Pharyngula

IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!

There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.

Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity.

Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!

Catholics worldwide became furious.

Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:

“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”

Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?

Well, you could have a priest compare this event to a kidnapping.

“It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it. The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.

I like the idea of sending a scary nun to guard the ceremony at the next mass. But even better…let’s send Webster Cook to hell!

Gonzalez said intentionally abusing the Eucharist is classified as a mortal sin in the Catholic church, the most severe possible. If it’s not returned, the community of faith will have to ask for forgiveness.

“We have to make acts of reparation,” Gonzalez said. “The whole community is going to turn to prayer. We’ll ask the Lord for pardon, forgiveness, peace, not only for the whole community affected by it, but also for [Cook], we offer prayers for him as well.”

Get some perspective, man. IT’S A CRACKER.

And of course, Bill Donohue is outraged (I know, Donohue is going to die of apoplexy someday when a gnat violates his oatmeal, so this isn’t saying much).

For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage–regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance–is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.

Oh, beyond hate speech. Where does this fit on the Shoah scale, Bill? It shouldn’t even register, but here is Wild-Eyed Bill the Offended calling for the expulsion of a student…for not swallowing a cracker.

Would you believe that the mealy-mouthed president of the university, John Hitt, is avoiding defending his student is instead playing up the importance of the Catholic church to the university? Of course you would. That’s what university presidents do. Bugger the students, keep the donors and the state reps happy.

Unfortunately, Webster Cook has now returned the cracker. Why?

Webster just wants all of this to go away. Especially now that he feels his life is in danger.

That’s right. Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane. These people are demented fuckwits. And Cook is not out of the fire yet — that Fox News story ends with an open incitement to cause him further misery.

University officials said, that as for right now, Webster Cook is not in trouble. If anyone or any group wants to file a formal complaint with the University through the student judicial system, they can. If that happens, Webster will go through a hearing either in front of an administrative panel or a panel of his peers.

Got that? If you don’t like what Webster Cook did, all you have to do is complain to the university, and they will do the dirty work for you of making his college experience miserable. And don’t assume the university would support Cook; the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.

I find this all utterly unbelievable. It’s like Dark Age superstition and malice, all thriving with the endorsement of secular institutions here in 21st century America. It is a culture of deluded lunatics calling the shots and making human beings dance to their mythical bunkum.

So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.

Just wait. Now there’ll be a team of Jesuits assigned to rifle through my mail every day.


Comment thread closed due to excessive length, but you may continue here.

Comments

  1. #1 andyo
    July 8, 2008

    Yeah, instead of keeping it (safe), he should just have ate it, chewed it, and pooped it. That’s how you don’t abuse a cracker!

  2. #2 Doug
    July 8, 2008

    What’s the big deal? You can order these crackers online in bulk. The orders can even come with little cups of wine.

    http://www.churchpartner.com/store/customer/cat-490.html

  3. #3 Turdus
    July 8, 2008

    Well sir, if it is that easy, I am going to get me my own cracker!

  4. #4 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    For fun, obtain thousands of the exact same cracker from the manufacturer, and then add said stolen cracker to a pile – then invite the clergy and the concerned parishioners to pick out which it is.

    If it’s special, surely there’s some way of discerning that?

  5. #5 Michael Russell
    July 8, 2008

    Well, this is a community that believes that every sperm is sacred…

  6. #6 Ericka
    July 8, 2008

    So that’s what the flesh of Jesus looks like…

    I always wondered…

  7. #7 Mena
    July 8, 2008

    But christianity is not insane like those muslims who riot over teddy bears and who PZ doesn’t dare insult in fear of bodily harm. [/snark]

  8. #8 Dennis N
    July 8, 2008

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen since I started reading Pharyngula. It’s a cracker. It’s not even a very good cracker, like a Cheez-it.

  9. #9 kestrien
    July 8, 2008

    My mom used to drag me to church all the time while she set up the day before, and I used to pop them as snacks while she was busy. They’re actually pretty darn bland. A little salt, maybe some shrimp paste and I bet they’d be delicious.

  10. #10 Turdus
    July 8, 2008

    Wowbagger @#4 – BRILLIANT!

  11. #11 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    I think we should use the link from Doug at #2 and mail as many crackers as possible to whatever religious loony bin is having the vapors, going all, “No, I am Spartacus,” claiming to be Webster Cook’s returned communion cracker.

    Those fuckwits worship an imaginary asshat who told his acolytes, “Eat me,” and his name wasn’t even Michael Valentine Smith. They give these gomers drivers licenses and guns, too.

  12. #12 andyo
    July 8, 2008

    By the way, this is the perfect news item for all catholics worldwide who don’t know what transubstantiation means (there are quite a lot) or how they are supposed to believe it (if they know what it is, they don’t realize it’s supposed to be literal–a.k.a. cannibalism), to scream collectively: W T F ? Do you mean we’re supposed to believe that?!

  13. #13 cathi
    July 8, 2008

    mmmmm … Christ Crispies.

  14. #14 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Catholics
    We’re crackers for Jesus!

  15. #15 Danley
    July 8, 2008

    The world is insane and I must now end my life. Goodbye tards.

  16. #16 SteveWH
    July 8, 2008

    @Doug (#2)

    The big deal is that Catholics believe in transubstantiation – when the priest blesses the cracker during mass, it literally becomes the body of Jesus. The physical properties all remain the same, but the wafer’s essence (it’s “substance”) changes. The wafer isn’t a symbol of Jesus – it is Jesus. No metaphor or poetic imagination – physical transmutation to a piece of the divine
    (and yet Catholics I know get upset when I point out that they practice ritualized cannibalism). As far as they’re concerned, he stole a part of Jesus.

  17. #17 amphiox
    July 8, 2008

    Hmm. When I was a kid, I went to a Catholic School, and getting the eucharist was my favorite part of church because I got something to eat!

  18. #18 The Science Pundit
    July 8, 2008

    Host desecration: the greatest sin in Roman Catholicism. How pathetic!

    I’m familiar with this madness. That’s why I did my Blasphemy Challenge with a stolen cracker. :-D Of course, I didn’t get anywhere near the backlash. :-(

  19. #19 Bob Russell
    July 8, 2008

    It is certainly sacred when it gets pooped out…I’m sure I’ve Jesus in the toilet bowl more than once…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Stool_Scale

  20. #20 Dennis N
    July 8, 2008

    Transubstantiation doesn’t make any sense. It’s like the trinity. As SteveWH explains:

    The physical properties all remain the same, but the wafer’s essence (it’s “substance”) changes.

    It’s substance is still a cracker. There is no such thing as essence, it’s just an apologetic for why it’s still a cracker.

  21. #21 sailor
    July 8, 2008

    I think I should crying, but reading this whole thing just has me convulsed with laughter. If anyone want to show that Xtians are just as whacky and dumb as other radical fundamentalists, I think they have it.

    Wowblogger (#4) good idea but you better have a special mark on it or they will claim they have found the right one by divine insiration. When you point out it was not the blessed one, they would probably claim that Jesus transfered himself from one to the other. Anyone that believes a blessed cracker is turning into flesh, is clearly really crazy or high on illegal substances.

  22. #22 CanadianChick
    July 8, 2008

    jeez – imagine what they’d do if they knew I had a tub of the things leftover from a BlasphemyParty where we mixed them with Bits ‘n’ Bites.

    We WERE going to use spray cheese (which isn’t available here) but the guy bringing it got delayed…

    (ok, in the tubs, they’re not yet consecrated – but really, how hard is it to bless some wafers???)

    Seriously, this is deranged. Holding the body of christ hostage?? WTF?

  23. #23 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    I’d love a bold newspaper editor to title the article Wacky cult wants magic biscuit back and tell the exact same story with a few changes to exclude any references to Catholicism or Christianty until the very end.

    No doubt all the Christers would be laughing their asses off at such patently stupid behaviour – until they realised what was going on.

  24. #24 defectiverobot
    July 8, 2008

    All due respect to Mr. Webster, I wasn’t so much frightened by this story as I was amused. No, no, “amused” is not strong enough. This was fucking hilarious. Far funnier than posting your vote on e-Bay!

    Mr. Webster, hats off to you sir! I’m sorry you had to go through that hell (and I hope you see the error of your ways!), but it was so worth it for exposing the utterly ridiculous nature of that–er, any–religion.

  25. #25 MAJeff, OM
    July 8, 2008

    The body of Christ compels you to get a little bit of brie.

  26. #26 Bob Russell
    July 8, 2008

    I know I’ve screamed Jesus Christ more than once when the ‘roids bothered me….body and blood of Christ!!!!

  27. #27 andyo
    July 8, 2008

    Bob Russell #19,

    It is certainly sacred when it gets pooped out…I’m sure I’ve Jesus in the toilet bowl more than once…

    It’s even been documented.

  28. #28 MAJeff, OM
    July 8, 2008

    I know, Donohue is going to die of apoplexy someday when a gnat violates his oatmeal, so this isn’t saying much

    BREED MORE GNATS!

  29. #29 jrochest
    July 8, 2008

    When two Catholic friends of mine got married, a very devout relation sent them a host (the cracker) as a wedding gift, neatly packaged in a little envelope, rather like one of those money mailer things.

    Unfortunately, Canada Post did its usual irreverent handling of the envelope, and when my friend opened it all that remained were, as she put it, “Little Bits of Jesus, EVERYWHERE”.

    They got quite giggly trying to figure out what to do: sweep it up? But what if they missed a bit, and trod on it? Reverently vacuum? But then, what to do with the vacuum cleaner bag? The cat ate some of it, before they could stop him: did this make the cat part of the Catholic Communion?

    All in all, they were quite relieved to discover that it wasn’t consecrated (even though they are both VERY secular, now divorced, and one is gay)

  30. #30 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare.

    Uh … this brings whole new meaning to ‘biological ejaculations from a godless liberal’

  31. #31 Blake Stacey
    July 8, 2008

    If you don’t like what Webster Cook did, all you have to do is complain to the university, and they will do the dirty work for you of making his college experience miserable. And don’t assume the university would support Cook; the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.

    Yep, that’s librul academia for ya.

  32. #32 Jeph
    July 8, 2008

    When my Catholic wife was married to Atheist me by a Methodist minister, the church denied her the Eucharist until we jumped through the appropriate hoop with them. It was a very Medieval experience. If you don’t obey the Pope, you can’t have any Jesus! How can you have any Jesus, if you don’t obey the Pope?

  33. #33 thalarctos
    July 8, 2008

    The body of Christ compels you to get a little bit of brie.

    And of course you’ll have heard about the new low-fat communion wafers: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus®!”.

  34. #34 Grumpy
    July 8, 2008

    Contra the thread title, it’s a God-blessed cracker.

    Which raises the question, couldn’t the priest have un-blessed it? The eucharistic version of “shoot the hostage.”

  35. #35 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    Oh, by the way, PZ, you should get the cracker tested for Jesus DNA, and other evidence of transubstantiation. If you find any Jesus flesh, please clone a few cells and grow a blastocyst and hybridize it with a squid or something.

  36. #36 Jose
    July 8, 2008

    As they dragged him away to Catholic jail, he yelled “Eucharist crackers are made of stem cells! They’re made of stem cells!!!”

  37. #37 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Can someone explain how it can constitutes a ‘hate crime’? Isn’t a hate crime an otherwise normal crime committed out of or motivated by hate? Technically, he hasn’t committed a ‘crime’ in the first place – the cracker was given to him; he didn’t steal it. Once it’s in his hands he can do what he damned well (pun intended) wants with it.

  38. #38 Colugo
    July 8, 2008

    1) In the Middle Ages Jews were executed for allegedly ‘torturing the host.’ It was believed that Jews stole consecrated host wafers and tortured them, causing them to spurt blood in agony.

    2) There are holy relics which are purported to be host wafers that turned into actual flesh. I know, the host is supposed to be flesh, but in these cases it was flesh in appearance as well.

    3) The argument over whether or not the host is literally God is one of the main theological divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism for which countless people died in sectarian wars. In the presence of the host Catholics are worshiping it as God, not just as an icon that represents God.

  39. #39 Holbach
    July 8, 2008

    Ha, I wish he had held it up and pointed a spray can of Cheese Whiz at it and said; “If you come any closer I’ll turn it into a Ritz cracker and throw it to the squirrels! Here is just an example that politeness and tolerance are just wasted on religious retards.

  40. What Cook did was just plain stupid and disrespectful. I could walk down the street and start calling every black person I see a nigger. Eventually one of them will overreact and kick my ass or possibly even worse. Does that make all black people a bunch of fuckwits? I mean what is worse — being called a nigger or getting the crap beat out of you?

    If you make it a hobby to disrepect people you will get hurt — and the people that hurt you don’t have to be religious fanatics. They just have to be “human”.

  41. #41 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    Who’s got a prescription for some medicinal marijuana? The recipe for a Leary Biscuit calls for a Ritz cracker, but wouldn’t it be heavenly with a communion wafer?

  42. #42 BobbyEarle
    July 8, 2008

    “Everything is good, when it sits on a Ritz.”

    Hey, jebus…get off of my appetizer.

  43. #43 Blake Stacey
    July 8, 2008

    Oh, yeah, I’m also eagerly awaiting the sage advice from the McGrath/Craig brand of “enlightened” theologians, urging tolerance, forgiveness and a moderate view of the importance of a cracker.

    When I hear that, I think I’ll eat flying bacon to celebrate.

  44. #44 jrochest
    July 8, 2008

    Oh, and the Anglican church (which doesn’t believe in Transubstantiation, but still uses the same wafer) gets around the “people stealing the consecrated host” problem by feeding it to you — sticking it on your tongue — and using wafers that pretty much dissolve on contact with water.

    So you could get out of the church with one in your mouth, but it would be a soggy bit ‘o Jesus, not in the least bit useful as a foil for the Brie.

  45. #45 Yoo
    July 8, 2008

    Even if the cracker really was the body of Christ (ludicrous, but just for the sake of argument), who do these people think they are? How could they dare say that Jesus can’t take care of himself. Do they think they’re above Jesus Christ?!?

    (Or at least I would say so if I were a Christian …)

  46. #46 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Jeph #32 wrote:

    If you don’t obey the Pope, you can’t have any Jesus! How can you have any Jesus, if you don’t obey the Pope?

    Props on the Pink Floyd The Wall reference – if that’s what it is. Though if it’s not it’s still funny…

  47. #47 Carlie
    July 8, 2008

    Christ on a cracker! Always wondered where that curse came from. I never realized there was a tiny Jesus stamped on each one of those – us simple Protestant folk only use regular little plain crackers.

    I read in “Running from the Devil” (GREAT book, everyone go read it) that one of the altar boys’ jobs was to eat the host if someone tried to break in and steal it. I was like WTF? Now, I believe it.

  48. #48 Bronze Dog
    July 8, 2008

    WHAT.
    THE.
    FRELL?!

    I knew our local brand of fundie was insane, but this takes it beyond any level I’ve previously seen.

  49. #49 alec
    July 8, 2008

    So:

    (1) Webster Cook doing this is kind of asinine. At best, he made an honest mistake; at worst, he’s one of those pissants who wouldn’t dream of doing something as terrible and sacrilegious as pissing in the Protestants’ grape juice but considers his shit too good for those Papists’ wine.
    (The Catholic League and other intra-Religious Right liasions aside, Catholics in America tend to be pretty reasonable – they, like most minority religions, fall somewhere on the left. A lot of the agitators here at Fox etc. are from different, more insane sects.)
    Basically, there are a lot of evangelicals who are going to make a big deal out of this simply because the media image of it is someone doing something anti-Christian. They exploit this kind of crap to the ground – and they’ll do it in the name of a religious sect that generally wants nothing to do with bullshit like this.

    (2) It’s worth noting that much more severe acts of desecration have been carried out against Muslims – those damn cartoons, some asshole flushing one of their holy books – and the response didn’t include a concerted attempt to destroy the perpetrators’ lives, major news networks overtly calling for them to be lynched, etc.
    Long story short, this is as good evidence as you could ever ask for that our domestic Christianist phalange will do shit more radical than anyone in the Middle East could get away with, and it’ll do it in the name of religious groups it otherwise wishes the US could make illegal.

    If there’s one appeal I can make to you, it’s this – don’t let Donohue make this into a Catholic thing, and don’t let the evangelical and charismatic loons get away with pretending to speak for Catholics. And don’t make a martyr out of some jackass who felt compelled to screw with a religious congregation over something this unimportant. It wasn’t an act of protest and it wasn’t a stumbling block to religious oppression; all it did was fumblingly throw the Catholic community one unfortunate step closer to the dour, vile theocrats who dominate the hard right in America.

    This guy pulled a stupid stunt for no good reason – one that’s pretty damned offensive in context – and not only are the Christofascists trying to make a mountain of pan-Christian sacrilege out of a single stupid stunt, but you’re playing along with them. Please don’t; we don’t need another asinine culture battle and if we did it shouldn’t be over something this unimportant.

  50. #50 SC
    July 8, 2008

    He’s kidnapped Jesus! He’s holding Him hostage!

    This goes well beyond the TBS. I’m quite certain silentsanta would authorize torture in these circumstances.

  51. #51 alec
    July 8, 2008

    On the other hand, the ‘catholics worldwide’ are largely the European and Latin American answer to our evangelical fringe. Fuck them – and fuck anything that brings their American coreligionists closer to them.

  52. #52 andyo
    July 8, 2008

    Randy #40,

    Yeah, cause it’s the same. bleh.

    I’m sure others are typing something like this right now, but come on. I can come up with any number of ridiculous beliefs and claim untouchability, but that doesn’t mean squat. For instance, I am deeply offended when people are named Randy. If people do that, I will send them death threats. Hope you won’t complain then.

  53. #53 Zeno
    July 8, 2008

    This incident is, of course, a direct consequence of the excesses of Vatican II! The crazy liberals who ran that ecumenical council unleashed the forces of modernism with their irresponsible relaxation of many time-honored rules, leading to such horrors as reception of the eucharist wafer in the hand. Oh, noooooo!

    Trust me: I haven’t seen this exact complaint yet, but expect some furious lobbying within Catholic ranks for a return to the old-fashioned communion practice of reception by mouth only. That’s when the priest places the wafer directly on the communicant’s tongue. Today lots of people receive the host in their cupped hands, after which it’s their responsibility to transfer it to their mouths. The hand technique, of course, makes it much more convenient to pocket the wafer and later put it up for sale on eBay (remember that?) or for use in a satanic black mass. From the Catholic point of view, these are mortally sinful desecrations. The reactions of Donohue et alia, as we see, demonstrate the degree to which they are prepared to go absolutely nuts over it.

    Webster Cook’s action is a mildly rude prank by sane standards, deliberating slighting Catholic sensibilities by making light of a wafer of worship. These sensibilities, however, have shown themselves to be much tougher when contemplating various Church scandals (such as the recent one involving Cardinal Pell and his protection of a accused child molester). When it comes to picking battles, the members of my childhood religion seem rather injudicious in choosing the things that get them really, really upset.

    By the way, since the communion wafer is supposed to be the actual body of Christ, you should take proper care of it when you obtain your own consecrated host. I recommend pushpins and a cork board. Five pushpins are probably best: four for the nails in the hands and feet and a fifth to represent the lance wound in the side. Naturally, it’s not necessary to leave the fifth one in place, since that would not be consistent with the Bible accounts of the crucifixion.

    Then brace yourself for visits from the Vatican’s crack squad of ninja nuns.

  54. #54 Robert Thille
    July 8, 2008

    If the cracker _is_ Jesus, then are they saying their “all powerful” God can’t even keep himself from being abducted by a college student?

    Wow, God keeps getting lamer and lamer…

  55. #55 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

    We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”

    I think I’ve read something about the idea of making a sacrilege a crime … something about “no law” and religion …

  56. #56 Kel
    July 8, 2008

    This was a response to an article an Australian online newspaper wrote on the Catholic Church

    And what bile! Keane’s pathetic antipathy is best displayed in his reference to the Catholic Church as a “strange belief system”. Hardly strange, as the world in which it is situated is founded on its values and proclamations of faith and reasoned morality across the millennia.

    All this over a cracker? The belief system of Catholicism wouldn’t be any more strange if it tried. And it really does try really really hard to push the limits of what an otherwise rational mind would believe for the sake of God.

    Oh and the sooner Project Mayhem takes the balls of Bill Donahue, the better off the world will be.

  57. #57 khops
    July 8, 2008

    mmmm Christ Chex

    am I the only one that saw that Dane Cook sketch?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui3diDtZ6_E

  58. #58 Sastra
    July 8, 2008

    Righteous indignation against “a lack of respect” is all you can stand on when you believe something outlandish, have no good evidence for it, and secretly suspect this makes you look like a total twat.

    I wonder if this is partly fueled by jealousy over the Muslim fuss with the cartoons. “Hey, a fake religion is getting sympathy over an insult! Let’s show everyone OUR feelings get BRUISED over stupid things too, so that we’re still a top contender in the running for One True Religion. Show that we take it all seriously. It gets respect and evokes compassion.”

    No. You still just look like total twats.

  59. #59 co
    July 8, 2008

    Of course, all the holy sites on the intarwebs are up in arms about this. For example: http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2008/07/student-holds-eucharist-hostage.html . Some of the comments there are just… priceless.

  60. #60 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Zeno, #53, wrote:

    but expect some furious lobbying within Catholic ranks for a return to the old-fashioned communion practice of reception by mouth only.

    Are you still talking about wafers?

  61. #61 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    Please don’t; we don’t need another asinine culture battle and if we did it shouldn’t be over something this unimportant.

    Thank you for the ‘let’s hide our heads in the sand and pretend there’s no disagreement between the religious and the non-religious’ view.
    In truth – the silliness of a fight over a Jesus Cracker will show how ridiculous the pretensions and voodoo-thinking of the religious are.

  62. #62 clinteas
    July 8, 2008

    So if you are a deluded catholic whacko,this is like taking Dog herself hostage,and constitutes a hate crime,or some other terrible abomination,and in centuries past people actually got killed in wars over this lunacy.

    PZ has a point when he calls this “Dark age superstition and malice” in the 21st century,its truly unbelievable.

    Then again,the rotting carcass of some decades dead dude has arrived in Sydney to have some death cult ritual practised on,financed by 100s of millions of our tax dollars.
    Oh,and this just in,Archbishop Pell knew about at least 2 more cases of child abuse(16yo girl,11yo altar boy)when he wrote a letter to this man telling him there were no other allegations against that priest.

  63. #63 windy
    July 8, 2008

    I like the way this guy describes it:

    “Here’s a video report on Webster F. Cook, the University of Central Florida student responsible for taking hostage Our Lord, keeping him a Zip-Loc Baggie…”

    Oh no! The indignity!

    Two observations:

    -how is it “theft” if they are giving the crackers away?

    -a stone tomb sealed by a boulder couldn’t hold the guy, but a zip-loc bag can?

  64. #64 Scott D.
    July 8, 2008

    Maybe we should show them how concerned we are for their crackers by mailing them boxes of saltines, cheez-its, and various other crackers?

    The UCF Catholic Campus Ministry has it’s P.O. box listed online.

  65. #65 Buenare
    July 8, 2008

    So back when I was a Catholic, I suppose after I masticated Jesu…err..the cracker, digested it, and then deficated it, I should have given it back to the church?

  66. #66 observer
    July 8, 2008

    Wowbagger@#4,

    Of course there’s a special way of discerning the stolen cracker. It’s the one that tastes like Jesus.

  67. #67 alec
    July 8, 2008

    In truth – the silliness of a fight over a Jesus Cracker will show how ridiculous the pretensions and voodoo-thinking of the religious are.
    About a third of the country buys into that Jesus Cracker bullshit, and have until the last decade or so been pretty reasonable about it. By all means, let’s start a holy war over the fucking Eucharist.

  68. #68 Sophist FCD
    July 8, 2008

    Taking the host like that is a stupid, classless, mean-spirited thing to do, and if the church and its advocates had restrained themselves to statements to that effect I would have agreed and given them a bit of grudging respect for their restraint. However, when they respond like this it just makes me want to piss on a crucifix in solidarity.

  69. #69 Jose
    July 8, 2008

    #40
    I have to say that I will feel bad when all the atheist are looking down on you as you burn in hell. Even if you have earned it.

  70. #70 Glen Davidson
    July 8, 2008

    I suppose the old adage about academic fights would fit here, when modified: the battles over the Eucharist (and there have been many, notably during the Reformation) are so heated because they matter so little.

    If it mattered to God, presumably he’d take care of it. Since he doesn’t, the believers of a fairy tale have to battle it out.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  71. #71 Mika H
    July 8, 2008

    What chance is there that this originates from an Onion article that a local FOX affiliate mistook for a real story?

    Holy crap.

  72. #72 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Cook should nail the cracker to a little cross and see if it bleeds.

  73. #73 Chad
    July 8, 2008

    If he gave up the cracker once they admitted to using physical force then its a fair trade off. They admit assault while he admits to a mistake. That being said, it should and hopefully will happen again – this time a point made in destroying the cracker in whatever disrespectful way possible simply to make a point.

    Simply because your superstitious mythology denotes an act as sinful doesn’t give you the right to do anything you choose.

  74. #74 R. Tilern Smurtz
    July 8, 2008

    All your ritz are belong to us

  75. #75 Zeno
    July 8, 2008

    Zeno, #53, wrote:

    but expect some furious lobbying within Catholic ranks for a return to the old-fashioned communion practice of reception by mouth only.

    Are you still talking about wafers?

    Well, Wowbagger, I was talking about wafers, but it could also apply to the Church’s expanded program of acceptable birth control practices.

  76. #76 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Taking the host like that is a stupid, classless, mean-spirited thing to do, and if the church and its advocates had restrained themselves to statements to that effect I would have agreed and given them a bit of grudging respect for their restraint. However, when they respond like this it just makes me want to piss on a crucifix in solidarity.

    Yeah, and this is about the most infuriating thing about people like Donohue. He’s the Catholic equivalent of Ozzie bin Laden, and yet he’s delicately glad-handled by his GOP masters and brought out to froth at the mouth over unimportant shit like this as if he represents everyone. The Catholics are normally a lot more restrained about stuff like this – it’s mainly the other Christers who whip it into a frenzy whenever this kind of issue comes up. (Sinead O’Connor, ripping up the Pope’s picture over child abuse, swiftly got turned into a ranting atheist stagolee by the burgeoning religious right – who, for the most part, had an opinion of Catholicism somewhere between ‘whore of Babylon’ and ‘baby-eating whore of Babylon’, but still felt compelled to defend the besmirched honor of beloved Baldy. The original complaint, one that was more intra-religious than inter-religious, got buried so deep that the next time it surfaced it took years for the connection to become public knowledge.)

  77. #77 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    #66,

    Mmmmmmm, that’s some goooooood Jesus!

  78. #78 Noadi
    July 8, 2008

    Lesson learned: Practice my slight of hand more so they won’t notice when I pretend to eat it and then slip it into my pocket for later desecration.

  79. #79 Barry
    July 8, 2008

    Considering the fact that he DID NOT swallow the cracker… I’d have to say he treated the cracker with more respect than everyone else in attendance. After all, the holy ones have basically just eaten, digested, and shit the cracker into a commode.

  80. #80 Brad
    July 8, 2008

    So on this site linked to above, they sell gluten-free communion wafers. I thought the communion wafer transmutated into the flesh of Christ. If that’s the case, then why do they need gluten-free wafers? Shouldn’t whatever the wafer is turn into flesh and thus be gluten-free automatically?

  81. #81 Bob Spencer
    July 8, 2008

    PZ, such idiocy has been going on in the Catholic church for many years. More than 60 years ago in a small town in western Kentucky a somewhat similar event occurred which your post recalled to mind. In preparation for her first communion, a beautiful little red-headed girl, age seven, was taught with the full authority of her parents and the church that when she ate the communion wafer it would literally be transformed into the flesh of a dead man in her stomach. On the big day, dressed in her special new dress, in front of a full church, the priests and God Almighty, she took the wafer like a good little girl, but the thought of that raw flesh in her stomach was more than her bright mind could handle, and it came back up as quickly as it went down. It landed on the carpet in front of the priest. She remembers a stunned silence for what seemed a long time, then much consternation and a great scurrying of the priestly staff. They brought out a specially prepared container, consecrated it and scooped the crushed and sodden wafer into it. A procession was formed and the container was carried with full pomp to the cemetery adjacent to the church where a brief funeral ceremony was held and the body of Christ nee wafer interred with full dignity and respect.

    It doesn’t seem things have changed for the better in the intervening years, does it?

  82. #82 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    a stone tomb sealed by a boulder couldn’t hold the guy, but a zip-loc bag can?

    The thief is in truth a Secret Satanist. Upon the zip-loc bag is drawn (in human blood) a pentagram, which uses Satanic Sorcery to trap Jesus. Why Jesus is weaker than Satan is not yet explained – probably it is due to all those terrible atheists, who have been buying Richard Dawkins’ books, and making Satan stronger.

  83. #83 Barron
    July 8, 2008

    Muslims protest depictions of their prophet: They are dangerous extremists.

    Right Wing Catholics protest removal of a sanctified wafer: They are reacting to a hate crime.

    It’s good to be the white guy some days.

  84. #84 S. Rivlin
    July 8, 2008

    I find this story to be similar to the stories Muslims tend to believe in about the Jews who use non-Jewish children’s blood to make their Matzos for Passover. Something has went haywire with the 5-HT system of these people.

  85. #85 Chris
    July 8, 2008

    Hahaha thats the school I graduated from last year. I didn’t realize it was getting so stupid… Most of the time you would never even know anyone there was religious. This is kinda funny.

  86. #86 Capital Dan
    July 8, 2008

    Why am I not surprised to learn this is happening in Florida?

    We should sell that embarrassing hunk of real estate. It has proven itself to be more trouble than it’s worth.

    I think this kid should just say “I’ll give you back your Baby Jebus Cookie when you fucktards stop raping altar boys and own up to the crimes you’ve committed the last two-thousand years or so.”

  87. #87 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Taking the host like that is a stupid, classless, mean-spirited thing to do

    It’s not a “host”, it’s a fucking cracker … no one has any obligation to honor idiotic superstitions. And besides, he simply wanted to show to someone else; his taking it was a response to being physically abused. Your characterization of his action is absurd and dishonest.

  88. #88 Sastra
    July 8, 2008

    alec #49 wrote:

    This guy pulled a stupid stunt for no good reason – one that’s pretty damned offensive in context – and not only are the Christofascists trying to make a mountain of pan-Christian sacrilege out of a single stupid stunt, but you’re playing along with them.

    Are you sure that — in making a mountain out of such a self-evidently stupid thing — the Christians aren’t actually playing into our hands?

    For every pundit and True Believer twisting their panties into a bunch over this, there may be at least a couple casual, mainstream theists thinking “what the heck…?”

  89. #89 Nemo
    July 8, 2008

    Wow, this almost makes me want to go to Mass for the first time in over twenty years, just to smuggle out a cracker.

  90. #90 alec
    July 8, 2008

    I find this story to be similar to the stories Muslims tend to believe in about the Jews who use non-Jewish children’s blood to make their Matzos for Passover. Something has went haywire with the 5-HT system of these people.

    Of course, the difference between the Christers and the Muslims here is that there’s actual historical record of Jews being lynched for host desecration. One of the many things the Reformation happened for was the belief that the Vatican was getting too soft on the horrible host-desecrating Christ-killers.

  91. #91 ben
    July 8, 2008

    A friend of mine, not me, and my friend once used the holy biscuit as a medium for a well-known hallucinogen. Sacrilegious sparkly colours ….

  92. #92 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    Cheese and crackers got all muddy!

