that these things reflect on the thinking of Christians or Muslims in general.

            What reflects on a group is a consistent pattern of behavior. Feminists aren’t out rioting in the streets. An incident like this is clearly an aberration. So why even bring it to the spotlight (and especially in this forum, as opposed to a feminist forum?)

            The “cause” of feminism did not create this disturbance. Any ethical person should reject the behavior of those involved, not just, or especially, those who consider themselves feminists.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              C Peterson,

              It doesn’t involve me when my neighbor is being assaulted, so I will not say anything?

              Really?

              We are moral. We should condemn immoral behavior even if it does not directly affect us – especially because it does not directly affect us.

              .

              • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                I will say something if I’m asked. I will say something to my friends, perhaps. But I won’t say it in a way that suggests that the assault of my neighbor somehow reflects badly on me.

                I’m not saying we shouldn’t condemn immoral or bad behavior. I am saying that we shouldn’t create a false association between ourselves and those committing that behavior.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  C Peterson,

                  I’m not saying we shouldn’t condemn immoral or bad behavior. I am saying that we shouldn’t create a false association between ourselves and those committing that behavior.

                  If the protest had been non-violent, would you have distanced yourself from the protest group?

                  If Terry Firma had written about a brave non-violent protest against religious oppression, would you distance yourself from the group?

                  I do not know what you would do, so I am not going to pretend that I do.

                  If this had been a non-violent protest, I would probably write a comment that praises the group.

                  I would probably have been pleased to have read about it on this site.

                  I would feel an association, although minor and distant and not experiencing any of the harm that the women experience.

                  .

                • Madison Blane

                  Like it or not, the world views Atheists as a group. Many do not understand exactly what it means to be an Atheist. When actions of a large group of Atheists make the news, people do presume that group is representative of all who carry that label. And rest assured there are those who will be looking to see how Atheists respond to this. If we do not condemn it, silence condones it.

                  I think it is wise for prominent Atheist blogs to get ahead of the story and denounce this violence NOW as absolutely NOT being part of Atheism. Sections of the general public are beginning to see Atheism as nothing more than a rebellious fad with members just as fundamentally dogmatic and pushy with their ideas as religion is. American Atheists Inc. president and staff are doing little to disabuse the public of this notion with their provocative statements and recent acts.

                  I appreciate Terry for writing this post and taking an anti-violence stance. Individual Atheists are, of course, free to speak for themselves.

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I don’t think the way to change the world’s perception of atheism is to run around finding examples of people acting badly, create some sort of non-existent connection with atheism, and then say we deplore those acts.

                  The way to change the world’s perception of atheism is to be good people and to act ethically.

                • rg57

                  It does reflect badly on you, as does this particular thread.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  C Peterson,

                  I am saying that we shouldn’t create a false association between ourselves and those committing that behavior.

                  I think that is the crux of the disagreement.

                  This is why many Christians ignore the misbehavior of other Christians.

                  It isn’t me.

                  They are not true Scotsmen.

                  There is no reason for me to oppose this, because their Christian oppression is different from my christian oppression. Mine isn’t oppression – just the bright shining love of God that everyone deserves – regardless of whether they agree.

                  There is so much Christian oppression that any individual act can be isolated and dismissed as not related to most Christians.

                  We need to be better then them.

                  .

              • UnePetiteAnana

                Rogue, I completely agree with your comment.

                Assuming when you say, “We are moral,” you’re implying atheists in general … by what standard?

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  UnePetiteAnana,

                  Assuming when you say, “We are moral,” you’re implying atheists in general … by what standard?

                  I am implying everyone.

                  Morality evolves.

                  We can use the golden rule, which came about long before Christianity.

                  Treat others as we would like to be treated.

                  Assuming no sadomasochistic morals, this makes a foundation for morality that involves true fair play.

                  Some will not subscribe to that, but civilization is about cooperation and we can work toward more moral civilization.

                  Morality evolves. Our sympathy/empathy is a part of that evolution.

                  When the first parts of the Bible were written, it was acceptable to kill people for all sorts of things – including atheism.

                  When the American Constitution was written, it was shocking that it did not include punishment of the family of someone convicted of treason, did not include a religious test for government office, and did not have any official religion.

                  We have a Constitution that does not depend on any Gods for authority.

                  We have survived.

                  We have prospered (for a variety of reasons).

                  We learn from our mistakes (eventually).

                  Morality evolves as we understand more.

                  .

      • Art_Vandelay

        Tell me what it is about the position, “I reject your belief in an all-powerful sky daddy” that makes someone spit in the face of another for not allowing women the right to chose. Give me just an inkling of a connection between these things.

        • Madison Blane

          The upside-down crosses will be linked to Atheists by the media – like it or not, agree with it or not.

          • http://batman-news.com 3lemenope

            Wait a minute, here. Are you saying that because some people are too stupid to know what a Cross of St. Peter is, that atheists a half a world away are obligated on the basis of that lack of knowledge to apologize for events they were not a party to? “And I also condemn the recent violence by all parties in Syria, since they will figure a way to somehow blame us for that too.”

            Look, I don’t ask Christians to apologize for the sins of dead, distant Christians. Fair game for conversations about historical claims of moral superiority? You bet. To try to induce guilt? Be serious. They weren’t there, they didn’t do anything wrong. Their reliance upon bad historical examples may make them foolish and their arguments poorly supported, but it does not mean they share in the blame of the events having happened. Such as it is with them, so as it is with everyone.

            • Neko

              Um, I’m not too “stupid” to know what a cross of St. Peter is (why should this be common knowledge?), but I doubt that was the intended symbolism. More likely to be a “smash the Church” sign. That is, the kind of thing many people associate with atheism.

              • http://batman-news.com 3lemenope

                The complaint I was responding to was about the media (who, frankly, are perhaps not stupid but are willfully and selectively ignorant) who will spin this towards atheists and atheism rather than an internal dispute of the Church (which given the %ages of Argentinians who are Catholic, much more likely than some atheist cabal, just on the numbers); given that it is likely Catholics criticizing and attacking other Catholics, the interpretation of the cross as a St. Peter’s is more supportable than an inference to any other competing explanation. If we had more evidence at our disposal, that may change, but neither the media nor the protesters nor the church has bothered to furnish us with any.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              3lemenope,

              Are you saying that because some people are too stupid to know what a Cross of St. Peter is, . . . .

              Are you stating that the intent was to celebrate St. Peter?

              .

              • http://batman-news.com 3lemenope

                No more so than hanging an American flag upside-down intends to celebrate (or attack, for that matter) America. Symbols used in different ways, and in different contexts, by different people, communicate different things. Given that it is likely, demographically speaking, that a large number of the participants on both sides were Catholic, I am unwilling to presume that the use of a Catholic symbol would mean the same thing as that symbol decontextualized and normally used in US culture would mean.

                And it could well be a criticism, on the lines of “Peter disapproves”, and still be a cross of St. Peter.

      • Rickster

        Yeah, I agree it was extreme for prochoice, atheists, or feminists, but comparing this to what Christians did just years ago or now is extreme, too. How many people were killed? If those had been atheists protecting something, you can damn well bet the house on a few death and beatings.

        What I do think is interesting that the impact of the new pope is pretty visible. Before violence in defense of the Church would have been DEMANDED. We may be looking at less cherry picking and actually trying to live by the tenets of their religion. This could lead to a world where outbreaks like this due to long years of suppression and violence will become less likely and maybe, just maybe, we can let each other alone.

        So I guess I am saying, let’s not put ourselves up on a cross quite yet.

      • FlyingFree333

        Show me ANYWHERE in the tenets of atheism that command or promote violence.

        • Neko

          Atheists have “tenets” besides lack of belief in gods? I’m out.

          • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

            Mmmm.

            Bring me some violent Gods without tenets.

            .

      • lolol

        Not quite “true Scotsman” did any of them identify as Atheist or Feminist? For all you know, they as well believe in god. Until someone shows for a fact that they identified themselves as Feminist or Atheist it is just speculation. They may not believe in a god and still not know about or identify as Atheists. Many people who claim to believe in a god don’t act like what they supposedly should and vice versa. Also they could be there to instigate, tarnish and degrade the protest.

    • Alex T.

      I think it is a stretch to say that this event doesn’t reflect on atheism and feminism. While atheism, feminism and being pro choice are three distinct categories there is a lot of overlap between these groups. Many people, particularly from the christian right, think that to be pro-choice you have to be an atheist.

      I agree with you that these actions do not represent my cause or my beliefs, but there are many people who will think they do. I frequently hear atheists call for moderates (muslims, christians, republicans) to denounce the actions of the extremist fringe, and I think this is a time that atheists must do the same.

      • ZeldasCrown

        I agree that people who belong to one (or all three) of the groups that you mention can see the difference between these categories (and have a better idea of how they overlap). The problem is that many on the right do not see a difference, and will lump these folks in with atheists (particularly since this fits in with their preconceived “evil atheist” rhetoric). So I’d agree that it is important to not sweep this under the rug and to be vocal about “I don’t agree with the actions of these protesters” (just as many here call to more moderate religious folks to denounce the actions of the vocal extreme members of their religion).

        I would guess that this group considers themselves to be some flavor of feminist, but I don’t have any guess as to whether some or all of the group considers themselves to be atheist. And there’s a difference between saying “no, no, they’re not true atheists” (and committing everyone’s favorite logical fallacy), and “they may consider themselves atheists, but their views/actions/whatever don’t represent a ‘typical’ (for lack of a better word) atheist”.

    • Terry Firma

      I find that a really weak and disappointing comment, for two reasons.

      So you look at that video and say there’s no evidence that these protesters were feminists. Did I get that right? They are, instead, “pro-choice demonstrators.” So you think that if we’d asked any of the women in the video whether they consider themselves not feminists — or ardent believers in God, for that matter — they would have said that indeed they reject feminism, and that they are followers of Jesus Christ? Come on.

      Re “We should not feel the need to apologize for what others foolishly did,” that’s a strawman. I didn’t apologize for what these women did either, and I’m certainly not asking anyone else to. But as fellow atheists (and perhaps fellow feminists), we can at least acknowledge and condemn it, rather than adopting this “nothing to see here, move along” attitude.

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        All I said is that I look at that video and I see a mob. It is we (well, in this case, you) presenting it as you do in this forum that creates a false association between their actions and our beliefs.

        • Terry Firma

          Saying that most of these people were probably not feminists and atheists is like saying that most protesters against gay marriage are probably not Christians. Does not hold water.

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            I’m sure that these people were virtually all feminists, although that doesn’t automatically mean their actions reflect on feminism. They don’t, since nothing in feminism as it is commonly perceived calls for this sort of behavior. Their actions were not created by feminism, but by anger, frustration, and the mob mentality- something that can affect any group under the right (or wrong) conditions.

            But suggesting that most of these people were atheists seems completely unsupported. It is much more likely that most are Catholics, and that the non-Catholics are, for the most part, other Christians or simple “nones”.

            I don’t think most feminists are atheists, especially not in Argentina. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d like to hear about it.

    • Neko

      Because public perception is as discriminating as C Peterson.

      The thuggery will certainly be associated with feminism and atheism. The Catholics reacted with admirable restraint. That is the reality. Terry is right. This is a blow to our already abysmal public image.

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        There’s nothing about this incident even remotely connected with atheism. If there’s some public association with this and atheism, it’s because we have made that association right here.

        • Terry Firma

          I’m sorry to see you deluding yourself to this extent, clutching at straws, looking for ways out.

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Again, all I’m asking for is some evidence to support your assertion that any significant number of these people were atheists, or that atheism in any way created this situation. In the absence of such, it strikes me that those straws are being clutched in your hands, not mine.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              C Peterson,

              I don’t think it is about numbers.

