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July 13, 2008

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.)

Categories: Politics
  1. July 14, 2008 at 05:37 | #1

    “Crackergate.”  George, you’re killing me – I love it!  Gorgeous post, great Stevenson quote, and astoundingly a fresh line of thought on the whole topic.  You’re amazing!

  2. July 14, 2008 at 06:55 | #2

    I had not previously heard of this story.

    Those religious folks sure set a lot of store by their hocus-pocus, don’t they.

    As for the Catholics, with the body and blood of Christ stuff, these folks need to get a life.

    I do not, in fact, know who Bill Donohue is, and he does not sound like anyone I want to know anything about.

  3. July 14, 2008 at 08:32 | #3

    You are a sucker for punishment—I’ve only read three or four blog posts about the cracker dustup, and my mind is still boggling. It’s the kind of thing that keeps reminding me that the human race is basically insane.

  4. james old guy
    July 14, 2008 at 10:11 | #4

    I am waiting for the ritual killing that seems to be the theme of Muslim crowd to move into the Catholic cracker crowd. Wonder what the punishment is for a cartoon of a holy cracker?

  5. July 17, 2008 at 17:53 | #5

    I’m with #3 above. I don’t understand why this doesn’t happen more often. I have been waiting a long time for news of someone in church whipping out a can of aerosol cheese….

    If you saved up a bunch and made Matzoh Ball Soup, would that be a desecration? I mean, you’re still eating it right?

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