  93. #93 deichmans
    July 8, 2008

    @Doug#2 nailed it. It’s a tenet of Catholic faith that the cracker (despite maintaining the structural integrity and consistency of a cracker) *IS* the body of the Messiah. While I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

  94. #94 Corey
    July 8, 2008

    As a person who attended Catholic mass for 12 years (and then promptly gave it up cold turkey at the age of 18- easiest addiction to ever break), I can’t describe how much I’m looking forward to going to Christmas Eve Mass next year. P.Z.- you’re getting one mailed to you December 26th as a New Years present. Merry Xmas! (they really hate it when you call it Xmas.)

  95. #95 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Are you sure that — in making a mountain out of such a self-evidently stupid thing — the Christians aren’t actually playing into our hands?

    For every pundit and True Believer twisting their panties into a bunch over this, there may be at least a couple casual, mainstream theists thinking “what the heck…?”

    Oh, sure – but the thing to do isn’t to play along with them. Both parties are idiots; the Catholic Leaguers and ostensible evangelical sympathizers are by far the bigger, meaner, more violent, stupider, and louder idiots. The moderate theists’ reaction to this kind of thing is almost always ‘Well, that’s a stupid overreaction.’ The thing to do in that situation isn’t to encourage them to convert by burning crosses on their lawns.

  96. #96 Larry
    July 8, 2008

    Reminds me of the classic Tom Lehrer song, The Vatican Rag:

    Get in line in that processional,
    Step into that small confessional,
    There, the guy who’s got religion’ll
    Tell you if your sin’s original.
    If it is, try playin’ it safer,
    Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
    Two, four, six, eight,
    Time to transubstantiate!

  97. #97 jrochest
    July 8, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    Well, it is the Host. It’s also a cracker.

    You know, terminology: you say tomEHto, I say tomAto…

  98. #98 BeccaTheCyborg
    July 8, 2008

    A friend of mine swiped me a few back in the day. Bland as…the services they’re served at by themselves, but not too bad when covered with honey. And eaten while watching gay porn.

    It was back in the day when I was more pointlessly, gleefully antagonistic.

  99. #99 Fernando Magyar
    July 8, 2008

    TM re#72,
    You beat me to it. My thoughts exactly. You think they might have tried him for attempted murder then?

  100. #100 Dustin
    July 8, 2008

    If we all run off with blessed communion wafers, we might eventually have enough parts to rebuild Jesus. Then we can really hold him hostage!

  101. #101 hubris hurts
    July 8, 2008

    So, if the consecrated wafer becomes the flesh of christ – does that mean that vegetarians shouldn’t take communion? Just wondering…

  102. #102 Sastra
    July 8, 2008

    deichmans #93 wrote:

    While I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

    I disagree. I think that religious beliefs have been granted too much automatic respect and deference. It is time they pulled their own weight in the marketplace of ideas, instead of throwing their weight around with no accountability.

  103. #103 MJMD
    July 8, 2008

    OK, the Catholic Church AND all other religeons are nuts. I agree.
    But why enter into a Roman Catholic mass and, with full knowlege of your offending people, perform an act that breaks one of the fundamental rules of the religeon.
    Why do it, and then complain about the reaction, which is completely expected. Especially in a university where all us young-uns are as enthusiastically one-eyed about every single new idea we have.
    Would it be acceptable to enter a physics class and waste everyone’s time with a pointless debate on how electricity holds the planets orbiting the sun and not gravity? I think not as I would have no right to waste everyone’s time and create meaningless confusion for those not equipped to handle my bulldust.
    I appreciate the idea of debate and communication. But not direct, intentional offence for no reason than the offense itself. Or does he actually wonder if there is transubstantiation and needed to check this baloney? Would he have eaten it if he detected an anomoly. LOL. imagine if the anomoly was just residual salmonella from the priests left over pork rolls he had for breakfast.
    HAHAHAHAHAHA.
    So those who believe that religeon is a crock of …., fine, go buy some wafers and some dip. What difference is there in obtaining a “consegrated” wafer other than the offence it would cause?

  104. #104 PZ Myers
    July 8, 2008

    Stimpson, you moron…you just did the same thing. You cannot equate demeaning a human being with being rude to a goddamned cracker…but you do.

  105. #105 Zeno
    July 8, 2008

    Omigawd! This is surely a sign! At this very moment my local Fox station is broadcasting a Family Guy rerun. It’s the episode in which Stewie scarfs up several communion wafers, chugs the communion wine, and then vomits. The Church then demands that Stewie be turned over for an exorcism, since he is obviously possessed by Satan.

    Could this be merely a coincidence, or is it a message?

    Wooooooooooo.

  106. #106 Julian
    July 8, 2008

    Sadly, I’m not surprised. After all, the Catholic church does make tiny houses to keep unused but “transubstantiated” crackers in. Anyone heard of a tabernacle?

  107. #107 Dustin
    July 8, 2008

    So, if the consecrated wafer becomes the flesh of christ – does that mean that vegetarians shouldn’t take communion? Just wondering…

    Jesus is good with fava beans and chianti.

  108. #108 Michael Faltesek
    July 8, 2008

    I ate a whole bag of those things once when I was an altar boy. I still, for some reason, think they are kind of tasty.

  109. #109 alec
    July 8, 2008

    I disagree. I think that religious beliefs have been granted too much automatic respect and deference. It is time they pulled their own weight in the marketplace of ideas, instead of throwing their weight around with no accountability.

    A fan of the Left Behind series, I take it? That’s kind of what subjecting religion to a ‘marketplace’ gets you – horribly corrupt and dishonest horseshit. Even the most hardline mainstream Catholics oppose the death penalty and the Iraq war – ethical consistency isn’t exactly market ideology’s strong suit, though, so LaHaye & Jenkins get to mix equal parts John Birch and Pat Robertson without anyone calling bullshit.

  110. #110 Cowcakes
    July 8, 2008

    What a totally fucked religion, well aren’t they all.

    Its a pity they couldn’t reserve the same outrage for filthy perverted old paedophiles, sorry Priests, who go around raping children.

    Oh that’s right, as long as they confess its OK.

  111. #111 brandon
    July 8, 2008

    Step one: Buy bulk package of communion wafers – available a most bible and book stores – unwrap and set aside.

    Step two: Attend Catholic Mass.

    Step three: Wake up in time to receive communion.

    Step four: Step back from eucharistic minister. Brandishig unblessed wafers from beneath your Scarlet-trimmed Atheist Cape(TM)…

    Step five: …toss crackers and Jesus into the air.

  112. #112 craig
    July 8, 2008

    It’s not just a cracker.

    Soylent Jesus is PEOPLE. It’s PEEEEPOOOOLLL!

  113. #113 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Point of fact: calling this a hate crime is idiotic at best and dishonest at worst. Minority or no, there are enough Catholics and they have enough resources that they can handle something this piddling; the comparison to anti-black hate crimes is preposterous.

    If someone did something like this to the Jewish equivalent – not familiar enough with Orthodox practice to name one, but I’m certain one exists – it’d qualify as a hate crime; same goes for someone kicking the shit out of a Catholic schoolchild for no better reason. But the numbers and severity make a difference; there’s no legal issue here on the desecrator’s part, just poor taste. Assault, on the other hand, is assault – the passionate situation in which it occurred may be a mitigating factor, but it’s still at least substantially a willful and illegal act.

  114. #114 Poncho
    July 8, 2008

    The post ended with the revelation that the University Police would be at the church to protect the crackers. I don’t see anything about that in the link though.

    If that’s the case, I’d suggest everyone in the area go down there and steal the crackers.
    Anyone can walk into a Catholic service. There is no swipe card, in fact like any religion they invite potential converts.
    You are supposed to achieve the appropriate level of foolishness to take the eucharist but they, again, don’t swipe your card.
    Take the eucharist.. WHICH THEY GIVE YOU!. Don’t eat it and leave. If someone lays a hand on you, file assault charges. If you’re arrested for not eating something you were given, sue the University.
    :-)

    I’m not really a trouble-maker (aside from with my friends) but I’d be up for it. After all, what’s another law-suit for the Catholic Church. It’s not like they’re not used to it by now.

    P.S. I’m “Confirmed” so even the Catholic church can’t say I don’t have the right to stand in line for my cracker.

  115. #115 Brownian, OM
    July 8, 2008

    All the former Catholics here who smuggled out the host in a pocket as a curious child to inspect later to see what the fuss was all about, raise your hands.

    *B raises his*

    What an overreaction.

    But what can you expect from an organisation that must be quivering with impotence now that they can no longer compel everybody to do their bidding with threats of eternal damnation?

  116. #116 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Ah, me. We consubstantionists are above this starchy kerfuffle. Although how you could actually imagine the cracker to be damned by God is beyond the likes of me, PZ.

  117. #117 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    While I agree that there was a certain amount of disrespect in what he did – to the people who are upset by it, not the church; I couldn’t give a crap about that – they’ve sacrificed any moral high ground that might have been able to claim by bringing the media in and blowing this stupid thing so far out of proportion.

    Like I wrote earlier, have someone post an article titled something like Wacky cult fights for return of magic biscuit, omit all references to Xianity, and see what the response is.

    It’s all about who has the most public support for their particular brand of ooga-booga.

  118. #118 Turdus
    July 8, 2008

    PZ, put it in a litterbox and make a lolcat out of it. “I can haz crap on Jezzus?”

  119. #119 Leo
    July 8, 2008

    OF COURSE it’s a sacrilege! Taking a piece of the body of Jesus out of the church is like taking a piece of the body of Vladimir Lenin out of the Mausoleum! In Russia, they’ll shoot you dead for that!

  120. #120 raven
    July 8, 2008

    Well PZ, I would send you a cracker. But really, soda crackers run around $1.00/lb and with the cost of mailing a box to Minnesota, you might as well go to the store.

  121. #121 Mike O'Risal
    July 8, 2008

    Magic crackers. Immaterial monsters jumping into people’s heads and making them do stuff they wouldn’t do on their own. Dead people stepping out of tombs.

    When it comes from a book that includes the words “hit points,” it’s an RPG. When it comes from a book that includes the word “Corinthians,” it’s a religion. They’re not really all that different.

    Although… hey… Florida.

  122. #122 Epistaxis
    July 8, 2008

    Before you hooligans break into St. Mary Quite Contary’s and nab a box of Jesus wafers, remember that they don’t actually become the body of Christ until the priest consecrates them in Mass. So you have to do like this guy did and sit through the boring ceremony, then make your way through the line to the front so you can finally take the cracker. Hopefully they won’t stick it directly into your mouth. If they see you sneaking it out, apparently they’ll try to stop you, but if they don’t see you, no one will believe you actually stole a consecrated one (unless they have some way of telling…).

  123. #123 alec
    July 8, 2008

    While I agree that there was a certain amount of disrespect in what he did – to the people who are upset by it, not the church; I couldn’t give a crap about that – they’ve sacrificed any moral high ground that might have been able to claim by bringing the media in and blowing this stupid thing so far out of proportion.

    Generally agreed, but do bear in mind that it was the clergy that initiated this (e.g. not most of the people affected), and also that even they didn’t have any control over the right-wing media machine going into DESTROY HEATHENS mode.

    The entire imbroglio is just pathetic for all concerned. And it ain’t like the Catholics are the only ones who engage in this cracker foolishness. At least they have the good taste to serve them bland things up with wine.

  124. #124 Dustin's in ur church steelin ur god
    July 8, 2008

    If that’s the case, I’d suggest everyone in the area go down there and steal the crackers.

    In fact, you should do this even if you aren’t in the area.

  125. #125 Adrienne
    July 8, 2008

    I hear and obey, my great squidly master. I shall get you a consecrated Jesus cracker from a local Catholic mass, and I shall mail it to you. Then you too can earn Bill Donohue’s rage when you desecrate it in all sorts of creative ways.

  126. #126 Scott D.
    July 8, 2008

    Covering up child molestation is one thing, but desecrating a magic cracker! What type of monster does that?

  127. #127 uray
    July 8, 2008

    Snipped from another board:
    ———-
    Everyone should copy Webster
    sga_ba1@mail.ucf.edu
    and e-mail the president of the college:
    Dr. John Hitt jhitt@mail.ucf.edu
    ———-
    I haven’t confirmed the accuracy of the Emails, but some “on the other side” are launching Email campaigns against the president. Perhaps some Floridians here could do the same?

  128. #128 Sastra
    July 8, 2008

    alec #109 wrote:

    That’s kind of what subjecting religion to a ‘marketplace’ gets you – horribly corrupt and dishonest horseshit.

    Ah, I wasn’t referring to the commercial marketplace, but to the “marketplace of ideas,” where claims, ideas, and viewpoints are openly held up to fair criticism, scrutiny, analysis, and – in some cases — mockery and derision. I think that any area which routinely claims to be exempt from this — whether it be in politics, science, aesthetics, or religion — leads to a kind of totalitarian mindset, a dogmatic refusal to consider the possibility of being mistaken, and a tendency to claim unquestionable authority.

    I agree that you pick your battles, and standing up in a church service and shouting down the minister, say, would just be plain rude. But given the rather mild, low-key “offense” here (from what I can tell, Cook just quietly palmed the cracker and walked on) and the overblown, hysterical reaction, then it seems to me that someone, somewhere, needs to stand up and shout “FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, FOLKS — IT’S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!!!! GET A GRIP!!!”

    A lot of someones, maybe. A few times.

    Don’t worry, there will always be the concerned and tactful non-religious to act as foils, and be considerate and sympathetic. To tell the truth, I’m not so sure that one side is more effective than the other — or, if one is, which side that is. We may very well need both.

  129. #129 scooter
    July 8, 2008

    #6

    So that’s what the flesh of Jesus looks like…

    And after it transubstantiates, you have the handy cross splinters to use as a toothpick.

  130. #130 steve
    July 8, 2008

    i grew up with an uncle who was a catholic priest. when it came time for first communion, we “practiced” at home- he came over with a bag of “crackers” and we did a dry run. they were very dry indeed.

    this whole story puts a damper on my plan for my 5-year-old son. he’s the ring-bearer in a catholic wedding this fall, and since we’ve recently read “Wo bitte geht’s zu Gott? Fragte das Kleine Ferkel” (which way to god, please? asked the little piglet) he’s of course curious about the ‘crackers’. i was planning on taking communion and bringing it back to show him. oh, well…

    -steve

  131. #131 The Pale Scot
    July 8, 2008

    “IT’S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!” + Florida = me thinking yea? it IS Florida stupid.

  132. #132 NonyNony
    July 8, 2008

    Doug@#2 –

    What’s the big deal? You can order these crackers online in bulk. The orders can even come with little cups of wine.

    Ah, but those crackers haven’t had the magic words said over them. The magic words that compel God to transform them from crackers into the very flesh of God his badass self. Every fricking day God gets the order from a priest and is forced to turn a handful of crackers into pieces of his body so that Catholics can eat them. I’m fairly certain that if I were God I would find it all a bit worrisome.

    When I first had transubstantiation explained to me as a child was when I started to realize that this whole “religion” thing might not be for me. I kind of took the Trinity as given because I figured that maybe I just didn’t “get” something that the adults obviously knew more about. But the whole “now we’re going to eat God” thing? Yeah – that’s when I started wondering if the whole thing wasn’t some elaborate joke concocted by my parents.

    Oh, and to the folks who call this “ritual cannibalism”, you’re wrong. As far as practicing believing Catholics are concerned it IS cannibalism. There’s no “metaphor” or “poetry” here. And that explanation above about the “essence” of the cracker being replaced by the “essence” of God? Also not how I was taught – that damn cracker that melts in your mouth IS God. It is not a “symbol” of God. It is not a “metaphor” for God. It’s a piece of God that you’re supposed to eat – reverently. It’s freaking weird is what it is, though most of us don’t think about it too hard (thinking about it too hard leads straight to atheism, as far as I can tell).

    I hope they keep up with their freakout, personally. The dichotomy of the “freak out” over something this trivial when contrasted with the “hey what’s the big deal” attitude the Church had to the pedophilia scandal a few years back only underscores just how morally bankrupt the Catholic Church is. Their non-profit spinoff organizations do good charity work, but the Church itself is a useless husk at this point.

  133. #133 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Well, it is the Host. It’s also a cracker.

    As Lincoln noted, calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one.

    I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

    Uh, why? I have even less respect for that than I do for thinking that walking under a ladder or being crossed by a black cat will bring bad luck.

  134. #134 craig
    July 8, 2008

    “they’ve sacrificed any moral high ground that might have been able to claim by bringing the media in and blowing this stupid thing so far out of proportion.”

    They also kinda sacrificed the moral high ground by protecting their official wizard guys who like to fuck little kids.

    Just sayin’.

  135. #136 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Maybe the Rational Response people can set a new YouTube challenge – though I guess it’s a bit harder to prove that you’ve actually bothered to sit through the ceremony that’s required to magically spiritually change the cracker into 100% Jebus.

  136. #137 owlbear1
    July 8, 2008

    Don’t forget the Cheez-whiz.

  137. #138 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Ah, I wasn’t referring to the commercial marketplace, but to the “marketplace of ideas,” where claims, ideas, and viewpoints are openly held up to fair criticism, scrutiny, analysis, and – in some cases — mockery and derision. I think that any area which routinely claims to be exempt from this — whether it be in politics, science, aesthetics, or religion — leads to a kind of totalitarian mindset, a dogmatic refusal to consider the possibility of being mistaken, and a tendency to claim unquestionable authority.

    It’s a weakness, I understand, but I’m still a lot warmer to Catholic practice than most others in Christianity. With a few noteworthy exceptions, they’re a lot less hostile to modern science and basic logic than plenty of mainline Protestant churches and pretty much every evangelical body; they don’t go into apoplectic fits over Darwin (let alone Copernicus, at least these days), getting an accreditation in theology through them usually requires a pretty firm grounding in logic – which is why the kind of person who goes out and shouts at heathens on Fox is usually a self-appointed religious spokesman. (The same, to be 100% fair, is true of plenty of evangelicals – the leadership of groups like Focus on the Family are just capitalist tools.)

    In a pure marketplace of ideas, I’m confident Catholicism and religious bodies outside of its communion but like it in methodology would acquit themselves pretty well. I’m not the only ex-Catholic who thinks this; we can be some of the most fervent atheists you’ll ever meet, but we won’t stand for some schismatic who believes in a pretty-boy Jesus whose sole concern is reciting a magical spell to protect them from Satan talking shit about believing the Church’s magic wafers turn into flesh instead of simply evoking the flesh of a 2000-year-dead Palestinian mystic, or making slack-jawed remarks about the horrible polytheism of the Whore of Rome.

    Long story short, I sympathize pretty completely with calling bullshit on the church involved and Donohue’s ridiculous shuck and jive routine, but to the extent there’s a problem it’s Christianity’s, not Catholicism’s – and this is coming from someone who considers the entirety of its religious teachings, not just some of them, misguided. We’re not going to win any converts sneering at the dim-witted Papists.

  138. #139 Geral
    July 8, 2008

    Huge overreaction. Who cares? The kid took one to show to his friend. He didn’t post a video on the web pissing on it, burning it, reading satanic verses over it, kissing a member of the same sex over it, or something that would be seen as equally heathenish.

    There’s quite literally thousands of issues these people can get upset about, that we can all agree on, and they chose something as mundane as this.

    … and in regards to this being a hate crime, please. Tell me this. How can one kid smuggle a wafer out of the church and be accused of a hate crime, yet pastors and bishops can deny the eucharist to those whom they deem unworthy of it – you know, like openly gay members and those who support gay marriage? I certainly find the latter more characteristic of a hate crime.

  139. #140 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    WE’RE AT UR ALTER KIDNAPPING UR GOD

  140. #141 Canuck
    July 8, 2008

    My 13 year old daughter is brilliant, and we’ve of course raised her to believe that religion is absurd. I was just explaining to her the substance of this post and she said, “why don’t they use gingerbread men, they look a lot more like people, and they taste a lot better anyway.” I nearly split a gut laughing.

    I think my girl is a pastafarian. She loves noodles with all kinds of different sauces.

  141. #142 Nicole
    July 8, 2008

    When I was a good little Catholic girl, I was an altar server. (That’s the gender neutral version of altar boy.) The job of an altar server during communion is to hold a plate underneath the hands of the recipients such that any microscopic bits of the “Body of Christ” did not fall to the floor, but where instead brought back to the altar to be brushed into the cup of bad wine, “Blood of Christ”, for the priest to finish off with a swig. The dishes were always rinsed with holy water, which was clearly more safe than soap. Also, any extra bits were washed into a special sink which ran straight into the earth, rather than the sewer system which would taint the “Body of Christ.”

    Wow, I had a messed up childhood.

  142. #143 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Craig, #134, wrote:

    They also kinda sacrificed the moral high ground by protecting their official wizard guys who like to fuck little kids.

    Yeah, good point. How about this: They sacrificed the moral high ground malodorous, stagnant swamp of corruption and hypocrisy instead?

  143. #144 Chris Swanson
    July 8, 2008

    They want desecration? I’ll bloody well give them desceration! I’m gonna get me some of these magic cookies and film myself flushing them down the toilet. One cracker every hour until Benny 16 agrees to actually live like Jesus and not live in a palatial art museum.

    On the other hand, if they’re tasty, I may eat one or two. Mmmm… tasty Christ!

  144. #145 Dustin
    July 8, 2008

    He didn’t post a video on the web pissing on it, burning it, reading satanic verses over it, kissing a member of the same sex over it, or something that would be seen as equally heathenish.

    I’d encourage men to make out with the cracker. It would make Jesus gay.

  145. #146 SuperGeek
    July 8, 2008

    Just ordered myself a set of the celebration cups. Cant wait to scarf em down. What horseshit!

  146. #147 alec
    July 8, 2008

    They also kinda sacrificed the moral high ground by protecting their official wizard guys who like to fuck little kids.

    Just sayin’.

    The vast majority of Catholics polled found the behavior of the Church in the child abuse scandals repellant – and that’s not even to mention the parallel abuse of children by youth ministers and other boy-hawking Christer cretins. And the people freaking out about the host desecration now were, for the most part, the ones who first started treating child abuse like an intrinsically Catholic issue.

    Donohue, incidentally, made his bones professionally having the vapors over Sinead O’Connor’s act of protest on SNL. If the American right had anything like a sense of shame, he’d have drowned when he tried to go down with the child-raping ship; instead, he’s still contributing ever-so-preciously to ecumenical fucknuttery.

  147. #148 Dragonfire
    July 8, 2008

    @#6

    Every Sperm is Sacred the animated version VNSFW

    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/265798

  148. #149 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    We’re not going to win any converts sneering at the dim-witted Papists.

    Winning converts among the dim-witted Papists? We don’t need no steenkeeng converts. Anybody who doesn’t have the sense to be embarrassed about such fuckwittery isn’t worth the energy it would take to cultivate them To Serve Man.

  149. #150 Crudely Wrott
    July 8, 2008

    Armed personnel standing by during mass? Oh, sure. That ought to fix it.

    If I thought for one second that armed personnel were worried about the contents of my mouth as I leave the ritual known as communion, if I would first go to it, and if by not swallowing the erstwhile flesh of a dead man I would therefore be subjected to sterner measures, well, then. I would not swallow. I would spit. Metaphorically or on alternate Tuesdays, allegorically, of course.

    What next? Anti-aircraft missiles ringing the Vatican?

    Sheesh! Talk about spleeny.

  150. #151 Sophist FCD
    July 8, 2008

    It’s not a “host”, it’s a fucking cracker

    Yeah, and Guernica is just some paint on canvas, and the US Constitution is just ink on paper, and…well, you get the point. The ideas we attach to a thing are far more important than the thing itself. I’m sure you have things to which you are sentimentally attached that to others would be nothing but a mess of pottage, and yet to you they are precious. However much you might think they are full of shit, it is indisputable that people attach a lot of meaning to that cracker. Going out of your way to stick your thumb in their eye for no good reason makes you a dick, and I say this as an atheist.

    … no one has any obligation to honor idiotic superstitions.

    I never said otherwise. There is a difference between not honoring and dishonoring, and while I think it is you right to do both, nine times out of ten doing the later makes you a dick. It’s like flag burning or wearing blackface: you can do it, but you probably shouldn’t, because most of the time it ends up being pointless, counterproductive attention-whoring.

    In conclusion, eat me.

  151. #152 Glen Davidson
    July 8, 2008

    Actually, I think one should indeed have respect for those who believe in transubstantiation. And technically, one should agree with the implicit and explicit agreement with which one received the cracker–eat it and swallow it.

    But with that one has to go along with what Mencken said about the superstitious:

    “He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge.” [Mencken, ("Aftermath," The Baltimore Evening Sun, September 14, 1925]

    He doesn’t speak to this issue (well, he mentions the lack of right to demand that they be treated as sacred–however, that’s where non-members are involved, not the members of the Church which are the only ones to receive the Eucharist), but what I’d say is, respect the other’s beliefs, but only inasmuch as you’d respect any superstitious beliefs. And if you violate taboo, screw it, it’s a social faux pas, nothing more.

    I’d say the guy should have just eaten it (I would–if they’d have given it to me, which they wouldn’t). He didn’t, which counts as a minor social infraction outside of the belief system of the Catholic Church. The monstrous proportions to which it is taken is the major social infraction, and that’s exactly how the matter should be seen.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7
    http:

  152. #153 Canuck
    July 8, 2008

    She’s hittin’ them out of the park tonight. I just read her the comment on “desecration of the host” being the worst sin, and she “so it’s bad to poop out the cracker?” (defecation of the host). I’m still laughing. There may be more to come. She’s reading over my shoulder. Wicked punster, this one.

  153. #154 Geral
    July 8, 2008

    @140,
    WE’RE AT UR ALTER KIDNAPPING UR GOD

    Thread over.

  154. #155 amphiox
    July 8, 2008

    Lack of respect??!! No belief, supposition or assertion deserves respect just for being a belief, supposition or assertion. Respect is earned.

    It’s a cracker (well, more accurately a wafer). To be offended over the disposition of a flattened piece of starch and gluten. . . . well it’s a free country. we all have the right to be silly if we really want to.

    To make death threats over a flattened piece of starch and gluten. . . . That is evil.

  155. #156 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Daniel Plainview: I EAT YOUR JESUS! [slurps] I eat him up!

    /there will be blood>

  156. #157 Dragonfire
    July 8, 2008

    @32

    I love ‘The Wall’ Pink Floyd reference.

  157. #158 Calladus
    July 8, 2008

    Windy wins teh Internets.

    (#63) -a stone tomb sealed by a boulder couldn’t hold the guy, but a zip-loc bag can?

    I’ve found that Christians are sometimes surprised about what they are eating.

  158. #159 Capital Dan
    July 8, 2008

    While I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

    Posted by: deichmans

    Respect is earned, asshole. Spewing out death threats and harassing a college student isn’t going to earn you that respect.

  159. #160 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Lack of respect??!! No belief, supposition or assertion deserves respect just for being a belief, supposition or assertion. Respect is earned.

    It’s respect for people, not for beliefs. I’m not offended by nudity, but you don’t see me flapping my boys in the faces of random bystanders, do you?

    Yeah, writing someone a death threat is ridiculous and horrible, but that doesn’t give you a carte blanche to screw with people who never did a damn thing to you.

  160. #161 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    There is a difference between not honoring and dishonoring, and while I think it is you right to do both, nine times out of ten doing the later makes you a dick. It’s like flag burning or wearing blackface: you can do it, but you probably shouldn’t, because most of the time it ends up being pointless, counterproductive attention-whoring.

    In conclusion, eat me.

    Come down off of your cross, walk over here and tell that to my face. I’d rather be a dick than a fecking concern troll.

    Those people need to be mercifully mocked. Apparently, you do too. As Abbie Hoffman said, sacred cows make the best hamburger.

  161. #162 Evan Henke
    July 8, 2008

    *As a communion wafer distributor, I for one am outraged that the liberal media has chosen to cover some atheists conquest to humiliate the church over how rising oil prices are devastating my business!*

    /I kid
    (But not in a Catholic way…)

  162. #163 Kel
    July 8, 2008

    I think one should indeed have respect for those who believe in transubstantiation.

    How can we possibly even begin to respect such an absurd notion?

  163. #164 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    Those people need to be mercifully mocked.

    Did I say “mercifully?” Strike that, reverse it.

  164. #165 Jack Bishop
    July 8, 2008

    When Graham Greene wrote it (“The Hint of an Explanation”, 1948), it was actually a moderately interesting story. Not one of his better ones, but how much drama and moral quandry are you going to get out of a stolen Host?

  165. #166 DaveG
    July 8, 2008

    During the Rapture, will myriad pre-digested crackers rise up from septic tanks and assemble into Their Lord JC?

    P.S. I wonder if the immeasurable suffering perpetrated by Catholic clergy (you know what I’m talkin’ about) over the centuries has caused a commensurate level of outrage from the Flock.

  166. #167 Crudely Wrott
    July 8, 2008

    @ Sophist, # 151:

    Consider yourself eaten. And be aware that you are not tough and stringy, you are mealy. You are not spicy or tart, you are bland.

    I am left needing a drink and some toothpaste.

    Nevertheless, go well.

  167. #168 Glen Davidson
    July 8, 2008
    I think one should indeed have respect for those who believe in transubstantiation.

    How can we possibly even begin to respect such an absurd notion?

    And how can I possibly begin to respect someone who so egregiously twisted such a simple sentence?

    “Who” is a personal pronoun. It does not refer to beliefs (and the Mencken quote should have clued you in as well, along with all of the rest of the context).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  168. #169 windy
    July 8, 2008

    Yeah, and Guernica is just some paint on canvas, and the US Constitution is just ink on paper, and…well, you get the point.

    No, it’s not the same point at all. If they were handing out free copies of those things, it would be stupid to get offended if someone used the paper “disrespectfully”. Can someone “hold the constitution hostage” by putting a photocopy of it in a ziploc bag?

  169. #170 Benjamin Franklin
    July 8, 2008

    Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy.
    There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the pope offered a deal.
    He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community.
    If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy; if the Pope won, they would have to convert or leave.
    The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise Rabbi to represent them in the debate.
    However, as the Rabbi spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a ‘silent’ debate.
    On the chosen day the Pope and Rabbi sat opposite each other.
    The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.
    The Rabbi looked back and raised one finger.
    Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.
    The Rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.
    The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.
    The Rabbi pulled out an apple.

    With that the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, and that the Rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.
    Later the Cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened?
    The Pope said, ‘First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.
    He responded by holding up one finger to remind me there is still only one God common to both our beliefs.
    Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us.
    He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us.
    I pulled out the wine and water, to show that God absolves us of all our sins.
    He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.
    He had beaten me at every move and I could not continue.

    Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the Rabbi how he had won.
    ‘I haven’t a clue’ said the Rabbi.
    First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger.
    Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him that we were staying right here.
    ‘And then what?’ asked a woman.
    ‘Who knows?’ said the Rabbi.
    ‘He took out his lunch so I took out mine.’

  170. #171 bill r
    July 8, 2008

    If this is news to people, a course in comparative religion might be in order. All the good little catholic altar boys have fun tales to tell of pranks involving the hosts. My favorite involves stepping on the priest’s cassock and watching hosts in space. Sacred snow in July!

    Those of us who were around during the hip folk masses of the 60’s used all sorts of substitute hosts. Chunks of bred and Ritz crackers work just fine. Don’t know if they do that any more.

  171. #172 NonyNony
    July 8, 2008

    Sastra –

    someone, somewhere, needs to stand up and shout “FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, FOLKS — IT’S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!!!! GET A GRIP!!!”

    Here’s the thing – they can’t. Because either it really is “just a cracker” and the foundations of their entire religious beliefs are rocked (seriously – transubstantiation is one of those things that make a Catholic a Catholic and not, say, an Anglican) OR it’s not “just a cracker” and is, in fact, God. There really is no middle ground here – this isn’t a false binary decision being foisted on the situation – either it’s really just a cracker or it’s God.