              After all, one atheist has the power of a million Christians – more if we use Biblical math.

              I think it is about this being an issue we would support.

              The issue is opposition to religious laws that oppress anyone.

              .

            • Neko

              It doesn’t matter if every last one of these women end up going to Mass on Sunday. If they drew upside-down crosses on the men’s foreheads, the symbolism is sufficient to forge an association with atheism in the public mind. And if that symbolism is lost on anyone, the right-wing propaganda machine in the US will be in overdrive to ram the message home.

              • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                If people associate this with atheism (and I don’t buy that they do), so be it. If atheists run around headlining every injustice that somebody might insanely associate with atheism, we look overly defensive.

                IMO, this particular column hurts atheists and atheism far more than it helps it.

                • Neko

                  that somebody might insanely associate with atheism

                  Do you not live in the USA? Atheism is lumped in with all the evils (like feminism) at war with the Christian nation. It’s not like Terry Firma unwittingly created this connection. The association was already there and has been drilled into public consciousness for decades.

                  It’s not only politic to say atheists do not support such actions, it happens to be the right thing to do.

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I do live in the USA. And we have an expression here, “methinks thou dost protest too much”. And I think it applies brilliantly here. In responding defensively to something that doesn’t remotely involve atheists or atheism, we make ourselves look guilty.

                  Terry didn’t create the association between atheism and all things evil, but posts like this reinforce it.

                • Neko

                  Ha! So we’re claiming Shakespeare now. And Jesus was from Pennsylvania.

                  We usually disagree over stuff like this. You’re sanguine about the crappy reputation atheists have; I’m not.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  C Peterson,

                  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

                  It is from Hamlet. It is not an Americanism. Protest not mean what it appears to mean.

                  The phrase’s actual meaning is, “I think the lady is promising too much.”

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_lady_doth_protest_too_much,_methinks.

                  .

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I’m aware of the original source, and of the original meaning. I used it as it is commonly used (indeed, the only way it is used off the stage). I did not say it is an Americanism, although I don’t know that it isn’t, either.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  C Peterson,

                  The idea that it may mean complaining too much may be an Americanism.

                  .

                • Karen Milton

                  It isn’t.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  +1 for Shakespeare, because classic.

        • Neko

          Wow. You have a grand view of Friendly Atheist’s influence on public perception.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          C Peterson,

          If there’s some public association with this and atheism, it’s because we have made that association right here.

          Good for us.

          We are taking moral position and it is not based on superstition.

          .

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            No, bad for us. We are creating an association that doesn’t exist.

            This post does not decry public violence for the sake of public violence. It decries it by claiming that it somehow reflects on feminism and atheism- an unsupported claim and one that actually harms both feminists and atheists.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              C Peterson,

              This post does not decry public violence for the sake of public violence. It decries it by claiming that it somehow reflects on feminism and atheism- an unsupported claim and one that actually harms both feminists and atheists.

              I think it is about this being an issue we would support.

              It is an issue I would support.

              The issue is opposition to religious laws that oppress anyone.

              .

    • Guest

      ahhh no true Scotsmen… this defense applies to atheists as well as Christians, apparently

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I fail to see any connection between my comments and the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      C Peterson,

      Certainly, nothing that happened here represented my, my views, or any organizations I’m associated with.

      I am an isolationist.

      As an isolationists, I don’t care about anyone else.

      That does affect atheists, since you regularly post here as an atheist.

      You could have chosen to ignore this story.

      You did not.

      You chose to criticize this as a story that atheists should ignore.

      I have always interpreted atheism as being about rationalism and fair play.

      Maybe I am wrong, but I never interpreted atheism as being opposed to rationalism and opposed to fair play.

      These protesters are a mob.

      Why are you saying that we should ignore the mob?

      .

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Where did I say we should ignore the mob?

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          C Peterson,

          OK. We should not ignore the mob, but we should ignore any association with the mob?

          .

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            That sounds fair. That said, however, if we’re going to start posting injustices we want to decry, this one is too trivial. There are far worse things happening in the world given the limited space on FA.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              C Peterson,

              I do not think that FA does ignore other, more serious, injustices.

              I have only limited time and material to draw from, but I see FA as an excellent source of information about religion/atheism and injustice.

              If the topic bothers me, I can skip over it.

              I tell people the same thing when they try to tell me what to write on my blog.

              This isn’t ________ enough. or This is too __________.

              .

    • anon101

      Oh come on CP. These are feminists. And maybe some of them are atheists. But their actions are gonna be attributed to feminism (and this is completely justified), and not to atheism. One of the reasons why I am not a feminist.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Pro-choice is very much a part and parcel of feminism. I agree that it has nothing to do with atheism whatsoever, but feminism is to “blame” for the spread of pro-choice sentiment because of its unique emphasis on consent and control of one’s own personal body for all people. What shocks many is that all people does in fact include people with uteruses, most of whom are women.

  • indorri

    Yeah, that is utterly despicable. I haven’t watched the video, but if it’s as you describe, this is criminal and immoral.

  • sam

    Congratulations to the catholics for a well-deserved victory. They are the clear winners in this PR battle. Regardless of who caused the abuse, regardless of what cause the abusers were fighting for, the catholics win. They will be seen as the victims (they clearly are), and this will perpetuate their Imitatio Christi and solidify their self-righteousness. There is no good reason to mistreat these misguided people. This battle must be fought politically.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Let’s turn around and take a look in the other direction. What would feminists have against the Holy Roman Catholic Church?

    Michigan woman sues Catholic bishops after hospital fails to treat her miscarriage

    A Michigan woman is taking on the nation’s Catholic hospitals in federal
    court, alleging they are forcing pregnant women in crisis into having
    painful miscarriages rather than terminate the pregnancy — and not
    giving them any options.

    The case involves Tamesha Means, who was rushed to Mercy Health
    Partners in Muskegon in December 2010 when her water broke after 18
    weeks of pregnancy. The hospital sent her home twice, even though she
    was in “excruciating pain;” there was virtually no chance that her
    pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed a
    significant risk to the mother’s health, she alleged in the lawsuit.

    But because of its Catholic affiliation and directives, the hospital told
    Means that there was nothing it could do, and it did not tell her that
    abortion was an option, she alleged in the lawsuit. When Means returned
    to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection,
    the hospital still tried to send her home, but Means began to deliver
    while staff prepared her discharge paperwork.

    This is just one example in a country that is less Catholic and less paternalistic than Argentina.

    • Seekin

      So, because one side acts abominably that makes it ok for the other side to behave poorly too? I’d always thought that two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • Terry Firma

        Beat me to it.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          So you wanted to be the first in line with a strawman? Shame.

          • Terry Firma

            Then maybe you ought to explain a little bit better what you meant with that long quote, if not to paint the picture that these women were somehow justified in taking counter-action.

            • GubbaBumpkin

              Maybe you ought to explain why you are defending the Inquisition and denying the Crusades by characterizing Catholics as “non-violent.”

              See how easy that is? And how dishonest?

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Apparently this is the part where you make shit up and pretend that I wrote it. Lose the strawman and learn how to argue honestly and effectively. And fuck you.

        • SeekerLancer

          To be fair here, what rhetorical point were you trying to make if Seekin’s inference is incorrect. Because if it is I completely missed the point as well.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Abortion in Argentina

    Abortion in Argentina is strictly limited by law. Until 2007
    there were no confirmed figures of performed abortions; health
    authorities estimated 500,000 per year (40% of all pregnancies), in most
    cases presumably illegal and often outside proper sanitary conditions.
    Around 80,000 patients per year are hospitalized due to post-abortion
    complications (and must face legal punishment). Many failed abortion
    attempts and deaths due to them are not recorded as such and/or are not
    notified to the authorities.

    • Gerri

      Not condoning their behavior, but that right there gives us outsiders a perspective on why the protesters were acting so outlandishly. If I were a woman living in a country which limited my rights to my body like that, I imagine I’d feel more like a slave than a respected human being. And oppressed people eventually unleash their rage.

  • Dancing Bear

    I decided to leave the Catholic Church and embrace skepticism. But I could not say anything bad about it since I’ve never experienced anything negative about it. Except for maybe in my country where they butt in to the political arena. But as an atheist….I’ve never felt the need to join any kind of organization like an atheist club, freethinkers etc…. Because I feel it reeks of religious connotations one which I’m trying to avoid. That’s why to me. Feminists groups or organized atheist protests seem to be more counter productive. Then you add things like this, rare as they are. Damn. Fanaticism. The god of self.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Even if they were feminists–where is the evidence for that apart from them being pro-abotion and that’s just what Christians call anyone who’s pro-abortion?–what does this have to do with atheism?

  • Matt Potter

    Where was law enforcement? I’m not familiar with Argentina law but here in the U.S. charges would have included assault, battery, destruction to property, lewd and lascivious behavior, and I’m sure there are many others. The video starts when all the actions are taking place full force. The authorities had to have seen the lead up to this. I applaud the Catholics there for remaining calm and dignified while in the face of such disrespectful and criminal behavior.

    • Matt Potter

      I just noticed this from the second linked article,

      “InfoCatólica reported that the 600 police on hand told them they could
      do nothing to stop the protesters because, “they are women.” They also
      report Father Rómulo Cámpora, pastor of the cathedral, was assaulted,
      along with two other religious leaders.”

      And apparently these clashes have been going on since 2008, not this out of control but there was a history.

  • LesterBallard

    I’d say a black eye for humanity, but unfortunately that is nothing new. We’ve been beating the shit out of ourselves for a long time.

  • Jace Paul

    An attempt to explain – but not justify – this behavior, might begin with a quote attributed to JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” I’m admittedly ignorant of the culture and history of Argentina. If, however, there’s a tradition of institutional oppression of women and subjugation of human rights, I can understand why this behavior occurred – even if, strictly speaking, I find it morally problematic.

    • Terry Firma

      Does it only go one way, Jace? If the shoe were on the other foot, and it was you being spray-painted and spat upon, would you be so philosophical and understandiing?

      • Jace Paul

        For a start, I don’t think I’d ever find myself in a situation that didn’t provide for any reasonable chance of civil discourse. Nor would I descend to the level of binary thinking that results in mindless behavior – in this case, either reflexive violence or rote chanting to some non-existent deity.

        Also, and I was afraid I would have to spell this out, I am saying that I simply see a cause for the behavior, I am not excusing it. It’s entirely possible to recognize the origin of some phenomenon without attaching an affective judgment to it. That, after all, is the basis of scientific, rational thought.

        • Drew R.

          You beat me to the point, Jace – we don’t have a ton of information here. What if, for example, all those women had relatives die due to causes that could have been avoided if they had had access to an abortion? For all we can tell their reactions to the Catholics there might have been an UNDER-stated reaction to whatever suffering the Catholic Church had inflicted upon them.

          Were their actions really ugly and disgusting? Yes. But again, if you’re in the United States, you live in a country founded upon the principle that when rational discourse fails that violent action is called for. It’s hard for me to say that the women here were not justified in their anger without having a lot more information than the video provides, unpleasant as that video happens to be.

      • Jace Paul

        A further thought: The position of privilege I occupy rules out any realistic speculation about how I might feel or behave in this situation. I’m a white male. I’ve never experienced systemic patriarchy or been told that my body is not my own to control. I’ve never been beaten or abused because of my gender. I simply cannot say how I would feel if I were a woman and endured a lifetime of oppression and dehumanization by men. Even the mere fact that I can sit here and condemn these women from my comfortable first-world armchair is indicative of a privileged position in the world. So I suppose I turn the question around to you: how would you behave if you were a woman who’d been forced by a white male Christian culture to endure a back-alley abortion? Would you be so quick to side with the men outside the church?

