In many ways it seems that trying to have a reasoned and rational discussion, or at least putting things in perspective, can really take the biscuit. Or in this case the taking of a communion wafer, that was held but not swallowed, from a service has been considered a “hate crime” and resulted in the University Central Florida student receiving death threats that he returned the said wafer from captivity – but there are calls for his expulsion.
Even the University is saying Webster Cook the for mentioned student is not in trouble -but this depends on formal complaints by Cook and Catholic students not amounting to anything. In his own words he says it was not a prank but:
“When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show [a visiting non catholic friend],” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.” [Full story here]
Now if he had committed a black mass, committed fornication on the alter, jerked off in the font [EDIT: you get the idea but no ideas about me please] then a sanction would seem more than merited. Instead it seems that he has already got more than his just desserts, in a rather unsavoury fashion. Apparently it is a mortal sin not to consume Christ’s flesh. Queen Elizabeth, in a play on words, during the reign of Queen Mary dodged the question of whether it really turned into Christ’s body by saying:
Christ was the word that spake it.
He took the bread and break it;
And what his words did make it
That I believe and take it.
The story would perhaps be a non starter accept that, as you would expect, PZ Myers has blogged about the
incident here. Which has led to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League calling for action to be taken against PZ by the University of Minnesota that employs him as an associate professor and even the State legislator here. There is a counter move to support PZ being led by Richard Dawkins (more on that at the bottom).
The freedom of speech to lampoon people’s overreaction to what Cook did seems under threat by people who seem to think that religious sensitivities allow them to ruin the professional lives of other people. It is clear from PZ’s blog he was criticising the hyperbole overdrive that people were saying about the wafer and Cook, and he is entitled to say that it is just crackers.
Mind you – if the student had asked for a non blessed wafer to show his friend then we may all have been spared. Although we could argue over whether it would be the same wafer pre and post Eurachist – one that Elizabeth had to tread carefully for her life depended on it. Hopefully we shall not return to negative consequences for those that would criticise what people do and say in the name of their beliefs.
richarddawkins.net is supporting PZ Myers and asking for people to write to President Robert H. Bruininks to counter the hate mail that people have sent urging the President to sack PZ. Please consider supporting PZ during this witch hunt.