    Now a rational person would look at this and say “it looks like a cracker, it tastes like a cracker, it must be a cracker – and besides why the HELL would an all powerful God let himself get transubstantiated with a cracker anyway” and move on. But we’re talking about religion here – and while Roman Catholicism may have very rigorous standards for teaching theology – requiring a higher standard of logic and rhetoric than most secular schools require for a Bachlor’s degree – there are certain things that the religion REQUIRES you to check rational thought at the door and not retrieve it until the Mass is over. One of these things is the Trinity – and another is Transubstantiation.

    So they can’t. Anyone in the Church who stood up to the priests and crazy laity and said “hey calm down, it’s just a cracker, leave the kid alone” would be, at best, ostracized by the rest of the Church. Because it’s a fundamental belief that the cracker that has had the magic words said over it ISN’T a cracker anymore. At worst they’d be afraid of getting excommunicated (something that doesn’t happen much at all any more but something that my Religion teachers made sure to try to instill a fear of into all of us). And excommunication is worse than death because, well, it lasts forever – even after you’re dead.

  172. #173 alec
    July 8, 2008

    P.S. I wonder if the immeasurable suffering perpetrated by Catholic clergy (you know what I’m talkin’ about) over the centuries has caused a commensurate level of outrage from the Flock.

    The gay/married clergy issue didn’t just pop out of thin air – a solid majority of Catholic priests are now in their 70s.

    Dogma, for what it’s worth (I don’t like or agree with Kevin Smith, but I liked the movie), is a pretty solid bit of American Catholic religious contemplation. They really don’t take the Church seriously; it embarasses them far too often, like a senile old grandfather who flies into tirades over condoms or IVF.

    The ones instigating this shit do need their coffee pissed in, but they’re not the ones you’re going to smear with wry snark about those silly transubstantiationists. That shit only makes them stronger.

  173. #174 MAJeff, OM
    July 8, 2008

    I’d encourage men to make out with the cracker. It would make Jesus gay.

    Hell, I know I got skillz, but I’ve never made a man actually dissolve in my mouth before. Jesus is way too easy.

  174. #175 Vic
    July 8, 2008

    1) kidnap god in the form of a cracker
    2) ???
    3) PROFIT

  175. #176 Adrienne
    July 8, 2008

    Has anyone e-mailed this post to Bill Donohue yet so he can get appropriately apoplectic about it? Time for PZ to get his own hysterical press release from the Catholic League!

  176. #177 co
    July 8, 2008

    > /I kid
    > (But not in a Catholic way…)

    #140 may have ended the thread, but I’m kind of glad that people kept posting. #162 is beautiful.

  177. #178 cicely
    July 8, 2008

    While I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

    Respect for those people holding this belief is one thing. Respect for the irrational belief (which they are fully entitled to hold) or their hysterical over-reactions (which have the potential of causing harm to others), is a different thing altogether.

  178. #179 Scholar
    July 8, 2008

    Webster, you cannot hide from God.

    Websta gonna bust yo head (weak)

    Websta gonna bust yo head, irregardless (strong)

  179. #180 amphiox
    July 8, 2008

    If the cracker is just a cracker, then it isn’t going to care.
    If the cracker really is god, then it shouldn’t have to care.

  180. #181 Holbach
    July 8, 2008

    NonyNony @ 172 Excommunication: Banishment from fantasyland.

  181. #182 Brain Hertz
    July 8, 2008

    uh, guys, it’s a co-opted ritual in the first place….

    It is well attested by the historic record, including by anti-Mithraism Church fathers, that one of the rituals of Mithraism involved the consumption of meat and blood, and it has often been alleged by secular church historians that the Christian Eucharist originated from this ritual of Mithraism; though the Christian Eucharist involves bread and wine, not meat and blood, this could simply explained as being due to the influence of vegetarianism that was often present in mystery religions due to their historic connection to pythagoreanism (vegetarianism itself was referred to as pythagoreanism until 1847), and it is not certain whether Mithraism always used actual meat and blood or if it sometimes just used symbolic meat and blood.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianised_rituals#The_Eucharist

  182. #183 Benjamin Franklin
    July 8, 2008

    It’s not just a cracker… It’s a Triscuit!
    ..
    .

  183. #184 khops
    July 8, 2008

    @175 HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! underpants gnomes! or maybe…keebler cracker elves?

  184. #186 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    So here’s the email I’m thinking about sending to John Hitt , the president of UCF:

    I understand that a student at your college, Webster Cook, rather than eat a consecrated communion wafer, which was given to him when he attended mass, took it home and put it in a zip-loc bag (and later returned it). Historically – prior to about 1950 – many influential Catholics claimed (with no evidence) that Jews ‘stole’ communion crackers and ‘tortured’ them, causing them to ‘bleed’. This was an essential part of the ‘blood-libel’ used to defame and attack Jews – simply because they were not Catholic. The insistence of many Christians, that Webster Cook offended them, and therefor requires ‘punishment’ has its roots in blood-libel. The thousands of Christians who used email to threaten Webster Cook with bodily harm (sometimes including death) are strongly reminiscent of this history of using the supposed holiness of a cracker to attack non-Catholics . You should keep these facts in mind when people complain about the not eating of what is, after all, merely a cracker.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Suggestions?

  185. #187 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    Anyone in the Church who stood up to the priests and crazy laity and said “hey calm down, it’s just a cracker, leave the kid alone” would be, at best, ostracized by the rest of the Church.

    And the apostates ask, “This would be a bad thing how?”

    Oh, wait.

    [Zappa]Catholic girls…[/Zappa]

  186. #188 BobC
    July 8, 2008

    It’s important to understand that after a priest blesses the small bread wafer, it is no longer just a bread wafer. It’s a bread wafer that contains the body of Christ. It must be treated with respect. The only proper way to respect the body of Christ is to eat it. You can’t just walk out of the church with it in your hand. That’s blasphemy.

    Of course blasphemy is a victimless crime, but the Bible thumpers are very sensitive about it. That’s why I never miss an opportunity to tell Christians their Jesus was a worthless shit-for-brains preacher man.

  187. #189 alec
    July 8, 2008

    #182: I don’t know if I buy Mithraism as a precursor to Christian ritual, partially because it’s been so popular with your garden-variety mysticist universal-mythology cranks, and partially because, unlike various clearly traceable pre-Christian totems (Saturnalia, the Catalonian shitting Nativity figure, the Sunday solstice, the Germanic recreation of Jesus as a pious warrior figure, the Rapture, etc), the various Mithras rituals that Christianity is supposed to have repurposed are both (a) poorly documented and (b) in the version presented by modern mythography, far too spot-on a match to be credible.

    It’s difficult to dispute that Christmas is basically a smattering of pre-Christian ritual, for instance, but if it were like the way Mithrasian cooptation is supposed to work, it would involve an upending of the existing social order to serve Baby Jesus and incorporate significant Roman elements – and the tree wouldn’t be a Douglas fir.

    But that’s just historiography.

  188. #190 Sam L.
    July 8, 2008

    I never understood how catholics can say with a straight face that communion isn’t a form a cannibalism.

  189. #191 Kel
    July 8, 2008

    And how can I possibly begin to respect someone who so egregiously twisted such a simple sentence?

    Okay, I’ll rephrase. How can we be expected to have any respect for someone who believes in and actively engages in such an absurd notion? Just because someone believes in it, it doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

  190. #192 scooter
    July 8, 2008

    Polish Trafficking in contraband Wafers

    I have some Cathtard Polish immigrant in-laws. I’ve done Xmas with them. It’s a Polish tradition in the Cathtard Church to get contraband Cookies to share with family on Xmas Eve.

    How do they get them?

    They bribe the Priest, in other words make a big donation.

    This is a fucking underground tradition in their cult. They all do it.

    I had some myself, utterly tasteless.

  191. #193 j
    July 8, 2008

    Sophist FCD:
    “Yeah, and Guernica is just some paint on canvas, and the US Constitution is just ink on paper, and…well, you get the point.”

    Man, your logic is sooo impeccable.

    What an apropo name you have since you’re the epitome of sophistry. You, sir, are a vile trolling fuckwit.

    “In conclusion, eat me.”

    In conclusion, blow me asswipe, and I mean that in all sincerity…

  192. #194 CButterb
    July 8, 2008

    the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.

    I’m in a local production of Mister Roberts, and this reminds me of the “ignorant, ambitious jackass” Captain Morton keeping an armed guard on his precious palm trees with orders to shoot to kill. Happily, in the world of theater, Captain Morton gets his in the end, and the crew’s suffering is made a bit more bearable by the intercession of the titular officer, who’s smart, earnest, sympathetic, and well-meaning.

    I think at our next show I’ll enjoy it just that much more.

  193. #195 Adrienne
    July 8, 2008

    OH goody, another True Believin’ Catholic who thinks the student should have been beaten up and forced to hand over the consecrated wafer: http://www.catholicpillowfight.com/blog697.html

  194. #196 Kimpatsu
    July 8, 2008

    Let’s test Bill Donahue’s faith. Lace a eucharist with cyanide, and see if he’ll eat it. Or deosn’t he really believe in transubstantiation?

  195. #197 Rick T
    July 8, 2008

    There must be some concerted effort to out do the Muslums reaction to the Danish cartoons. Jesus Crapping Christ (well, not if you palm the cracker), try to maintain some decorum and not act like we’re living in the 10th century.

    I believe that the birth rate for Catholics is not as high as it used to be because, evidently, every sperm is not sacred, or at least too expensive if it leads to another little catholic. So, if American Catholics can ignore the Pope in this regard why still hold to the nonsense that Jesus is a cracker?

  196. #198 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Okay, I’ll rephrase. How can we be expected to have any respect for someone who believes in and actively engages in such an absurd notion? Just because someone believes in it, it doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

    The point I’ve been trying to make (I don’t know about the other people making it) is that it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it. The reaction is inappropriate, but in the situation you couldn’t expect it to be otherwise.

    On an incidentally related note, I find people on Pharyngula presenting anti-Catholic doggerel reframed from Jack Chick’s The Death Cookie pretty unfortunate. The thing at issue is the violent and inappropriate reaction by a large number of people (the majority of whom, at least the ones with serious influence, are not Catholic) to a juvenile and insignificant prank. Donohue’s trying to turn it into a blanket Kulturkampf between his personal vision of Catholicism (hint: he still resents Gallileo) and all that is good and right about the world. He’s a pissant and so are the people framing it this way; they’re dishonest bullies. Don’t play along with them.

  197. #199 Sir Jebbington
    July 8, 2008

    Was Jesus like, a bread golem, if that’s his flesh?

  198. #200 kryptonic
    July 8, 2008

    Shorter father Gonzales:

    Crackers are people too.

    And yes, I am aware of all Internet traditions.

  199. #201 amphiox
    July 8, 2008

    It isn’t cannibalism, I suppose, because god and humans are different species. For one thing, H. sapiens isn’t capable of parthenogenesis (and parthenogenesis generating male offspring to boot.)

    Anyone got a gene sequence on the Trinity?

  200. #202 Sastra
    July 8, 2008

    alec #138 wrote:

    In a pure marketplace of ideas, I’m confident Catholicism and religious bodies outside of its communion but like it in methodology would acquit themselves pretty well.

    I find Catholicism a fascinating religious mixed bag. As you point out, its long history, admiration for the Greeks, and tradition of scholarship has lead to a generally reasonable, tolerant, pro-science bent on the part of its intelligentsia. Debates I’ve had with Catholics have been along the lines of whether or not Humanism and the Enlightenment were derived directly from the teachings of The Church — which is a welcome break from the anti-humanist snarlings of the Born Again.

    And yet there are Catholics … and then there are Catholics. There’s a huge subset — maybe even the majority — which seem to be steeped in the most incredible superstitious nonsense, folderol, and bullshit, with the priests and theologians apparently looking on benevolently, smiling and encouraging. Beads and saints and demons and angels and Mary on a Tortilla and Christ on a Cracker and Gawd knows What Else. As this overblown incident shows, you just can’t get too wacky for the Catholics.

    Well, only some. Unless you’re going to get into the specific content of their beliefs, and not just dwell and focus on the stuff which makes sense on its own, without the religion, and is therefore shared by most reasonable people. Then it’s looney-toons again, explained as metaphorical and “symbolic” except, of course, when it’s not.

    I don’t know. Catholics do seem to contradict each other all over the place, coming together only in agreement that Catholicism is SO much nicer than Protestantism because they have a Central Authority, so they’re not all over the place.

  201. #203 Jamie
    July 8, 2008

    Ahem.
    Correction: it is a god *blessed* cracker.

    Carry on…

  202. #204 Bert Chadick
    July 8, 2008

    You can get a box of 1000 holy crackers for $12 plus shipping. Nobody can prove they aren’t consecrated, and they may well be. Is there a scientific test that can tell one batch of secular holy crackers from a batch of blessed? I’m sure there is an Institute of scientists out there that can Discover the difference.

  203. #205 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Yeah, and Guernica is just some paint on canvas, and the US Constitution is just ink on paper, and…well, you get the point.

    I get the point that you’re a cretin … and a sophist. Both Guernica and The U.S. Constitution have actual content. And stealing or ripping up copies — perhaps painted or inscribed on crackers — would have no special significance.

    However much you might think they are full of shit, it is indisputable that people attach a lot of meaning to that cracker.

    No one disputed that, moron. But these people are idiots.

    Going out of your way to stick your thumb in their eye for no good reason makes you a dick, and I say this as an atheist.

    There is a good reason, imbecile.

  204. #206 Feynmaniac
    July 8, 2008

    What he should have done was take the wafer hostage and say he was not releasing it until the church does something about the child molesting priests. Now that would have been a great publicity stunt.

  205. #207 BenQoph
    July 8, 2008

    “good idea but you better have a special mark on it or they will claim they have found the right one by divine insiration.”

    Just palm the real wafer. like Penn jillet did with a key to randy at amazing meeting 3.

  206. #208 Epikt
    July 8, 2008

    Anyone up for printing some bumper stickers patterned after those annoying “It’s a child, not a choice” ones? Something along the lines of, “It’s a cracker, not a corpse.”

  207. #209 Richbank
    July 8, 2008

    This whole “significance of the host” thing the Catholics have going on reminds me of a parable we learned in english class:

    “In the year of our Lord 1432, there arose a grievous quarrel among the brethren over the number of teeth in the mouth of a horse. For 13 days the disputation raged without ceasing. All the ancient books and chronicles were fetched out, and wonderful and ponderous erudition, such as was never before heard of in this region, was made manifest. At the beginning of the 14th day, a youthful friar of goodly bearing asked his learned superiors for permission to add a word, and straightway, to the wonderment of the disputants, whose wisdom he sore vexed, he beseeched them to unbend in a manner coarse and unheard-of, and to look in the open mouth of a horse and find answer to their questionings. At this, their dignity being grievously hurt, they waxed exceedingly wroth; and, joining in a mighty uproar, they flew upon him and smote him hip and thigh, and cast him out forthwith. For, said they, surely Satan hath tempted this bold neophyte to declare unholy and unheard-of ways of finding the truth contrary to all the teachings of the fathers. After many days more of grievous strife the dove of peace sat on the assembly, and they as one man, declaring the problem to be an everlasting mystery because of a grievous dearth of historical and theological evidence thereof, so ordered the same writ down.”

  208. #210 Kel
    July 8, 2008

    The point I’ve been trying to make (I don’t know about the other people making it) is that it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it.

    how do you measure contempt against ridicule? Surely people here aren’t showing contempt for the practice, they are ridicule. As PZ says, IT’S A GODDAMN CRACKER.

  209. #211 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    And, BTW,

    However much you might think they are full of shit, it is indisputable that people attach a lot of meaning to that cracker.

    It’s not just that they “attach a lot of meaning”, but that they think (or pretend to think) that the cracker actually is Christ’s flesh. As such, they are demented fuckwits, and their baloney (sandwich?) is not deserving of any respect.

  210. #212 scooter
    July 8, 2008

    There’s nothing wrong with this Webster delinquent that a good old fashioned stern Catholic assfucking wouldn’t cure.

  211. #213 Dustin
    July 8, 2008

    Was Jesus like, a bread golem, if that’s his flesh?

    Does that give him any special immunities, or is a bread golem some 4th edition bullshit? And, because the concern turd mentioned The Death Cookie, here’s The Death Cookie.

  212. #214 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 8, 2008

    Anything that gets Billy Donohue’s Jesus panties in a tight bunch is a-ok with this monkey.

  213. #215 negentropyeater
    July 8, 2008

    So these people not only believe in God, but also that priests have some sort of magical spell that transforms crackers into cracker shaped Gods. Moreover it’s very bad for this kind of cracker shaped God to be taken out for a walk and given some fresh air, but really very good for them to be eaten alive.

    How can anyone seriously believe in this kind of joke ?
    They can’t possibly really believe in this, can they ?
    Please tell me that they are just making a big fuss about the whole thing, just to show that they still exist, that they just want respect, which is so pathetic because they’ll get the most worthless respect over the most ridiculous belief.

  214. #216 watercat
    July 8, 2008

    Over 200 comments and no one has mentioned yet that;
    the U is giving $40,000/yr to support religion,
    nor that
    this guy was physically assaulted–twice–and the official response was to place armed guards there to protect–wafers!

  215. #217 alec
    July 8, 2008

    #202: My personal theory as to why a lot of them are fairly decent here while in Europe actively religious Catholics tend to be reactionary jagoffs is to do with the role of religion in society. When a religion doesn’t have the power to make laws around its own whims, its purpose becomes providing comfort and guidance to its membership – and that membership is voluntary. In majority, established, or highly politicized religions (along with cults, but that’s a secondary matter), membership isn’t voluntary, nor is the level of religious fervor or suspension of rational faculties.

    Catholics in America can get away with being fairly heretical by high-church standards. (Even among those who believe the Church’s fairly silly teachings about birth control, a minority actually pay attention to it in daily life.) You see a mirror phenomenon happen elsewhere in the world; in Latin America, for instance, the evangelicals and Mormons tend to behave (socially, anyway) rather like the Catholics here, and are much less ideologically stringent (especially in well-established communities). Religion loses whatever good it might have going for it when it becomes powerful enough to make the rules.

    Catholicism is kind of in the middle-ground in America, and in some states they’re very much conservative hardliners – although in no state have they gained enough power to actually make laws the way they do in Italy, Portugal, Bavaria, or wherever. Oddly enough, this can even become true of certain strains of atheism – in China, for instance, it’s a pretty good bet most Christians you find will be social democrats and find the political alignment of their coreligionists in America baffling, and the atheists tend to be fairly authoritarian.

    Basically, don’t let any one religion get a lock on the majority and you’ll do OK.

  216. #218 Sophist FCD
    July 8, 2008

    Come down off of your cross, walk over here and tell that to my face. I’d rather be a dick than a fecking concern troll.

    You should really learn what a phrase means before using it, you know. Also, unless you made off with a bunch of hosts and threw them in the toilet for no good reason in between posts, I never actually called you a dick. So, you know, reading comprehension: look into getting some.

    Those people need to be mercifully mocked. Apparently, you do too. As Abbie Hoffman said, sacred cows make the best hamburger.

    Mock away. I personally think that the whole concept of transubstantiation is just daft, along with the Trinity, Infalibility, and the soi-disant representative of Jesus “Sell all your stuff and give the money to the poor” Christ wearing more bling than the entire lineup of an A-list rap label.

    But I still think knowingly fucking with the host to get a rise out of believers is dickish. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    Consider yourself eaten. And be aware that you are not tough and stringy, you are mealy. You are not spicy or tart, you are bland.

    Truly you have cut me to the very quick. I know not how I shall recover from this crushing slight.

    No, it’s not the same point at all. If they were handing out free copies of those things, it would be stupid to get offended if someone used the paper “disrespectfully”. Can someone “hold the constitution hostage” by putting a photocopy of it in a ziploc bag?

    You’re being disingenuous. I don’t think that treating copied of the constitution “disrespectfully” is of any import, but then I don’t that those copies are actually in some way parts of the original. It’s an unreasonable belief, but it is still their belief.

    And yeah, they hand them out to all comers, but that doesn’t make using it in ways designed to upset them any less rude. You can do whatever you want with it, and I’ll fight to keep it that way, but I’ll think pointless desecration makes you a dick.

  217. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 8, 2008

    Anyone up for printing some bumper stickers patterned after those annoying “It’s a child, not a choice” ones? Something along the lines of, “It’s a cracker, not a corpse.”

    Damn that’s good.

  218. #220 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it

    I have contempt for ridiculous fools who say that it’s “a big jump” to go from one word to its synonym:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ridicule

    ridicule – the act of deriding or treating with contempt

  219. #221 mayhempix
    July 8, 2008

    I’ll have a Big Jesus with cheese to go, easy on the cross and hold the nails please.

  220. #222 Janchief
    July 8, 2008

    Captain Jesus Crunch.

  221. #223 scooter
    July 8, 2008

    I’ve been having my way with that HOST pun on the radio for years.

    I’m your Host, scooter, owww stop biting me, not THAT kind of host.

    etc etc etc etc

  222. #224 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2008

    Thing is, by making such a huge song-and-dance about it, they’ve almost guaranteed a massive increase in the likelihood of copycat ‘kidnappings’ all over the country.

  223. #225 Dark Matter
    July 8, 2008
    Anyone up for printing some bumper stickers patterned after those annoying “It’s a child, not a choice” ones? Something along the lines of, “It’s a cracker, not a corpse.”

    Damn that’s good.

    Oh, please, please tell me the Sweeney Todd reference is intentional, because it’s perfect. ;)

  224. #226 LMR
    July 8, 2008

    Since nobody has posted it yet, this webcomic seems to cover the concept nicely.
    http://russellsteapot.com/comics/2007/host-desecration.html

    There’s a lot of really good skeptic-oriented material from this comic. It’s too bad it doesn’t seem to have been updated in over a year.

  225. #227 BobC
    July 8, 2008

    Somebody asked “They can’t possibly really believe in this, can they?”

    If they can believe in the Resurrection, they can believe anything.

    I recently wrote a good description of the Resurrection on a Christian blog, but nobody liked it for some reason. Here it is.

    The Resurrection.

    A moron named jesus claims he’s a god. He gets himself executed to save his gullible followers from the wrath of the daddy god. Then after 3 days of decomposing the stinking dead jesus turns into a zombie, later flying up to the clouds.

  226. #228 alec
    July 8, 2008


    it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it

    I have contempt for ridiculous fools who say that it’s “a big jump” to go from one word to its synonym:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ridicule

    ridicule – the act of deriding or treating with contempt

    Thoughts have a significantly different ethical weight than actions, although I guess if you swear enough at the problem it might just go away.

  227. #229 Pahj
    July 8, 2008

    I don’t blame the church. I’d be really pissed if someone took MY snacks.

  228. #230 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    , I never actually called you a dick.

    Comprehend this Sophist, I’m calling you a dick, and a concern troll. Go FCC yourself.

  229. #231 Ragutis
    July 8, 2008

    My deepest darkest secret from my religious days was that I never bought that transubstantiation crap. Among all the other silly bullshit that I accepted for all those years, that one bit of magic was just too damn ridiculous for me, even at my most credulous times. (My second deepest darkest secret was what I did with this girl named Monica in the church. Several times.)

    Anyway, PZ, or anyone else thinking of ganking and desecrating themselves some Body of Christ, I’ve got an idea:

    Hold the effing things hostage. Demands? Ransom? Hell yeah. For every Jeez-It® that they want back, make ‘em turn over everything they know about one child-molesting/sexually assaulting priest to the cops and excommunicate the pedo/rapist bastard.

  230. #232 Chris (in Columbus)
    July 8, 2008

    Best. Post. EVER!

  231. #233 N.K.
    July 8, 2008

    This is ridiculous.

    It’s a cracker, people. I get that they believe it’s symbolic of Jesus, or whatever. But fucking really now, saying a cracker is more important than a real, living, human being’s life degrades the quality and value of life and is a horrid blight on the face of human dignity.

    It’s note a hate crime. It’s a mild, innocent little deviation.

  232. #234 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    You’re being disingenuous. I don’t think that treating copied of the constitution “disrespectfully” is of any import, but then I don’t that those copies are actually in some way parts of the original. It’s an unreasonable belief, but it is still their belief.

    You’re the one who is disingenuous, and a cretin. I said that it’s a cracker — I don’t think it’s part of a god’s body, so I don’t have to acknowledge that it’s anything other than a fucking cracker. Thus your analogy to Guernica and the U.S. Constitution is stupid not just because those aren’t merely symbolic but have actual meaningful content, but our views of that content isn’t fuckwitted and clearly contrary to fact. To say “it’s just a cracker” is to state a truth about the actual facts about it; to claim that it is part of a god’s body is to state a falsehood. OTOH, to say that Guernica and the Constitution are “just” paper is to imply the falshood that they don’t have meaningful content, whereas to say that they do have meaningful content is to state the truth.

  233. #235 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Comprehend this Sophist, I’m calling you a dick, and a concern troll. Go FCC yourself.

    Believe it from me, kiddo, the tough guy routine isn’t doing you any favors. It’s like wearing a giant codpiece; you only learn later that all it does is draw attention to how small you really are.

    I mean, yeah, I used to do the same thing, but then I turned twelve.

  234. #236 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    then I turned twelve.

    It shows. The accusation of being a dick was Sophist’s, back in #151.

  235. #237 alec
    July 8, 2008

    OTOH, to say that Guernica and the Constitution are “just” paper is to imply the falshood that they don’t have meaningful content, whereas to say that they do have meaningful content is to state the truth.

    People, primarily on the hard right, are pretty violently opposed to the idea that either carries meaningful content – they object to the idea that terror-bombing is presented as wrong and law is subordinated to the power of the Commander in Chief. Them quietly fuming about it when they’re passed out and them kicking over the table and bumbling about and shouting and heiling der Fuhrer are two wholly different actions, and focusing entirely on the belief ignores the far greater impact actions have on people than private thoughts.

    In both cases, the hypothetical fascist is wrong, just like the hypothetical atheist (I’ve yet to hear anything specifically about Cook’s personal motive here) is right in both cases. That isn’t what matters; in the first instance the actor is behaving with a modicum of politeness and in the second they’re being an asshole, whether or not they’re right about the objective content of the object.

  236. #238 Djur
    July 8, 2008

    Hey, PZ, is calling another, generally sympatico commenter a “cretin” for disagreeing with oneself on a single issue the kind of behavior that gets you an Order of the Molly?

  237. #239 wrpd
    July 8, 2008

    Not that it matters, but the gluten-free crackers would not be allowed in a RC church. They have to be made with wheat according to Holy Vatican Law. The wine, too, has to contain just the right percentage of alcohol.
    The anglicans have been receiving the cracker in their hands since the 16th century. It’s just been a recent revival in the rc church and when it was adopted the right wing catholics had a real hissy fit. The anglican beliefs about the crackers & wine range from transubstatiation, like the rc’s, to “Oh, yea, this reminds me of that jeesus guy.”
    And, Jeff, you’re starting to turn me on again. I always wondered how jeesus felt being in a mouth that had a cock in it just a few hours before.

  238. #240 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    Dicking around with idiots who worship crackers may get Sophist’s panties in a twist, but as a result of this story there are many, many smart children who will learn about this, hesitantly brave some trial private blashpemous empiricism, and precipitously spare themselves a few years of brainwashing that will make them even smarter, while simultaneously lowering the collective IQ of those they’ll have to leave behind.

  239. #241 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Pardon, that law is not subordinated to the power of the CinC. Thinko.

  240. #242 Eamon Knight
    July 8, 2008

    This a public university, not a church school, right? I expect any attempt to impose official sanctions on him through that channel would get slapped down in court.

    However, if the Catholic wingnuts do decide to play rough, I propose a massive civil disobedience in support of Cook: everyone (Catholic or not) go to Mass and smuggle out a piece of the Host, and publicize the fact that you’ve done it.

  241. #243 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Thoughts have a significantly different ethical weight than actions, although I guess if you swear enough at the problem it might just go away.

    For something to be ridiculous means that it’s deserving of ridicule. So it’s no “big jump” from believing that something is worthy of ridicule (and contempt) and actually showing it. That you claimed it is shows you to be a cretin, and that is indeed not going away.

  242. #244 Kathy
    July 8, 2008

    Oh crud.

    At my grandfather’s funeral last year, my atheist husband took the wafer, but didn’t consume it. I think it’s still in Grandpa’s memory card.

    We’re going into hiding. Immediately.

  243. #245 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Jeez-It®

    Hee hee. Has that one been used before? It’s delightful.

  244. #246 Dustin
    July 8, 2008

    Hey, how many bonus points is it worth if defiling the Jesus cracker involves Mormon Magic Underwear in some way?

  245. #247 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    then I turned twelve.

    Let us know if you make it to thirteen, concern troll.

  246. #248 Djur
    July 8, 2008

    All right. Whoever spiked the water around here with anabolic steroids better fess up.

  247. #249 Steve_C
    July 8, 2008

    This goofy idea may be the most obvious reason I gave up religion.

    Learning during confirmation classes that “the wafer TRULY BECOMES THE BODY OF CHRIST” pretty much cinched that religion was a goofy endeavor.

    Plus they’re lame tasteless crackers that melt on the palate and sometimes stick to the roof of the mouth.

  248. #250 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    People, primarily on the hard right, are pretty violently opposed to the idea that either carries meaningful content

    What an incredibly stupid and intellectually dishonest statement.

  249. #251 bigjohn756
    July 8, 2008

    Way back when, I was about 8 years old — 1946 or so, one of the most brainwashed of all, a nun, told my 3rd grade class that, once upon a time, a man took a host home and hit it with a hammer and blood splattered everywhere. This story was a significant step for me along th path to atheism. Later, when I took my own soggy bit of starch home and pounded on it nothing significant happened.

    BTW, calling these bits of stuff a cracker is grossly overrating them because they wouldn’t hold up a any jelly much less a dab of peanut butter. Back in the day, we didn’t even get any wine to wash them down either.

  250. #252 Bubba Sixpack
    July 8, 2008

    If I had known communion wafers were so valuable, I would grab some and hold them hostage. For, let’s say, a few million dollars.

    Come to think of it, I can just pretend a wafer was a communion wafer and make big bucks off of these suckers…

  251. #253 pvrugg
    July 8, 2008

    Its like my parish priest always told me when I was an Altar Soy “Jesus WANTS you to swallow…”

  252. #254 Kel
    July 8, 2008

    Hey, how many bonus points is it worth if defiling the Jesus cracker involves Mormon Magic Underwear in some way?

    Anyone who does this whilst wearing freemason gloves wins the internet.

  253. #255 Enkidu
    July 8, 2008

    A fan of the Left Behind series, I take it? That’s kind of what subjecting religion to a ‘marketplace’ gets you – horribly corrupt and dishonest horseshit. Even the most hardline mainstream Catholics oppose the death penalty and the Iraq war – ethical consistency isn’t exactly market ideology’s strong suit, though, so LaHaye & Jenkins get to mix equal parts John Birch and Pat Robertson without anyone calling bullshit.

    I think lots of people are calling “bullshit” right here.

  254. #256 pvrugg
    July 8, 2008

    DAMMIT!! That should have been “Altar BOY”!!

  255. #257 alec
    July 8, 2008

    For something to be ridiculous means that it’s deserving of ridicule.
    Yes.
    So it’s no “big jump” from believing that something is worthy of ridicule (and contempt) and actually showing it.
    And evidently ‘you deserve to drop dead’ is tantamount to murder.

    That you claimed it is shows you to be a cretin, and that is indeed not going away.
    What is this, a fucking forensics round? So you have a fucking dictionary; you want a cookie, a medal, what? You’re ignoring the point with a ridiculous sophist’s trick and now it’s been pointed out you’re just getting more abusive and insistent about it. The point I was trying to make, Professor Einstein, was that being loud isn’t a proper substitute for being reasonable. You want to actually counter my argument instead of acting like a child about it, be my guest, but if you’re not, stop wasting my fucking time.

  256. #258 Sophist FCD
    July 8, 2008

    However much you might think they are full of shit, it is indisputable that people attach a lot of meaning to that cracker.