        Since tone is absent from text, I want to state that I pose the query without the intent of confrontation, but for the sake of furthering greater understanding. Every day should bring at least one opportunity to expand and evolve as a human being, in my view.

        • Neko

          I am a woman who in adolescence left the Catholic Church precisely because of its patriarchal, authoritarian and misogynistic traditions. I’ve never had an abortion but have been pro-choice and feminist my entire life, and I condemn these women’s actions. They disgraced themselves and are an embarrassment to any cause they may be associated with. Though I disagree with the Catholic position on abortion, my sympathy lies with the men who endured the women’s assaults with dignity. Acting well matters.

          • Jace Paul

            “Acting well matters.” Sam Harris’ protestations to the contrary, morality is necessarily and immutably relativistic. So I ask you – by what standard and from what cultural perspective is this behavior “wrong?” We atheists are fond of pointing out that religion is geographical: if you were raised in Iran, you might be Muslim. In India, you would probably be Hindu. The inculcation of any other other moral precept is subject to the same capriciousness – if you were an Argentine woman at this protest, your understanding of “acting well” might be entirely different.

            • Neko

              by what standard and from what cultural perspective is it this behavior “wrong?”

              What? I’m culturally Catholic, and so are the Argentinian women. And please, in what culture is spitting, assault and cunnilingus-as-public protest acceptable practice?

              • Jace Paul

                The powerful and privileged establish the morality of any culture. Spitting and assault aren’t praised by any specific morality per se, but in many historical contexts assault and even killing is perfectly permissible – even praised – when conducted against an agent of oppression. Our own nation is founded on the notion that it was a good thing to kill British soldiers, politicians, and loyalists in order to secure freedom from the monarchy. I’m not saying that I agree with that, but the general consensus of our cultural milieu is that it was the right thing to do. The difference between terrorism and just war is determined by who holds power and is writing history books.

                • Neko

                  Thank you for the lecture on the dynamics of power. Never heard of it.

                  By this logic the women would be justified in organizing armed rebellion against Catholic men for their oppression under the Catholic Church hierarchy. Would you support such an initiative? After all, who are you as a privileged white man to make any judgment whatsoever on oppressed women anywhere?

                • Jace Paul

                  I am not supporting or opposing any action here. Merely trying to describe it. Explanation, not endorsement.

                • baal

                  “Explanation, not endorsement.”

                  Again, bullshit.

                  Your condemnation of harm is tepid at best and are an apologist for the violent subset of protestors. I also, on plain suspecion, suspect you’re assoiciated with certain groups. Would you list out the blogs you frequent and your position on donglegate? (on second thought, don’t. I already know where you are on it).

                • Jace Paul

                  I’m expressing the strictly scientific perspective: morality is entirely determined by the confluence of genetics, personal history, and present contextual variables. There is no absolute morality of which to speak; what determines the “rightness” of any action is consensus of the majority and nothing more.

                • Neko

                  So the consensus of the majority in countries that practice female genital mutilation makes it “right.” I don’t have to believe in objective morality to determine that assaulting girls to deprive them of sexual feeling is wrong.

                • Jace Paul

                  We’re having two different conversations, here. You seem to be looking for my opinion on certain issues, and I’m simply trying to describe, as objectively as possible, why they occur.

                  If you want my personal view – yes, violence is generally the least dignified and sensible course of action. No, women and girls should not be subject to genital mutilation.

                  But here’s what separates a selfish, short-sighted morality from a rational one: I accept that my moral preferences are not encoded in the natural laws of the universe. If tomorrow, the entire human race decided that a dropped bowling ball should rise, a dropped bowling would nevertheless still fall and break our toes. On the other hand, if the human race decided tomorrow that spitting in someone’s face was a good thing, no law of physics would be violated. Indeed, the universe wouldn’t care one iota if we all spat in each other’s faces. Only we would care, and when all of humankind passes away even that would be immaterial.

                  Believe me, I wish there were a universal law that hurting others is wrong. I wish no one had to endure starving or war. But the universe does not care about what I wish, nor conform to my sense of what ought to be. This is the burden of rationalism and the scientific view, my friend.

                • Neko

                  Your “personal view” is your moral position, as is mine. Who made a claim to transcendental law in either case?

                • Jace Paul

                  It seems implicit in your statements to far. So, if you agree that there is no transcendent law, are we in agreement that our dislike of the women’s behavior in this video is a subjective assessment upon which we happen to agree? Moreover, that given the conditional nature of morality, the women in this video are just as entitled to the view that their actions were justified as we are to the perspective that they were not?

                • Neko

                  If I may, on what do you base your subjective assessment?

                • Jace Paul

                  Exactly what I stated above – genetics, personal history, current contextual variables. I’m just as much a product of biology and socialization as any other person.

                • Neko

                  But as a cultural relativist your subjective assessment has no more moral validity than that of girl-cutters.

                • Jace Paul

                  It does not have the force of natural law, no. However, if I could convince enough people to see it my way, engage the political and cultural machinery to change minds and laws, and ultimately build a consensus that girl-cutting as you call it is wrong (bringing us right back to power dynamics as the mechanism of morality) then the anti-genital mutilation perspective would, in effect, become the more “valid” one.

                • Neko

                  The rightness or wrongness of genital mutilation doesn’t depend on whether you’ve marshaled enough power to create a taboo against it. It’s an effect of standards of justice that have evolved worldwide since civilization began and are subsumed under the notion of “human rights.”

                • Jace Paul

                  I would like to agree with you, but…these are extremely problematic contentions. Your “standards of justice” have not evolved uniformly or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation. “Standards” of morality are as heterogeneous as religions, which bloom up across history and geography with such variability as to be innumerable. Moral standards change sometimes with slow evolution of thought, but far more frequently (historically anyway) when one powerful culture occupies and subverts a smaller one. Christianity and Islam didn’t spread through thought but by force. Even now in our relatively peaceful era, American hegemony is spread through corporate occupation, and cultures become more American in their values through the universality of our cultural and economic institutions.

                  Some would argue (not me, to be sure) that going into a nation where female genital mutilation is practiced and demanding a change is just religious or moral imperialism all over again. Is my right as an American to dictate cultural norms greater than the right of another person’s to practice them? Some believe that something akin to Star Trek’s prime directive should guide the choices of a dominant political entity – that interfering in another culture is wrong even if it could save lives or advance another culture’s standard of living.

                • Neko

                  Certainly it would be cultural imperialism to enforce “our” standards of morality on a sovereign nation. That is a separate issue from the rightness or wrongness of a moral proposition.

                  Of course I understand why you’re squeamish about any suggestion of a transcendental morality. As an atheist it is quite impossible for me to accept such a notion. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t universally acknowledged principles of justice. The moral systems projected onto the divine or transcendent are human creations, after all. And the expectation of justice does seem hard-wired. Why else would the slave rebel, even at a terrible cost, when the culture condones slavery as a feature of the natural order?

                  You need look no further than kids on the playground for evidence of this. They can be just brutal: violent, bickering, cruel. Yet somehow they already have a highly sensitive sense of justice: “It’s not fair!”

                  By the way, Christianity didn’t initially spread through force. It took centuries for the imperial state to recognize that Christianity was not going away and that monotheism was well adapted to empire. Of course, ever since then the religion has been inextricable from politics.

                • Jace Paul

                  I’m not sure where I stand on the justice is hard-wired issue. Presently, I don’t think there’s enough evidence from the body of neuroscience research to make a definitive conclusion on the matter. However, I will say that even if there are universal -principles-, they are never universally applied. Every single categorical imperative we can think of will have at least one situation where our innate sense of justice tells us we MUST break it. A personal example – I do believe violence is wrong. However, I can think of at least one circumstance where I would absolutely use it: if my infant daughter’s life depended on it. I would use lethal force if necessary and provided no other options were available. Would I agree it was morally problematic? Yes. Would I feel bad about taking another person’s life? Indeed. But I would do it just the same because the context – protecting someone I am entrusted to protect and who is unable to protect herself – demands it. Allowing an infant to come to harm either by action or inaction would be, in my view a greater moral failure.

                  And so even if there is an innate sense of right and wrong, circumstances can dictate that even our hard-wired morality must be relativistic.

                • Neko

                  The right to defend yourself and your family is another universally recognized standard of conduct. Or do you think it’s an idiosyncratic position developed in response to genetics/personal experience/current contextual variables?

                  Actually, it might be the most fundamental of all instincts.

                  As for moral ambiguity, I’m comfortable with it. It’s reality.

                • Jace Paul

                  Put another way, let’s say that Iran and not America had prevailed as the world’s superpower in the twentieth century. Right now, our counterparts might be arguing over how it’s a “human rights” issue that we export our Islamic moral standards to America, where girls are “tragically” educated and allowed to drive. If the consensus of the majority was that these things are morally wrong, wouldn’t they be just as justified for trying to impose their moral standards on us as we are for doing it to them?

                • baal

                  Might makes right?
                  Your thinking is not rational.

                • baal

                  Papers please. Else you need to define what you mean by morality. “strictly scientific perspective”

                  Really, I was after at least 3 xtians for misappropriation of that term this week alone.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Jace Paul,

                  Are you calling for violent revolution?

                  .

                • Jace Paul

                  With respect, Rogue, if you would read my comments elsewhere on this blog (just a few lines down, in fact) you would have the answer to that question.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Jace Paul,

                  There are hundreds of comments and I am not going to search elsewhere to find what you mean here.

                  However, my point is that your argument can be used to support violence and the idea that morality is too relative for us to criticize that use of violence.

                  Am I misrepresenting your position?

                  .

                • Jace Paul

                  Not quite. I’m saying that depending on who you ask the women in this video were either justified or not, and there’s no independent, empirical means to establish which perspective is “right.”

                  Consensus determines morality. If more people say the women were wrong than right, than they are wrong. And vice versa. The validity of our criticism is bestowed upon us by the force of numbers and our position in the hierarchy of human power. When it comes to moral standards, I’m afraid some animals are more equal than others.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Jace Paul,

                  If we are to negotiate for improved laws, we need to do so in a civilized way.

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

                  Morality does have a context.

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

                  Their behavior is promoting their oppression.

                  Is that moral?

                  .

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

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

                  Their behavior is promoting their oppression.

                  That’s a bit victim-blamey.

                • baal

                  “Consensus determines morality.”
                  Bullshit.
                  Harm determines morality. You may justify a harm but it takes some effort on your part and is your burden. Else, being harmful is not moral.

              • baal

                “cunnilingus-as-public protest” while offensive to many (though not me) isn’t violent and as such, I’d consider it fair game for a protest.

                • Neko

                  Good catch. It’s not morally wrong. Tasteless, gratuitous, and sad, perhaps, but not wrong.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                What’s wrong with cunnilingus as public protest?

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              Jace Paul,

              Morality is geographical?

              Come over here and say that! ;-)

              .

              • Jace Paul

                Ha! Nicely played, sir. :)

            • baal

              How can we tell what’s wrong? I usually field that exact question from the moral objectivistist (christian presupposationalists). Here’s the rule, absent an explicit showing of having tried non-violent means, violence is wrongful. period. full stop.

              The real harm is that unless you show your work about having tried lesser dispute resolution routes, you just wind up normalizing the use of power as a means of resolution. If you didn’t like the escalation by having men round the church this year, where is your condemnation (you actually said you don’t) of the women for their escalation?

              It’s never acceptable morally to presume justification for violence. You need a proceeding or at least a strong showing of specific harm and specific useful retaliation.

              I apply this standard to you, to the xtian moral relativists, biker gangs, and rioters and police forces of all stripes.

          • alfaretta

            We can see in our own history (fire hoses in Birmingham) that violent acts against non-violent resistance works wonderfully to gain sympathy and legitimacy — for your opponents.

            I have the greatest empathy for the women of Argentina who are suffering under the anti-reproductive rights policies the Catholic church supports (I am an American who benefited greatly from the higher level of reproductive rights Americans enjoyed in the 70s and 80s) but, ethics and criminality aside, giving your opponent a weapon to use against you is bad strategy.

            • Neko

              Well said.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Which is why when women’s suffrage in this country went absolutely nowhere until women started misbehaving. Because acting well matters, and only by asking nicely and politely are rights ever respected. Oh wait … Alice Paul and her radical acts (marches, protests in front of the White House, resisting arrest, hunger strikes, even chaining to the White House fence) pushed women’s suffrage forward far faster and further than Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott and the rest of the old guard, who were asking politely.

            Assaulting other people isn’t acceptable ever, of course. Drawing on people, invading their personal space; those should not happen. But the other things- showing breasts, yelling, shouting- those are all valid nonviolent protest mechanisms.

            • Neko

              I said nothing about baring breasts, yelling and shouting, since I have no issue with any of that. Neither is “acting well” necessarily the same thing as “asking nicely” or “asking politely.” Of course fighters for civil rights will fight. But I have a problem with how these women went about their fight, not least because their tactics will backfire and rally the forces against them.

              My reaction is also informed by sadness at the aversion of many young women for feminism even as they take for granted the rights and liberties so many of their forebears struggled to win for them. Tactics like spitting and drawing swastikas on people just provoke disgust (and rightly so). Plus the women burned in effigy Pope Francis, one of the most popular guys on the planet. A win for the RCC and anti-abortion movement.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Uh, I’d dance around a burning effigy of Pope Francis too. Cuz seriously, fuck that guy. He says nice things, but he is still anti-choice and anti-contraception. The RCC is a horrible, misogynist institution, and Pope Francis is its head. Why wouldn’t you burn him in effigy?

                The vast, vast majority of that protest was bared breasts and yelling. The few women who assaulted the men most definitely should not have, and I hope they are identified and charged with assault. However, I don’t see this as a stain on feminism in general.

                If you don’t define acting well as acting nice, how do you define it?

                • Neko

                  Why wouldn’t you burn him in effigy?

                  I wouldn’t burn anyone in effigy. I think it’s a barbaric practice.

                  However, I don’t see this as a stain on feminism in general.

                  You don’t, but most people will. Feminism is already successfully demagogued by propagandists; although this is but one incident, it’s more grist for their mill.

                  If you don’t define acting well as acting nice, how do you define it?

                  I was thinking of MLK.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Jace Paul,

          Every day should bring at least one opportunity to expand and evolve as a human being, in my view.

          Then you should oppose devolving to irrational behavior.

          Then you should oppose devolving to violence.

          .

          • Jace Paul

            Elsewhere, I stated my opposition to BOTH rote prayer AND mindless violence. If you’re going to oppose me at least get my position right.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              Jace Paul,

              Elsewhere, I stated my opposition to BOTH rote prayer AND mindless violence. If you’re going to oppose me at least get my position right.

              I did not realize that you are condemning this example of mindless violence.

              Please, continue with your condemnation of both rote prayer and this example of mindless violence.

              Or are you making an exception for this example of mindless violence?

              Or do you consider this to not be violence?

              Or do you consider this to not be mindless?

              Or both?

              .

              • Jace Paul

                Neko and I are having a good discussion that you may enjoy on this very topic.

                Here’s a short answer: I never offered an endorsement of the behavior of the women in this video. What I’ve tried to say is that given certain conditions I can understand why it occurred.

                Do I condemn this behavior? I really want to, but I’m not sure the context has been fully elucidated here, and I have to confess a bias toward empathy for these women if, in fact, they have experienced abuse and oppression. I will say that I believe under ideal conditions we should all endeavor to embody kindness, compassion, and peace – but that very rarely do ideal conditions arise in the course of human lives.

                In short, it is violence, it’s mindless because no doubt it was caused by anger and not careful forethought, and ideally it should not have occurred.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Jace Paul,

                  Do I condemn this behavior? I really want to, but I’m not sure the context has been fully elucidated here,

                  If we are going to allow historical events to determine what is appropriate behavior, we will never have peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

                  We cannot allow all discussions to be hijacked by someone who chooses to be violent because of some earlier violent act.

                  If we are to negotiate for improved laws, we need to do so in a civilized way.

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

                  Morality does have a context.

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

                  Their behavior is promoting their oppression.

                  Is that moral?

                  .

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      Jace Paul,

      “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

      Show that peaceful revolution is impossible.

      If you fail to show that the quote is relevant, you contradict yourself with the JFK quote, and you are no Walt Whitman.

      .

      • Jace Paul

        Walt Whitman was a terrible poet. And I explicitly stated the conditional nature of that statement: that IF there was a historical and cultural context that made peaceful change impossible, THEN I could understand these actions.

        • momtarkle

          Walt Whitman was a wonderful poet.

          I was with you for awhile, Jace, until you descended into what seems to be, for this blog, the inevitable name calling.

          I know you are, but what am I?

          • Jace Paul

            I regret that as well. In anger over Rogue Medic’s attack on my profession (I’m a writer, he must have Google’d me), I erred in my words. To Rogue Medic, I apologize. However, I still don’t like Whitman. :P

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              Jace Paul,

              I regret that as well. In anger over Rogue Medic’s attack on my profession (I’m a writer, he must have Google’d me),

              I did not Google you.

              I did not see that as an attack on writers or on the profession of writing.

              I disagree over whether we should feel this reflects on us and whether the violence is justified.

              .

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Jace Paul,

          Walt Whitman was a terrible poet. And I explicitly stated the conditional nature of that statement: that IF there was a historical and cultural context that made peaceful change impossible, THEN I could understand these actions. Clearly, you’re no Bertrand Russell or, for that matter, capable of rudimentary reading comprehension.

          1. Throw an irrelevant quote up here to make it seem that I have a point.

          2. Expect people to fall for it.

          3. Declare victory.

          I don’t need to be Bertrand Russell.

          Your statements make my point.

          .

  • Neko

    Disgraceful.

  • Fallulah

    Why was it only men guarding the church???? That is symbolic in itself!! After all the injustices served to women by the Catholic church, excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for these men who got to experience what it feels like for 5 effing minutes.

    • Richard Thomas

      I would guess that it’s because catholics tend to embrace “traditional” gender roles e.g. male as “protector” as described in Genesis 2. And while I don’t condone the actions of the protesters I don’t feel sorry for these men either.

    • Terry Firma

      “I don’t shed a tear for these men who got to experience what it feels like for 5 effing minutes.”

      Your lack of empathy is duly noted.

      This doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. You could actually condemn both the injustices meted out by the church, and the violence done to the non-violent protesters in the video.

    • momtarkle

      Men are bigger and stronger, Fallulah…….often.

  • toth

    I didn’t see anything saying that they were atheists, at least in your writeup, just that they were feminists. Why is this a black eye for atheism?

  • Dan Weeks

    It’s sad, but humanists are human too. It’s in the name. Just because someone is a liberal, a secularist, a feminist, or an atheist, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re perfect people. They, like the rest of us, are, to paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens, only somewhat evolved desert primates, barely rational, with frontal lobes that are too small and adrenal glands that are too big. And it shows. On behalf of the faithless, I for one apologize.

    But if the religious really want to go tit for tat, they’ll find themselves with little ground to stand on…

  • sarasson

    While I would not have behaved as these protesters did, I have no sympathy for the anti choicers. The pain and suffering the anti choicers visit upon this world is far greater and more despicable than what was done to them here. Women die from the absence of health care because these regressive anti choicers band together politically and deny it to people who don’t believe in their superstition.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      It is important to have sympathy, or empathy.

      Perhaps, it is because of a lack of sympathy and empathy that so many feel so comfortable mistreating women and restricting women’s rights.

      Should sympathy be limited to those we agree with?

      It’s not hypocrisy when I do it!

      Nobody is immune to hypocrisy.

      .

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        I agree with both of you.

        I’m sympathetic to the fact that these men were attacked — not a pleasant experience.

        At the same time, I understand where the women are coming from. While that doesn’t justify violent action, I do get why it happened the way it did — asking nicely for your rights just doesn’t work, and sometimes — sadly — violent action really is the only way for an oppressed group to effectively make a change. (Stonewall riots, anyone?)

  • Jace Paul

    A quick Google search reveals that the right-wing/anti-choice pundits are reveling in this story. “Feminism is a hate movement,” “Violent, Fascist, Topless Feminists Attack Christians,” “Argentina’s animalistic feminists assault, sexually molest praying men” – oh yes, it’s a field day for Conservative Christians right now. As usual the general tenor of the punditry is “look, Christianity is definitely oppressed!” as opposed to – imagine it – some degree of thoughtful analysis as to what it is within their religion that provokes such a violent, hateful response.

    • Jace Paul

      Also – I’m waiting for a bit of context on this story. Some news reports are saying about 17,000 pro-choice demonstrators were present here. If this video represents no more than a fraction of a percent of that group behaving badly, I think it’s unfair to condemn an entire peaceful protest for it.

      • Terry Firma

        “It’s unfair to condemn an entire peaceful protest for it.”

        My condemnation of the violence is limited to those who perpetrated it. I can’t speak for the other sources you quote.

        And of course those other sources (on the right) are going to town with this video. Do you think that’s impermissible or questionable? If atheists had received the treatment that the Catholic men in the footage did, you’d better believe that Hemant or I would be writing the shit out of it.

        For the sake of fairness, and because we’re not hypocrites, we thought it necessary to write about the Argentinian protest anyway, even though it obviously doesn’t place “our” cause in a particular positive light. Crazy, huh?

        • Jace Paul

          Point of clarity – I was referring to the blanket statements of the right-wing blogosphere, not your post here, Terry. It’s clear that your comments are directed specifically to the perpetrators of the violence.

          • Terry Firma

            OK, thanks. Glad that’s clear.

        • BoGardiner

          I agree with this, Terry, and I support this approach by you and Hemant. I frequently blog on a culture site that’s majority Christian. It’s a great help to our moral standing to be able to say “We promptly acknowledged and condemned this. It’s terrible. No excuses. We’re working hard to steadily improve our movement. Show me where your people did the same in the awful events I posted yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that.” Thanks.

        • Plutosdad

          I agree their actions were morally wrong, but am saddened by your choice of words “screech” and “banshee”, words which historically are used to belittle and silence women who loudly proclaim their anger.
          If it were men, we’d say they were “yelling” and “shouting”, we should not say anything demeaning their gender like those two words do.
          .

          • Terry Firma

            In this case, it was an entirely apt description of the hateful noises that came out of their pie holes.

            • Plutosdad

              Huh? Well ok then. You may think our condemnation of the women, combined with lack of empathy with the men, is somehow horrible. But we feel the same about you.

          • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

            Plutosdad,

            I agree their actions were morally wrong, but am saddened by your choice of words “screech” and “banshee”, words which historically are used to belittle and silence women who loudly proclaim their anger.

            That choice of words also bothers me.

            Connotations can derail important points and I try to avoid distracting connotations, although I often fail.

            I have never heard a banshee, so I do not know what a real one sounds like. ;-)

            .

            • momtarkle
              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                I can see how could be annoying. I am frequently besieged by the cacophony of leaf blowers. Headphones are my friend. ;-)

          • momtarkle
        • Jace Paul

          “And of course those other sources (on the right) are going to town with this video. Do you think that’s impermissible or questionable.”

          It’s intellectually dishonest. To label all of feminism or atheism as “fascist” or “a hate movement” based on a small group of people’s actions at a specific point in time is a blatant shortcut around critical thinking. When atheists say “Look, Christianity is wrong or dumb because Westboro Baptist Church,” I call bullshit. Christianity is wrong because its ideas conflict with reality. Even if every Christian were a veritable saint, I would still oppose it as wishful thinking lacking any grounding in rational, empirical thought. And yes, if it were atheists being abused and you or Hemant claimed that all Christians are evil based on the behavior of a few, I’d call bullshit on that as well.

