Friday, June 8, 2012

Protesting The Catholic Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally

I went on a field trip today to protest the Catholic Church's Stand up for Religious Freedom rally (religious freedom by their definition meaning the ability to tell other people what to do regarding health care), and it was all I could hope for, my friends. Their rally started at noontime so I arrived at Boston Common at 11AM. Having got there early, I walked around and got the lay of the land until I met up with the small group of atheists and secularists who were protesting the event. Some people wanted to hold signs and hung out across the street from the rally while some brave godless souls were in the middle of the Catholics.

I decided to hand out fliers on the periphery of God's mob. And I was well suited for this job of flier-hander-outter, too. Earlier in the day I chose to look like any other "normal" person. Usually I go mucking about in a t-shirt and gym shorts. Not today. Today was a pants day as well as a shaving day. My plan was to blend in and spread as much of our information to people who just happened to be passing by. Let's face it, trying to change anyone's opinion who was going to the rally was not really worth my time I thought. I was going to focus on the majority of Bostonians who were walking about. Those are the people who may be swayed a bit closer to our point of view regarding the separation of church and state. Ironically I gave at least 50% of my fliers to Catholics walking to or from the event. The funny thing about it is that many Catholics thought I was one of them.  After all, I had an small American flag sticking out of my shirt. (One of the Catholics were handing them out. I gave him one of our fliers and I got a nifty flag.)

There was some... unpleasantness. One elderly gentleman stopped me and proceeded to tell me how I had no morals. I quickly got my camera out thinking that anything he had to say to me could be shared with the internet. Here's how it went.

As he was walking away I stated, "I don't say anything I wouldn't put on YouTube!" That happens to be my guiding principle, by the way.

I spent a bit over an hour handing out fliers and passed out quite a few. Having done stand up comedy this was a fairly simple task. Over all, people were polite even when they didn't take the flier. A few actually took a few moments to talk with me, because they didn't know what the rally was all about. I quickly informed them that the crowd  was made up of Catholics and was there to support the idea that religious freedom means telling other people what to do what to do. One guy point blank asked me how to join the secular movement. He lived in Beverly, MA. I told him to go on and see if there are any atheist groups in his area. If nothing else look online for atheist blogs (yes, I said I ran one). We shook hands and he went on his way.

Maybe I got someone new into the movement.


Now you may be thinking that I wussed out during this event. I should have been more assertive and gotten into some faces to argue.

Worry not. I can not not be in a hotbed of faith-based lunacy without shooting my mouth off. However, I waited until the mob was breaking up. If I was going to mix it up then it would be on my terms. Here is the video of me arguing with four Catholics. Please forgive me that it's very shaky. I haven't mastered the art of debate while filming the debate I'm actually in.

I argued a bit longer, but had to write this post and then go to work. On the lighter side, I did get wacky beard guy to begrudgingly shake my hand before I left. I wanted to show him I wasn't some caricature -- some godless heathen who eats babies. I wanted to humanize us to him and his friends.

See, it isn't all jokes here.


this is Purgatory.


  1. Way too represent my man. At my crappy weekend job sometimes i halfta hand out flyers in Old sacramento...but what I really do is walk a couple of blocks away and have a beer leaving flyers here and there.


    1. One or two pints helps to make any task more fun (OK, maybe not driving).

  2. Well done Andy! That was great. I like how you kept the questions simple and refused to let them spin the question to their tastes. I also like how you left things on good terms with them. Good Job!

    1. Thanks. I think I was "on" for the entire event. This was a good test of my, Don't be dick, but argue persuasively, hypothesis that I write about here on Purgatory.


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