It is possible to write a very, very long post about the impulsive college student in Florida who didn’t eat the Eucharist wafer that was given to him in Mass, but took it home instead, and received many threats so he returned it, but his apology wasn’t good enough for Catholic League president Bill Donohue, and then a college professor in Minnesota offered to desecrate a host if someone could get one for him, and the still-developing Donohue-fuelled backlash to that offer.
But I won’t; it’s been done, more eloquently than I can, and I have already probably read a thousand or so posts and comments on the issue. Of more interest to me is the academic freedom issue. Donohue (who is known as an ideological bully) wants the college professor (who is not known for subtlety in his criticism of religion) fired from his tenured position teaching biology.
Stipulated: the professor was rude and nasty in offering to desecrate a host, and it will do more harm than good if he follows through with it. No argument there. But Donohue’s threats prompted me to send an actual letter, printed on physical paper, signed in ink, to the president of the university in question, supporting the rude college professor. (Yes, I had to look up the amount of postage required to mail a letter. It keeps changing. And find an envelope. And go drop the finished envelope in a blue box on a street corner)
Adlai Stevenson said; “My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular”. That means no fear of physical violence, no fear of being blacklisted from an unrelated job, no fear, period. And we’re rapidly moving toward a society where the greatest fear is of giving offense. Let’s be clear: only offensive speech needs protection. ‘Defend to the death your right to say it’ and all that.
(If you want to make a sociological study of the politics of the Eucharist, start here.)