          • Terry Firma

            The problem is with your odd phrase “all of.” No one on the right that I’ve seen is saying that “all of” feminism and “all of” atheism engages in hate and violence. Well, maybe an unhinged commenter here and there. The journalists and opinion writers, not so much. And *I* didn’t write that either.

            • Jace Paul

              Indeed and I never accused you of doing it – you’ll note below that I stated your commentary was very lucid in its specificity. In any case, we disagree about the extent of the “all of” journalism from the right. More than a few of the right wing blogs are painting this event as representative of feminist thinking and that’s just way off base.

          • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

            Jace Paul,

            This is a dispute over rights that have been taken away for largely religious reasons.

            This is a dispute that is relevant to atheists.

            Is it wrong to criticize a group if not all members of a group do something?

            Would no true Scotsman do this?

            .

  • Athoes

    I don’t care who the group was… it’s deplorable. Kudos to those persons that were being subjected to these reprehensible actions for showing restraint.

  • mucopurulent

    Unfortunately, Fox news is going to have a field day with this, spinning and twisting it to fit their narrative. Honestly, they won’t even have to edit very much.

    • Jace Paul

      See my post below. The right-wing persecution orgasm is already well under way.

      • mucopurulent

        It isn’t up at Fox yet. Argentina is so far away from the USA! USA! bubble that could take a few days.

  • Plutosdad

    Since the protests have involved spraypainting the same church ever year, the mere fact the church was ringed with men is an escalation. That doesn’t mean the women were right, it means the church decided to take things up a notch. They knew escalation and conflict were likely, and went forward.

    And as someone said, the very fact it was MEN who ringed the church, not churchgoers who presumably are both men and women, tells us something about the church and the people who go there. Why did no/so few female churchgoers volunteer to defend the church from vandalism?

    And look at the videos, there is some assault, but yelling? oh no! We are complaining about yelling at people now?

    Morally, of course the physical assaults were wrong of the protesters. But imagine the desperation and suffering women from these Catholic countries go through every day. How many men were killed? none. How many women die every year because of the Church’s policies and the men who propagate it? Many. And yet, we are expected to bemoan the poor men and Church and ruling power of Argentina. Sorry, no.

    I only feel sorry for the one guy in a picture who looked like he was getting sprayed in the face. But really, I don’t feel sorry for the rest of them. We can condemn actions and label them wrong without feeling sorry for the victims. Hell in the US – let alone Argentina – you can’t even get justice if you are not a sympathetic victim (i.e promiscuous woman, drug user, poor, etc)

    • joey_in_NC

      Since the protests have involved spraypainting the same church ever
      year, the mere fact the church was ringed with men is an escalation.

      Seriously?

      I guess it would make you feel better if it was a woman or two that got spray-painted and/or spat in the face.

      • Plutosdad

        Actually it is the exact reason the police did nothing. Police are trained to not interfere in protests for this very reason: you don’t want it to escalate into violence.

    • alconnolly

      Wow plutosdad. You actually refer to peacefully linking arms around a church that is likely to be vandalized in a completely non-violent way as “escalating”? Would you refer to it that way if it was your house being vandalized. I hate so many aspect of the catholic church and find their protection of child molesters to be criminal and despicable, but your take on this situation is absolutely horrendous. So what that the men volunteered for this non-violent duty?

      • Plutosdad

        If they did not want it to escalate, they would have had female churchgoers ring the church. But to specifically have men ring the church on the annual women’s rights protest day is a provocation in and of itself.

        Again, look at how police handle protests. After the riots of the 60s they do not try to stop property damage anymore, they’d rather see property damage than people get hurt.

        • alconnolly

          If they wanted it to escalate they could have responded in kind. If you look at Gandhi’s non-violent campaigns such as his salt march etc they are almost exclusively men, does this mean it was an escalation? the fact is some people (men and women) just approach things with an outmoded mindset that the men would step forward to take the potential risk. You know they rang the church because it was highly probable the church would be attacked. They must have had many meetings discussing their non-violent approach to have behaved so unitedly in not striking back. This is not provocation. Good PR definitely. But not provocation. You are just about reversing the meaning of the word.

          • Plutosdad

            They could have met with the protest organizers beforehand. They could have done a lot of other things besides “let’s ring men around the church, no one’s painting our church this time” Knowing this has happened before I certainly hope they did approach the organizers to try to head off such a confrontation in the first place. Did they? Maybe they did.

            (edit: they could have also sat down around the church, which is used by protesters as a strategy to be as non confrontational as possible) Do we count them as merely standing there protecting the building, or as a counter-protest? Hard to say looking at the video.

            My point is: the subset of protesters was effectively a mob. And it is easy to provoke a mob, because they are not individuals thinking about what is right and wrong. Which is why police will look for and pull out provocateurs out of a protest before it becomes violent, but if they don’t do that in time, will not stop a mob from vandalizing property, but allow it to burn itself out, because to try to stop it from vandalizing will provoke the mob into even further violence. No, ringing the church is not “wrong”, but it is provocative. Here is a paper spelling out what I am trying to say: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~dschwein/mob.pdf

        • joey_in_NC

          If they did not want it to escalate, they would have had female churchgoers ring the church.

          Hmmm…let me think. If I had a choice to allow my wife and my daughters to ring the church and risk that they be subjected to violence, assault, and depravity, I should demand that they do so such that things don’t “escalate”?

          And after googling some pictures, it’s really not too hard to spot some brave women who stood with the men attempting to protect the church from vandalism.

          • Plutosdad

            That is the exact point: spraypainting a building is not violence, assault, and depravity. But you expect it, and act accordingly, and thus provoke the exact reaction you expect. Read the article I linked to above regarding protests, mobs, and suggested police action.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              Plutosdad,

              They placed people around the building to prevent spraying, similar to forming a non-violent human chain anywhere else.

              The mob responded with violence.

              We should condemn the violence, not make excuses for the violence.

              But they were too smart for the mob, is not a valid excuse.

              A human chain is not unprecedented and could have been anticipated and dealt with non-violently, but that would have required thinking.

              Mobs do not think.

              We should not defend mobs.

              .

            • baal

              The other option would be riot police…I don’t like that either. I’m also not all that fond of property damage as a necessary part of effective non-violence.

  • M.S.

    I saw this story and wondered if it would be covered on this blog. Kudos for being so fair-minded.

    • joey_in_NC

      Same here. I was aware of this several days ago, and I’ve been waiting for the mainstream media to pick up on this. Kudos to Terry for bringing it to peoples’ attention.

  • The Captain

    I got a funny feeling this is a Tumbler based SJW movement.

  • Sparky

    The Catholic church has been an institutional evil across the globe. If you want to see where that evil manifested itself in the most horrific fashion look no furhter than South America. They deserve the attacks, they bring the attacks on themselves because they are an oppressive and criminal organization who commit daily acts of violence o fellow human beings. Fuck the church and fuck the church-goers.

    • joey_in_NC

      They deserve the attacks…

      So you think those Catholics who were spray-painted on, spat on, sexually molested, physically assaulted, all “deserved” it?

      • Ewan

        Does the guilt for the actions of an organisation ever attach to those individuals that actively support it, or not?

        • joey_in_NC

          The question boils down to…did these people deserve violence against them or not?

    • SeekerLancer

      While I share your vitriol for the Catholic church, answering them with this kind of attack only makes them look like the victims. Which is exactly what they want.

      Also attacking the institution is one thing, doing what these people did to the individuals whose only crime was non-violently protecting their church is another.

      It was assault. It’s uncivilized and inexcusable and hypocritical to stand in support of it.

    • Sue Blue

      Isn’t South America the place where Catholic priests regularly cracked the heads of Native infants against walls or rocks right after baptizing them so that their little souls would go straight to heaven and the Native population would be controlled? Isn’t Argentina one of those countries where Catholic church policies have fostered the virtual slavery of women and caused centuries of suffering, devastating poverty, and untold numbers of deaths due to their stance on birth control and abortion? Do we condemn African slaves for their violent uprisings against slavery in the past or do we see them as heroes? We in America today can afford to be complacent, but maybe these women can’t. We have little to no idea of what women in religiously-controlled countries go through – genital mutilation, forced child marriages, “honor”-killing, physical and sexual abuse from men that goes completely unpunished and stigmatizes women, enforced childbearing until death or menopause, complete lack of choice in education, employment, self-determination and even control over their own bodies. Whilst I myself would prefer that equal rights causes be promoted with peaceful protests and legal means, I seem to recall that suffrage in America did not come about without some acts of violence and gasps of horror from society about those “uppity” women.
      While what these women did was certainly vulgar and unbecoming, and probably won’t accomplish much but a vast outpouring of sympathy for these poor, beleagured Catholic men, I have to point out that none of the men were actually injured. None of them were beaten up, raped, set on fire, stoned, or had their faces burned off with acid – all of which regularly happen to women the world over. Dirty underwear? Aside from the gross factor, big deal. Paint and magic marker? Washes off. Being screamed at and getting flipped off? Happens every day in traffic to a lot of people. Seeing bare breasts? How upsetting is that to most men? Does this make what the women did right? Of course not – but is this just wanton violence, or have they been relentlessly driven to it?
      I would hope that feminists in South America could accomplish their goals without riots, vandalism, and screaming – but who am I to judge? I’ve never been where they are.

      • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

        When we support the people protesting – Who am I to judge?

        When we oppose the people protesting – They should be locked up.

        ?

        • Sue Blue

          I don’t support what these women did. I’m a feminist myself, and I don’t think violent retaliation against men is the way to accomplish anything. What I’m saying is that I don’t know what abuse and oppression may have driven these women to these extremes. It’s possible they’re just anarchic rabble-rousers who see a seemingly justifiable way to cut loose. But am I so morally and ethically superior to these women that I would never resort to violence? I can’t say that. I think that if my daughter was killed because of my country’s religious stance on female healthcare, I might be violently inclined myself. If I had been abused or raped or this happened to my daughter or my mother or my sister – and the perpetrators were members of a powerful organization that went unpunished – I might express my anguish and outrage in a way that might be a bit more forceful than passive sign-waving.

          • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

            Sue Blue,

            What I’m saying is that I don’t know what abuse and oppression may have driven these women to these extremes.

            Addressing that, non-violently, would be a much better protest.

            -

            It’s possible they’re just anarchic rabble-rousers who see a seemingly justifiable way to cut loose.

            If that is the case, should we defend them just because they attack someone we oppose?

            -

            But am I so morally and ethically superior to these women that I would never resort to violence?

            This is not about whether you would ever resort to violence.

            This is about whether their behavior is bad.

            Their behavior is undeniably bad.

            -

            This just gives the oppressors evidence to support more oppression of people who demonstrate that they do not deserve rights.

            That is not what the evidence shows, but that is the way it will be spun.

            This is one big excuse for religious misbehavior.

            .

            • Plutosdad

              According to the article this is the 28th annual protest. It does not seem like all those peaceful protests are getting them anywhere. (Not that I think this particular mode of protest will effect anything positive either.)

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Plutosdad,

                It does not seem like all those peaceful protests are getting them anywhere.

                The same could be said for every non-violent protest before it achieved any goal.

                Are we slaves to immediate satisfaction?

                Change takes work . . . and time.

                Impatience is not a valid justification for violence.

                .

                • Sue Blue

                  How long would be too long if it were your daughter dying because abortion was illegal in your country? It’s easy for us to be righteous and judgmental when it’s not us who’s suffering.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Sue Blue,

                  How long would be too long if it were your daughter dying because abortion was illegal in your country? It’s easy for us to be righteous and judgmental when it’s not us who’s suffering.

