A shirtless female protester with the words “I am God” painted on her chest took to a German Church during Christmas mass this week and attempted to end the festivities by jumping atop the altar.
The woman stormed the altar of Cologne Cathedral and began screaming atop the altar during Christmas mass. Her chest had the words “I am God” painted on it, and she screamed until she was removed from the event. The protest allegedly intended to bring awareness to atheism and had as its goal to prevent Christians from celebrating the holiday. She was identified as a member of FEMEN, a group that had previously threatened to “cancel” Christmas as far away as Bethlehem.
To the extent that they portray themselves as or attempt to be an organized political group, FEMEN describes itself as “an international women’s movement of brave topless female activists painted with the slogans and crowned with flowers.” They are based in Paris, though having begun as a group in Ukraine in 2008, initially to protest exclusively against anti-women activities such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages. Their ideology, according to their website, consists of “sextremism, atheism, and feminism,” and while many of their stances take on a far-left veneer, their protest actions have often left many trying to piece together a coherent vision from the individual acts. Recently, however, they have taken to emphasizing the “atheism” more than the “feminism” parts of their ideology. This particular exhibition in Cologne, according to the official FEMEN statement, aimed to “protest Vatican propaganda for the criminalisation of abortion.”
FEMEN have infiltrated a number of events in the past, ostensibly in the name of “human rights.” FEMEN protesters recently invaded a FIFA event to protest soccer after the announcement of the 2022 World Cup games in oppressive Qatar, condemning the move because the Arab monarchy has recently enacted anti-LGBT laws and has a problematic track record on women’s rights. They have also confronted Vladimir Putin shirtless. Their ideology is somewhat unpredictable, however, as they are also extremely anti-prostitution despite their social liberalism and openness in exposing their bodies. A FEMEN group invaded German brothels to protest legal prostitution, shouting “Germany is not a brothel” and “go rape yourselves.” Their leadership has also made severely anti-Muslim statements, condemning the hijab and insisting the religion is inherently “violent.”