September 17th, 2010
08:01 AM ET
12 years ago

Firebrand protestants, gay rights campaigners among protesters

Edinburgh, Scotland (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI received a warm welcome at the beginning of his historic state visit to Britain, despite the efforts of a colorful array of protesters in Scotland's capital to remind him of the Church's woes.

After the formal grandeur of his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at her Holyrood Palace residence in Edinburgh, the pontiff was cheered by thousands of well-wishers along Princes Street, the city's main thoroughfare, as he was shuttled along in the distinctive "popemobile."

But on the opposite side of the castle, where Edinburgh's Georgian New Town gives away to its medieval Old Town, a familiar foe of the Catholic Church arrived at an austere church close to the Grassmarket - where criminals were once publicly hanged - to make his feelings known.

For Ian Paisley, the firebrand politician and staunchly protestant founder of the Free Presbyterian church in Northern Ireland, the meeting place was a statement in itself. The Magdalen Chapel is the headquarters of the
Scottish Reformation Society where John Knox once preached against Catholicism. Knox is widely thought of as the founding father of the Protestant Reformation
in Scotland.

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Filed under: Gay rights • Queen Elizabeth II
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Ian Paisley is the poster-child for all that's wrong within Christianity. He once called for the assassination of the Pope to prevent the Pontiff from moving the Vatican from Vatican City to Belfast if the North ever reunified with the Irish Republic.

    September 17, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. Tweety

    Religion is for retards- Bill Mahr

    Clearly. Won't it be wonderful someday when religion is finally gone, too bad I won't be alive when everyone finally agrees there isn't a Santa Clause in the sky, it will make things so less complicated.

    No more Pope to worship, he's just another dude people, just another dude. It must crowded in the heads of some folks, with The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and The Easter Bunny running all over, maybe a unicorn in there too with a rainbow and pot of gold while we are at it.

    September 17, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Ben in Texas

    The Roman Catholic Church provides a good object lesson for those right wingers who want to deny separation of church and state and institute a theocracy in America.

    For nearly 1700 years, the Roman church has oppressed the poor in Europe, and wherever European Catholics have gone. The foundation of our country was designed to thwart this sort of physical/mental/spiritual oppression, and once again, there are fundamentalist groups who seek to enslave our nation to a "religious" group.

    In actuality, the Catholic hierarchy has always been about the ruthless exercise of power and corruption, and never had anything to do with Christian principles. That is the same path the fundamentalists want to take this country down, but under a different church name.

    September 17, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    If there is any more polarizing religious figure in Europe than Pope Benedict, its Reverend Ian Paisley! If he had his way, no Roman Catholic in Northern Ireland would have any voting rights and the 17th and 18th century ordinances forcing Catholic families to equally divide their estates among all sons not in the clergy would still be on the books forcing more and more Catholics into poverty.
    The tensions he has caused have kept many businesses from locating to Ulster due to the political unrest he stirs up every July! If anyone should be censored by the infamous Section 31, it is him.

    September 17, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |