Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Preacher and the Naked Bicyclists

I was heading home from work on a fine Saturday afternoon, when I decided to pop up out of the underground before getting on BART, and go sample some perfume at Sephora.

As I emerge from the Powell Street BART Station, I realize that there is a street preacher, perched up on the molding of Forever 21, yakking through some kind of amplifier. He has a big sign about the blood of Jesus with him, and some friends handing out little tracts, and he's ranting on about Gay Pride, specifically the rainbow flags that go up on Market a month before the parade. We're misusing the rainbow, which is a sign from God. Do we even know what 'queer' really means? Etc. I walk by with a stone-set face, and storm into Sephora, thinking about how Jesus never took time out of his busy schedule to yell about a gay pride parade, when people were sick and hungry in the community around him.

Some time later, I come fragrantly out from Sephora, and head back to the BART station. Preacher still up on the moldings, still shouting. But as I approach, something new enters the scene--about thirty people on bicycles, naked except for their bike helmets, pedalling toward Market Street through the Powell Street cable car turnaround.

The preacher spots them, and turns his sermon to them. "You should be ashamed!" he yells. "Going around naked in public! Go home and put your clothes on! Be ashamed of yourselves!"

The bikers, of course, are loving the attention, and pedalling like mad. The crowd is cheering for them as they merge onto Market and streak off happily toward the Mission.

Apparently they were part of the World Naked Bike Ride.

I did wonder if the preacher had a religious leg to stand on in regards to them. Now, he didn't say that what they were doing was irreligious, he simply told them to be ashamed, but it occurs to me that nowhere in Exodus or Numbers does it say "Thou shalt not bike around town naked as a jaybird."." Nudity, in scripture, is mostly seen an expression of humility, or vulnerability, which would fit nicely in with this group's concern about environmental damage.

I love San Francisco...


A Living Nadneyda said...

I don't see too many bike helmets...

Dusty said...

Dang. That seems painful. Where do the dangly parts go?

No- on second thought, I don't really want to know.

BBJ said...

The picture is from their website. Most of the people I saw were wearing helmets, also biking shoes.

I don't know about the dangly bits. It does seem--problematic. But they were having a good old time.