                  Is there anything that would not be justified by that logic?

                  .

                • Sue Blue

                  Even Ghandi acknowledged that there was a place for more forceful action when a long period of peaceful protests had no effect.

                • baal

                  We don’t have facts either way on the history in this article. I’m not willing to overlook violence on the part of protestors. If it turns out that it’s really just 6 individuals, then those 6 should be tried fairly in a court of law. They should then be able to bring up their personal histories as a point in mitigation of sentence (if any). I agree that the usual case is a small % of any given protest is likely to be violent and that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the rest of the protestors.

                • Sue Blue

                  How long should a person “put up with” life-threatening harm before taking action? What if there is no legal or non-violent recourse that person can utilize to address this harm, as was the case with domestic violence until the last few decades of the 20th century in America? How do you feel about the “battered woman” defense? Cut to the chase – are you too good ever to resort to violent defense of yourself or your loved ones? I’m not going to claim that superiority for myself. Have you ever personally suffered real physical harm from a legal or religious policy?
                  AGAIN, I’m not saying that the women in this video went about their protest in the only way possible or that their actions were justified or “good”. Whether atheist, feminist, or religious, no one is above resorting to bad behavior, Should we call out bad behavior even if comes from those whose views we support? Of course. Are these women overreacting to perceived injustices? Maybe. It’s hard for me to totally condemn these women – not because they supposedly represent feminists and atheists and make us look bad, but because I’m not so sure that centuries of Catholic oppression and abuse haven’t driven them to this.

              • Terry Firma

                According to the reports I read, there were graffiti rampages and other vandalism at previous versions of this annual gathering too, directed at “patriarchal” targets. That’s why the men had formed a cordon at the Cathedral’s entrance.

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Plutosdad,

                According to the article this is the 28th annual protest. It does not seem like all those peaceful protests are getting them anywhere.

                Actually, it has caused the people they are protesting against to change their tactics.

                The tactics of those supporting the status quo won this time.

                The response is not the desired response, but it is a response and is a non-violent response.

                This is a negotiation and those protesting are refusing a possible concession.

                .

                • sparky

                  You are a condescending fuck. Your simpering posts read like the religious leaders warning MLK to just slow down, don’t do anything rash and maybe, just maybe the white man will grudgingly allow you some basic freedoms bit by bit.

                  You don’t get to tell the victims of institutional violence to be “more civilized” like you’re in the fucking debating society at the local Rotary. If you inflict daily violence on people as the church does you invite the same reaction because turning the other fucking cheek means you just get slapped twice. These people are righteously demonstrating against gross inequality, oppression and it hasn’t been going for a few fucking years or so, it’s fucking institutionalized.

                  The church is reaping the whirlwind and all your smarmy, oily sentiments mean jack shit when the same fucking men using the same fucking excuses continue the same fucking violence on their fellow humans.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  sparky,

                  I expect this to result in more oppression for the women, so you should be thrilled at the result.

                  That is, unless your goal is to improve conditions for the women in Argentina.

                  That does not appear to be your goal.

                  Am I sexually condescending to trolls? Swallow (so you don’t make a mess) and get out. Happy, now? :P

                  .

            • Sue Blue

              No, I’m not defending their actions. I think it’s counterproductive, especially the fact that the women are so relentless and attacked men who were just standing there, not retaliating or provoking them in any obvious way. What I am doing is trying to point out that they may think their actions are justified by the violence against women promoted by the church. I didn’t say that they are, in fact, justified. I’m torn about this – I can sympathize with those who’ve suffered and feel they need to lash out, since I have suffered the violent murder of my son and have never gotten any kind of resolution and can’t take further action against the state because of legal red tape. Being a woman with a daughter, I’m outraged at the daily assaults upon our human rights from the religious right, outdated laws, and the misogyny saturating our society. Yet, I’ve never taken physical action against anyone for these wrongs, and I don’t plan to – yet I can’t say that I wouldn’t, if driven to it by some further outrage. We sympathize with and legally excuse battered women and children who finally snap and kill their abusers – but at the same time we don’t advocate it as a solution to abuse. I’m not excusing or condoning their more outre behavior – but at the same time, I have a hard time getting really wound up about it, since it seems fairly mild in comparison to the deadly violence perpetrated against women on a daily basis.

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Sue Blue,

                I didn’t say that they are, in fact, justified. I’m torn about this -

                Then I think this has provided for a forum to discuss an important issue.

                If we all agree on something, we could just be patting ourselves on the backs about agreeing.

                Disagreeing, and not getting violent over it, takes civilization.

                -

                I have suffered the violent murder of my son and have never gotten any kind of resolution and can’t take further action against the state because of legal red tape.

                You have my condolences.

                I cannot image how you feel.

                -

                Being a woman with a daughter, I’m outraged at the daily assaults upon our human rights from the religious right, outdated laws, and the misogyny saturating our society.

                The progress that we make comes from convincing the majority that this is their cause.

                Gay rights has made a lot of progress, which should never have been necessary, because the majority has begun to see this as their cause.

                Civil rights for any group is often because of the same generation of sympathy/empathy.

                This affects me.

                This is my cause.

                This is misbehavior by people supporting my cause.

                My cause is true ethics, not Biblical orders.

                My cause is fair play.

                My cause is civilization.

                I think that you agree.

                .

          • Terry Firma

            “A bit more forceful than passive sign-waving” is a whitewash of the behavior in that video.

            • Sue Blue

              I’m not referring to the behavior in the video with that statement.

      • Neko

        Isn’t Argentina one of those countries where Catholic church policies have fostered the virtual slavery of women and caused centuries of suffering, devastating poverty, and untold numbers of deaths due to their stance on birth control and abortion?

        What? Undoubtedly the RCC is complicit in the suffering and deaths of Argentinian women. But slavery? No. Argentina is no backwater; its is one of the most developed nations in Latin America. Of course there are many problems affecting women in Argentina, as everywhere, but women’s equality has a footing there. To compare these protests to slave uprisings is grotesque.

  • Dave The Sandman

    Sorry Terry but even after reading the source articles Im missing something – where does Atheism figure in this story?
    The women were attendees at a conference on womens rights and empowerment in a country where the Church has consistently acted against them. Their attacks on churches, no matter how repulsive or questionably justified, appear to have nothing at all to do with their atheism or lack of it, but a feminist motivated protest against what they see to be an oppressive misogynistic Church given too much influence by the state.

    When Nigerian Muslims attack churches in Nigeria, or Pakistani Muslims attack churches in Pakistan, are they doing so because they are atheists? No. Were KKK attacks on black churches in the early 20C USA motivated by atheism? No.

    So what is the difference here?
    Or, as I said at the start, am I missing something linking this group to atheist movements?

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      Shouldn’t we oppose all religiously motivated misbehavior – even when it is misbehavior that is opposed to oppressive religions?

      Are our ethical values as selfish as those of the religious we criticize?

      Wrong is wrong.

      If we refuse to criticize the excesses of those who side with us, we are hypocrites.

      .

      • John H

        “Wrong is wrong.”
        Context matters. I suppose you might be a pacifist, but I hope you can see how shooting someone who is trying to stab you with a knife is different than shooting an unarmed teenager walking back from a convenience store.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          John H,

          “Wrong is wrong.”
          Context matters. I suppose you might be a pacifist, but I hope you can see how shooting someone who is trying to stab you with a knife is different than shooting an unarmed teenager walking back from a convenience store.

          I have no problem with killing someone who is trying to kill me or someone else.

          I do deal with violent people ans only use whatever force is necessary to get them to stop.

          Since you seem to want to compare this to what I would do –

          What violence was necessary to stop those with their arms linked from being violent?

          When the problem is institutional, is attacking individuals going to be productive?

          Or is it likely to allow the institution to obtain more support as the victim?

          .

    • Terry Firma

      Do you think the protesters were Christians?

      • http://avengah.wordpress.com Matt Davis

        Non-Christian =/= Atheist.

      • $84687101

        If every act committed by someone who is not a True Chistian™ is a black eye on atheism, then we’re going to spend the rest of our lives writing statements distancing ourselves from one clown or another. So setting aside the fact that they may well be Christian, or some variety of newage, or practitioners of local indigenous faiths, or even Catholic (you’d be surprised just how radical social justice Catholics can be), let’s just consider at what point we have to consider something a besmirching of atheism, when we need to address it specifically as such, and when we, instead, need to tell anyone who’s blaming atheism for it that it is they who are making a logical fallacy.

        I would say that the absolute minimum would be that the individual or group in question publicly self identifies as atheist and, in the case of a protest movement or group, that they at least claim atheism as a cause for their activities.

        Consider the Seattle WTO protests. There were thousands of peaceful protesters. There were also a handful of protesters, mostly associated with the Black Block, who took it upon themselves to destroy property. Certainly, as in this case, no one should consider the actions of the Black Block protesters to be indicative of the entire anti-WTO movement. And certainly, as in this case, many people will do so anyway so peaceful protesters and those who supported them had to continually disavow the black block protesters. At this point the Black Block is analogous to the protesters accosting the men above. The anti-WTO movement is analogous to the pro-choice movement as a whole. But it is probably equally likely that the black block protesters were not Christian as it is the the protesters in Argentina are not Christian. Do atheists have as much damage control to do to distance themselves from the black block as the anti-WTO movement? I think not. And I think the analogy is fair and that we stand in the same position here.

        At the very least, there’s no reason for us to bring up atheism in respect to this. We can condemn these actions without inventing an association with atheism out of thin air and twisted logic. Let’s at least leave that to the other side. Then when they ask us we can show that we condemned the act, and we can ask them why they’re using faulty logic to pretend atheism has anything at all to do with it. Instead, you’ve just made the association with atheism for them, and now you’re making their fallacious arguments for them as well. Fortunately, you’re not doing any better job at it than they would.

  • Matt D

    I fail to see how Atheism has anything to do with this attack, but I fully understand why Atheist opponents would want to link it to this incident.

    And while I’m willing to condemn this sort of violence, I also seek to understand it. For example, I see the mob wanted to humiliate those people, not seriously hurt or kill them. So I’m wondering why those women, while in a position of power, resorted to the antics of grade school bullies (or a college initiation ritual), rather than beating them senseless or worse.

    After all, if a bunch of Klan members were standing around taking this kind of abuse, how many people would just condemn it, without wondering what the Klan may have done before we heard about end result?

  • $84687101

    I deplore this kind of behavior. I don’t believe that it’s ever the appropriate response, partly because, on an ethical level, I don’t think that the wrongs of one group of people justify treating them in an inhumane way, and partly because I think it can only hurt, not help one’s cause.

    But that’s easy for me to say, since I’ve never been a victim of the kind of injustice of which women in Argentina are victims (partly thanks to that wonderful new Pope who makes such wonderful statements now but who worked tirelessly against the rights of women and LGBT people when he was a bishop).

    Now, since I am at work and not clicking on NSFW links, where does the black eye for atheism part come in? Is this an atheist group?

  • Herbert Ragan

    I’m still not sure about the video. Can someone link any articles from any News source other than the right wing sites I have seen this coming from? There are so many edits it does not look like the work of one person catching a spontaneous act on video but something from various sources and perhaps even staged. Especially the whole burning Pope Francis effigy at the end, a sudden long shot to what looks like a bon fire. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but here seems to be something fishy about it to me.

  • $925105

    Fairly tame compared to the decades of violence and persecution against women the Catholics have been perpetuating in Argentina. The Catholic Church has a hold on the government and it’s thanks to the Church that women are continually denied their reproductive rights.

    Perhaps, to accompany the video, we could get shots of the hundreds of women who die from unsafe illegal abortion each year thanks to those douchebag men standing in front of the church.

