Politicians, scientists, campaigners, authors join call to protest against the Pope’s state visit

15 September, 2010

Over 50 prominent persons, including politicians, scientists, campaigners, authors and comedians, have signed an open letter opposing the honour of a state visit being given to the Pope. The letter was organised by the British Humanist Association for the Protest the Pope campaign, which brings together organisations and individuals opposing the state visit of the Pope to the UK.

Among those who have signed the letter are Professor Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry, Stewart Lee, Philip Pullman, Ken Follett, Professor Susan Blackmore and Sir Terry Pratchett.

Andrew Copson, BHA Chief Executive, commented: ‘The policies of the Holy See, the “state” the Pope is representing during his visit to the UK, have a huge negative impact on human rights. Today’s letter raises issues, including the Holy See’s position to deny abortion to any woman, to oppose gay equality and to disrupt the distribution of condoms in AIDS prevention programmes.

‘We believe this letter reflects the views of many British people, who object to the state visit of the Pope not only on financial grounds, but have clear principled objections to extending the honour of a state visit to the head of a state which seeks to impose its religious doctrine internationally, even trying to influence our own domestic equality laws in ways that go against the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.’


You can read a copy of the open letter here.

For further comment or information, please contact Andrew Copson on 020 3675 0959 or andrew@humanism.or.uk

You can Take Action! and email your MP here humanists.uk/campaigns/what-you-can-do-to-help/pope-email

The BHA is a member of the Protest the Pope Campaign which protests against the state visit of the Pope to the UK www.protest-the-pope.org.uk

The BHA and other members of the Protest the Pope campaign are not against the Pope coming to the UK as a religious leader. Our opposition is to the visit being a state visit, with the British people footing the bill.

The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.