Claiming that St. Francis of Assisi himself was a nudist, local nude activist and soapbox fan Gypsy Taub organized a rally and "nude freedom parade" today, which kicked off at the National Shrine of St. Francis and appears to have consisted of six people. Politely, the nudists in attendance waited until after daily church services were over at the Shrine on Vallejo Street.
Taub sent out a press release earlier this week touting both her ongoing legal battle with the City of San Francisco over her citations for nudity, and this rally, which she framed as a commemoration of Saint Francis on the 238th anniversary of San Francisco. She was perhaps unaware that the chosen venue for this protest was also the site of a recent kinky sex scandal involving spankings and anal and vaginal sex in the church's sacristy, behind the shrine's altar.
Taub notes that Saint Francis was an Italian Catholic priest who renounced possessions, rebuilt small churches, [and was famous for saying] "I shall go naked to meet my naked Lord.”
St. Francis was, according to legend, persecuted for stealing from his merchant father to help rebuild a church, and he reportedly said, "I return not only my money, but also my clothes. I shall go naked to meet my naked Lord." He then stripped off his clothes and threw them at his father in front of a trial court.
Though there was not a wildly enthusiastic turnout today, and it was mostly the usual suspects, Taub remains stalwart in her commitment to fight the 14-month-old ban on public nudity, which she calls "a shameful act of outrageous hypocrisy especially in light of our cultural and spiritual history."
We've reached out to Taub to find out the status of her citation from Bay to Breakers, where, according to the language of the ban itself, nudity was supposed to grandfathered in and allowable. Taub and others were nonetheless handed citations, per an order from police chief Greg Suhr. Suffice it to say, she's fighting it.
Meanwhile, First Amendment attorney Gill Sperlein has filed an amended complaint in federal court on behalf of Taub and fellow nudist George Davis against the City and the SFPD, including all recent incidents of what they claim is police misconduct.
More photos here.