    It’s not just that they “attach a lot of meaning”, but that they think (or pretend to think) that the cracker actually is Christ’s flesh. As such, they are demented fuckwits, and their baloney (sandwich?) is not deserving of any respect.

    However much you might think they are full of shit, it is indisputable that people attach a lot of meaning to that cracker.

    No one disputed that, moron. But these people are idiots.

    So, what, other people believing stupid things gives you the moral authority to go into their place of worship and fuck with them? And my calling you an asshole for doing that is somehow the equivalent of a religious apologetic, or trolling, or makes me an infinity-plus-one-no-tagbacks asshole?

    Pfft, fuck that noise.

    Man, your logic is sooo impeccable.

    What an apropo name you have since you’re the epitome of sophistry. You, sir, are a vile trolling fuckwit.

    Vile? Please. The worst I’ve done is call people assholes. I think you have to a little more than that to qualify as “vile”.

  257. #259 Ollie
    July 8, 2008

    Ooo, piece of Jesus!

    Ooo, piece of Jesus!

    Ooo, piece of Jesus!

    Ooo, piece of Jesus!

    Ooo, piece of Jesus!

  258. #260 Patricia
    July 8, 2008

    By Dapples Holy Crupper, Ken Cope, you are in the vein tonight!
    Let fly, moderation is for monks! What form of ass do you truly judge these fools to be?
    Woof! Woof!!

  259. #261 alec
    July 8, 2008

    What an incredibly stupid and intellectually dishonest statement.

    It’s a statement of fact for which there are abundant examples. I’m not sure how exactly you can get from that to ‘stupid and intellectually dishonest’, but it’s not like silly things like logic have stopped your torrent of inane abuse yet!

  260. #262 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    The point I was trying to make, Professor Einstein, was that being loud isn’t a proper substitute for being reasonable.

    Good thing I gave up on irony meters ages ago.

  261. #263 Diagoras
    July 8, 2008

    Heck, not only have I on multiple occasions not eaten the eucharist when it was given to me, but I have also several times thrown it into a urinal and pissed on it! As well as throwing it into the trash, toilet, and onto the floor. I think that I even once feed it to my dog.

    I just hope that Catholics don’t read this.

  262. #264 Djur
    July 8, 2008

    I’m kind of baffled that the thesis “having thoughts and expressing thoughts and acting on thoughts are three different things in ethical terms” is apparently so controversial for some folks here.

  263. #265 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    And

    I accept your concession.

    being loud isn’t a proper substitute for being reasonable

    Idiot strawman and false dichotomy.

    Regardless of the blather from the concern trolls, Webster Cook is a minor hero of reason.

  264. #266 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    you are in the vein tonight!

    By the blood of Saint Menses, if you weren’t in the antipodes, Patricia, I’d make a lewd suggestion about desecrating an altar with you.

  265. #267 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    I’m kind of baffled

    Admitting your faults is a good beginning.

    that the thesis “having thoughts and expressing thoughts and acting on thoughts are three different things in ethical terms” is apparently so controversial for some folks here.

    You’re baffled by your own strawman construction.

  266. #268 alec
    July 8, 2008

    I think lots of people are calling “bullshit” right here.

    Well, yeah – but even among their intended audiences they’re rididulously uninformed buffoons, and yet they preen and pretend to be eminent Christians rather than eminent lunatic cultist tchochke-mongers. It’s what Slacktivist exists to go after; I just wish that it were possible to have that (and, in general, the people who actually know what the fuck they’re doing) be the public face of Christianity instead of the cretins who are now. There probably wouldn’t be quite the constituency there is today for dragging a kid from a fucking truck for having the wrong kind of sexuality.

  267. #269 Patricia
    July 8, 2008

    #254 – Kel – Bet I can trump you. I’m gonna sneak in to my local parish, and steal PZ a cracker while NOT being a catholic & menstruating. Nah, nah!

  268. #270 mandrellian
    July 8, 2008

    Mmmmmmm, sacrelicious …

  269. #271 llewelly
    July 8, 2008

    Does that give him any special immunities, or is a bread golem some 4th edition bullshit?

    The Dough Golem originated in the 1st edition module, Castle Greyhawk , one of the best D&D modules (although some of the levels were really hard to follow.) .

  270. #272 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    It’s a statement of fact for which there are abundant examples.

    No, the claim that people on the hard right believe that the U.S. Constitution has no meaningful content is completely and utterly retarded. Even the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has meaningful content — content that contributed to the death of many of my relatives.

  271. #273 dkew
    July 8, 2008

    My message to Dr Hitt:
    Dear Sir,
    It seems as if Webster Cook was making a completely valid point about the overlap of church and state at UCF. Seems like the intolerant cultists should be banned from campus.

  272. #274 Djur
    July 8, 2008

    “it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it”

    This logically follows from the thesis that having thoughts and expressing thoughts are ethically distinct. Thinking a belief is ridiculous is a thought. Expressing ridicule for a belief is an action. TM believes this concept is contemptible, ridiculous, and foolish.

  273. #275 IasonOuabache
    July 8, 2008

    As an unofficial representative of the Discordian Movement, I fully approve of any desecration of said crackers.

    Hail Eris!!

  274. #276 alec
    July 8, 2008

    Idiot strawman and false dichotomy.

    OK, before you pull out Merriam-Webster’s, I’m fully aware that loud doesn’t literally refer to being a jackass on the Internet.

    And it would be a false dichotomy if I had actually presented a dichotomy. It’s possible to be both loud and reasonable; if you had been both we’d actually have something to discuss. As it stands you’re gibbering incoherently and violently, I really don’t find random salvos of pointless abuse as amusing as I used to, so you’re going to have to either find someone else to scream at or just pretend I’m actually addressing your nonsense.

  275. #277 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Good thing I gave up on irony meters ages ago.

    [Hi, Ken!]

    Ayup, considering the noise being made about that nasty Webster Cook fellow and his … oh dear … “disrespect” … for stupidity and ignorance.

  276. #278 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    And it would be a false dichotomy if I had actually presented a dichotomy.

    I guess the cretin needs to look up “substitute”.

  277. #279 ajrw
    July 8, 2008

    Apparently everybody missed the irony of calling a communion wafer “god-damned” :P

  278. #280 Brain Hertz
    July 8, 2008

    Oh dear… I seem to have misplaced my flameproof suit. I’d guess I’d better stay away…

  279. #281 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    if you had been both we’d actually have something to discuss. As it stands you’re gibbering incoherently and violently

    Ah, see, here you’re a pathetic and transparent liar … just after writing “What is this, a fucking forensics round?”

    Honestly, you’re too stupid and dishonest for me to waste any more time on.

  280. #282 thoughtcounts Z
    July 8, 2008

    A few people have touched on this before, but it’s gotten drowned out:

    Yes, it’s really stupid for people to be mad at this kid for walking away with a cracker that was given to him. On the other hand, he must have known they would be upset by him not taking communion. The speculation in the article says that Cook did it “to show [his friend] what it meant to Catholics.” I think that’s something we can achieve with an encyclopedia article. Why even bother going up to take communion if you’re just going to turn it into an opportunity to be offensive? What’s wrong with staying seated, or even staying home?

    All the hate and anger directed towards Cook is definitely unjustified and terrible — but it was to be expected. If you want to make a point, this is an extremely counterproductive way to make it. Arguments in his favor just end up as “preaching to the choir,” as it were, while I doubt any Catholics are suddenly having a crisis of faith as a result.

  281. #283 mjs
    July 8, 2008

    Catholic crackers in my soup
    Mystical wafers loop the loop
    When I pass the Lord on through
    Mythical constructs in my poop!

    ++++

  282. #284 steve murohy
    July 8, 2008

    Since PZ posted the Chapman funeral clip recently..

    “Albatross!”

    “Do you get [communion] wafers with it”

    “Of course you don’t get fucking wafers with it! Its a bleeding seabird mate! ALBATROSS!”

    Now that I’d like to see in church…

  283. #285 Enkidu
    July 8, 2008

    The point I’ve been trying to make (I don’t know about the other people making it) is that it’s a big jump from thinking the belief is ridiculous to parading about contempt for it. The reaction is inappropriate, but in the situation you couldn’t expect it to be otherwise.

    Expecting people to be rational would go a long way towards making them behave rationally. Giving unwarranted respect and deference to their irrational beliefs and rituals discourages them from reconsidering their beliefs.

  284. #286 Lord Orcus
    July 8, 2008

    Good to see some D&D mentioned. You know, it’s far more important (and tangible) than religion for me.

    As for the matter at hand– Well said, PZ!

  285. #287 Paul W.
    July 8, 2008

    If this has been posted already, sorry, but I for one missed the Return of Jesus:

    http://www.wftv.com/news/16806050/detail.html

    Jesus has been saved.

  286. #288 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    This logically follows from the thesis that having thoughts and expressing thoughts are ethically distinct. Thinking a belief is ridiculous is a thought. Expressing ridicule for a belief is an action. TM believes this concept is contemptible, ridiculous, and foolish.

    I already addressed this in #243, jackass. Thinking that something is ridiculous isn’t just any old thought; it’s specifically the thought that the thing is deserving of ridicule. It’s certainly no “big jump” to act upon that sort of thought; in fact it’s somewhat hypocritical not to act on it.

  287. #289 Big City
    July 8, 2008

    The most ridiculous part is that all of these idiots KNOW that it isn’t Jesus, and that it’s just a damn cracker, but they think that whoever pretends the hardest gets a prize.

    Get these fuckers out of my country.

  288. #290 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Expecting people to be rational would go a long way towards making them behave rationally. Giving unwarranted respect and deference to their irrational beliefs and rituals discourages them from reconsidering their beliefs.

    Ayup. This is a point that PZ, Dawkins, and other sensible people have made repeatedly.

  289. #291 alec
    July 8, 2008

    All the hate and anger directed towards Cook is definitely unjustified and terrible — but it was to be expected.

    The thing that lead to tragedy here was that he had to have expected a negative reaction, but physical assault and death threats are too goddamn much – a more negative and extreme reaction than anyone should ever have to respect in response to anything, let alone something this minor.

    His action was minor and rude and the response should have been as well. The response was as if he had taken it out and wiped his ass with it in front of all assembled. Besides the prison time, Mehmet Acga wasn’t treated as harsh as this – and what he did was substantially worse.

    I’m going to be really happy in 2009 when the religious right doesn’t have an organized, electorally viable party to represent it anymore. They haven’t just gone too far, they make an official policy of going too far, and if they’re going to go and martyr some poor kid for being a punk bitch, they need to have consequences attached to that.

  290. #292 Melinda Dillon
    July 8, 2008

    I always like my flesh of christ with a little egg salad. mmm MMM, that’s a good christ!!

  291. #293 Sophist FCD
    July 8, 2008

    Dicking around with idiots who worship crackers may get Sophist’s panties in a twist, but as a result of this story there are many, many smart children who will learn about this, hesitantly brave some trial private blashpemous empiricism, and precipitously spare themselves a few years of brainwashing that will make them even smarter, while simultaneously lowering the collective IQ of those they’ll have to leave behind.

    So, basically, what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, yes? We can be dicks because we’re right?

    Regardless of the blather from the concern trolls, Webster Cook is a minor hero of reason.

    I guess the bar for heroism has gotten pretty damned low lately.

  292. #294 Eli
    July 8, 2008

    The stupid burns.

    I grew up Catholic, and continued to serve at the altar throughout high school even though everyone knew I’m an atheist because the church was that desperate for help.

    The host, as it is called, isn’t fit to be deemed a cracker. It’s more like crushed styrofoam with just a little bit of wheat-ish flavor to make you thirsty/give a bad aftertaste… and the wine doesn’t help.

    Now, I know this is going to send lots of Catholics into little seizures of hate, but it’s nothing new to have a host, blessed or otherwise, put to different uses. I’ve seen ‘em eaten by the handful by little kids, dropped into used toilets (yep), sent through the washer, and flushed down the sacrarium… which isn’t a lot better since it just goes into the ground.

    If Catholics honestly think that everyone, even their own, treats the Eucharist with the “full reverence”, they’re in for a big shock. But then, I guess it’s hard to figure out the finer points of reality when you really and truly believe that a fucking cracker and some wine become an ancient man’s flesh and blood, and then you ingest it.

  293. #295 BetentacledBrad
    July 8, 2008

    Hee… For some reason I am reminded of a conversation between two (atheist) friends of mine, one of catholic extraction and one of baptist origins. The ex-catholic was absolutely mortified to learn that at least one baptist church was performing communion with Wonder Bread carved by an electric knife. I suppose, technically, that wasn’t just just wasn’t a cracker (and yet the reaction still didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense; methinks there is a cultural difference here).

  294. #296 truth machine, OM
    July 8, 2008

    Gotta love the contradiction:

    The reaction is inappropriate, but in the situation you couldn’t expect it to be otherwise.

    The thing that lead to tragedy here was that he had to have expected a negative reaction, but physical assault and death threats are too goddamn much – a more negative and extreme reaction than anyone should ever have to respect in response to anything, let alone something this minor.

    One could, and should, expect the reaction to be otherwise, but the concern trolls can’t even decide just how much vile fuckwittedness they’re willing to justify.

  295. #297 Ken Cope
    July 8, 2008

    If you want to make a point, this is an extremely counterproductive way to make it. Arguments in his favor just end up as “preaching to the choir,” as it were, while I doubt any Catholics are suddenly having a crisis of faith as a result.

    I doubt that Cook could have planned to make the point that got made, but it has been made. And while you may doubt that any Catholics are suddenly having a crisis of faith as a result, it is a quite different issue to consider how many children are being raised to be Catholics (a not insignificant distinction, one Dawkins is keen to make) who will witness the public apoplexy over this non-event, and will be spared the indignity of growing up to be so obtuse as to be angered by such a non-event as the rape of a cracker worshiped by fools, as if it were The Rape of The Lock.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m behind in delivering to the local Cathedral my quota of delicately carved erotic misereres. The choir can’t be expected to stand up all the time, can they?

  296. #298 Chris Swanson
    July 8, 2008

    A thought occurs.

    If this really IS the body of Christ, shouldn’t this fellow be charged with kidnapping? Or if it’s the dead body, grave robbing, or something?

    I know when I first found out the Catholics actually believe it becomes the body and blood, my first thought was, “Ew, cannibalism.”

  297. #299 lisa
    July 8, 2008

    Maybe the cracker was topped with a zygote, a little stem cell, or some sort of feti. Actually, it could have just been a slap of Smart Balance in the SHAPE of a feti, and then you’re talking, like, sacred life or something. At least it might be a religious item with amazing healing powers, eh?

    I’ve seen it before. I have. It was a penne pasta noodle that, during boiling, had taken on the shape of Jesus. Well, not exactly Jesus himself, but Jeffrey Hunter, a fabulous actor who had played Jesus rather convincingly in a film I believe titled “King of Kings.” And, rather propitiously for me, this pasta dish with the Jeffrey Hunter noodle was being served on the very same evening I had sustained a stress fracture in my right first metatarsal, or big toe.

    So, of course, we took the appearance of the Jesus/Jeffrey noodle as a sign, nothing to be laughed at, ignored or covered in a thin layer of freshly grated reggiano.

    We debated the existence of god and of miracles. We wondered whether a supreme being would have the time or inclination to heal an overworked toe, what with all the dying and want and poorly worded agent/writer contracts in the world.

    Some of us even argued that Jeffrey Hunter was too obscure for today’s generation and really, shouldn’t we try to find a food in the image of the actor who worked on Mel Gibson’s movie?

    In the end, it turned out that someone carelessly combined the Jesus/Jeffrey noodle with their own meal during the discussion. It was consumed by one of us, we never knew who. My toe remained painful for days.

    But … not one person got heartburn that night. And we all should have, because the tomato sauce was much too acidic for most of our tastes, AND the wine seemed off.

    Take that story for what it’s worth. But every bit of it is true. In some fashion, anyway.

  298. #300 Patricia
    July 8, 2008

    A lewd suggestion… sir, you are a rare charmer.
    Shall I just ‘assume’ you saw one in Singapore? ;)

  299. #301 Enkidu
    July 9, 2008

    All the hate and anger directed towards Cook is definitely unjustified and terrible — but it was to be expected.

    So it’s ok, it’s expected, for irrational people to threaten to kill a kid over a cracker? We’re supposed to be alright with this? We just let it slide because, well, we expect them to ac this way?

  300. #302 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    I guess the bar for heroism has gotten pretty damned low lately.

    It approaches zero for minor heroism, cretin.

  301. #303 alec
    July 9, 2008

    But then, I guess it’s hard to figure out the finer points of reality when you really and truly believe that a fucking cracker and some wine become an ancient man’s flesh and blood, and then you ingest it.

    The most mind-boggling one I’ve ever heard is the suggestion that because gluon theory has holes in it, atoms must be held together by the might of Jesus, our Christ who is Lord.

    Every natural religion has a pretty serious level of concern for ethics, but if you put them in power they’re eventually going to wind up making laws based around the retarded metaphysical crap that gets people worked up.
    Millions of people a year are dying because of a disagreement over which first-millennium Semite, if any, was the final representative of the involuntary contract between the entirety of mankind and an inscrutable man with infinite power. This is why the separation of church and state exists.

  302. #304 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    And it would be a false dichotomy if I had actually presented a dichotomy.

    I guess the cretin needs to look up “substitute”.

    You know, Truth, if you’re going to be snide it generally helps to be right. “Either you are X or you are Y” is a dichotomy. “X is not a substitute for Y” is not, because it does not forbid you from being both X and Y, or something other than X or Y.

  303. #305 alec
    July 9, 2008

    I’ve seen it before. I have. It was a penne pasta noodle that, during boiling, had taken on the shape of Jesus. Well, not exactly Jesus himself, but Jeffrey Hunter, a fabulous actor who had played Jesus rather convincingly in a film I believe titled “King of Kings.”

    Anyone know the net skeptic who found Lenin in his shower curtain? I mean, at least he left a body.

  304. #306 JimC
    July 9, 2008

    I laughed all the way through that post PZ. The next time some clueless twit tells me the RCC is more rational than the Protestants I’ll add this to my laundry list of reasons as to why they are definetly not so.

    With a few noteworthy exceptions, they’re a lot less hostile to modern science and basic logic than plenty of mainline Protestant churches and pretty much every evangelical body; they don’t go into apoplectic fits over Darwin (let alone Copernicus, at least these days), getting an accreditation in theology through them usually requires a pretty firm grounding in logic

    What rubbish. The reformation was a trun towards rationalism and away from the illogical stances of the RCC. Now some Protestant sects are indeed anti evolutionbut virtually all mainline denominations are at least outwardly pro science.

    and that’s not even to mention the parallel abuse of children by youth ministers and other boy-hawking Christer cretins.

    They don’t have institutional coverups.

  305. #307 pmon
    July 9, 2008

    One of the comments from the creativeminorityreport site:

    “Many Saints over the ages have died protecting the Eucharist from desecration. Rest assured, Mr. Cook, had you been at my church when you committed your outrage, getting grabbed on the arm would have been the least of your worries.

    “I would happily have gone to jail for assaulting and battering you if that’s what it took to protect the sacred species.”

    I’m with #80. These people are insane. They can’t look the other way fast enough when their leaders rape their children, yet they get apoplectic over a chip of dried dough that tastes like envelope glue. It’s fucking mad, I tell ya.

  306. #308 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    The most ridiculous part is that all of these idiots KNOW that it isn’t Jesus, and that it’s just a damn cracker, but they think that whoever pretends the hardest gets a prize.

    I think this falls under Dennett’s notion of “believing in belief”.

  307. #309 Enkidu
    July 9, 2008

    So, basically, what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, yes? We can be dicks because we’re right?

    No, being right seems to make us dicks in the eyes of the irrational horde. So, give up being right, cower, or accept that Dobson will think you’re a dick.

  308. #310 Krystalline Apostate
    July 9, 2008

    The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.

    But not just ANY nun! Oh no, it will be Sister Malevolentia of the invisible Black Inquisition, a ninja nun trained in the myriad ways of slaying heretics, w/her long black nails or her Rosary Beads of Death!
    (Gotta scale back on the kung fu flicks.)

  309. #311 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    when their leaders rape their children

    That’s to be expected, doncha know?

  310. #312 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    No, being right seems to make us dicks in the eyes of the irrational horde.

    Which includes the concern trolls here.

  311. #313 alec
    July 9, 2008

    The reformation was a trun towards rationalism and away from the illogical stances of the RCC.

    Have you actually read Luther and the other Reformation theologians? They somehow manage to pull off being worse than their contemporaries in the RCC, and considering that we’re talking about the church of Duns Scotius that’s no mean feat. The Reformation only wound up helping along the Enlightenment by historical accident – the latter wouldn’t happen until a century and a half after the former, and as as much a French phenomenon as English and German.

  312. #314 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    So, basically, what you’re saying is that the ends justify the means, yes? We can be dicks because we’re right?

    No, you idiot, you’re being a dick because Webster Cook did something inane with a cracker, and you’re lining up with the people blowing it up into an international event and threatening to beat the shit out of him because he shouldn’t have said the Emperor has no clothes.

  313. #315 Jeremy
    July 9, 2008

    Dawkins help us!

    I am officially freaked out.

  314. #316 alec
    July 9, 2008

    #307: That seems to be a deliberate reference to the various completely ahistorical martyrs (now essentially buried, but big among sedevacantists) who evolved from blood libels. The person making the comment is pretty obviously betraying a fairly extreme ideology; FWIW the sedevacantists and other charismatic/evangelical Catholics tend to combine the worst features of both Protestantism and Catholicism into a sort of malignant, totalitarian hive.

    The only saints who have anything to do with host desecrations , for the most part, are boy-martyrs – and those are a nasty part of Christian history that you’d only want to parade out if you had a real hard-on for the nadir of European civilization. They’re scum, but at the very least they’re scum pretty far outside of the mainstream.

  315. #317 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    One could, and should, expect the reaction to be otherwise, but the concern trolls can’t even decide just how much vile fuckwittedness they’re willing to justify.

    Find me a post in this thread where assault, death threats, or expulsion are justified. Find me just one.

    I’ll wait.

    All the hate and anger directed towards Cook is definitely unjustified and terrible — but it was to be expected.

    So it’s ok, it’s expected, for irrational people to threaten to kill a kid over a cracker? We’re supposed to be alright with this? We just let it slide because, well, we expect them to ac this way?

    In what language does “unjustified and terrible” translate to being alright with something or letting it slide? Because I was under the impression we were speaking English here, in which I’m fairly confident that “unjustified and terrible” implies not being alright.

  316. #318 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    “X is not a substitute for Y” is not, because it does not forbid you from being both X and Y, or something other than X or Y.

    You are ever true to your moniker. (X substituted for Y) => (X instead of Y) == (X and not Y). But Y was not absent.

  317. #319 Brian W.
    July 9, 2008

    “Webster Cook is a minor hero of reason.”

    Sure? Nothing i’ve read has said that he wasn’t also a Catholic.

  318. #320 Autumn
    July 9, 2008

    Legal blood alcohol limit for driving: 0.08%
    Blood alcohol level usually resulting in death: 0.50%
    Jesus’ BAL: around 10.00%!

    This guy should NOT be allowed to make any rules for mankind until he sobers up.

  319. #321 Patricia
    July 9, 2008

    Oh come on! What great sport this is. PZ asks his skulking minions to sneak into catholic churches to snag him some consecrated wafers.
    I’m hauling my Brethern Old Believers hind end straight off to Ratzi land. It’ll be a challenge to see if they will let me pass.
    Or maybe –
    “The way is shut.”
    This is gonna be so much fun!

  320. #322 Mooser, Bummertown
    July 9, 2008

    If someone did something like this to the Jewish equivalent – not familiar enough with Orthodox practice to name one, but I’m certain one exists
    alec

    Alec, you dummy, one most certainly does not exist, and please don’t insult my Orthodox relatives by saying it does. Yes they were very religious, and a lot of them were bloodthirsty in the name of Zionism, but they weren’t stupid. They would have put chopped liver on that cracker and downed it with a glass of Manischevitz and a booray pre hagofen in less time than it takes to marry a shicksa

    BTW- best oneliners and wisecracks in a Phyrangula thread, ever!

  321. #323 alec
    July 9, 2008

    Legal blood alcohol limit for driving: 0.08%
    Blood alcohol level usually resulting in death: 0.50%
    Jesus’ BAL: around 10.00%!

    This guy should NOT be allowed to make any rules for mankind until he sobers up.

    Awesome scene from a webcomic (would appreciate anyone remembering which): Jesus in an AA meeting, culminating in ‘Spit is 98% water, okay?’

    To this day it still weirds me out that there’s people who actually try and claim the story describes Jesus turning water into grape juice. It takes a ridiculous myth and sugar-coats it for some fucking reason, like rewriting Bambi so his mother doesn’t die, only even more pointless.

  322. #324 Just Wandering Thru
    July 9, 2008

    More information on the incident in my URL (and Cook himself actually responds in the comments on that page).

  323. #325 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    Sure?

    Yes:

    “The church feels that I’m the problem here,” Cook said. “The problem is actually that this is a publicly-funded religious institution. Through student government here, we fund them through an activity and service, so they’re receiving student money.”

    Cook is upset more than $40,000 in student fees have been allocated to support religious organizations on campus for the 2008-2009 school year, according to student government records.

    Nothing i’ve read has said that he wasn’t also a Catholic.

    So is Ken Miller. I did say “minor”.

  324. #326 Mooser, Bummertown
    July 9, 2008

    In what language does “unjustified and terrible” translate to being alright with something or letting it slide?

    Why, the same language which considers “substance” and “essence” to be the same, and “essence” to actually have a meaning in that context.

  325. #327 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    A lewd suggestion… sir, you are a rare charmer.
    Shall I just ‘assume’ you saw one in Singapore?

    One doesn’t generally see a lewd suggestion, and I’ve never been to Singapore, but I’d like to find out what constitutes desecration to a Buddhist. The last altar desecration I can recall participating in was in some West Valley Unitarian Church years ago that had decided that the folks who wanted to celebrate Beltane naked were as welcome as anybody else. Of course, with Unitarians, it’s kind of hard to imagine what would constitute real desecration and sacrilege, although I imagine if the participants had told their hosts that being all friskily skyclad was a privilege, not a rite, eyebrows would have been raised.

  326. #328 alec
    July 9, 2008

    Alec, you dummy, one most certainly does not exist, and please don’t insult my Orthodox relatives by saying it does. Yes they were very religious, and a lot of them were bloodthirsty in the name of Zionism, but they weren’t stupid.

    The only thing that came to mind was the scroll texts, although to be fair they didn’t both consider them sacrosanct and inviolable and devour them with a side of wine.

  327. #329 Jason
    July 9, 2008

    lol @ #33 and #60, too funny

  328. #330 Adrienne
    July 9, 2008

    #316: No, this particular crazy guy isn’t a sede or Latin-masser; he’s just a crazy conservative Novus Ordo Catholic. He even wrote his own blog post about this, titled “Jesus Kidnapped!”: http://www.catholicpillowfight.com/blog697.html

    The saint he seems to have had in mind, St. Tarcisius, is probably apocryphal (see http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/tarcis.htm) but not involved in any of the blood libel scandals of medieval times.

    This guy is bonafide nuts though, having written this about Mr. Cook’s “stealing” of the wafer:

    What they needed was a few big ushers to speak with him about consuming the host right then, having him open his mouth to show he’s done it, or return it to them for proper purification. Should he not have complied, he should have been tackled and the Body of Christ forcibly removed from him. Should they be brought up on charges, so be it. Saint Tarcisius attempted to protect the Eucharist and paid with his life. Some jail time shouldn’t be a problem for those who really believe in the real presence.

    See, there are Catholics out there willing to give the rioting Muslims a run for their money!

  329. #331 sil-chan
    July 9, 2008

    If it turns into zombie flesh when you eat said cracker, does it magically turn back into cracker again if you puke?

  330. #332 alec
    July 9, 2008

    What they needed was a few big ushers to speak with him about consuming the host right then, having him open his mouth to show he’s done it, or return it to them for proper purification.

    One gets the feeling he’s given the idea of burly lay ushers forcing him to open his mouth and have their holy way with him a bit of thought.

    Color me surprised that the saint isn’t a blood-libel figure – although by the sound of this guy I’m sure it took him a while to find a martyr that didn’t make his fellow Rethug crazies yell at him.

  331. #333 IBY
    July 9, 2008

    I would sneak out the cracker, but you see, my family is catholic, and that would kill them. Anyways, catholic church is probably one of the most boring church in the world. And if I had the choice, I would never go there again, even if I had to choice to go just to sneak out a cracker for PZ :)

  332. #334 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    No, being right seems to make us dicks in the eyes of the irrational horde. So, give up being right, cower, or accept that Dobson will think you’re a dick.

    Man, just standing around breathing makes you a dick in their eyes, professional umbrage takers that they are. That’s beside the point. I’m not saying you should avoid things that make Bill Donohue think you’re a dick. I’m not even saying that you should avoid things that make me think you’re a dick. I’m just saying that by my lights some things do, in fact, make you a dick.

    No, you idiot, you’re being a dick because Webster Cook did something inane with a cracker, and you’re lining up with the people blowing it up into an international event and threatening to beat the shit out of him because he shouldn’t have said the Emperor has no clothes.

    Fuck you. I have never sided with the people saying that this is worse than kidnapping, or the ones making death threats, or any of the others. Pretty much everything coming from that side of the argument has made me want to laugh, or kick something, or both. But that doesn’t change the fact that going into someone’s place of worship in order to fuck with them is a dickish, stupid, classless thing to do. Full stop. End of sentence.

  333. #335 kc
    July 9, 2008

    I want to be able to just laugh at this, but I’ve actually heard otherwise intelligent people attempt to explain transubstantiation to me, and worse, I’ve tried to justify believing it myself. Yuck.

    The part that bother’s me the most is that I have actually bowed down and worshiped a cracker. A cracker in a shiny sun-shaped metal holder, but a CRACKER: Eucharistic Adoration

    Again, yuck.

    But hey, at least when I’m feeling like a bit of an idiot for whatever reason, I can stop and think… I haven’t done any cracker worship lately, which means I MUST have stepped up a few levels in sanity in the past few years. Right?

  334. #336 alec
    July 9, 2008

    If it turns into zombie flesh when you eat said cracker, does it magically turn back into cracker again if you puke?

    Considering that it’s the Eucharist and not the actual cracker that becomes Jesus, I bet if you were to clandestinely divide the wafer into a bunch of molecule-thin slices, you could be bulging with millions of Jesuses – like a FLDS seahorse.

  335. #337 lurker_above
    July 9, 2008

    wowbagger #4: For fun, obtain thousands of the exact same cracker from the manufacturer, and then add said stolen cracker to a pile – then invite the clergy and the concerned parishioners to pick out which it is.

    If it’s special, surely there’s some way of discerning that?

    I like the idea, but there’s an a ridiculously easy way for Catholics to foil your devious plan: simply get a priest to wave his arms and say the magic words over your bastardized pile of wafers and presto! ALL of the crackers become Jeebus.

    Then they can be swept up (reverently!) and put back to bed in the tabernacle, after what for them will surely have been an exhausting and traumatic day.

  336. #338 Tom Foss
    July 9, 2008

    #180:

    If the cracker is just a cracker, then it isn’t going to care.
    If the cracker really is god, then it shouldn’t have to care.

    A cracker is just a cracker, but Newtons are fruit and cake.

    Anyway, if my vague rememberings of English history from various literature classes are accurate, this sort of thing was a big problem for the church in the Middle Ages. The people, fairly recently converted from various forms of paganism, attended Mass, where the priest spoke in Latin (a language that most of the laity didn’t understand) and faced away from the crowd (being as he was, the liaison between God and the congregation). So a lot of the churchgoers would receive their wafers and go home to use the slightly soggy crackers in old-school pagan magic. Obviously, they must be a source of amazing power if the priests handled them so reverently, and the Mass looked an awful lot like an elaborate bit of sorcery on the priest’s part.

