Being an atheist has nothing to do with my protest of the pope today.

Trying to write more - so here's a quick missive before I head out the door to todays protest. Whilst ill as a very ill thing.

I find it fascinating that it appears assumed that most people protesting the pope will be atheists. Is it true?

Either way that assumption allows Joseph Ratzinger to diminish all criticism as being the work of 'aggressive atheists' hating God.

This morning as 'thousands' head towards Hyde Park Corner to protest the easiest way that our comments can be ignored is by people being able to diminish the protest as purely atheist in nature.

That as an atheist I can't criticise the sexist treatment of women, or the luddite and murdering approach to contraception (especially with the regards to HIV and Africa), or the systematic and calculated cover up of the abuse of children because deep down I'm really complaining that these people believe in God.

I find this absurd. But, listening to the words of the ppe during this trip, in all his silly hats surrounded by pomp and parade, I've realised something. His comments against the 'secularising of UK society' and 'marginalising of faith' in this country is not a plee to become a Catholic. Although obviously he would like that. The reason for all these strong words is to fence off the secular and atheistic view point in the minds of the general public.

I think he wants to remind people that religion is magic, and thus so criticising it is dangerous, and even if you are apathetic towards it you need to respect it.

In addition, the unfair position that the Pope has been given due to his position as 'head of state' (of a citizen-less state no less) is a reason to protest today all by itself. If we gave state visits to the heads of every faith then this would be acceptable, but as it stands the Pope has been given a position above any other faith to come to the UK and criticise our way of life. Which we will pay for the pleasure for.

So, that being the case, a defence of our way of life is just.

It isn't due to my lack of a belief in God that I protest today – but because I do believe that, for all it's flaws, when it comes to equality, family planning and religion this country is progressive and civilised and as such closer to any God than the man that today will wear a silly hat inside a stupidly named car who preaches famine as contraception and that no women can ever equal a man.

Even though, in my opinion, no God exists. Obviously.

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