    At the end of the day those men will be able to go home while those women will still be denied their civil rights. Other Latin American countries and Mexico went to greater lengths to remove the theocratic influence from their countries. This protest was fairly tame considering the heaps of abuse the church has put upon women.

    • Sue Blue

      I watched this video closely again and only counted five or six individual women who were actually right up in the men’s personal space, painting or drawing on them, one doing the panties-on-the-head thing, and only two who actually spit on them. There were two women engaging in cunnilingus and kissing. The woman with the purple and yellow wig seemed to be an instigator and doing most of the in-your-face stuff. There was even one protestor who appeared to be a man. I have to say I’ve seen more overt sexual exhibitionism in gay pride parades. Bare breasts shouldn’t offend anyone since only puritanical religious sensibilities imbue breasts with sexual connotations. Most of the protestors seemed to be content with chanting and taking pictures – hardly the shrill harpies bent on harm the article makes them out to be. No rocks or bottles or fists flying. No long-nailed shrews clawing eyes or faces or slapping or hitting. One guy got shoved slightly and it appears one man has a bloody nose – although it’s not clear that a protestor caused that as the moment was not caught on camera. it seems mostly aimed to offend religious sexual mores than to inflict actual physical harm on the men. My husband watched it and said the same thing. And dancing around a burning effigy of the pope? How is that so horrible? Because it was done by women, who should have been back in the hovel cooking supper and squeezing out a kid or two instead of demanding to be seen and heard? I don’t condone vandalism and violence, but I’m with you – this seems pretty tame.

    • John H

      Oh good, I’m not the only one. This was a mild response to the actions of the Catholic Church against women (among others).

  • Only_States_The_Obvious

    What does this even remotely have to do with Atheism? I see angry women acting out of control for their cause and hurting the cause. I see nothing that has to do with atheism. Is it because they are protesting at a church? Has nothing to do with us.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      They are protesting laws based on superstition.

      They are only convincing people that the superstition needs protection from reality.

      .

  • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    Obviously Feminist, NOT so obviously Atheist. I don’t condone this behavior from anyone.

  • liz murad

    bigotry and violence are not confined to “them” or to “us”. I do find that it appears to paint us with a darker brush. There’s that “a-ha” factor that will be utilized by the religious right.

  • momtarkle

    Levity break, with sincere apologies to my Catholic friends:

    The Daughter

    An Irish daughter had not been home for over three years. Upon her return, her father yelled at her, “Where have ye been all this time? Why did ye not write to us? Not even a line. Why didn’t ye call? Can ye not understand what ye put yer old Mother thru?”

    The girl, crying, replied, Sniff, sniff….”Dad…..I was too embarrassed, I became a
    prostitute.”

    “Ye what!!? Out of here, ye shameless hussy! Sinner! You’re a disgrace to this Catholic family, so yer are.”

    “OK, Daddy…as ye wish…I just came back to give Mammy this luxurious fur coat, title deed to a eight bedroom mansion, plus a $5 million check. For me little brother Seamus, this gold Rolex. And for ye Daddy, the sparkling new Mercedes limited
    edition convertible that’s parked outside, plus a membership to the Limerick Country Club.

    She takes a breath and continues, “and an invitation for ye all to spend New Years Eve on board my new yacht in the Caribbean.”

    “Now what was it ye said ye had become?” says Dad.

    Girl, crying again, Sniff, sniff….”A prostitute Daddy!” Sniff, sniff.

    “Oh! Bejesus! Ye scared me half to death, girl! I thought ye said a PROTESTANT. Come here and give yer old Daddy a big hug.”

  • JA

    Frankly, the feminists were in the wrong here, and have only set themselves back in the public eye.

  • $84687101

    While I don’t condone the acts of these protesters, I’ve always found the definition of violence to be fascinating.

    the use of physical force to harm someone, to damage property, etc.

    The interesting thing is that, to me, violence has always had the connotation of doing physical harm to another person, not of property damage. But as far as I know, property damage was always in the definition. So in the video, it would seem that it meets the definition of violence through property damage. But was anyone physically harmed? I can’t follow NSFW links now, but the description does not seem to indicate any physical harm. So this is just food for thought. Any time protesters damage property you’ll hear the media and official sources say it was a violent protest. And I personally don’t feel the property destruction is called for (for the most part, I could quibble about when it is and isn’t, but let’s say for certain that property damage aimed at individuals, as above, is uncalled for), but what does it conjure in the mind when someone says violent protest? Or violence in general? I think that, whether they know the dictionary definition or not, most people think of physical harm to people. Even if not consciously, that’s the emotional impact I think the word has. And assault, while this may meet the legal definition, is similarly emotionally charged. So I’m inclined toward separating physical violence from property destruction.

    • baal

      Writing on someone, adding paint to a person and spitting on them are all assault and battery. You don’t need to kneecap them for it to ‘count’. I assure you that if i got in your face and did the above while yelling, you’d not think it mere free speech on my part.

      • $84687101

        And here I thought I was nuanced and long winded enough…
        I didn’t argue about whether it meets the legal definition of assault and battery. I’m willing to accept that it does without verifying it myself, because I’m not talking about definitions, nor am I talking about the law. I’m not even arguing that it’s not wrong, nor that it doesn’t violate another person’s basic rights.

        I just think that the word “violence” in particular (though, yes, I tossed in assault at the end) has much stronger connotations and that the very reason you find it used in media messages, including Terry’s blog post, and especially some of the replies, where it’s been boldfaced for emphasis, is to conjure images in people’s minds that are entirely separate from what’s been described in the specifics.

        • baal

          ok re-reading.

        • baal

          Nope, i stand by my prior statement.

          It’s weird to not include property damage as violence. I don’t think it’s ‘as bad as’ personal injury and neither does the law generally.

          I fully agree that the media is supporting the powerful more often than not and usually (if not always) tars protestors with more negativity than is merited. BUT so far as “is it violent?” goes, yes that’s the right word. I’ll even agree that the media over-emphasizes the violence (doesn’t set the scale property or context) and that use of the word “violence” is part of that overemphasis. Still, the problem is one of the media and removing that word wouldn’t substantively change the anti-protestor bias of the reporting.

          • Guest

            I’m fine with disagreeing with people on this. I rather expect it. I just wanted to make sure I was clear and we were starting from the same factual background. Now that I see that we are, carry on disagreeing. I’ve long known that this is one of my personal opinions that an awful lot of people are going to disagree with.

  • FlyingFree333

    The problem is feminism, it is a violent and bigoted cult, responsible for assaults and bomb threats all over the world. This even had nothing to do with atheism and everything to do with feminism.

    • momtarkle

      Please get back under your rock. Stay.

    • The Starship Maxima

      In all my life I’ve never even heard of a violent feminist. Do you have any examples you can share?

      • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

        The Starship Maxima,

        In all my life I’ve never even heard of a violent feminist.

        They are always hitting their heads on doors and fists – will nobody think of those poor abused doors and fists?!?!

        .

      • baal

        You can kiss off ’cause I got a blister in the sun while waiting for the bus.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      FlyingFree333,

      Feminism is fair play regardless of gender.

      Feminism does not encourage violence.

      Critics of feminism try to present feminists as evil.

      Critics of atheism try to present atheists as baby eaters and all sorts of other bad things.

      These are lies.

      Why do you need to lie about feminism to try to make a point?

      .

      • baal

        one true feminists?

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Do you know of any feminists who fit the characterization by FlyingFree333?

          Do you know of any atheists who do eat human babies?

          .

          • baal

            I don’t like to flag my irony. It’s more fun that way.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              baal,

              Ouch.

              Now I feel like a Schlafly being fooled by a story in The Onion.

              .

    • booksaremyfriends

      80,000 women will be hospitalized or die in this country because of the lack of legal abortion. Their “violent and bigoted cult” is far less deadly than the effects of the overly religious, patriarchal society mentioned in the article above.

    • night porter

      Perhaps if women were once again the property of men the world would be a better place no?

    • baal

      “feminism, it is a violent and bigoted cult”
      There are violent or authoritarians in every movement or group. While it’s fair to judge a group by how well it keeps violence or authoritarianism in check, it is not fair to say that the entire group is violent, bigoted, or other adjective unless those features are part of the mission / goal of the group (i.e. everyone subscribes).

  • The Starship Maxima

    I would like us all, you included Terry, to stop saying “This is a black eye for [insert group that offenders tangentially or direct share with others]“.

    It isn’t. Part of the problem is this very site runs on the assumption that the few Christians who inappropriately preach their beliefs, gay-bash, refuse to tip, abuse their children, file frivolous lawsuits, etc. now make a good brush with which to paint the entire community.

    No. Those Christians DO NOT represent the whole, no matter how many biased people on an atheist say so. In the same regard, a bunch of protesters who lost all sense of reason and maturity are not even remotely indicative of pro-choice activists. Perhaps it’s time all of us stop designating ourselves and others based on which boxes we tick on a census form.

    A far better indicator of who is in which camp is by looking at actual deeds. The Christian who opposes gay marriage, but still tips a gay server who gave good service, and the pro-choice activist who protests at a Church in a mature and adult manner are actually more in the same camp than people would realize.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      The Starship Maxima,

      It is a matter of policing ourselves.

      If we do not criticize misbehavior by members of our own group, but criticize the misbehavior of others against us, then our criticism is hypocritical.

      Should Imams criticize Muslim terrorists or claim that they do not represent Islam?

      Is it only when the misbehavior is extreme that we should criticize?

      .

      • The Starship Maxima

        Compelling points Rogue. But my question is, when did they become “your” own?

        Why must someone be judged by people who outside of a specious connection don’t share your values?

        Consider this, why must “the black community” denounce it when an NBA player ditches his wife for a nother woman? Do white people have to point out that “Hey this white guy who shot and killed his wife and children is not indicative of all of us??”

        In this country we are both part of a larger community, but we are also individuals. We have the right to be treated as such.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          The Starship Maxima,

          But my question is, when did they become “your” own?

          As civilized humans, everyone is our own.

          We should be honest in our criticism of misbehavior, even when that misbehavior is from someone we agree with on at least some points.

          I do not agree with other people on every point, so I could easily claim that nobody is my own.

          I consider everyone my own.

          I cannot keep up with what everyone is doing, but I do not claim that it is wrong for someone else to – unless I disagree with them about whether what they are describing is truly misbehavior or about whether the criticism is inclusive of all of the parties.

          I am not defending the religious people oppressing women. That is wrong.

          But, in this case, they are non-violently defending their property.

          I want to see religious people behaving ethically, so I do not see the non-violent defense of property as something to condemn.

          The horrors the property represents are different.

          If these were a bunch of Americans linking arms to defend an installation of a Confederate flag, I would not be defending the horrors that the flag stands for.

          Would that justify using violence against people linking arms to protect property?

          No.

          The concept of fighting words is unethical.

          We should not claim that there are exceptions to morality when we are offended.

          We find too many ways to make excuses for misbehavior when there is something about the people misbehaving we can relate to.

          We only legitimize this same ability to excuse misbehavior by those we disagree with.

          We need to stop doing that.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqPcjm-X5GQ

          .

  • Paul Jackson

    What on earth does this have to do with atheism? Feminists are not necessarily atheists, and atheists are not necessarily feminists. And pro-choicers are not necessarily either atheist or feminist.

  • Jay

    It is completely possible to be extremely anti-clerical and hold on to some form of religious or spiritual belief. Where is the evidence that these protestors were atheists? I’m sure some of them were, but I can’t find a reason to think that an atheist group is behind it. I don’t see a scarlet A or any atheist banner in the video…

  • A3Kr0n

    Who are “atheists” I don’t believe in a God and I don’t belong to a group.