    If the church’s current position on sex ed is any indication, they still haven’t learned that stupid misconceptions are the inevitable result of deliberately keeping people in the dark.

  337. #339 Wowbagger
    July 9, 2008

    Adrienne, #330

    Oh it gets better – I glanced at the blog and saw even more further down:

    What we need are a few of those Opus Dei monks like in The DaVinci Code. Have a special ops group go to this bozo’s home and rescue Jesus.

    I love this – ‘go to this bozo’s home and rescue Jesus!‘ Maybe the church can provide its own squad – instead of SWAT they can be SWATCH: Special Weapons And Tactics for CHrist.

    At the moment I’m trying to work out exactly what’s fascinating (in a theatre of the grotesque kind of way) me more – that, if the Host is really Jesus incarnate, he/it can’t do something about it (maybe attract a spare lighting bolt or two); or that such supposedly Christian principles such as forgiveness and turning the other cheek are falling by the wayside in favour of violent reprisals.

  338. #340 IBY
    July 9, 2008

    Wait a minute, during my whole previous life as a Christian, I never knew they literally took it as the body of Christ! I have always thought it was a symbol, in fact, I just found out! That is nutty, and I would have thought so even when I was a Christian.

  339. #341 kubenzi
    July 9, 2008

    Did anyone call Poe’s?

    If so,+1

  340. #342 Patricia
    July 9, 2008

    #327 – Ken Cope – I was referring to Pirates of the Caribbean and the remarks of Captn. Jack regarding corsetry in Singapore.
    Come on man keep up! Fine judge of asses you may be, but strumpetrey is flouncing past your table….unless – lewd remarks give us reason to pause…

  341. #343 tim Rowledge
    July 9, 2008

    “Why am I not surprised to learn this is happening in Florida?
    We should sell that embarrassing hunk of real estate. It has proven itself to be more trouble than it’s worth.”
    Don’t worry. A few feet of sea level rise and it is a problem that will solve itself.

  342. #344 raven
    July 9, 2008

    I just skimmed this thread, it being pretty hysterical.

    Seems to me, some of the “lets kill the kid” Catholics are one millimeter away from the Spanish Inquisition. And there seem to be a fair number of them.

    Hate to say it but civilization is a pretty flimsy covering over the Dark Ages mentality. A lot of people never quite left them behind and it wouldn’t take much to recreate them. Modern society is the rock of Sysiphus. You have to keep pushing or it just rolls back down hill.

  343. #345 CarrieP
    July 9, 2008

    Hey PZ,

    I do appreciate that you are using the correct terminology with the word choice of “cracker.” If you’d used bread, biscuit, or crouton, those all have leavening agents in them, and crackers are unleavened.

  344. #346 386sx
    July 9, 2008

    I thought Jesus was invincible or something. I guess not. He must be really fragile or something. I guess!

  345. #347 alec
    July 9, 2008

    If the church’s current position on sex ed is any indication, they still haven’t learned that stupid misconceptions are the inevitable result of deliberately keeping people in the dark.

    I can’t tell you how depressing it was as a lapsee to come to terms with the fact that JP2 was a charming and well-loved dogmatic jackass; that he had essentially reshaped what was once a bustling, reforming Church in his own violently conservative image; and that the death of JP1 basically meant the end of the trend of modernization beginning with Vatican II.

    When the discussion of who would be the next Pope came up, there were a lot of high hopes that it’d be a cardinal from Africa or southeast Asia – Sin or Arinze, specifically – and that somehow, the single largest ethical actor on Earth would be forced to come to terms with crisis after crisis that had cropped up and come to a head under its watch.

    And then the Pope’s hideous German camerlango was swept into office on the backs of a conclave half-appointed by his successor – the man who lead the Church’s despicable efforts to cover up child sex abuse, the man who had taken the blame for the increasingly evil reversals on modernization JP2 couldn’t be marred with; and every year of his horrible life has been another year the world’s largest former of opinions has blundered back into the Middle Ages.

    The militant insistence that the beliefs are wrong and that is that ignores the shades of gray at work among the believers, and it ignores the force for good that people with benevolent convictions – however irrational – can be. I wouldn’t be a Catholic even under the best of circumstances, but the amount of potential the Vatican lost in the last decade will make historians break down and weep.

    In the long run, Benedict XVI and the other horrible old men who rule the Catholic Church will be quiet and reasonable about this, because they have nothing to lose from some kid pulling a stupid prank, because a $40,000 school religious program wouldn’t matter to them even if it had any chance of being at stake; the Church hierarchy has written off America as a loss by now anyway, and are these days more concerned with making sure future conservative Catholics in Europe have a firm ground on which to base hostility to Muslims.

    It’s fucking depressing, but most things are.

  346. #348 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    Thank you Sophist, in the words of Principal Poop, FCC you too.
    that doesn’t change the fact that going into someone’s place of worship in order to fuck with them is a dickish, stupid, classless thing to do. Full stop. End of sentence.

    More dickish concern trolling. No matter how stupid or classless Webster’s action was (and I contest that it was; I applaud his actions), it cannot but pale in contrast to the inanely inappropriate outraged response, which makes the other guys look even worse. You want the issue to be about you criticizing the punk behavior of the kid who yelled out that the Emperor got no clothes, and how wrong the rest of us are to mock you for all your hand wringing about appropriateness, but you’re frankly too boring and repetitive to bother with any more (other than to use as an excuse to exchange greetings with Truth Machine–Hi, TM!).

    Some of the most fun I’ve had is fucking with Spiritualists in Spiritualist churches, Swamis in big SanctiMonia Circus Tents on the Beach, and getting an entire room full of people eager to sign up for EST to leave laughing at the host who couldn’t address my questions. My favorite scene in the movie Day of the Locust is Burgess Meredith falling on his face after Amy Semple MacPherson was supposed to have made him rise and walk without crutches. The next scene, he was dancing a jig over how well he’d upstaged her.

  347. #349 Wowbagger
    July 9, 2008

    Any god who is able to be kidnapped and held for ransom (ideological or otherwise) is a pretty piss-poor excuse for a god in my opinion.

  348. #350 Adrienne
    July 9, 2008

    #335: I actually worshipped those damn wafers for years. In the monstrance and during the “holy mass”. My Christmas-and-Easter-only-Cafeteria-Catholic parents sent me to an Opus Dei school for grades 7-12. They thought somehow that the forced religiosity (we all had to take Opus Dei Catholic religious ed, Catholics and non) would not rub off. THey were wrong. From age 14/15 to about age 20, I became *uberCatholic*. I believed in Transubstantiation. I still can’t believe it myself.

    But then again, had I not had the deep religious questioning and indoctrination that that school imparted on me, I probably would have never questioned my way into atheism. I’d probably be a Cafeteria Catholic going to Church on Christmas and Easter, just like good ol’ Mom and Dad.

  349. #351 Damian
    July 9, 2008

    From “Religion and Respect” by Simon Blackburn, and also a chapter in “Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations On Atheism And The Secular Life”.

    “[...] why should I “respect” belief systems that I do not share? I would not be expected to respect the beliefs of flat earthers or those of the people who believed that the Hale-Bopp comet was a recycling facility for dead Californians, and killed themselves in order to join it. Had my host stood up and asked me to toast the Hale-Bopp hopefuls, or to break bread or some such in token of fellowship with them, I would have been just as embarrassed and indeed angry. I lament and regret the holding of such beliefs, and I deplore the features of humanity that make them so common. I wish people were different. And as far as toasting some particular subset of humanity goes, I also wish people were not keen on separating themselves from others, keen on difference and symbols of tribalism. I don’t warm to badges of allegiance, flags, ostentatious signs of apartness, because I do not think they are good for the world. I am glad that the word “race” has lost most of its reputation recently, and I would rather like the word “culture”, as it occurs in phrases like “cultural diversity” to follow it. More moderately, we might keep it, but also keep a beady eye on it. When people do things differently, sometimes it is fine, but sometimes it is not. This is especially so with overt signs of religious affiliation. By all means be apart, if you wish, but don’t expect me to jump up and down with joy.

    ‘Respect’, of course is a tricky term. I may respect your gardening by just letting you get on with it. Or, I may respect it by admiring it and regarding it as a superior way to garden. The word seems to span a spectrum from simply not interfering, passing by on the other side, through admiration, right up to reverence and deference. This makes it uniquely well-placed for ideological purposes. People may start out by insisting on respect in the minimal sense, and in a generally liberal world they may not find it too difficult to obtain it. But then what we might call respect creep sets in, where the request for minimal toleration turns into a demand for more substantial respect, such as fellowfeeling, or esteem, and finally deference and reverence. In the limit, unless you let me take over your mind and your life, you are not showing proper respect for my religious or ideological convictions.

    We can respect, in the minimal sense of tolerating, those who hold false beliefs. We can pass by on the other side. We need not be concerned to change them, and in a liberal society we do not seek to suppress them or silence them. But once we are convinced that a belief is false, or even just that it is irrational, we cannot respect in any thicker sense those who hold it–not on account of their holding it. We may respect them for all sorts of other qualities, but not that one. We would prefer them to change their minds. Or, if it is to our advantage that they have false beliefs, as in a game of poker, and we am poised to profit from them, we may be wickedly pleased that they are taken in. But that is not a symptom of special substantial respect, but quite the reverse. It is one up to us, and one down to them.

    People sometimes say they respect the ‘sincerity’ of those who display passionate conviction, even when what they are convinced about is visibly false. Tony Blair is regularly given credit for his sincerity, at least by the right-wing media, as he remains the only person in the world to believe in Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But surely we ought to find passion and conviction in such a case dangerous and lamentable. The tendency of mind that they indicate is the vice of weakness, not the virtue of strength. Far from being a sign of sincerity, passionate conviction in these shadowy regions is a sign of weakness, of a secretly known infirmity of representational confidence. If we sympathize with the doughty Victorian W. K. Clifford, we will see it as a sign of something worse: a dereliction of cognitive duty, or a crime against the ethics of belief, and hence, eventually, a crime against humanity.

    Sincerity is different from passion and conviction, since it is possible, and often appropriate, to be sincerely undecided. Here I like a remark of David Hume, who was perplexed by the frequent juxtaposition, in classical times, of bawdy or irreverent attitudes to the Gods with apparently contradictory tendencies to show real respect for the Gods, and especially real horror at impiety:

    Men dare not avow, even to their own hearts, the doubts which they entertain on such subjects: They make a merit of implicit faith; and disguise to themselves their real infidelity, by the strongest asseverations and most positive bigotry. But nature is to hard for all their endeavours, and suffers not the obscure, glimmering light, afforded in those shadowy regions, to equal the strong impressions, made by common sense and by experience. The usual course of men’s conduct belies their words, and shows, that their assent in these matters is some unaccountable operation of the mind between disbelief and conviction, but approaching much nearer to the former than to the latter.

    Phrases like ‘equal concern and respect’ trip off the tongue. But in any more than the most minimal sense of ‘deserving equal protection of the law’ or equal toleration, there are, quite properly, gradations of respect. We respect skill, ability, judgement, and experience. The opinion of someone who has demonstrated these qualities is more important to us than the opinion of a newcomer, or someone who is foolish and wild in his reasonings. We defer to some people more than we defer to others, and this deference is a measure of respect.

    Equally, we respect some believers with whom we disagree more than others. The quality of mind that got someone to believe something with which, all the same, we do not agree, may itself be more or less admirable. Sometimes, we can easily see how someone careful and honest and cautious fell into error. The illusion to which they have succumbed may have been very tempting; perhaps we can see how we ourselves would have been taken in had something fortunate not happened. In this case, we suppose, the defect of their judgment is minimal. They may maintain a reputation for general trustworthiness. At the other end of the scale we can barely see how somebody could be so deluded at all, and we begin to think that they must be of infirm or unsound mind.

    Whence, then the demand for respect, the demand that even if you are not with us, you must admire us, or salute us, or smilingly stand aside for us? And why do many people go along with it?”

  350. #352 Dr Strangelove
    July 9, 2008

    The really funny part is that this whole thing could have been written by Monty Python.

    But it wasn’t.

    Btw, I hope someone would draw a cartoon of this whole thing.

  351. #353 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    It’s a cracker period. Yes some people who are a bit touched consider it more than just a cracker. He taunting them with it was dickish. The response to said taunt was even more dickish and is migrating to criminal.

    Get over it.

  352. #354 Hessenroots
    July 9, 2008

    ahhh hA! Lookie what I found!

    I’m thinking of buying a few and doing something borderline legal with them in public wearing a “It’s a cracker, not a corpse” T-shirt.

    Any ideas? Anyone in the Mpls area want to come along? >:)

  353. #355 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    #342, Patricia, strumpetry, flouncing, wait– why is the rum gone?

  354. #356 Hessenroots
    July 9, 2008

    ahhh hA! Lookie what I found!

    I’m thinking of buying a few and doing something borderline legal with them in public wearing a “It’s a cracker, not a corpse” T-shirt.

    Any ideas? Anyone in the Mpls area want to come along? >:)

  355. #357 Mikey M
    July 9, 2008

    Don’t compound the sacrilege with CheezWhiz; the only approved topping is Cheeses of Nazareth®.

  356. #358 tguy
    July 9, 2008

    He should have demanded a ransom. What good is it kidnapping Jesus if you can’t make some quick cash?

  357. #359 alec
    July 9, 2008

    It’s a cracker period. Yes some people who are a bit touched consider it more than just a cracker. He taunting them with it was dickish. The response to said taunt was even more dickish and is migrating to criminal.

    And we’re agreed. Was that so hard?

    I could respect him plenty well if he had constructed some kind of coherent protest to the university policy, which is either a violation of SOCAS or at least a pretty unfortunate use of money. But swiping a Jeez-It has nothing to do with that, and is in fact far enough from it it kind of seems like a justification after the fact.

    And nobody here, except the occasional Christer troll, would actually disagree with the statement that what the clergy, Donohue, FOX, and the various Catholic and other Christian nutters have done to the poor kid is unjustifiable.

    For my part, all I’m saying is that just because he’s been persecuted doesn’t make him a martyr.

  358. #360 Capital Dan
    July 9, 2008

    More information on the incident in my URL (and Cook himself actually responds in the comments on that page).

    Posted by: Just Wandering Thru

    Actually, I followed your link, and I just found another deluded, frothy, little dickhead advocating more violence toward his fellow human being for taking a cracker.

    So, if you’re just wandering thru, please keep going. And do the world a favor, don’t look both ways when crossing the street.

  359. #361 Patricia
    July 9, 2008

    Good night sweethearts! Us middle-aged strumpets have to buzz off to bed to sleep now & then.
    But while I’m dozing I’ll be thinking of a cunning plan to infiltrate the church…hee hee, the turnips don’t stand a chance!

  360. #362 BobC
    July 9, 2008

    I just read the news article. It was in Florida where I moved to about 2 years ago. When I got my first job here I noticed how god-soaked almost everyone was. Florida sure has its share of religious nuts. The reaction to our new public school science standards which make evolution a big idea of science was amazing. It seemed like every worthless pastor in the state was complaining about it. Somehow the new science standards survived all the attacks. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will biology teachers be threatened for doing their jobs?

  361. #363 azqaz
    July 9, 2008

    OK. I read the first 4 or 5 entries, and then skipped to the “add your $.02 worth section.

    First off, if no one has mentioned it, and I bet several have, they taste like solidified paste. Nasty as hell. Well, in a judeochristian sort of way.

    Also, doesn’t the catholic catechist preach that your sins are between you, the priest, and god? With the emphasis on the priest? “Want to tell on me for banging kids? Well, the I’m sending you’re ass to hell!”

    My wife actually followed this nonsense until our youngest child was thrown out of religious classes because he was autistic, and apparently that is some kind of sin. Whoops! I then found out why my mother was a religion teacher for all the time I was in religious instruction. They don’t seem to ban the aspergerish children of the teachers. Damn, my wife should have known that! Your children can be different as long as you suck ass and teach class.

  362. #364 shane
    July 9, 2008

    I dispute that it is a cracker.
    It is more of a wafer.
    Better get me a bucket.

  363. #365 mw
    July 9, 2008

    Nobody has mentioned the peasants in the Middle Ages who used to swipe the holy crackers and then feed it to their horse, believing this would prevent the horse from being stolen.

  364. #366 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    More dickish concern trolling. No matter how stupid or classless Webster’s action was (and I contest that it was; I applaud his actions), it cannot but pale in contrast to the inanely inappropriate outraged response, which makes the other guys look even worse.

    No kidding. That’s what I said in my first damn post. However, you people latched on to the part where I expressed disapproval with Webster’s action to the exclusion of all else, and now here we are with you all calling me a concern troll because I don’t think Webster is the result of an immaculate fucking conception, perfect and sinless in every way.

    You want the issue to be about you criticizing the punk behavior of the kid who yelled out that the Emperor got no clothes, and how wrong the rest of us are to mock you for all your hand wringing about appropriateness, but you’re frankly too boring and repetitive to bother with any more (other than to use as an excuse to exchange greetings with Truth Machine–Hi, TM!).

    Yeah, yeah—whatever. You guys jump down my throat and make a million posts about how I’m stupid and a troll and blah blah blah because I had the gall to make a minor criticism of todays Hero striking A Blow for The Cause, but now suddenly I’m boring and not worth responding to? Never heard that one before.

    And as for wanting this to be about me? Bull. You’re the ones that took a post expressing both criticism and support and turned it into a pointless, disingenuous wankfest.

  365. #367 Anonymous
    July 9, 2008

    I have a Communion wafer from my first Communion over a decade ago. I would be honored if PZ would desecrate it!

  366. #368 shane
    July 9, 2008

    mw, do stolen crackers retain their power. The hangin’, drawin’ and quarterin’ would be enough to put me off horse thievin’.

  367. #369 shane
    July 9, 2008

    Not to mention the ultimate sacrilege… anyone here aware of a game called Soggy Sao?

  368. #370 Joseph Fredette
    July 9, 2008

    I don’t know if it’s already been suggested, but I’ll tell you what I’m going to do next sunday.

    I’m going to go to mass,
    I’m going to take the eucharist…
    right out of the building.
    Maybe we all should, just to show how stupid this whole thing is.

  369. #371 alec
    July 9, 2008

    mw, do stolen crackers retain their power. The hangin’, drawin’ and quarterin’ would be enough to put me off horse thievin’.

    Aw, shit! This horse’s been confirmed! All that capital crime for nothing.

  370. #372 alec
    July 9, 2008

    Not to mention the ultimate sacrilege… anyone here aware of a game called Soggy Sao?

    Jesus Christ Bukkake Star, unfortunately, never made it to Broadway.

  371. #373 shane
    July 9, 2008

    I’m going to go to mass,
    I’m going to take the eucharist…
    right out of the building.

    No way dude. I’m not going to risk the baby jesus bring the full wrath of his impotence down on me.

  372. #374 Phaedrus
    July 9, 2008

    Jesus Fuckin’ Christ On A Pogo Stick! Are we sure it’s not April 1st?

  373. #375 shonny
    July 9, 2008

    In some countries they still have some common sense left.
    During Norway’s national day, 17 May two godfuckers used loud-speakers to send out their message.
    They are each now fined about $1200 equivalent plus $150 for court costs for doing that. One of the gf’ers was American.

    Article here: http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article2528637.ece

    Let’s hope we’ll see more like this, the opposite of the shite that’s going on in Sydney!

  374. #376 John C. Randolph
    July 9, 2008

    I’m not sure I’d want to mess with people who practice ritual cannibalism.

    -jcr

  375. #377 wazza
    July 9, 2008

    Actually, the vicar at the anglican school I went to for my first two years of high school used to give us communion crackers to snack on during religious studies…

    so what’s the big deal?

  376. #378 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    “it cannot but pale in contrast to the inanely inappropriate outraged response, which makes the other guys look even worse.”

    No kidding. That’s what I said in my first damn post.

    No, actually, “when they respond like this it just makes me want to piss on a crucifix in solidarity” is not the same as what Ken wrote.

    you people latched on to the part where I expressed disapproval with Webster’s action

    You’re a pathetic ass. Nothing Cook did warranted being called “stupid, classless, mean-spirited”.

  377. #379 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    so what’s the big deal?

    That question was asked back at #2, and answered at #16.

  378. #380 themadlolscientist
    July 9, 2008

    LOL @ this entire thread……

    Seriously, I hear about something like this and I think, WTF?!?! When I was in college in the early 70s, people would pull silly stunts like this all the time and chalk it up to protest, performance art, too many funny little cigarettes, or perhaps all three.

    Sad to say, Guerrilla Theater just ain’t what it used to be.

    Sigh.

    p.s. The video link above isn’t working. I found the Faux News segment here.

  379. #381 Kel
    July 9, 2008

    Shane wrote, #369

    Not to mention the ultimate sacrilege… anyone here aware of a game called Soggy Sao?

    that WOULD be the ultimate sacrilege. I wonder if the priest would take the body of Christ back after that.

    On that notion of the taking the body of christ back, what will happen with the wafer now? It’s been over a week, it’s been on somebody else’s mouth. How are they going to properly dispose of it? Surely it must be eaten because discarding it would have to be a much greater sin than someone simply taking it out of the church.

  380. #382 McH
    July 9, 2008

    At the rate religion is loosing it’s followers in Europe, maybe the cracker producing industry should spice up their offer a bit to also appeal to the mass market. The body of the lord could come in the flavors “Sea Salt and Vinegar”, “Sour Cream and Onion” and the slightly blasphemous “Sizzling Smoked Bacon Supreme”.

  381. #383 defaithed
    July 9, 2008

    Incredible story. Just unbelievable.

    I fear that I may have desecrated the Body of Christ myself years ago, when, in humorous sitcom fashion, I found myself unwittingly pushed to the head of a Communion line while playing tourist in a church.

    Not just any church. Notre bloody Dame in Paris.

    That mildly amusing story is recounted at http://www.defaithed.com/blog/defaithed/2008/07/oops_moment_did_i_desecrate_body_of_christ .

    That aside, I’ve really enjoyed people’s intelligent comments in this thread, calling for the religionists to adopt a minimal semblance of human sense about this matter. The only “crime” this kid committed is a harmless act that some people disliked, but is completely within his right to commit. And that, people, is no crime at all.

    As defenders of liberty are constantly forced to point out, nobody has a “right” to not be offended by others. Young wafer-taking student, and everyone else like you, I implore: Keep on offending!

  382. #384 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    Yes, actually. Saying that what he did was stupid, but that the response make me want to do the same sort of thing in protest is pretty easy to interpret as my saying what they did was much worse than what he did. Unless, of course, you’ve already decided you’re not going to respond in good faith.

    You’re a pathetic ass. Nothing Cook did warranted being called “stupid, classless, mean-spirited”.

    It really depends upon his intent. If he intended make a scene and publicly disrespect the Host in the middle of mass, and to disrupt the service, then he was being a jerk. If he did it in ignorance, then he wasn’t. Given some of what I’ve read so far, I find it hard to believe that he was ignorant of what he was doing, so I have returned a verdict of “jerk”.

    Now, you could try to convince me that he was in fact ignorant of what he was doing, or that this specific act of jerkiness was justified, or you could just post some shit about how I’m a stupid troll. At this point, I don’t really give a damn.

  383. #385 Justin
    July 9, 2008

    This is fucked up.

  384. #386 revulo
    July 9, 2008

    Oh man. I have to laugh to keep myself from crying.

  385. #387 Richard Simons
    July 9, 2008

    An Anglican minister told me that he always made sure that the wine used in communion was of decent quality because all the wine that was blessed had to be drunk (I don’t know why – as I understand it they see it as symbolic rather than believing in transubstantiation). He also said that sometimes he badly over-estimated how many of the congregation would come forward for communion and would have to walk home very carefully.

  386. #388 Dr Strangelove
    July 9, 2008

    Soylent Wafers are Messiahs!!!

  387. #389 silentsanta
    July 9, 2008

    PZ, I would like to send you a cracker from a far off corner of the globe. However, last time I entered a local Catholic mass, I was actually taken aback by the kindness of those there. While I strongly disagree with them, these Catholics, at least, seemed sincere, and I am somewhat hesitant to betray their trust.
    It would be an interesting experiment if you were to restrict your cracker-acquisition challenge to only those who had been mistreated or hurt by the Church. I suspect you’d still get a staggeringly large number of crackers.

  388. #390 John
    July 9, 2008

    The ones you order in bulk aren’t sacred yet, because they haven’t been transubstantiated. You have to have an ordained priest to make it be the body of christ.

  389. #391 themadlolscientist
    July 9, 2008

    Hell, I know I got skillz, but I’ve never made a man actually dissolve in my mouth before.

    Awwwwwwwwwww, MAJeff, what a fantasy that conjures up. Let’s just say this XX is thinking some XXX thoughts right now, and leave it at that……….

  390. #392 llewelly
    July 9, 2008

    tim Rowledge (#343)

    “Why am I not surprised to learn this is happening in Florida?
    We should sell that embarrassing hunk of real estate. It has proven itself to be more trouble than it’s worth.”
    Don’t worry. A few feet of sea level rise and it is a problem that will solve itself.

    Sadly lots of other places will drown along with Florida – such as London, much of the SF bay area, New York City, Bangladesh, and on and on.

  391. #393 Cujo359
    July 9, 2008

    Colugo @38 – What occurred to me when I read this was – isn’t worshipping icons one of the things the Ten Commandments forbid?

    You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    OK, maybe it’s not quite an idol, but the idea’s the same.

  392. #394 9
    July 9, 2008

    They’re all crackers if you ask me.

  393. #395 Quiet Desperation
    July 9, 2008

    Just use a Ritz Cracker. Everything goes good with a Ritz, including religious hysteria. :-)

  394. #396 Darwin's Minion
    July 9, 2008

    Seeing all those people get their panties in a twist over teh waferz pretty much blew up my irony meter right there. See, I’m one of those ex-Caths, too, any yes, I, too, dicked around with teh waferz when I was still attending mass. In fact, a lot of Cath people I know did that. I’d wager that 1 in 5 Catholics have, at some point in their life, used teh waferz for their personal amusement, be it by swiping it and experimenting with it at home, or by sticking it to the roof of your mouth just right just so you can make really disgusting sounds for the next 10 minutes (those buggers are really sticky).

    So remember your own pranks and chill out on the kid, dear Catholics. You holier-than-thou, zomg I’m having the vapors!!! attitude is fooling no one.

  395. #397 AlanWCan
    July 9, 2008

    “It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

    …instead of fucking eating him! What? Maybe he was trying to set the baby jeebus/cracker free so he/it wouldn’t get eaten. Someone call PETA. (disclaimer: raised a catholic, scarred for life).
    I’m sure Ian Paisley could chime in with some nice balanced commentary…

  396. #398 J_Brisby
    July 9, 2008

    I have a suggestion. How about nailing 99 saltines to the door of your local parish?

  397. #399 BobC
    July 9, 2008

    Catholics like their Body of Christ in their bread wafers, which is pretty bloody insane, but don’t they at least accept evolution? Apparently not all of them do. I just found this blog that belongs to a Catholic. He has an article called “Evolution: The Great Fairy Tale”.

    Maybe some biologist here would like to explain to this Catholic why evolution is not a great fairy tale. Here’s his blog: http://tinyurl.com/5jenra

  398. #400 Tom K.
    July 9, 2008

    Me and my classmates (all boy Catholic primary school) used to this. In fact, we had massive food fights with half eaten “hosties,” as these things are called in Dutch. The trick is to take a little bite while concealing the whole of the cracker with your hand. Then put the rest of it in your pocket. Be careful, because these things are a little fragile.

    If the pastor is old enough to start getting a little demented, after you’ve collected your first cookie, just get back in line and get more food fight ammo.

    For best results, chew the cracker into two little balls, salivate heavily and use a straw as a launch mechanism.

  399. #401 AlanWCan
    July 9, 2008

    hey PZ, yuo can get them here: http://www.churchpartner.com/store/customer/cat-490.html
    Item# Item List
    Price 1-4 5+ Quantity
    CP7-118WH Small 1-1/8″ (1000/box) $17.95 $9.99 $8.99
    CP7-138WH Small 1-3/8″ (1000/box) $24.58 $13.79 $12.79
    CP7-234WH Large 2¾” (50/box) $5.25 $3.39 $3.39
    ART-RW70 1-1/8″ Artistic Wafers (250/container) $6.50 $5.25 $5.00
    CP7-9WH Large 9″ wafers (25/box) $45.95 $33.15 $33.15

  400. #402 BobC
    July 9, 2008

    “(disclaimer: raised a catholic, scarred for life)”

    Me too. What a horrible waste of the first 18 years of my life.

  401. #403 Jyri
    July 9, 2008

    Would you accept consecrated wafers from the lutheran church. I can try to have that arranged.

  402. #404 Hoosier X
    July 9, 2008

    I love taking communion. And I love those crackers. The body of Christ is YUM-O!

    (Doesn’t mean that I believe any of that bullshit. I just like communion. Sue me.)

    Still, the response of the WHACKO conservative right-wing ASSHOLES is a bit extreme. They can get their own damn crackers and they can do whatever they want with them.

    A-duh!

    Problem solved … unless your problem is that you have run out of wedge issues.

  403. #405 Logicel
    July 9, 2008

    Catholics are jerks, aholes, and pathetic, guilt-ridden dipshits. Catholicism is rabid. PERIOD. Its veneer of rationalism fools no one. It is a dangerous religion. And the worst offenders are the most reasonable Catholics, who by their labeling themselves Catholics are giving respectability to insane beliefs.

    PZ, if you do wind up having a few extra crackers, send some to Damien Hirst, and he can squirt a dollop of shit on them and preserve them in formaldehyde.

  404. #406 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    Imagine that! PZ MYERS accusing peopole of being hateful!

    POT…KETTLE…BLACK…

    Yeah, it’s pretty hypocritical of him, considering how often he’s called for someone to be expelled, beaten or murdered for being a bit of a jerk.

  405. #407 Sophist FCD
    July 9, 2008

    And the worst offenders are the most reasonable Catholics, who by their labeling themselves Catholics are giving respectability to insane beliefs.

    Really? What about the ones who enable rape and sexual abuse, or tell their flock in Africa that condoms don’t work at all and are actually dangerous to their health?

    Because I’d be inclined to put them a bit higher up the list.

  406. #408 Jalava
    July 9, 2008

    You know, the cracker is just a cracker if you just get some and break it.

    To make this thing hard and make people mad, you actually have to get priest to bless the cracker and then you abuse it.

    It has to have something to do with part of the jesus getting trapped in cracker and if you don’t eat it, that part doesn’t return back via His image or shit.

  407. #409 Alec
    July 9, 2008

    Really? What about the ones who enable rape and sexual abuse, or tell their flock in Africa that condoms don’t work at all and are actually dangerous to their health?

    Well, obviously, they’re lower on the list – after all, it’s bound to lead to fewer Catholics in the world.

    See, this is what I meant about the Death Cookie-grade pabulum. You wanna call me a concern troll for considering a standard-issue Anglo-American hatred mainly aimed at immigrants repugnant, knock yourself out. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not willing to leave your stupid bigotries behind when you leave the loving embrace of Christianity, don’t bother bringing them into the big tent of humanism – we don’t need any more fucking baggage, thank you.

  408. #410 Bachalon
    July 9, 2008

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect.” – James Madison

  409. #411 Zetetic
    July 9, 2008

    Sheesh, these people are a lot more uptight than the Catholics in Quebec. Or so I hear. I’m neither a Catholic nor Quebecois. However, we had a great art exhibit at our university a few years ago. An artist from Quebec had made an installation piece out of hundreds of communion wafers. I had the opportunity to ask her about it, and she told me that in Quebec the nuns and priests used to sell, (or give out, I’m not sure which, but I’m leaning toward sell because, well, this is the church we’re talking about), leftover bits of the Eucharist after services. And apparently the idea took off and they started selling bags of communion wafers in grocery stores!

    Now, Catholics are supposed to believe that the Eucharist literally becomes flesh and blood, so the idea of mass-producing (no pun intended) and selling bits of the flesh of their God seems horrifying, even to me. But, I suppose that the wafers sold in stores are unconsecrated. Still… it’s disturbing.

    This artist told me that people usually smear peanut butter or cheese on their communion snacks. I always imagine people munching on them during Sunday night hockey games. Mind-boggling weirdness.

    I just Googled for a picture or something to prove this anecdote has some truth to it and found this one. I’m not sure where it’s from, so I can’t verify the authenticity. http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1114/527226230_4e1b3950b1.jpg

    Oh, excellent – here’s an article on it: http://www.dailygrail.com/node/2453

  410. #412 Stephen Ockham
    July 9, 2008

    For fun, obtain thousands of the exact same cracker from the manufacturer, and then add said stolen cracker to a pile – then invite the clergy and the concerned parishioners to pick out which it is.

    If it’s special, surely there’s some way of discerning that?

    And with thtat, Wowbagger won the thread 4 comments in. Hats off.

  411. #413 SSiE
    July 9, 2008

    My humble attempt to put all this in perspective: http://subtleshift.blogspot.com/

  412. #414 Zeb
    July 9, 2008

    If you air dry your tongue in the run-up to communion jesus doesn’t get too damp or dissolve on contact.

    My brother and I used to do this as children in our catholic church, the upshot is that you can take jesus out your mouth back in the pew and nibble slowly. it gets you through the boring bits until it’s time to go home.

  413. #415 Vaal
    July 9, 2008

    Religion, it’s a cracker!

    What are they worried about, as it is eating the body of Christ, in other words cannibalism, shouldn’t it just be regarded as a take-away? :)

    Perhaps McDonald’s could start a trade in it for the credulous. Christ and chips please, with extra mayonnaise. Hold on the wine.

  414. #416 ben dyball
    July 9, 2008

    PZ speaks his mind. I think we should make him an honoury true blue dinky di Australian mate.

  415. #417 BobC
    July 9, 2008

    ‘Body Of Christ’ Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

    “Regardless of the reason, the Diocese says its main concern is to get the Eucharist back so it can be taken care of properly and with respect.”

    Even though I was unfortunately in a Catholic grammar school kindergarten thru 8th grade, and didn’t escape from that crazy religion until age 18, I had no idea how totally insane the Catholics are. Do they really need to retrieve the worthless tasteless piece of bread? It seems like they’re proud of their insanity. They’re so insane they don’t even realize they have become a laughing-stock.

  416. #418 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    @ No 404,Clarissa wrote:

    //Yeah, people are stupid.

    But PZ also says they are petty and hateful!

    Imagine that! PZ MYERS accusing peopole of being hateful!

    POT…KETTLE…BLACK…//

    I had a vague memory that you had written decent comments in here in the past,if so,then this one wasnt one of them.

    As to the laughable outcry over a harmless student prank by some of the commenters here,not quiet sure what is wrong with those people,I read those comparisons to the Constitution and artworks and all,and that this is sooo not funny because the poor catholics actually believe in this crap and will rightly be offended if you muck around with their sacred rituals,but hey,guys*BUZZZ*,I have news for all you concern trolls,it is a medieval rite that requires a large amount of magical thinking and denial and cognitive dissonance to actually take seriously in the 21st century,and it’s only really taken on this dimension because the catholic wackos reckon that this dude somehow took their bossman hostage by taking a cracker outside a church,and by the then to be expected outrage and spilling of rants,hate and calls for physical violence towards this student,oh,yeah,and of course his Uni isnt exactly helping him either,because they look to their funding and donations.

    So noone here should pretend to be shocked or offended if we call this what it is,an utterly ridiculous show of publicly funded and supported insanity,by an archaic death cult institution that gets away with pretty much everything from child rape to genocide by proxy because of its standing in our society,and its about time we start calling it what it is !

  417. #419 joeyess@mac.com
    July 9, 2008

    I just ordered 1000 of the little bastards. I’m going to send them to P.Z. right after I consecrate them myself.

    What? I just as qualified as the next dude!

    P.Z., their on the way. You’ll get the entire 1000 and do with them what you please. Maybe some spray-cheese and a little chablis?

  418. #420 Ragutis
    July 9, 2008

    Alec @ #305 asked:

    Anyone know the net skeptic who found Lenin in his shower curtain? I mean, at least he left a body.

    That would be everyone’s favorite ginger, bespectacled, pareidolia loving astronomer Phil Plait.

  419. #421 joeyess
    July 9, 2008

    The body of Christ compels you to get a little bit of brie.
    And of course you’ll have heard about the new low-fat communion wafers: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus®!”.

    Sweet jesus on cracker, thank you. I haven’t laughed that hard in a month.

  420. #422 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    What an evil man! You know, I bet he deliberately opens his boiled eggs at the inconvenient end!

  421. #423 Meeee
    July 9, 2008

    We know how to take them out now. Spread the word.

    *crazy morse code tapping*

    Seriously though, we now have a decent response to any catholic tomfoolery. Push some crazy anti-science crap in schools, or try to get church and state united, and we’ll kidnap your damn crackers.

    WHO HAS THE UPPER HAND NOW, EH?! MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

  422. #424 Nemo
    July 9, 2008

    Perhaps this is the right time to tell this story…

    In first grade, I was in Catholic school, with a nun for a teacher. (A pretty bad teacher, but that’s not the point.) One day, it somehow came up that I made my own fake communion wafers, by stamping out pieces of bread into circles with a small cup, and flattening them. Then, that somehow morphed into me serving as a fake priest, celebrating a fake mass for the class. (I wish I could remember exactly how that happened, but hey, I was six.) The ironic thing was, on the day, I didn’t quite have my wafers ready in time, so instead I ended up using these random small chunks of bread brought in by someone else.

    I call it a “fake” mass, but I said all the magic words, though of course I wasn’t ordained. Afterwards, kids from older grades were coming up to me and calling me “Father”. It was weird.

    Years later, I became an altar boy. Nothing weird ever happened with the “host” then, but I remember another boy chugging the sacramental wine.

  423. #425 bad Jim
    July 9, 2008

    I think I’m going to have to instruct my browser not to accept any sacred cookies.

  424. #426 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    He’s kidnapped Jesus! He’s holding Him hostage!

    This goes well beyond the TBS. I’m quite certain silentsanta would authorize torture in these circumstances. – SC

    I think the Catholic hierarchy were probably terrified he’d start torturing the cracker (see Colugo@38) – forcing it to confess that it did indeed have kids with Mary Magdelene!

  425. #427 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    This goes well beyond the TBS. I’m quite certain silentsanta would authorize torture in these circumstances. – SC

    Surely silentsanta would readily agree to be tortured under these circumstances – “We’re gonna carry on waterboarding him until you return the cracker, punk!”

  426. #428 Brian Coughlan
    July 9, 2008

    Seriously though, we now have a decent response to any catholic tomfoolery. Push some crazy anti-science crap in schools, or try to get church and state united, and we’ll kidnap your damn crackers.

    That, actually is not a terrible idea. It highlights lunacy, and they loose if they take it seriously, and they loose if they don’t.

    As a start, students at the university in question should stage a mass cracker kidnap as a show of solidarity. Either the church backs down, or the crackers get it.

  427. #429 Brian W.
    July 9, 2008

    A lot of people seem to be claiming that he somehow stole the cracker. He didn’t, it was handed to him.

  428. #430 Emmet Caulfield
    July 9, 2008

    Let’s test Bill Donahue’s faith. Lace a eucharist with cyanide, and see if he’ll eat it.

    Much better to pour an ounce of pure capsaicin into the altar wine.

  429. #431 SC
    July 9, 2008

    OK, this is the funniest thing I’ve seen all day, and you guys just missed in it comment #414:

    http://subtleshift.blogspot.com/2008/07/run-cookie-monster-run-for-your-life.html

    Puts the whole sad mess in some humorous perspective.

  430. #432 SEF
    July 9, 2008

    The dishes were always rinsed with holy water, which was clearly more safe than soap. Also, any extra bits were washed into a special sink which ran straight into the earth, rather than the sewer system which would taint the “Body of Christ.”

    Nah – that’s all to make sure zombie Jesus is properly interred in sacred ground so he can’t reconstitute somewhere else from the various pieces and come back to get the cannibalistic sheeple. Don’t forget, they’re very afraid of their god(s). They don’t really believe in the niceness as much as they believe in the nastiness.

  431. #433 Big Dave
    July 9, 2008

    Quite happy to score some wafer. However, what are the magic incantations to say when I go up for it during a Mass?

    I’ve not hada chance to go through all 426 comments, but will review them later, so if it’s been posted, could someone direct me to it please?

    Ta.

  432. #434 Andreas Johansson
    July 9, 2008

    The reformation was a trun towards rationalism and away from the illogical stances of the RCC.

    Haven’t read any of Luther’s rants against reason lately?

  433. #435 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    Heck, not only have I on multiple occasions not eaten the eucharist when it was given to me, but… I think that I even once feed it to my dog. – Diagoras

    Well, aren’t you going to feel silly when you’re down in hell, and your dog, as a bona fido Catholic, is looking down at you from heaven?

  434. #436 Johnathan
    July 9, 2008

    And how does this differ from the Islam extremists or “terrorists”, and I am not talking about the USA government, then of course maybe I am. They both think they are right and every one is an infidel.

    Religion is for the weak minded and needs to die of is own afflictions soon.

    Its not ok to take a cracker, but violating a small boy is ok.
    Think about it, here is the catholic church in a nutshell.
    A Nazi can rape your son, but a student can’t take their cracker. What kind of moronic and useless god do they prey to. There can be only one answer, the almighty himself, the dollar.

    When will humans realize that religion is not hear for their well being. Religion is hear for control and that is the only reason.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

  435. #437 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    I recall reading a memoir (Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) where the author recalls the eucharist. Holding the cracker in his mouth as long as possible, imagining it IS cheeses in there, slowly melting.

    Whhaddaya expect from a bunch of brain-eaten cannibals.

  436. #438 Andreas Johansson
    July 9, 2008

    Well, aren’t you going to feel silly when you’re down in hell, and your dog, as a bona fido Catholic, is looking down at you from heaven?

    I’m vaguely reminded of the woman who, apparently perfectly honestly, said she’d abandoned Christianity because her preacher said her dog (possibly cat, I forget) wasn’t going to go to heaven.

  437. #439 Pandora Neurospora
    July 9, 2008

    Have these people never thought that the cracker being the body of christ just *may* be a metaphor and not something literal?

    Of course not! Because religion and fundamentalism breeds a literal belief in a book written thousands of years ago which is not really relevant anymore.

  438. I couldn’t understand anything!!!!!!!!!
    All are hellllllllllll.

  439. #441 CrypticLife
    July 9, 2008

    Ahh, this is the sort of thing I love about religion — they’re so crazy.

  440. #442 jim
    July 9, 2008

    I’m very disappointed in everybody here. Way back in the #40s somebody used the word “frell”, now here we are in the 400s and nobody has yet said CRACKERS DON’T MATTER!

  441. #443 silentsanta
    July 9, 2008

    NickGotts @428

    This goes well beyond the TBS. I’m quite certain silentsanta would authorize torture in these circumstances. – SC

    Surely silentsanta would readily agree to be tortured under these circumstances – “We’re gonna carry on waterboarding him until you return the cracker, punk!”

    Nick, you’ve totally mischaracterized my argument again. I propose that we offer to trade places with the cracker. The Catholic Church, which is obviously equivalent to collateral damage, can then interrogate us as to our knowledge of the UDHR, which, if given sincerely and honestly, could avert even the worst axioms of all ethical theories.

  442. #444 Eric
    July 9, 2008

    Myers, your yearning to desecrate isn’t new. Read about The Terror during the French Revolution, Lenin’s outrages, and Nazi assaults against the Catholic Church.

  443. #445 Out of no where
    July 9, 2008

    String and Quantum theory is just apologetics for not understanding how something works.

    Belief is belief, respect it, you don’t have to agree with it.

  444. #446 Gilipollas Caraculo
    July 9, 2008

    It would be more interesting to get a sip of the Blood of Christ, spit it into a vial, and smuggle that out for alcohol level testing in a certified lab. If it comes out as something like 13 % then Jesus is hammered!

  445. #447 Vaal
    July 9, 2008

    “Belief is belief, respect it, you don’t have to agree with it.”

    Don’t be crackers!

  446. #448 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    The ones you order in bulk aren’t sacred yet, because they haven’t been transubstantiated. You have to have an ordained priest to make it be the body of christ.

    Aren’t there any ordained Roman Cannibal priests who have since seen the light of reason among us evil atheists? If there are, we could buy in bulk, consecrate in bulk, distribute, and hold God to ransom in thousands of places at once! Since every single one would be the body of Christ, we could bankrupt the Roman Cannibal Church within weeks! Even if not, if just a few consecrated hosts can be smuggled out (filmed with hidden cameras, so they can’t say we haven’t really kidnapped God), we can then pull the “I am Spartacus” stunt with bulk-buy wafers, and since they sincerely believe that some of the biscuits being held for ransom are God, they’ll have to buy them all to liberate him. The more I think about this, the better it sounds – either they go bankrupt, or they admit they don’t really believe this rubbish!

  447. #449 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    The Vatican could’ve sent the Special Clergy after him.

    Go to list of characters

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy,_the_Daughter_of_the_Devil

  448. #450 Meer
    July 9, 2008

    Given Catholics’ belief in transubstantiation, this cannibalistic rite has always disturbed me.

    So if Susan Fani, a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese, wants to call this a hate crime, then let’s explore the idea. Is it more hateful to steal a bit of Jesus or eat a bit of Jesus?

  449. #451 Claudia
    July 9, 2008

    How did they even know he had the cracker? Was he bragging about the cracker theft on his mobile and post the video on youtube? I didn’t even realise cracker theft had bragging rights! This whole story is mental…

  450. #452 Raiko
    July 9, 2008

    Seriously – Cook should have eaten it with a photodocumentary – somewhere nice, like at Hell Pizza in New Zealand.

  451. #453 ?
    July 9, 2008

    What if you’re allergic to flour, do they make a gluten-free Jesus?

  452. #454 negentropyeater
    July 9, 2008

    Just would like to call the guard, there are two morons uttering “PZ Myers fails” sentiments over at Templeton dicovers mortality.
    Just in case some of you are up for some good spanking :-)

  453. #455 rarusvir
    July 9, 2008

    Cook should tell them that God told him to do it. Can you imagine the confusion that would cause.

  454. #456 Andreas Johansson
    July 9, 2008

    Have these people never thought that the cracker being the body of christ just *may* be a metaphor and not something literal?

    The RCC has thought long and hard on this issue, and decided that it’s indeed perfectly literal. This despite the fact that, unlike certain other strands of Xianity, they do not have a precommitment to literalism*. You can accuse them of being idiots, but not of being carelessly idiotic – they’re very thoughtful and deliberate about it.

    * Of course, those strands that do have a such commitment don’t ever apply it consistently.

  455. #457 Ricardo Silvestre
    July 9, 2008

    Oh, uau. This is the ultimate E-Bay product. Seriously, if people are making lots o money with cheese sandwiches, imagine with the “real” body of Christ. Gold!

  456. #458 BT Murtagh
    July 9, 2008

    1.) Steal consecrated cracker (aka Jesus-flesh)
    2.) Post advertisement on eBay (aka ransom note)
    3.) ??? (aka allow lunatics to exhibit confusion)
    4.) Profit!!! (aka… well, aka profit!!!)

    Oh, man, if it wasn’t for my beloved 75-year-old Roman Catholic mother, I would so be on this!

  457. #459 Carlie
    July 9, 2008

    What if you’re allergic to flour, do they make a gluten-free Jesus?

    Not for the traditional sects, and I remember a case of a little girl who had just that problem, and the priest would absolutely not allow her to use gluten-free wafers. Pretty heartbreaking, really; first they carefully taught the girl that she’d go to hell if she didn’t do certain things, and then wouldn’t allow her to do those things (or, rather, told her she ought to do them even though she would die for it).

  458. #460 GodlessHeathen
    July 9, 2008

    Bizzare.

    I know most folks who’ve eaten the lil crackers think they’re vile, but I noticed they are perfect for certain lightly flavored dips since they barely have a flavor themselves. I order them in bulk from the same folks that supply the church near me. Really, one must try them with a strawberry and red grape dip. Quite delicious.

    I’m still trying to work out Cook’s motive. Seems a pointless waste of time for anybody. I already know the motive for the backlash: People take themselves far too seriously.

  459. #461 marc buhler
    July 9, 2008

    In hope that I can get in before comments reach #500….

    I took Communion (sp? is it derived from “communist”?) at a friend’s wedding about 15 years ago as The Jesuit priest indicated that it was not unacceptable for me to do so. Why? Well, there were several of us in the wedding party and when it came time for this, one of the girls did not go to accept but none of the guys (apart from the groom) made a move – to keep the yin/yang balance I thought at least one of us had to so I stepped up. The priest knew I was not catholic and not even a believer but we had spoken the day before and he had told me “do whatever you feel is right on the day”.

    So I did.

    My wife, lapsed from the Church at about the age of 8, would still say that what I did was wrong. (Don’t remember the flavour of the flesh, but the blood was claret.)

  460. #462 Adrienne
    July 9, 2008

    Sorry, folks, eBay has a rule against selling the cult-consecrated crackers. Some other dude tried to sell a consecrated one once (consecrated by JPII even!), a similar outrage ensued, and eBay amended its rules to forbid the selling of such sacred religious artifacts.

  461. #463 Ginger Yellow
    July 9, 2008

    I love this concept of taking Jesus hostage. I can’t get rid of the mental image of Jesus wandering round heaven with his little finger missing and swearing at Cook.

  462. #464 Adrienne
    July 9, 2008

    I should add re: my eBay comment, “sacred” to whatever particular cult claims it is such. Maybe pastafarians should start raging against the selling of pasta on eBay?

  463. #465 shyster
    July 9, 2008

    PZ, 99.99% of the time I am with you 100%.
    I have to back off of this one. I don’t care what these idiots believe. They have a rite to bow to any god they want. As a practicing Pastafarian (may you be touched, caressed and massaged by his noodly appendage) I would be very offended if someone pocketed one of the ceremonial, holy meatballs and made off with it for reasons unknown.
    It doesn’t matter that we think the wafer is silly and the reaction is absurd, common courtesy and decency should prevent one from entering a house of worship (any house of worship) for the purpose of ridiculing their rights, rites and holy snacks.
    As much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with the altar boy abusers on this one.
    Now, we need to discuss proportional punishment.

  464. #466 defaithed
    July 9, 2008

    @Zetetic: “…the idea of mass-producing (no pun intended) and selling bits of the flesh of their God…”

    Zetetic, my rough estimate is that only 1 in 10 of “no pun intended” comments actually contains something fitting the definition of a pun, and only 1 in 10 of those is actually funny. The above was a nice 1 in 100. : )

  465. #467 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    shyster,No 466,

    what exactly do you agree with the “altar boy abusers” on?
    Oh,this,right :
    //common courtesy and decency should prevent one from entering a house of worship (any house of worship) for the purpose of ridiculing their rights, rites and holy snacks.//
    Ok,if there was irony here,I apologize,but if not,I disagree.

    No,it should not prevent one from riduculing it,not if the house of worship is a means of brainwashing millions of gullible people and its robed rulers are a gang of ruthless pedophiles.Oh,and thats not even talking about the transmorphofixogression thing that turns a cracker into a bleeding zombie corpse if you hit it with a hammer…..

  466. #468 Christophe Thill
    July 9, 2008

    “the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.”

    They can force you to swallow?

    (Feel free to insert dirty joke here)

  467. #469 Philip
    July 9, 2008

    So what was Yahweh, the God formerly known as El, doing whilst his son was being kidnapped?

    Did he smite young Mr Cook for being naughty in His sight?

    Noooo, just like before on the cross, Jesus is left to get all the horror of being killed by suffocation by bag!

    I don’t know about you but I think God and Jesus have some family issues they haven’t ironed out yet! :)

  468. #470 Triggur
    July 9, 2008

    I’ve already caught a round of “Send him every hateful email you can” from a catholic organization for my own communion wafer experiment: http://triggur.org/communion/

    These people get quite worked up over this stuff.

  469. #471 Andreas Johansson
    July 9, 2008

    I know most folks who’ve eaten the lil crackers think they’re vile, but I noticed they are perfect for certain lightly flavored dips since they barely have a flavor themselves. I order them in bulk from the same folks that supply the church near me. Really, one must try them with a strawberry and red grape dip. Quite delicious.

    Reminds me, does the RCC have a standard recipe for communion wafers? In the church I grew up in (Mission Covenant Church of Sweden), it’d vary from parish to parish and sometimes even from week to week.

  470. #472 Woozle
    July 9, 2008

    Coming a bit late to the party (glad to see a lot of people are outraged about this) — I posted a polite but firm comment over at Creative Minority Report (the site which was taking the Catholic Church’s side), and it was deleted — all evidence that I ever posted was removed — and now they have closed comments.

    Not so much “can’t take criticism”, I think, as “totally not interested in hearing anything negative about themselves”.

    I saved the comment here.

  471. #473 Brian Coughlan
    July 9, 2008

    “the college is now having armed university police officers standing guard during mass.”

    Are they indeed? Are they prepared to shoot someone for carrying off a cracker some dude gave them? This could get very interesting indeed.

  472. #474 itwasntme
    July 9, 2008

    OK then, if you, as a non-believer, eat the consecrated host, does it automatically convert you?I mean if you were a Methodist before, are you now a Catholic?

    Anyway, this whole business would make a hilarious movie.

  473. #475 Sauceress
    July 9, 2008

    Christophe Thill
    “They can force you to swallow?”

    I was wondering on this when I saw the thread earlier.
    Is one required to kneel when accepting *Jesus* into their mouth?
    Does the priest say:
    “Please kneel,open your mouth and it’s imperative that you swallow that which you are about to receive”?

  474. #476 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    //Anyway, this whole business would make a hilarious movie.//

    A Monty Python sketch,rather.

  475. #477 Spiv
    July 9, 2008

    uhg. Sadly UCF is my alma mater. Of course we’ve all known for years that Dr. Hitt is a douche. Also, if anyone thinks a hearing by his “peers” is going to be anything reasoned, think again. The student government at UCF is as incestuous of a group of greek losers that ever got power.

    Sadly, his best bet for such a thing is a hearing with administrators, and hope he gets actual instructors instead of clerks who have been avoiding administrator-student contact as much as possible.

    and in trying to work out the motive: my guess is that he’s just a college kid doing something because he felt like it. In the university life kids here kinda pride themselves on actually being human beings despite the administrative culture (which would happily bar-code its students with their credit card numbers to speed up the process of paying for classes they don’t need). Most of it is just kids wearing pajamas to class, playing elevator pranks, or gluing bat-a-rangs to the walls to break up the monotony. But of course there are people who go farther- or lesser in the case of ‘stealing’ a cracker.

  476. #478 Hal in Howell MI (not far from Hell, MI)
    July 9, 2008

    Messing with the Host reaches even into the College of Cardinals. Hear this Onion Radio News story:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/radio_news/pope_condemns_college_of

  477. #479 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    Death threats? Now that doesn’t sound very christian to me!

    PS: Your crackers taste bad. At least add sprinkles on it.

  478. #480 shyster
    July 9, 2008

    Clinteas #468, No irony was intended.
    The altar-boy abusers should get jail and civil judgments against the church and bishops sufficient to bankrupt the bastards and require the sale of every candlestick and stained-glass window.
    It does not follow that you have the right to piss on the altar during mass. Besides being a trespass, it’s just tacky and disgusting.
    Touch the Holy Meatball for anything other than its intended Holy Refreshment and I will see you in court. The First Amendment has limits. It does not give you the right to yell, “Dinner is served.” in a crowded sacristy.

  479. #481 s1mplex
    July 9, 2008

    First of all, thank you to everyone who has made this such a wonderful thread.

    I’ve nothing to add, except to share with ya’ll the product of someone else’s brilliance. Enjoy:

    http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2008/6/28/155542/080/4#c4

    Please give credit to this person:
    http://insultcomicdog.dailykos.com/

  480. #482 Andrew Dart
    July 9, 2008

    PZ if someone does send you a cracker then don’t abuse it, test it. The catholic church believes in transubstantiation (sorry can’t be bothered to check if I spelt that right), that the cracker literally becomes the body of Christ when you eat it. Surely a biology professor could work out some kind of experiment to test that. I’m sure that proving scientifically that yet another of their deeply held beliefs is hogwash would be the worst possible thing you could do to the cracker…that or eat it with a nice bit of cheese and some branston pickle.

  481. #483 windy, OM
    July 9, 2008

    I have to back off of this one. I don’t care what these idiots believe. They have a rite to bow to any god they want. As a practicing Pastafarian (may you be touched, caressed and massaged by his noodly appendage) I would be very offended if someone pocketed one of the ceremonial, holy meatballs and made off with it for reasons unknown.

    Your taking offense would be stupid, too. If you hand out free meatballs, people can do what they want with them.

  482. #484 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    Christ on a cracker! Where’s the outcry over Cardinal Law? Where’s the outrage over the decades during which Law drove the getaway car for ordained child molesters and rapists? Where are the death threats over Law’s “punishment” being his relocation to a cushy job at The Vatican?

  483. #485 Blondin
    July 9, 2008

    I grew up in Winnipeg and attended a Ukrainian Catholic church (there are a lot of Ukrainians in Winnipeg). In that church they actually used real bread (in little cubes) and wine (just like Jesus said). None of those cheap fake RC styrofoam wafers for the Ukrainians. They get holy croutons and real wine! I always wondered why they never got in trouble for giving wine to minors.

  484. #486 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    @ shyster No 481:

    //It does not follow that you have the right to piss on the altar during mass. Besides being a trespass, it’s just tacky and disgusting.//

    Hey mate,now seriously,the guy walked out with a cracker in his mouth that the priest shoved in there to start with,thats not the same as pissing on the altar exactly,is it? And it doesnt sound too tacky and disgusting to me either….

  485. #487 rebecca
    July 9, 2008

    This is what fundamentalist fanatical religion is about! It would have been hilarious had it not been so utterly horrifying…

  486. #488 Wildy
    July 9, 2008

    Wait, it’s a cracker?

    I always thought that it was round cardboard, at least that’s what it tasted like over here in Australia when I last had that stuff.

  487. #489 Steve Caldwell
    July 9, 2008

    It’s worth checking out the origins of the phrase “hocus pocus.”

    Apparently, the magician’s phrase comes from the Latin Mass when the priest says “hoc est corpus.”

    It was the magician’s way of poking fun at the Catholic Church and it happened as early as 1694.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hocus_Pocus_(magic)

  488. #490 GregB
    July 9, 2008

    Just FYI: When you take communion, don’t ask them if they have any dark meat. They never seem to get that joke.

  489. #491 Ryan
    July 9, 2008

    I can get one but it’s from a Baptist church, does that count?

  490. #492 Phoenix Woman
    July 9, 2008

    Of course, these are generally the folk most in favor of nuking brown-skinned Muslims because they see Islam as barbarism and its practitioners as deserving of death. Nuke their ass and take the gas, baby!

  491. #493 Snitzels
    July 9, 2008

    Oh my… I had no idea these people got that upset about it. Whenever I go to church with my family (easter, xmas, etc) I generally just kick it under the pew after pretending to eat it. The thing tastes like crusty glue… I didn’t know people got that heated over a freaking cracker…

  492. #494 wÓÒ?
    July 9, 2008

    A better title for this thread might be “Ooky cookie,” or perhaps “Soggy Biscuit.”

  493. #495 LordLeckie
    July 9, 2008

    Been there done that, got cracker, crushed it it and spat on it during church, of course where no one could see me.

  494. #496 BMcP
    July 9, 2008

    Was in Minnesota last weekend, if you really wanted one I could have gotten it, although I would want to exchange it for a peanut butter Baker’s Square pie. Come to think of it, I can still get one now if you accept crackers by mail, still would want a pie though in exchange.

    I likes pie. :)

  495. #497 Joe
    July 9, 2008

    I’m still reading the comments, so someone may have raised this, but you can actually buy communion wafers in bulk from clerical supply houses, and I don’t see what would stop you from asserting that one of them was consecrated. More interestingly, I don’t see how the dingbats could prove that it *wasn’t*.

  496. #498 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    Just watched a Boston Legal rerun,says Candice Bergen at the end of that episode on American television:

    “God forbid the next court says its ok to ban evolution from the schools !”

    There is hope….

  497. #499 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    Ohhhh,no,not 499……..

  498. #500 Nuno
    July 9, 2008

    It seems we’re back to the dark ages days!
    We have Mr Donoohue and Mr Gonzales from the inquisition asking for blood.
    It’s just a cracker! It’s not the body of christ!
    These people are drifting away from “the larger tapistry that I like to call……………….REALITY!”

  499. #501 Forti
    July 9, 2008

    You know what I’m wondering about? Wafers are consecrated on every mass, but what happens to the leftovers? They’re locked up in a tiny golden box but do they ever get used, if there’s a consecration at EVERY mass?
    Also, how come do they never run out during the communion? Did anyone ever see a priest go, “oops, that was the last one, and there’s still a 100 people in the queue?’ I don’t think so.

    Maybe they multiply by magic means, kinda like those loaves and fishes.

  500. #502 Runaman
    July 9, 2008

    From a facebook commentary:

    MXcXaXl BXwXs
    “Sadly this guy that kidnapped Our Lord didn’t know what he was doing when he desecrated the body and kept it in an unclean plastic baggy. This story brings to mind one of my favorite Eucharistic Miracles. It occured in a muslim country I believe and it was around 50 years ago. A young Catholic wife who was married to a muslim man was an avid Catholic. One day her husband who hated her faith beat her and told her to bring the host home so he could show his buddies. She did just as he asked, took it in her mouth back to her pew and then put it into a plastic baggy. She took the host home and gave it to her husband. He plopped it on his poker table where his friends were sitting and after laughing and jeering at how Catholics thought this was the actual body of Christ he pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed the host.

    No more than a second went by and all of the sudden blood started to gush out of the host. the husband checked under the table to make sure there wan’t any trickery and by the time that he looked up, the blood was all over the table and it was gushing as if an artery had been severed. He called the police and when they arrived the host was still bleeding, the police checked the house because there was so much blood they thought there had to be a body. The Catholic CHurch was contacted and the host was rescued and placed in a clear chalice and taken to a church for observation. The host had a heart beat and the blood I believe was AB which matched up with the DNA from another Eucharistic Miracle that occured over 500 yrs before this time.
    People think that the Catholic Eucharist is just a representation of God.. It isn’t.. it is the Body of Christ and countless Miracles have occured. I have seen 3 of these and have touched one of them within a monstrance. God is beautiful.. I hope this young guy has a conversion from the experience.”””

  501. #503 Blondin
    July 9, 2008

    It seems there’s a chance this incident could spark a spate of copy-cat sacriligeous acts. In Canada we’d just call out the RCMP (Roman Catholic Mounted Police) but you don’t have that option in Florida.

    There’s only one thing to do: kidnap this guy and produce a Youtube video of a bunch of hooded thugs hacking his head off. Then the Catholics will command the same level of fear… sorry, respect that Islam does.

  502. #504 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    My brother has Orcrist in his closet. I defy anyone to prove it isn’t Orcrist.

  503. #505 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    Kseniya@505,
    Well, have you ever seen it glowing in the presence of orcs? Eh? Eh? Havya?

  504. #506 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    @#502: What I worry the most about is why they sell the scraps in the grocery stores in the treat section. You know, these eucharist sheets with a lot of holes in ‘em? Guess the remainder ain’t holy.