  • toth

    Hemant, why do you continue to let Terry write for this blog? His articles are terrible, poorly thought out, and he doesn’t take criticism very well (not just this article, I’ve noticed it’s a trend). Can’t you give him a pink slip?

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      There are over 200 comments, many supporting Terry Firma, on this article alone.

      You would get rid of him because you don’t like what he writes and claim that he does not take criticism well?

      You would do better?

      You make an excellent case that Terry Firma is important to The Friendly Atheist.

      Maybe he could take criticism better. Maybe he is just right in his handling of criticism. I don’t know.

      .

      • toth

        No, I probably wouldn’t do better. Which is why I’m not one of the people writing for TFA.

      • Jace Paul

        I think the OP is referring to the fact that Terry has inexplicably linked these protestors to atheism, an identity even the protestors themselves did not adopt (as far as I can tell from the news sources).

  • Copyleft

    Wait, what does this protest have to do with atheism? They presented themselves as a feminist group, not an atheist one.

  • booksaremyfriends

    Over 80,000 thousand women are hospitalized or die in the country of Argentina due to complication from unsafe and unregulated abortion. I’m sorry that these awful feminists were, gasp, spitting the face faces of these men. But considering the high mortality rate these women will face due to lack of basic health care in this overly religious country, I think we can forgive their tactics and have a little bit of sympathy. I do not believe being painted or spat on will have the same kind of lasting effect some of these women may face when they attempt to obtain a safe abortion for themselves.

    • Kevin Sagan

      Even if we disagree about whether they are justified-and I’m not saying we do-it remains that this is damning from a PR perspective. We claim 80,000 women are hospitalized or die, they claim millions of unborn souls land in purgatory or whatever. Pointing out that their claim is bullshit accomplishes nothing.

      • booksaremyfriends

        Without this article and the couple of hundred (kind of ) violent women acting out, you yourself might not of learned that 20% of maternal deaths in that country happen because of unsafe abortions.
        If they had done a letter writing campaign or a peaceful protest, no one would hear about it, but now you know. And anyone else really looking into why these women were so angry at the Catholic Church now know that they don’t have safe and healthy reproductive rights due to the Catholic church in their country.

        • Kevin Sagan

          yes…but how many moderates-specifically locals-took one look at the headline, shook their head at the evil “abortionists”, and went on with their day, just a little more convinced that religion and morality are synonymous?

          • booksaremyfriends

            You will never convince an antiabortionist that abortion is OK. That is not the goal of these women. They are trying to get the word out that they are angry and they are angry because the Catholic Church has to much control in their lives. They are no longer sitting passively. They are rebelling and this is what happens when people rebel.

            • Kevin Sagan

              …moderate = antiabortionist…
              Nevermind then.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          booksaremyfriends,

          They are making the Christians seem like the one who are oppressed and need laws to defend them.

          This appears to be a great publicity move against women’s rights.

          I may be wrong, but I do not expect this to lead to better conditions for women in Argentina, or elsewhere.

          .

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      booksaremyfriends,

      Condemning the misbehavior seen in the video is not condoning the mistreatment that these women have to deal with.

      The misbehavior can be expected to produce a backlash against the rights of women in Argentina and elsewhere.

      These women are providing justification (faulty, but the laws are based on prejudice) to the people who want to oppress women.

      .

    • GCBill

      I forgive (nay, agree with) their outrage.

      I neither forgive nor agree with their tactics.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    As far as the info I have here in this article and such, yes the protestors were out of line. Attacking Catholics doesn’t mean one is an atheist. The Church has major influence in Argentina and to me it looked like the protestors were actually attacking the state. It shouldn’t mean anything to atheists here in the US because such attacks rarely happen and violence in a protest doesn’t make your beliefs irrelevant. Now if this was happening in the US then you might have an argument but again if you would need to prove that it was a group of atheists attacking innocent Catholics

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    While I may support the arguments put forward by the protestors, I want no part of violence. That was disgraceful.

  • Art_Vandelay

    If someone on a Christian blog posted this story and tried to sell it as a “Black eye for Atheism,” and Hemant posted a link to the blog, you’d all be crushing the blogger. There is nothing here that says anything about atheism and there’s certainly nothing about atheism that would promote such a behavior. Hell…there’s nothing about atheism that would promote any behavior except perhaps saying “I don’t believe that claim.” What you have here is a blogger who has posted a couple of fallacious stories painting Christians in a poor light (by no fault of his own by the way) recently, so now it becomes…”Hey look at how super-objective that I am.” It’s nonsense. It’s a bullshit headline.

    Regarding No True Scotsman…this analogy fails miserably as well. Let’s take a Christian Scientist who watches their child die in lieu of medicine. The more liberal Christian might say that this is not a true Christian because a true Christian would never let their child die. The Christian Scientist might say that the liberal is not a true Christian because they don’t adhere to Matthew 21:22. Yet, the liberal Christian still promotes that book as divine mandates from the creator of the universe. They still promote that book as being sacred. So just because they happen to not take Matthew 21:22 as literally as the Christian Scientist, they have absolutely no right to say that’s not a true Christian.

    Until you can find something inherent in atheism that promotes spitting in the face of pro-lifers, NTS has nothing to do with this.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      Art_Vandelay,

      Until you can find something inherent in atheism that promotes spitting in the face of pro-lifers, NTS has nothing to do with this.

      This is not about the violence.

      This is about opposing oppression in the name of religion.

      That is something that I do see as inherent in atheism.

      .

      • Art_Vandelay

        That’s anti-theism. Most atheists that I know are actually completely apathetic and sometimes sympathetic towards religion.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Art_Vandelay,

          That’s anti-theism. Most atheists that I know are actually completely apathetic and sometimes sympathetic towards religion.

          Good point.

          I am an anti-theist atheist, so I do tend to assume that others are.

          My biases are conspiring against me. ;-)

          .

    • Brian K

      The problem is your concept of “inherent in atheism”. There is reasonable disagreement as to every detail of what it means to be atheist, and as to whether we constitute a community or not. If you don’t want to draw attention to those doing harm under our banner (at least in the opinion of some, right or wrong), fine. But some of us prefer a strategy of proactively denouncing things done by other ostensible feminists or atheists because we are in a unique position to do so. We are not wrong in that impulse, and chiding us because we supposedly hurt your image isn’t directing your energies to the right place.

      • Art_Vandelay

        Bullshit. There is no argument as to what atheism means and chiding atheists for acting like dicks is completely fine. Saying something is a black eye for atheism is saying blatantly that atheism is the motivation behind the behavior and that is wrong on every level imaginable and embarrassing coming from a blogger for one of the biggest atheist blogs on the internet. The blogger simply does not understand what atheism is and feels comfortable equating it to a religion that actually mandates behaviors. It’s ridiculous.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Argentina may have bigger things to worry about right now.

    What the Hell Just Happened in Córdoba?

  • Bruin

    How did we make the jump from “attendees at a women’s rights conference” to “atheists”?

    I must be missing something, or more likely this is a deliberately misleading headline and article.

  • Jace Paul

    Here’s the “exclusive” report from the pro-Catholic LifeSiteNews:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-diabolic-men-attacked-by-feminist-mob-while-defending-cathedral-s

    Among the highlights:

    - The attack on the Cathedral of San Juan took place as part of the
    National Women’s Encounter, which annually brings together Argentinean
    feminists who support “women’s rights” and has been going on for the
    past 28 years.

    - The event’s organizers disavowed responsibility for the alleged violence, saying that they could not control 20,000 attendees,

    - Adrián Cuevas, Minister of the San Juan government, admitted to the
    local press that there was an “anarchist group,” of around 1000 women
    that “have the characteristics of savages and behave themselves like
    piranhas.”

    Most importantly, the article makes absolutely no mention of atheism. Now, the extremely conservative LifeSiteNews would positively love to denounce atheism with a story like this. So why aren’t they rejoicing in this perfect example of how horrible atheists are? Because the group isn’t atheist, the event wasn’t atheist, and there isn’t a single atheist thing about the whole story.

    • Jace Paul

      Terry, I think in the interest of journalistic integrity you need to change the title of this post and remove the reference to atheists in the story. From all available evidence, the only person calling this an atheist activity is…well, you.

    • Jace Paul

      The Argentine Press makes zero mention of atheism for the 22nd Annual National Women’s Encounter: http://www.argentinaindependent.com/socialissues/humanrights/pretty-is-the-woman-who-fights/

    • Neko

      get your rosaries out of our ovaries

      Credit where credit is due.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      Jace Paul,

      Thank you for the link. It may not be reported this way at other Christian sites.

      .

      • Jace Paul

        Rogue, I’ve been combing the news sites all night and can’t come up with a single reputable news source for this story, not in American or international press. It seems to only be reported on conservative Christian websites with an editorial bent toward discrediting feminism. That alone should be setting off a lot of warning bells.

  • John H

    So… am I going to be the only one who thinks violent reprisal (and, frankly, being spit on and painted doesn’t pose a high risk of physical injury, so I’m not even sure ‘violent’ really qualifies) against collaborators of an organization that is actively killing women (by barring them from life-saving treatment and denying them bodily autonomy), was until recently enslaving women in “Magdalene Laundries,” is itself oppressing gay people and lobbying countless governments to do the same, spreading misinformation inducing genocide (anti-condom campaigns in Africa), and systematically raping thousands of children (ongoing for, likely, centuries) isn’t an inherently condemnable response? I get it: this is Friendly Atheist blog, and violence is bad PR, but screw anyone and everyone who offers material support to the international criminal organization that is the Catholic Church. You’re condemning the shaming and humiliation of people backing genocide. Literally. This is a MILD response.

    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?

    What if? Clearly you’ve never worked as a patient escort for an abortion clinic. Some of us don’t have to imagine. That said, I do not wish to raise a tu quoque defense; I think symbolic (and in some cases physical) attacks on agents of the Catholic Church are entirely appropriate in their own right.

    For the roles to truly be reversed, Feminists (as a formalized group) would need to occupy a position equivalent to that of the RCC, and Catholics would need to have been (and still be) an oppressed majority for all of recent human history. Come back to me with that question when a formalized group of feminists have been operating a centuries-old organization that has functionally controlled the governments of various states, executing portions of the population for dissent, and are presently engaged in atrocities anywhere near as terrible as the Catholic Church, including presently and actively targeting Catholics with slavery (be it a temporary, conditional denial of bodily autonomy or a lifelong incarceration in a forced labor camp for the crime of sex with someone to whom one is not married) and mandating they be denied medical care for a constellation of fatal but easily curable maladies. Actually, first Google “false equivalence”.

  • sinrise

    “I invite them to reflect on how they’d feel if the roles were reversed.”

    Are you serious? I think the idea is the roles HAVE BEEN reversed for the better part of human history. Oh noes, paint and spit. Not the end of the world. Save your shock and outrage for the victims of catholic child-rape and things like that. Religion has run rampant, raping and pillaging the world for centuries. Don’t get all twisted when the victims (even generations removed) spit a little bit and spill some paint. You might feel like spitting too if you’d been marginalized most of your life because of your gender or lack of belief. I think any catholic who still attends church deserves to get spit on a little. When your great leader protects child rapists and you still support that church, YOU are supporting child-rape and should get spit on.

  • NathanExplosion

    Hey Terry Firma, your headline includes this bit:

    A Black Eye For Feminism and Atheism…

    How does “Atheism” get included here? I don’t see that these feminists were atheists. Did you forget to mention that part?

    For if they weren’t, then your headline needs a rewrite.

    • Jace Paul

      See my post just a few lines down. There is absolutely no evidence that this was an atheist event or even tangentially related to atheism. I hope Terry or Hemant retracts this story immediately.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I’m not condoning their behaviour.

    However, I do understand their frustration, and can understand why they did what they did, even if I don’t agree with their specific actions.


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