  505. #507 Blondin
    July 9, 2008

    Was in Minnesota last weekend, if you really wanted one I could have gotten it, although I would want to exchange it for a peanut butter Baker’s Square pie.

    I’d hold out for 30 pieces of silver.

  506. #508 Lilly de Lure
    July 9, 2008

    Shyster said:

    The First Amendment has limits. It does not give you the right to yell, “Dinner is served.” in a crowded sacristy.

    IANAL but I rather think it does, considering doing so would not risk causing physical injury to anyone (except possibly yourself if the previously mentioned burly security guards were around).

    It might cause injury to feelings ofcourse but the whole point of the 1st amendment is that that’s just too bad – freedom from offence is most definitely not in the Constitution!

  507. #509 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    Hey Nick Gotts my not friend,if you read this,are you the NG that was involved with that NetSpinner thing? I always wondered….

  508. #510 Thomas J. Theobald
    July 9, 2008

    This one’s for you, Wowbagger:

    http://durash2.web.aplus.net/?p=88

    Not a newspaper, but at least it covers the basics ).

    T

  509. #511 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    Yup. Nothing spells “God is beautiful” like great gouts of blood spurting from a pulsating cracker.

  510. #512 Mr. Briggs
    July 9, 2008

    Considering that the places that most people buy the wafers in the first place have atheist workers, this is much of a non-issue…

    The wafers only have ceremonial value. They’re just ordinary wafers that are “called” the body of Christ.

    Seriously, I don’t even think God approves of what they did to Webster.

  511. #513 Dahan
    July 9, 2008

    What this person did is basically equivalent to flipping off the priest. Classy? Nope. Big deal? Not really, except that these people have made it so.
    They literally cannot handle anyone not believing and acting like they do, to the point that some of them believe physical violence is justified. That is seriously screwed up.
    Not showing the amount of respect to someone’s beliefs that they wish you would, is not a hate crime.

  512. #514 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    Alec at #410 helpfully frames what’s really behind the discussion here, because every picture needs a frame:

    You wanna call me a concern troll for considering a standard-issue Anglo-American hatred mainly aimed at immigrants repugnant, knock yourself out. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not willing to leave your stupid bigotries behind when you leave the loving embrace of Christianity, don’t bother bringing them into the big tent of humanism – we don’t need any more fucking baggage, thank you.

    Amazing. Without Alec’s keen insight, we might have continuted talking about the actions of people driven by their insane beliefs, when really, all along, what we were really talking about was that all Catholics are a buncha furriners.

    That’s not concern trolling. That’s psychotic.

  513. #515 Blondin
    July 9, 2008

    OT but I think the Catholic church should be required to provide a nutritional information sheet (upon request).

    Does anybody know what % of your recommended daily dose of sodium is in the body of Christ?

  514. #516 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    @ Lilly de Lure,sexiest nick on the interwebs:

    //freedom from offence is most definitely not in the Constitution!//

    You sometimes get the feeling it was tho,dont you !

  515. #517 Lilly de Lure
    July 9, 2008

    Kseniya said:

    Yup. Nothing spells “God is beautiful” like great gouts of blood spurting from a pulsating cracker.

    LOL! It’s rather like those weeping statues – if the saints are all in heaven and life with God is all so wonderfull shouldn’t they be a bit more, well, happy about it?

    Also should a host that bleeds when pierced with a knife also do so in the mouths of communicants when bitten into?

  516. #518 Jason Failes
    July 9, 2008

    History will record this as the moment that religion finally jumped the shark, moved the island, flipped the pool, grabbed the cracker, whatever.

    From this moment forth, it will be impossible to take religion seriously, or at least impossible to take seriously anyone who takes religion seriously.

    The cracker has crumbled. It’s over, people. Close your churches, stop lying to children, and give old people their life’s savings back.

  517. #519 Matt Penfold
    July 9, 2008

    Of course this is yet another example that gives the lie to those who criticise Dawkins et al for attacking a strawman of religion. Half the world’s christians are Catholic, and a good number of those, but not all I will concede, will think that the wafer really does become the body of Christ, and the wine really does become the blood of Christ. Those of course are empirical claims, very easily tested. I am not aware of any tests being done, but I am confident that were they to be done the results would show that it is just a wafer and just wine. One wonders how Henry Gee would explain this away.

  518. #520 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    clinteas@509
    NetSpinner? Not on the WWW tool, if that’s what you mean, but I did work for a while on computer models of spiders’ web construction. My program was called Theseus, but I know a new one was built after I left, the name of which I don’t recall.

  519. #521 Dahan
    July 9, 2008

    @502,

    Wow, that was just amazing!

    I love how is starts out like all fairy-tales.

    “Once upon a time, long ago in a land far away, there lived an evil man who was married to a beautiful princess… “

  520. #522 V Profane
    July 9, 2008

    Have they ever tried waving the magic wand over say, 150lbs of crackers, and about 8 pints of wine?

  521. #523 Bryn
    July 9, 2008

    Wow! 522 (523 now, or more) comments on a cracker! Personally, I prefer wasabrod and somebody pass me the cheese.

  522. #524 Morgan
    July 9, 2008

    This guy’s pretty easy to find on Facebook if anyone wants to send him a little message of support.

  523. #525 stevogvsu
    July 9, 2008

    They are made of fail and dumb.

  524. #526 Gene
    July 9, 2008

    I always wanted to walk up to one of those priests handing out the wafers and ask “can I get some dark meat?”

  525. #527 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    It’s rather like those weeping statues – if the saints are all in heaven and life with God is all so wonderfull shouldn’t they be a bit more, well, happy about it?

    Ah, but they’re weeping for us, you see, because life in the old moral coil down here on earth is full of pain, misery, and sadness an’ junk.

    Also should a host that bleeds when pierced with a knife also do so in the mouths of communicants when bitten into?

    Well no, y’see, cuz God (in His grace and in His omnibeautiful hyperbeautifulness) only pulls out those kinds of theatrics to shock’n’awe the infidels. To send a message, as it were. The weekly cracker-chomping is ok, cuz that’s what’s supposed to be done with the Host, and mouthful of spurting Jesus-blood just isn’t what the average lamb is looking for on Sunday morning, y’know?

    Hey, I’m pretty good at this religion-splainin’ thing. It ain’t so hard after all!

  526. #528 DavidONE
    July 9, 2008

    thalarctos @ #33:

    And of course you’ll have heard about the new low-fat communion wafers: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus®!”.

    Brilliant.

  527. #529 clinteas
    July 9, 2008

    Nick,
    yeah ok I was re-reading “Climbing Mount Improbable” the other week and your name is mentioned there in the context of spider webs….

    Kseniya,

    as someone else about 3000 posts up has pointed out,if I was some omnipotent Dog Id be pretty inconvenienced by all them catholics on this one remote planet constantly praying to me to do the transfixomegaomnigrossoreversiongressiuon thing to those crackers,id be mighty annoyed after a while i reckon……

  528. #530 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    Ken Cope@514

    I don’t wholly agree – I think alex’s comment (note: alex and Alex are different commenters here) was OTT, but does raise a real point: in attacking religion, atheists should be careful not to align with those who are interested in attacking ethnic minorities (except of course for atheists who are interested in attacking ethnic minorities – but I don’t want to be associated with them). In Europe, this is relevant mostly (not only) when attacking Islam or Judaism. In the US, as I hadn’t considered before, because of the large Hispanic-immigrant/Catholic overlap, it could be relevant in the case of Catholicism.

  529. #531 Lord Zero
    July 9, 2008

    This its insane, damnit, why usa its
    so full of damned fucktards ?
    We are on the 21 century!!, its just
    a godamned piece of bread!!
    This poor guy didint make a terrorist attack,
    he didint kill anyone, just didint ate
    a stupid cracker!!!
    … why us is this way ?, why you didint stop
    this madness ? im so fraightened. Those people
    are insane, they would destroy my entire life if
    i ever go there…

  530. #532 Lilly de Lure
    July 9, 2008

    Kseniya said:

    Ah, but they’re weeping for us, you see, because life in the old moral coil down here on earth is full of pain, misery, and sadness an’ junk.

    You’d think that if that were so their energies would be better spent actually doing something about it rather than playing around with cheesy ceramics but hey, no-one’s perfect right?

    The weekly cracker-chomping is ok, cuz that’s what’s supposed to be done with the Host, and mouthful of spurting Jesus-blood just isn’t what the average lamb is looking for on Sunday morning, y’know?

    Eternal Hellfire fine – mouthful of blood once a week, too icky. OK, moving right along . .

    Hey, I’m pretty good at this religion-splainin’ thing. It ain’t so hard after all!

    You’re doing a better job than my RE teacher that’s for sure (you’re also far more entertaining)!

  531. #533 shyster
    July 9, 2008

    Sorry people, I must disagree.
    I was raised in a society and a time when you addressed your elders as “sir” and “maam.” You opened doors for women and the elderly and you did not make fun of the handicapped and their crutches.
    These people are handicapped and this is a crutch.
    What this young man did was, at best, rude, offensive and tacky.
    I have to assume that most of the comments are coming from yankees. Yankees don’t have a word for “tacky.” I really believe they could use one.
    #483, Pastafarianism came out of the closet with the insistence that if the Kansas schools were going to give credence and badly-cloaked respect for christianity dressed up as ID then they should be required to give equal respect to the true faith (may you be touched and massaged by his holy appendage). All true Pastafarians would be offended at the mistreatment of the Holy Snacks of any other faith.

  532. #534 SteveM
    July 9, 2008

    Also should a host that bleeds when pierced with a knife also do so in the mouths of communicants when bitten into?

    Well, when I was being raised Catholic back in the ’60’s, I was taught that one did not chew the wafer. You were supposed to let it dissolve in your mouth (or at least until it was soft enough to just swallow whole).

  533. #535 Bryn
    July 9, 2008

    @ #517

    Lilly de Lure said:

    Also should a host that bleeds when pierced with a knife also do so in the mouths of communicants when bitten into?

    Much like with a nervous boyfriend, you’d hear cries of, “No teeth! No teeth!!”; leaving you with an undissolvable wad of papier-mache material stuck to the roof of your mouth and pondering whether or not it’s disrespectful to try and pry it loose with your tongue. Or so I was told.

    And are there soy crackers for those of the congregation with a gluten allergy? Maybe we could all get together and start a cottage industry–“(W)hol(l)y organic, pure soy communion wafers for those who want the Healthy Body of Christ!”

  534. #536 Enkidu
    July 9, 2008

    All your cracker are belong to us

  535. #537 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    @Lord Zero: Let’s not be a generalist. All countries have their insane people. Heck, even Canada has its creationist museum.

  536. #538 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    I think alex’s comment (note: alex and Alex are different commenters here))

    And Alec at #409 (and when I posted I thought it was #410; with PZ probably on troll patrol thread numbering is occasionally fluid) is neither Alex nor alex.

    In the US, as I hadn’t considered before, because of the large Hispanic-immigrant/Catholic overlap, it could be relevant in the case of Catholicism.

    It had no relevance in this thread until Alec pulled the subject out of his ass to rationalize his case of the vapors. Next, hatred of immigrants because of their Catholicism is the sort of thing fundies do, and Alec just accused us all of using the topic of the thread to express our hatred of Catholics because they are immigrants. Doesn’t anybody keep track of how many apostate former Catholics are posting on this thread?

  537. #539 SIgmund Freud
    July 9, 2008

    Sometimes a cracker is just a cracker.

  538. #540 Tina
    July 9, 2008

    If what you believe is true, that it is just a cracker, that the Catholic Church is whack, that there is no God, then Catholics who still wish to follow the Church have nothing to lose. However, if what the Catholic Church says is true, if there is a God and a heaven and hell, well then, it seems to me you have everything to lose.

  539. #541 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008

    I’m a flaming atheist and an ex-Catholic who loathes Catholicism, but…

    I have to argue the Catholic point of view on this one. I think they may have a case—even a legal case—against people who take communion, keep the wafer, and try to leave with it.

    When you take communion, you’re not just being given a wafer. You’re expected to do something in particular with it.

    It’s sort of like being sold a drink in a bar in the U.S. You’re not supposed to take it home and save it for later. If you try to walk out with the drink, they can make you hand it over, and if you insist on your right to walk out with the drink, they can take the drink away; if you refuse to leave without it, they can physically eject you. If they do so, that’s not illegal battery; they have the right to bounce you if you don’t play by their rules.

    I wouldn’t get all irate about how they gave him the cracker and then used (minor) physical force to get it back. They only gave him the cracker for a certain purpose—and definitely not certain other purposes. It’s their ceremony, and their cracker, and they do have the right to insist that anyone participating to do it that way.

    Of course in truth it’s just a stupid and nasty-tasting cracker. But it’s their cracker, and if they put a high value on it, they have a right not to simply “give it away” and let it go at that. It has value to them—however deluded they are about it—and they have a right to control the distribution of the “sacred” crackers they “manufacture” (sanctify).

    If the Catholics were just handing out communion wafers freely like some Protestants hand out Bibles, that’d be different. To take communion under false pretenses, and knowingly keep the wafer against their rules is fraudulent, i.e., a form of stealing.

    Of course it’s all ridiculous—Jesus doesn’t live in a cracker, and if he did, he could take care of himself. But the fact that we don’t believe it does not require Catholics not to believe it or require them not to act on that belief. The wafer is very valuable property to them, and they have the right to withold it from anybody who won’t take proper care of it.

    Here’s another analogy. Suppose a science denier pretended to be a real scientist and was handed some potentially dangerous biological samples, to examine (and then safely discard) in a biology lab. Suppose they tried to walk out with those samples, and the lab folks realized what was going on. The lab folks would have the right to refuse to let that person leave with those samples. If the denier denied that the samples were dangerous and claimed that they were “his” now, that wouldn’t matter.

    Likewise, Catholics can say anybody trying to walk out with a wafer is not competent to handle the wafer, and should either do what is allowed, under their supervision, or hand it over and leave without it. If they really think the “sample” (of Jesus) is dangerous, they’re obligated to either make the person hand it over, or keep them from leaving with it, and call the cops. (What would you do if you were Lenski and Schlafly tried to walk out with samples from your lab?)

    I am not a lawyer and don’t know how this would really play out, but if you fraudulently obtain communion wafers and get caught doing it, I would not expect the law to be on your side.

  540. #542 intelekshual
    July 9, 2008

    So, I was wrong. There IS something that can make me set foot in a catholic church. Crackers ahoy!

  541. #543 Pixelfish
    July 9, 2008

    I’d be laughing if I wasn’t banging my head against the desk. (Well, actually, I am laughing anyway.)

    Similarly once about a third of Utah got up in arms because protesters in front of Temple Square (most of which are ALSO religious, but want to argue that their crazy idea is LESS crazy than Mormonism) had acquired a set of garments* and were waving them around. Apparently at least two guys tried to tackle the protester and get the garmies back. I think the Mormon guys were charged with attempted theft and they tried to counter with claims of blasphemy.

    *Garments is how most Mormons refer to their sacred underwear. We also called ‘em Gs or Garmies. I never had to wear them myself because I left the church before getting married or serving a mission, which are generally the occasions for first going to the temple as an adult.

    Also, I have a pretty funny story about going to get some olive oil while cooking at my parents’ place, and my mom diving in slow motion for the oil, screaming, “Noooooooo, it’s consecrated!”

  542. #544 Lilly de Lure
    July 9, 2008

    Bryn said:

    Much like with a nervous boyfriend, you’d hear cries of, “No teeth! No teeth!!”; leaving you with an undissolvable wad of papier-mache material stuck to the roof of your mouth and pondering whether or not it’s disrespectful to try and pry it loose with your tongue. Or so I was told.

    Ah, that would explain it! It’s amazing the things they don’t tell you about communion when you’re a non-Catholic at a Catholic school.

    The only problem there though surely is that rather than being knawed at you’ve got poor Jesus experiencing the delights of having his flesh slowly dissolved in his worshippers stomach acid but hell, one thing at a time.

  543. #545 tracieh
    July 9, 2008

    Hey! I graduated UCF! Go Knights!!!

  544. #546 Cracker Boy
    July 9, 2008

    It’s not a Cracker, it’s a GEEZ-IT!!!
    You can’t eat just one!

  545. #547 Barry Duke
    July 9, 2008

    They don’t take these things so seriously in Quebec, so that’s the place to buy the holy crackers, then abuse them to your heart’s content.

    Here is a report from the Daily Grail:

    Is nothing sacred in Quebec any more? The answer may lie on the grocery-store shelves of the province, next to the chips, corn puffs, and salty party pretzels.

    That’s where shoppers can pick up an increasingly popular snack: communion wafers and sheets of communion bread. These paper-thin morsels made from flour and water hark back to Quebec’s churchgoing days and the sacred rite of receiving holy communion.

    But in today’s secular Quebec, the wafers and bread are packaged like peanuts and popcorn – and sold as a distinctly profane snack.

    “They melt in your mouth, and they’re not fattening, so it’s better than junk food,” said Françoise Laporte, a white-haired grandmother of 71 who buys packages of Host Pieces at her local IGA in east-end Montreal. “I’m Catholic. This reminds us of mass.”

    See full report: http://www.dailygrail.com/node/2453

  546. #548 Roger
    July 9, 2008

    Believing bread is the Body of Jesus is as crazy as believing in Heaven, the afterlife, the beforelife, the soul, the spirit, or that the Holy Bible is the Word of God, etc.

    However, there are probably many more people on Earth, rightly or wrongly, who believe in one or more of these “crazy” notions, as well as numerous other “crazy” ideas I have not listed.

    This is your humanity. This is your heritage.

  547. #549 Joss
    July 9, 2008

    As a teen I suffered from both a hypercatholic family and anorexia nervosa and was pathetically afraid of the calories in them crackers. Forced to go to church, I’d pop that thing in my mouth, hold it there for the remaining ten minutes then surreptitiously spit it out in the parking lot and mush it up with my shoe…

    TAKE THAT gOD OF ABRAHAM.

  548. #550 Lilly de Lure
    July 9, 2008

    Tina said:

    If what you believe is true, that it is just a cracker, that the Catholic Church is whack, that there is no God, then Catholics who still wish to follow the Church have nothing to lose. However, if what the Catholic Church says is true, if there is a God and a heaven and hell, well then, it seems to me you have everything to lose.

    And if the real God happens to be Odin? or Zeus?

    Seriously Tina, we’ve all heard Pascal’s cowardly wager before, it doesn’t get any more convincing with repetition.

  549. #551 Big Dave
    July 9, 2008

    Well, for those that want to take a wafer and not stick out like a sore thumber, you must say “amen” on receiving it, and then bless yourself (which I guess emans make the sign of the cross).

  550. #552 Scott de B.
    July 9, 2008

    “It’s substance is still a cracker. There is no such thing as essence, it’s just an apologetic for why it’s still a cracker.”

    Note that ‘substance’ used here is not the same thing that we would call ‘matter.’ What are things? According to Aristotelian philosophy, things are matter that has a particular form. The fundamental essence of a thing, according to Aristotle, can’t be matter, as matter fails to be both seperable and individual. So for Aristotle the fundamental substance is form. Form, in this sense, doesn’t simply mean shape. It means a metaphysical ‘this is what it is’ description of an object. In other words, Socrates remains Socrates year after year; even though his component matter changes and even though his appearance changes, he still remains Socrates. “Socrates” is the form, his essence. Following this line of thought, the idea of transubstantiation can be understood.

    Of course, it’s still just medieval philosophy with no empirical support, but it helps to know where they’re coming from.

  551. #553 Jason Failes
    July 9, 2008

    Paul W. @ 541: “It’s sort of like being sold a drink in a bar in the U.S. You’re not supposed to take it home and save it for later.”

    Analogy fail.

    Besides the invalidity of arguments-by-analogy in general, unlike booze, bread products are allowed to be eaten freely on the streets.

    I won’t even address your biohazard analogy: It’s just too silly.

    Fact is, they gave him the cracker, and he didn’t even try to leave with it, but wanted to show his friend before eating it, until the assaults on his person began.

    They have no legal recourse for a cracker they freely gave.

  552. #554 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    However, if what the Catholic Church says is true, if there is a God and a heaven and hell, well then, it seems to me you have everything to lose. – Tina

    Unless God is in the crackers, but really doesn’t like being eaten, and will send you to hell for it, of course. Which seems fairly plausible.

  553. #555 Matt Penfold
    July 9, 2008

    How does a vegitarian Catholic take communion ? Either they do not really believe the wafer becomes the body of Christ, in which case they are rejecting a central tenet of Catholic theology or they think they are eating meat.

  554. #556 D. Sidhe
    July 9, 2008

    Gluten-free crackers have been discussed repeatedly in recent years. My recollection is that the official line from the Papacy is that if they don’t contain wheat, they can’t be sacred. Celiac disease is apparently another one of those things God made people with but doesn’t approve of.

  555. #557 andyo
    July 9, 2008

    Tina #540

    It’s called Pascal’s Wager. Look it up. It’s one of the more famous (non)arguments for religulousness. Basically, you do have a lot to lose when you choose religion, and also there’s the problem of which one to choose.

    It’s a pretty superficial “argument”.

  556. #558 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    Well, I guess that if you’re allergic to Gluten, it’s obviously because you gave in to the Devil!

    Too bad for you, gluten heathens!!!!

  557. #559 dreikin
    July 9, 2008

    Crap – that’s MY university (until 2010, anyway). Despite what Hitt says though, I wouldn’t really say there was too much importance to any Catholic churches we may or may not have here (honestly, I’ve been over most of the campus and wasn’t even aware there was a church of ANY sort). I’d certainly take a few for you (it’s not stealing since they pass them out to you) – if I knew where the darned thing was (and felt like going to school on a Sunday).

    But, (both good and bad this) that’s not all. We also have:
    1) A preacher that tries to get people to attend his on campus services, by standing in front of the Student Union (although admittedly on days when there’s all sorts of different people peddling their wares there)
    2) Someone referred to as the Priest (and his wife) who stand in the “free speech areas” of the campus (basically, the grass – and there’s a lot of it) yelling out about hellfire and stuff. Tends to insult the kids going by too (eg, as I hear it, girls wearing normal college clothes ‘whores’ or something like that). Normally attracts a fair crowd, but I’m not sure how many are just there laughing at him or provoking him..

  558. #560 SEF
    July 9, 2008

    after laughing and jeering at how Catholics thought this was the actual body of Christ he pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed the host … and all of the sudden blood started to gush out

    That definitely needs to feature on a MythBusters TV episode (and in Snopes online) just to let the religiotards know that they can’t expect to fool everyone with their lies or get away with them unchallenged.

  559. #561 llewelly
    July 9, 2008

    Here’s another analogy. Suppose a science denier pretended to be a real scientist and was handed some potentially dangerous biological samples, to examine (and then safely discard) in a biology lab. Suppose they tried to walk out with those samples, and the lab folks realized what was going on.

    This analogy fails because said biological danger is scientifically demonstrable. In contrast, there is no demonstrable difference between a consecrated cracker and a non-consecrated cracker.

  560. #562 Evolving Squid
    July 9, 2008

    >> “We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said
    >>Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic
    >>diocese.
    >>”However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to
    >>us this seems like this might be it.”

    That statement embodies everything that is wrong with ‘hate crime’ legislation. The US is just starting to embrace thoughtcrime, but in Canada, hate crime is all the rage.

    In Canada, if I steal your car and you’re a white, squid-loving man, well, I’ll get some time to cool my jets as a guest of Her Majesty.

    If I steal your car and you’re a dark-skinned gay man, well, someone will probably argue that I took it because you’re gay and a visible minority. That “hate” will add to my guilt and I’ll get extra time as a guest of Her Majesty just for thinking a naughty thought.

    So now, in the US, there’s at least one person who likens stealing a cracker to a hate crime. Thinking like that has to be nipped in the bud before it’s too late. Stealing a Catholic cracker is no worse than stealing anyone else’s cracker. And when it comes to stealing from people, does the Catholic church really want anyone to take a good close look at them?

    Every time I see the words “hate crime” I want to smack someone with a copy of “1984”.

  561. #563 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    And about that Pascal’s Wager thing… Here is a perfect moment to reflect and turn back on classical scripture.

    Of course I mean South Park episodes scripts.

    —–

    Kyle: [rushes into the room] Mom! Dad! Am I gong to hell?

    Sheila: Why? What did you do, Kyle?!

    Kyle: Nothing. But the guys said if I don’t confess my sins and eat crackers, I’m gonna go to hell.
    Sheila: Oh noooo, that’s just Catholics. Us Jews don’t believe in hell.

    Kyle: We don’t? But what if we’re wrong?

    Sheila: Well…, Kyle…, they could be wrong, too.

    Kyle: Yeah, but if they’re wrong, no big deal. If we’re wrong, we burn in hell.

    Ike: Oh, no.

    Gerald: Kyle, it’s all about being a good person now! You see, Christians use hell as a way to scare people into believing what they believe. But to believe in something just because you’re afraid of the consequenced if you dont believe in somethingis no reason to believe in something. Understand?

    Ike: No-o-o.

    Kyle: Well, you guys can do what you want! I’m going down to that church to confess my sins and eat crackers! And I’m taking Ike with me! [goes up to him and takes him away towards the front door. The book falls to the floor]

  562. #564 Stephen Wells
    July 9, 2008

    Tina’s attempt at a Pascal does lead to the hilarious image of Kookie-Kerumble, the Angry God of Biscuits, taking eternal vengeance on all those who mercilessly consumed His sacred avatar the wafer.

    In the Afterlife, wafer eats you.

  563. #565 nal
    July 9, 2008

    It’s a madhouse … a madhouse!

  564. #566 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    Since Catholics think the cracker is really Jesus’s body, maybe one of them should take it and clone it, and bring him back!

    Then he could tell them all how seriously they’ve fucked up his teachings.

  565. #567 Michelle
    July 9, 2008

    @SEF: I think that part’s the best part.

    “The host had a heart beat and the blood I believe was AB which matched up with the DNA from another Eucharistic Miracle that occured over 500 yrs before this time.”

    …soooo…. they had blood typing and DNA sampling 500 years ago uh? Sweet.

  566. #568 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    This is your humanity. This is your heritage. – Roger

    Depressing, isn’t it? Fortunately, there are better sides to humanity.

  567. #569 Roger
    July 9, 2008

    “How does a vegetarian Catholic take communion ? Either they do not really believe the wafer becomes the body of Christ, in which case they are rejecting a central tenet of Catholic theology or they think they are eating meat.”

    I suppose it would matter why a person is a vegetarian. If a person is a vegetarian because he/she cannot stand the thought of killing innocent animals for his/her consumption, then ingesting the Body of Christ would not fall into that category.

    As for those who require a gluten-free diet, I am quite certain that the priest would allow one to receive the Host in the form of the Blood of Christ while forgoing receiving the Host in the form of the Body of Christ.

  568. #570 humbert dinglepencker
    July 9, 2008

    And then there were these nuns, see, that developed a new low-fat communion wafer which they marketed to church under the name “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus.”

  569. #571 andyo
    July 9, 2008

    Shyster, #533 and #465,

    Pastafarianism is and was a joke. It made a point, but it’s a joke. They point out the ridiculousness of creationism by being overly ridiculous themselves. They are ridiculing the ridiculous. Would you really get offended if someone palmed your meatballs? Unless it’s your real meatballs, who cares.

    On the other hand, it’ll probably be unsurprising if in a hundred years or so Pastafarianism became an actual religion.

  570. #572 BobC
    July 9, 2008

    In comment #399 I provided a link to a thread in a Catholic’s blog called “Evolution: The Great Fairy Tale”. I just checked and the entire article was deleted. Now this Catholic creationist has a new thread called “The Church and Evolution” where he says “The Church rejects all theories of evolution that do not reflect the revelations of God.” I would suggest going there to leave a comment, but like most creationist cowards he reviews all comments before accepting them. Most likely a pro-evolution comment would never get published. Here it is:

    http://johnpreiss.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/the-church-and-evolution/

  571. #573 Raiko
    July 9, 2008

    Have these people never thought that the cracker being the body of christ just *may* be a metaphor and not something literal?

    Wouldn’t this make an awesome headline: “Student Who Took Religious Metaphor Getting Death Threats”

  572. #574 Epikt
    July 9, 2008

    This morning I discovered the image of a cracker in a piece of toast.

  573. #575 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    Is that a cracker in your pocket, or are you just happy to be kidnapping the transubstantiated flesh of Our Savior?

  574. #576 Jen Laferriere
    July 9, 2008

    I used to think it was a sin to chew it! I would just wait till it got soggy enough to swallow, usually having to pry it off the roof of my mouth first… It was always so ackward.

  575. #577 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    Well I want to see the 2 material safety data sheets for these so-called wafers. One for pre-transmogrification cracker and one for post-substantiation cheesy-flesh.

  576. #578 Interrobang
    July 9, 2008

    If I steal your car and you’re a dark-skinned gay man, well, someone will probably argue that I took it because you’re gay and a visible minority.

    And they’d, you know, lose in court. Nobody reasonable would conclude that stealing a car constitutes a message crime against a visible or invisible minority, unlike, say, walking up to someone, calling them a “nigger faggot” and rearranging their face, which is the usual sort of hate crime MO. Do you actually live here, or are you just seeing Canadian politics through the lens of the US sociopolitical culture like Americans usually do?

    Further, getting a hate crime rap is analogous to getting charged with first-degree murder instead of manslaughter. You have to have committed a crime in the first place, but you also have to have shown, you know, convincing legal evidence that you committed the crime because you’re a sick bigoted fuck (or, in the case of murder, with malice aforethought). This is not exactly a new legal principle.

    I’d really like to see how they could claim that a guy who sounds like he actually is Catholic was actually committing a “hate crime,” since 1) he didn’t commit a crime in the first place, and 2) he doesn’t seem to have been motivated by anything other than cluelessness. And if cluelessness has suddenly become a crime, I think I’ll see the vast majority of you in the pokey.

  577. #579 Chris
    July 9, 2008

    Hmmmmmm…

    As I understand it, Christ = God

    And God is omnipresent – therefore *all* crackers, biscuits and other snack foods, along with everything else in the multiverse, are parts of his body – because he’s everywhere so everywhere is him.

    How does the Catholic magic cracker spell make God *more* omnipresent in their biscuit box than he is everywhere else? How do you kidnap an omnipresent being? Where would you take him?

    Knew there was a reason I’m not a God botherer.

  578. #580 Johnny
    July 9, 2008

    I went to Catholic school for 8 years, where I was forced into first communion and taking communion once a week. I usually just palmed the cracker and threw it out later in the Schoolyard. 8 years of crackers, once a week. I had no idea anybody REALLY considers a cracker the body of their god. Now, Garlic bread I could see…but those wafers are nasty!

  579. #581 Steve_C
    July 9, 2008

    Communion Cheetos would be so much better.
    Sacramental Tequila would give you more bang of the buck.

  580. #582 "GrrlScientist"
    July 9, 2008

    wow, the packaging for the individual wafers makes them look just like condoms!

  581. #583 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    I have to assume that most of the comments are coming from yankees.

    Must you?

    Yankees don’t have a word for “tacky.”

    Yes they do.

    I really believe they could use one.

    Fuck off.

  582. #584 Elles
    July 9, 2008

    Urgh… As if I needed another reason to never show my face to another human again.

    Expelled: No Cracker Stealing Allowed!

  583. #585 mandrake
    July 9, 2008

    *This* is a hate crime? As opposed to –
    oh, wait, I suppose the statute of limitations has expired on the Spanish Inquisition.

  584. #586 Nothing Sacred
    July 9, 2008

    My boyfriend’s response: “Wow, I guess it’s true that the media only cares when white crackers are kidnapped.”

  585. #587 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    Umm, does the word ‘yankee’ really mean anything anymore (not counting the community that believes the Civil War is not over and “Teh South Will Rise Agin”)?

  586. #588 Steve in MI
    July 9, 2008

    Ah, the pleasant sound of transubstantiation:

    “DING! Your Jesus is ready!”

    (I’ve “ruined” more Catholics with that line…)

  587. #589 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    you people think you’re so clever. how would you like it if i were to eat a plate of spaghetti?! yeah, you didn’t think about that, now did you….

    KEvron

  588. #590 kryptonic
    July 9, 2008

    Nothing Sacred #586

    My boyfriend’s response: “Wow, I guess it’s true that the media only cares when white crackers are kidnapped.”

    We have a winner!

  589. #591 mandrake
    July 9, 2008

    Nothingsacred –
    isn’t “white cracker” redundant?

  590. #592 anonymous
    July 9, 2008

    This definitely can be classified as a hate crime. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cracker, he’s purposely disrespecting the religious community. How is taking a cracker from the church any different from using racial slurs? It’s just a word? It’s just a cracker? It’s not just a cracker, it symbolizes the beliefs of the community and Cook is disrespecting that.

    And, FYI, I am not at all religious.

  591. #593 Michael
    July 9, 2008

    Maybe the kid was just trying to make a new cracker: GEEZ-IT brand holy crackers. For those late night redemption munchies.

  592. #594 DrFrank
    July 9, 2008

    Tina, #540
    If what you believe is true, that it is just a cracker, that the Catholic Church is whack, that there is no God, then Catholics who still wish to follow the Church have nothing to lose. However, if what the Catholic Church says is true, if there is a God and a heaven and hell, well then, it seems to me you have everything to lose.
    On the other hand, it’s *you* that’s currently missing out on the possibility of a stripper factory and beer volcano in the afterlife and condemning yourself to an eternity of mind-numbing tedium in the Charades Pit by refusing to believe in the holy Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do you really want to take that chance? Dump Yahweh now!

  593. #595 Matt Penfold
    July 9, 2008

    “This definitely can be classified as a hate crime. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cracker, he’s purposely disrespecting the religious community.”

    And ? Why is the religious community deserving of respect ?

    And if you cannot see there is a difference between religious belief and skin colour you really do have problems. Here is a hint for you: One has choice over religious belief.

  594. #596 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    This definitely can be classified as a hate crime.
    I guess so, if you’re a big enough idiot.

    And, FYI, I am not at all religious.
    And we should believe this because…?

  595. #597 H.H.
    July 9, 2008

    anonymous, using a racial slur is not a hate crime either. You really should look up that word in a dictionary.

  596. #598 Snappyback
    July 9, 2008

    Shorter Stimpson (#40): “See what you made me do? If you hadn’t mouthed off, honey, I wouldn’t have had to hit you. Try not to make me mad next time, OK?”

  597. #599 Woobegone
    July 9, 2008

    I see a problem with the He Kidnapped Jesus theory, let’s look at it logically.

    1. The Cracker is Jesus
    2. Jesus is God
    3. God is Omnipresent
    4. Therefore, the Cracker is Omnipresent

    In which case, when he stole it and put it into the ziploc bag, he didn’t do anything because it was already there!

  598. #600 Sven DiMIlo
    July 9, 2008

    How is taking a cracker from the church any different from using racial slurs?

    um…in every single way that I can think of. How is it like using racial slurs?

    Are you Kenny?
    (p.s. “using racial slurs” is not, reapeat not a crime, hateful or otherwise)

  599. #601 mothwentbad
    July 9, 2008

    EXPELLED: No Leftovers Allowed

  600. #602 Woobegone
    July 9, 2008

    #592 – No community and no individual has a right to respect. If someone disrespects someone, or some group, that’s fine by me, and it should be fine by the “victims” since, at the end of the day, sticks and stones. In fact I think the Catholics should be glad – free publicity. No such thing as bad. This will raise Church attendance figures and collection intake, no question.

  601. #603 llewelly
    July 9, 2008

    If a person is a vegetarian because he/she cannot stand the thought of killing innocent animals for his/her consumption, then ingesting the Body of Christ would not fall into that category.

    Not true. Christ was both innocent, by definition, and killed. And furthermore, he was killed so that Catholics could eat his flesh every week or so.

  602. #604 Kseniya
    July 9, 2008

    How is taking a cracker from the church any different from using racial slurs?

    Maybe it’s different because it’s not a racial slur? Because it doesn’t denigrate the innate characteristics of an ethnic or racial group? Because it’s not a slur at all? Was his motive rooted in hate? Was it to communicate his hate for Catholicism and/or Catholics? Or was he just looking for an interesting souvenir?

    It’s more akin to stealing an apparently worthless artifact from a dig, a home, a church, a museum, without quite realizing that in the eyes of its caretakers, it’s more than just an ordinary shard of pottery, stone, parchment, or wood.

  603. #605 Matt Penfold
    July 9, 2008

    To those who argue that Webster Cook was disrespectful of the Catholic church. Of course he was. That was whole point. Well done in spotting the bloody obvious. Next time you might want to let us know where bears shit.

  604. #606 Chayanov
    July 9, 2008

    This definitely can be classified as a hate crime. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cracker, he’s purposely disrespecting the religious community.

    So being disrespectful is a crime now? He should be arrested and jailed for this? Are you really that out of touch with reality? Should I now be arrested and jailed for saying that to you? I freely admit to having no respect for you based on your idiotic comments.

    How is taking a cracker from the church any different from using racial slurs?

    How is it even remotely the same?

  605. #607 Steve_C
    July 9, 2008

    It’s not a hate crime.
    That’s just stupid.
    Eating or not eating a
    cracker is not a hate crime.

    A crime has to be committed first.
    Then it’s determined to what degree
    “hate” was the motivation of the crime.

    Was cannibalism the crime? Trespassing? Theft?

  606. #608 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    If the Eucharist is just a cracker, then the US Constitution is just a piece of parchment, a military monument is just concrete and metal and your deceased relative’s remains are just protein and charcoal.

    I agree that the reaction is silly but so are the assumptions made here. We all assign a sacred value to things and it’s human nature to get offended if people show disrespect for them. I bet most Americans would be offended if someone took a dump on the original Constitution or pissed all over the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial.

    Critiques of religion have their place in public discussion, but there is a line between considerate disagreement and rudeness. You are not going to convince a Catholic that their faith is wrong by offending them. Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.

  607. #609 Eric Paulsen
    July 9, 2008

    This is why the separation of church and state is so crucial to this country, we actually have people who want to bring physical harm to a person over a FUCKING EDIBLE CRACKER! Maybe this is what passes for rational thinking in countries where honor killings make sense or clitorectomies are performed to keep a womans sexuality from threatening her husband, but here in America we will LET you believe the cracker is your long lost uncle Saul if you want to – but you can’t punch someone in the nose because he insults your cracker! That’s what a CRAZY person does! You CAN’T threaten to kill a living human being over a perceived offense to a CRACKER – even if you think that cracker is GOD!

    How is it even possible that everybody doesn’t already know that?

  608. #610 Patricia
    July 9, 2008

    #355 – Ken Cope – HA!!! Great video. Made my morning…but I will have to suspend Keira’s license. Everyone knows, no True strumpet would waste rum! The hussy.

  609. #611 Glen Davidson
    July 9, 2008

    Only eat free range Jesus, you heathens!

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  610. #612 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    If the Eucharist is just a cracker, then the US Constitution is just a piece of parchment, a military monument is just concrete and metal and your deceased relative’s remains are just protein and charcoal.

    I agree that the reaction is silly but so are the assumptions made here. We all assign a sacred value to things and it’s human nature to get offended if people show disrespect for them. I bet most Americans would be offended if someone took a dump on the original Constitution or pissed all over the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial.

    Critiques of religion have their place in public discussion, but there is a line between considerate disagreement and rudeness. You are not going to convince a Catholic that their faith is wrong by offending them. Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.

  611. #613 Steve_C
    July 9, 2008

    Hey Jordan.

    That’s stupid too. Eating or not eating a cracker that is representative of a goofy belief is not the same as disrespecting a monument or a national treasure.

    It’s just not.

    Too fucking bad.

  612. #614 wiwaxia
    July 9, 2008

    GOing back to PZ’s request to have consecrated crackers sent to him… Oh, that is wicked. I like it.
    I have to wonder, what if you buy them on bulk (no sin or restriction there as they have not been consecrated), and you just smuggle them in to Catholic mass. THen you would have to sit as close as possible to the altar, just to ward of discussions about the radial sphere of influence of the transmogrification miracle. You would have a good stash of body of Christ.
    Peanut butter jelly anyone?

  613. #615 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    If keeping a cracker that was freely given to you is a hate crime, what then the punishment for all the god-botherers who sneer to atheists that they’ll pray for you?

    Sounds like the latter is practically genocide, compared to a lost but omnipresent crumb.

  614. #616 SteveM
    July 9, 2008

    “The host had a heart beat and the blood I believe was AB which matched up with the DNA from another Eucharistic Miracle that occured over 500 yrs before this time.”

    …soooo…. they had blood typing and DNA sampling 500 years ago uh? Sweet.

    I suppose what he meant was that they compared the blood from the recent miracle to blood from the 500 yr old miracle (that they are apparently keeping somewhere) and the DNA matched. I don’t believe a word of it, but it isn’t quite as stupid as you make it out to be.


    … this should be an episode of MythBusters…

    You can not “bust” a “miracle” (at least not this kind of anectdotal miracle). Almost by definition a miracle is not repeatable. What would they do, take a host and stab it? When it doesn’t bleed you haven’t proven anything except that a miracle did not occur this time; you’ve not disproven the story.

  615. #617 Roger
    July 9, 2008

    “” If a person is a vegetarian because he/she cannot stand the thought of killing innocent animals for his/her consumption, then ingesting the Body of Christ would not fall into that category.”

    “Not true. Christ was both innocent, by definition, and killed. And furthermore, he was killed so that Catholics could eat his flesh every week or so.””

    The animals are not believed to have asked to be remembered by being eaten.

  616. #618 cicely
    July 9, 2008

    Any god who is able to be kidnapped and held for ransom (ideological or otherwise) is a pretty piss-poor excuse for a god in my opinion.

    Posted by: Wowbagger

    And any god who allows himself to be irrevocably bound to anything at all, likewise.

    If only he could have just vacated the cracker at will, this whole situation would never have arisen.

  617. #619 MarshallDog
    July 9, 2008

    I wonder if anyone else has a similar story than the one I have to tell… I come from a deeply Catholic city (Gloucester, MA… and no, they were not my babies) and used to attend mass every week for my mom’s sake. At one mass there was a particularly large turnout for communion. It really seemed like people were pouring in off the streets and our priest apparently hadn’t “prepared” enough crackers for everyone.

    Anyone who’s gone to a Catholic mass has seen the ceremony involved… the priest gets the bread, blesses it, gets the wine, blesses it, washes his hands, makes everyone stands up, says a few prayers, everyone kneels, he says a long prayer, everyone stands, we all say the our father… it usually takes about 5-10 minutes, after which the bread is “transubstantiated” and becomes the flesh of Jesus. I don’t know anyone who actually believes that, but we all knew that’s what we were supposed to believe.

    So, this was a particularly gung-ho priest, and when he saw that he had run out of consecrated (is that the right word?) bread, he raced backstage, brought out a new box of communion wafers and did the whole ceremony again TO HIMSELF. You could clearly read his lips and see he was saying all the prayers, and he went through the motions, bowing, holding up the plate at the end, and supposedly this worked to God’s satisfaction and everyone remaining in line got their wafers. It was funny watching people stand in line waiting for communion for five minutes as the priest talked to himself on the altar.

    Anyways, it was a weird experience for me, because until I saw that box I had no real concept of where the bread came from. It’s quite odd for a naive young catholic to think that for all the ritual and tradition, and all that waiting I had to go through to receive first communion, I could walk into a store and buy my own box of communion wafers. And it got me wondering if there were different brand names, flavors, could you get them with pictures and stuff… I also started to wonder if this ceremony would “work” even if the priest were at home doing it in his kitchen. Could he concecrate his own food and eat Jesus whenever he wanted?

    So, anyway, that’s my story. I find it funny that the well-intentioned behavior of this priest cost me a big part of my religious naivety. I have since fully reformed and am a proud godless heathen now. But that story was funny even when I still believed in some of that tripe.

  618. #620 Matt Penfold
    July 9, 2008

    It is very hard to have any respect for an organisation that is openly homophobic and mysogonisitc, and would rather have millions die of AIDS than relax their teaching on the use of contraception.

    Actually, if stealing a cracker is a hate crime then what do we call the Catholic treatment of gays, women and Africans ?

  619. #621 Martha
    July 9, 2008

    From one of my favorite episodes of Farscape, “Crackers Don’t Matter”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7RzyMBtU-I

  620. #622 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    You are not going to convince a Catholic that their faith is wrong by offending them.

    1) How do you know that?
    2) Who says that’s what Cook was trying to do?
    3) What I’m mostly concerned about so far as religion is concerned, is preventing the religious imposing their views on me, and/or causing harm in the world, not converting them to atheism. Those goals may often require offending them – for example, in the case of Catholics, by calling the pope a liar and a mass-killer because of the false claims promoted by the hierarchy that condoms do not protect against Aids.

  621. #623 Virgil
    July 9, 2008

    So if you put 2 crackers together with some nutella in the middle, and make a kind of backwards-colored oreo (Mmmmmm), is that equivalent of saying Jesus is a homosexual, with himself?

  622. #624 BlueIndependent
    July 9, 2008

    “Every time I see the words “hate crime” I want to smack someone with a copy of “1984”.”

    Your examples really are not terribly good at all. And I am going to have to disagree that “hate crime” is in any way shape or form anything remotely like the travails described in 1984. A hate crime is a very easy thing to classify: they are illegal actions someone of one group, who is otherwise law-abiding, commits against members of another social group simply because the victim is a member of the other group. This applies to race, sex, religion, etc.

    That aside, this guy taking a wafer does not even remotely approach the hate crime litmus test. There is zero indication he did it to desecrate anything, and frankly if he wanted to commit a hate crime, he would have ripped the wafer dish out of the priest’s hands and then perhaps run about the altar spray painting walls and otherwise defacing the entire place. That would’ve been a hate crime, or at the very least much more deserving of that sort of qualification. What he did in reality however, was not even close. He didn’t help his case by saying he “smuggled” it out, but the case rests that he did nothing to desecrate anything, and even gave the thing back.

    More proof my dropping religion is paying off in dividends. I don’t have the precious life time to waste on getting upset over “smuggled” unleavened circles with the bread equivalent of golden calves etched into them.

  623. #625 windy
    July 9, 2008

    When you take communion, you’re not just being given a wafer. You’re expected to do something in particular with it. It’s sort of like being sold a drink in a bar in the U.S. You’re not supposed to take it home and save it for later. If you try to walk out with the drink, they can make you hand it over, and if you insist on your right to walk out with the drink, they can take the drink away

    The drink is usually in a glass owned by the bar. If not for that, and the fact that alcohol is a controlled substance (the bar will get in trouble if their drinks are drunk by minors outside), I don’t see good reasons why you should be prevented from taking the drink home. Is it actually illegal to do that? You haven’t even signed an EULA.

    A better example might be something like a soup kitchen, where you are giving food away for free, and there might be an understanding that the food is eaten on the spot. But if someone does try to take his portion home, is that “theft”?

  624. #626 Mark
    July 9, 2008

    If stealing a holy cracker gives them fits
    then what of the auction for the Mary of Grilled Cheese Sammich?

    “We’re crackers for Jesus.” That’s effin’ brilliant.

  625. #627 Ragutis
    July 9, 2008

    From comment #502:

    No more than a second went by and all of the sudden blood started to gush out of the host. the husband checked under the table to make sure there wan’t any trickery and by the time that he looked up, the blood was all over the table and it was gushing as if an artery had been severed. He called the police and when they arrived the host was still bleeding, the police checked the house because there was so much blood they thought there had to be a body. The Catholic CHurch was contacted and the host was rescued and placed in a clear chalice and taken to a church for observation. The host had a heart beat and the blood I believe was AB which matched up with the DNA from another Eucharistic Miracle that occured over 500 yrs before this time.

    Does the Red Cross know about this corpuscle cornucopia? Why, it almost sounds too good to be true! Surely there must be a way to tap this resource of Holy Hemoglobin to prevent the near constant shortages of blood and save thousands of lives. And if this only happens when mean, evil, heretical brown people do it, just have a token Red Crescent volunteer around to do the poking.

    Someone bring this to the Vatican’s attention. Obviously it may take some rule bending or re-writing, but with the untold number of lives at stake, of course they’d be willing to change things around a bit.

    Oh wait, we’re talking a religion that would rather watch it’s adherents suffer and die of AIDS by the thousands than allow (let alone encourage) them to use condoms.

  626. #628 Dahan
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan,

    “Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.”

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Would you please go look up the word “fundamentalist” please? No, wait, I’ll help you:

    Fundamentalist: A movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles

    How the fuck can you have a “fundamentalist atheist”? There’s no basic set of principles for us to have. Being an atheist just means you don’t believe that there’s a god. I know you want to try to act like we atheists have some sort of 10 commandments of our own, so that your dogmatism doesn’t look so bad, but it doesn’t work that way. Fucking Christ you’re an idiot.

  627. #629 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    So do they make eucharist crackers that are kosher or halal?

  628. #630 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    I bet most Americans would be offended if someone took a dump on the original Constitution or pissed all over the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial.

    The frantic grasping at analogies on this thread –to, y’know, actual crimes– is a pretty good indicator of just how epicly stupid the outrage over this is.

    The original constitution is a unique historical object. Urinating in public is an actual violation of the law.

    Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.

    Uh huh. And using a meaningless term of abuse like “fundamentalist atheism” is how we know YO is worth shit.

  629. #631 cicely
    July 9, 2008

    OK, maybe it’s not quite an idol, but the idea’s the same.

    Posted by: Cujo359

    It’s only an idol if it’s someone else’s god being represented.

  630. #632 L.
    July 9, 2008

    This makes me wonder if Catholics are somewhat… cannibals. Representing Jesus as a cracker seems… like cannibalism. And then going after a guy for not eating the cracker and taking it out of the church- maybe he was thinking about Jesus’ feelings. No one wants to get eaten.
    Religious groups are crazy.

  631. #633 Rod
    July 9, 2008

    Oh please…. Let the ending to this be a film on YouTube with Webseter feeding this cracker to his dog!!

  632. #634 Kenny P
    July 9, 2008

    From the Catholic League:
    July 7, 2008

    To protest student fees for religious services at the University of Central Florida (UCF), a student walked out of a campus Mass on June 29 with the Eucharist. Webster Cook, a student senator, finally returned the Host this past weekend.

    Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered the following remarks today:

    “For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage–regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance–is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.”

    My comments: I was raised Cathlolic. My mother was a Catholic convert. You are taught to believe that you are receiving the body and blood of Christ when you take communion. There were strict rules for giving, taking, and swallowing the Eucharist. No chewing! No dropping it on the floor! (We didn’t get wine as children. It was the 1950’s!)

    What Mr. Cook did would be seen as sacriligious by staunch Cathlolics. That said, it seems they are overreacting to the point of being humorless, but this has been the way of “true believers” throughout the centuries.

    An interesting note: I watched a program called “The History of Wine” which said that in ancient Greece, the god Dionysus was said to exist within you once you drank some wine. Perhaps this is where the Catholic church got the idea to call the wafer (PZ, wafer; not cracker) and wine the body and blood of Christ.

    Actually the mass is seen as a reinactment of the last supper with Jesus as the main entree.

    If I do attend a mass, I prefer it when they have real wine. None of this cheap and tasteless grape juice! Of course, all you Lutherans and former Lutherans are probably shocked that a few hundred people would share the same cup.

  633. #635 joeybladb
    July 9, 2008

    You will bow down and worship The One True Cracker!

  634. #636 CalGeorge
    July 9, 2008

    Once again proving that Catholics are the biggest morons on the planet.

    Catholic Priest: Hey, you! Kneel down before me, put this cracker in your mouth, and pretend you are eating a dead person!

    Catholic Doofus: Har, har, duh, okay!

  635. #637 Longtime Lurker
    July 9, 2008

    “I like the idea of sending a scary nun to guard the ceremony at the next mass”

    Bet she had a pair of nunchucks!

    “Much better to pour an ounce of pure capsaicin into the altar wine.”

    Mmmmm… tequila infused with ancho chiles… uhhh…

  636. #638 astroande
    July 9, 2008

    I haven’t read through the whole thread yet, but I just wanted to note that I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a cracker. Crackers are tasty; this is more like eating a small, circular piece of paper.

  637. #639 zenbonobo
    July 9, 2008

    It is not what is real to us that is important to these cultist, it is what they believe is real. An intentional whack of a hornets nest usually has a bad outcome even if it it done in jest.

  638. #640 bipolar2
    July 9, 2008

    ** hocus pocus dominocus **

    the stock-in-trade magicians’ formula is an old parody on ‘here is god’s body’ said at the elevation of the host.

    if you can believe the dogma of transubstantiation; then you can believe anything.

    the RC’s view on abortion, stem cell research are on par with papal infallibility and the bodily assumption of mary.

    That is, one irrationality is a good as another. Only widespread xian prejudice keeps them alive.

    two members of the supreme court are right-wing RCs. how many media anchors, congressmen and senators follow suit?

    millions still believe in late hellenistic magical texts and incantations — 400 hundred years after Bruno was burned at the stake for holding that there were “many worlds” — other planets outside the solar system.

    bipolar2

  639. #641 CelGeorge
    July 9, 2008

    “Webster Cook, a student senator, finally returned the Host this past weekend.”

    Webster, Webster, Webster. You should have sent it FedEx to PZ for safekeeping!

  640. #642 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    Sophist FCD, #151: It’s like flag burning or wearing blackface: you can do it, but you probably shouldn’t, because most of the time it ends up being pointless, counterproductive attention-whoring.

    Well, I can see how it’s similar to flag burning — in fact, these Catholic twits do remind me of the super-patriot twits.

    But blackface? Seriously? You really think that poking harmless fun of an established and respected religious group is the same thing as engaging in an act that is traditionally associated with mocking a minority group that is still persecuted and despised?

  641. #643 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    (PZ, wafer; not cracker)

    Just stfu, you prissy little pedant. Do you think he (or any of the rest of us) didn’t know that you prefer to refer to your imaginary dead buddy who you like to eat, in the form you like to eat him best, as a fucking “wafer”? Calling it a goddamn cracker is the fucking point.

    Shit like this does bring out the “lackwit” in “god-bothering lackwit,” doesn’t it?

  642. #644 Emmet Caulfield
    July 9, 2008

    Paul W. @#541,

    I see, so the correct protocol is to ask the priest, or one of his deputy cracker waiters, for a doggy-bag?

    :o)

  643. #645 Jaded Skeptic
    July 9, 2008

    Yup. Another moment in religious weirdness. These crackers are flimsy things, and not that hard to get. I remember seeing them lying around in a Lutheran Church I went to. This is the stuff that gets stuffed in a closet somewhere, along with the candles, and robes.

    And they are fragile. They are flimsy crackers. Who has ever gotten a package of crackers that didn’t have at least one broken cracker in it? It is not like these aren’t shipped around by people who put the same care into it as the postal service, or a company that fills market shelves. And it is not like these are kept on special pillows, in a climate controlled room, until their unveiling at mass. It is a machine processed goody, whic does not taste all that good.

    Or is it different with Catholics? Is the ceremony the key? Is the prayer and place magically making the cracker more holy?

    Do Catholics have a bit of Cthulhu or Dungeons & Dragons to them? Is this all a Summoning spell, actually drawing Jesus Christ into the crackers? Well, I guess they have those Banishing spells. And some seem to think they have Healing spells.

    Crackers? A flimsy, dry, bland, mass produced cracker.

    Crackers!

    By the way I am sure you could order a package of them online.

  644. #646 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    small, circular piece of paper

    that tastes like cheeses!

  645. #647 BlueIndependent
    July 9, 2008

    “…You are not going to convince a Catholic that their faith is wrong by offending them. Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.”

    Your comment would have made more sense had this guy not received death threats over what he did, which amounts to almost nothing, and which is something that many children have probably done out of sheer curiosity. The fact is the people who’ve expressed outrage over this are on the whole acting like the fundamentalist Muslims in the ME, decrying every little thing as the greatest outrage worthy of punishment up to and including death. Defacing? Desecration? The guy returned it, and even if he hadn’t, there was no indication he intended to publicly do anything offensive to it. The examples you gave are markedly different in a number of ways. There aren’t millions of military monuments or founding documents handed out every Sunday morning. Those items you mentioned also mark major moments in human history and societal progress. Nobody is asking that allowing someone to relieve himself on religious monumnets or symbols is OK, and if this guy had done anything major to deface property or hurt others, we wouldn’t even be doscussing this; the guy would be a criminal at that point and no discussion would be necessary. PZ wouldn’t have even posted it. But this is an entire community getting their underpants jumbled over quite a little. Do they throw a fit when someone who’s sinned takes the Eucharist (when by tradition they’re not supposed to)? Do they throw a fit when a child, having received his first Communion, attempts to peel the partly masticated wafer off the roof of his mouth with his finger, or nibbles on it? My confident guess is no. Why? Because I did that, and I didn’t get expelled, I didn’t get death threats, and I didn’t get excommunicated. There is simply no malicious intent on the part of the accused party here, and that’s the crux of the issue.

    In the end you are in effect asking that we appease these groups and their heavy-handed rhetoric and intentions simply because we don’t get their customs, and it’s their party and they can cry if they want to. Well, sorry. As a former Catholic, these people have their heads up their collective asses, and frankly I think they deserve to have any tax benefits afforded them removed post haste. This guy also does not deserve one shred of the retributive actions they are are suggesting. The Catholic community in this case is recommending wholesale punishment and advocating openly for a compelte departure from what they claim to practice, i.e. Jesus’ supposedly divine love. They are acting like the Ammerican Taliban that they are, and have proven themselves little different than the other Christian groups in this country that throw around undeserved authority like a mace whenever they feel they are not being sufficiently knelt to. I have seen similar, though rather more mild, expressions from members of my own family; this is not some detached phenomenon that rears its head publicly every couple months.

    And cut the “fundamentalist atheist” crap. It’s logically wrong, unoriginal, and frankly patronizing.

  646. #648 daedalus2u
    July 9, 2008

    I just had an idea. I presume ebay will let you sell crackers. What about selling extra special crackers that have been blessed until they turned into something else?

    Do the faithful allow these extra special crackers to be desecrated? Or do they purchase them at a modest premium over what non-special crackers cost?

    Does it matters who does the blessing? Maybe PZ isn’t as good at blessing as some random priest, but are you sure? Doesn’t Pascal’s wager have to weigh the infinite cost of being wrong that a blessing by PZ isn’t as good as that of a priest against the finite cost of buying a cracker blessed by PZ?

    What if a cracker company hired someone to bless their crackers at the factory? Would Catholics have to buy them so there were not desecrated?

  647. #649 DragonIV
    July 9, 2008

    There’s a program at many schools called Flat Stanley, by which they take him (a flat cardboard cutout of a person) around to many places and take pictures of him in those various locales. The advantage of him being flat means you can mail him to your relatives and have them take pics, too.

    So, PZ, why not do this with Flat Jesus? I’d love to see Flat Jesus visiting various landmarks around the world.

  648. #650 Pierce R. Butler
    July 9, 2008

    1) Y’all Yankees don’t understand Florida talk: down here a “cracker” is a person (a fairly low-status one, but still you’re not allowed to kidnap them).

    2) The biblical verses in which Jay Cee declares that eating bread and drinking wine are equivalent to devouring his own flesh and blood are often cited as proof that the Gospels are fiction, written by outsiders with no grasp of contemporary Jewish culture. We’re talking about people to whom it was a major transgression to sit at the same table with others who didn’t follow strict dietary rules: among those who took their religion seriously, any suggestion of even symbolic cannibalism would have turned the Last Supper into an instant neighborhood-wide call-out-the-centurions riot.

    3) If they’ve alerted the ninja nuns (nunjas?), why bother with stationing mere armed police officers in the nave? In event of a copy-cat blasphemy, the cops would only get in the way of the sacred shuriken.

  649. #651 Moses
    July 9, 2008

    Gluten-Free Communion Wafers

    Ingredients: Water, Soylec Flour (toasted soyflour, soy lecithin, soy oil, gum arabic), palm oil, sweet rice flour, methycellulose, Ener-G Baking Powder (sodium bicarbonate, sodium pyrophosphate, potato starch, monocalcium phosphate). 50 wafers per box.

    The Above From Doug’s Link: Jesus is now Gluten Free! Personally, I’m waiting for the “No Yolks” Jesus as egg yolk bothers me at times.

  650. #652 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Would you please go look up the word “fundamentalist” please? No, wait, I’ll help you:

    Fundamentalist: A movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles

    Exactly.

    Being an atheist just means you don’t believe that there’s a god.

    Which is a principle, is it not?

    I know you want to try to act like we atheists have some sort of 10 commandments of our own

    No. That doesn’t matter. As long as we are using definitions:

    “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from.”

    You have an ideology. As you said above: “There is no god”. There is no room for disagreement, evidently.

    so that your dogmatism doesn’t look so bad, but it doesn’t work that way.

    Anyone who dissents from the principle that religion is bad by having religious beliefs is treated exactly the same as fundamentalist Christians do to everyone else.

    Fucking Christ you’re an idiot.

    Look at the way you are treating someone who expresses disagreement with YOUR principles. You called me an idiot. There is no legitimate room for another point of view.

    You guys are mirror images of each other. Congratulations.

  651. #653 Moses
    July 9, 2008

    Look at the way you are treating someone who expresses disagreement with YOUR principles. You called me an idiot. There is no legitimate room for another point of view.

    You guys are mirror images of each other. Congratulations.

    It’s not a “disagreement.” It’s one person getting annoyed with the lies and deliberate conflating of another.

    Atheism is not, nor ever has been, a religion. Just like science isn’t a religion. Or mathematics is not a religion.

    And when assholes play that game, they’re showing that they’re assholes. And, at times, people who are being mocked and distorted by the “it’s all religion” crowd do get pissed.

    Because of the insanely bad behavior of the theist and their sophomoric, illogical arguments.

  652. #654 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan, #608: If the Eucharist is just a cracker, then the US Constitution is just a piece of parchment, a military monument is just concrete and metal and your deceased relative’s remains are just protein and charcoal.

    And if Webster Cook tried to take a dump on the original body of Christ or piss on the alter in the church, you would have a point. But since he didn’t I can’t for the life of me figure out how you think you’re making a valid analogy.

  653. #655 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    To everyone trying to figure out what constitutes a hate crime, it’s essentially a thought crime. The whole idea of a hate crime is ridiculous. Somehow assaulting someone because of their race/religion/etc is worse then a “regular” assault. It defies logic. A crime is a crime. To somehow say a crime is worse based on what you were thinking at the time is insanity, and frankly is equivalent to the whole religious idea of god punishing you for your thoughts. In this situation, since the person in question did not commit an actual crime, a “hate crime” is invented on the spot in a laughable attempt to appease religious nutjobs who think a cracker deserves more rights than a human being.

  654. #656 ndt
    July 9, 2008

    @Doug#2 nailed it. It’s a tenet of Catholic faith that the cracker (despite maintaining the structural integrity and consistency of a cracker) *IS* the body of the Messiah. While I don’t personally subscribe to the notion of transubstantiation, you should have a little more respect for those who do.

    Posted by: deichmans | July 8, 2008 9:13 PM

    Why?

  655. #657 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    i won’t call you an idiot, toujoursdan, but i will point out that having principles does not make one a fundamentalist, else we wouldn’t have the two different words.

    KEvron

  656. #658 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    Look at the way you are treating someone who expresses disagreement with YOUR principles. You called me an idiot. There is no legitimate room for another point of view.

    Try making your point of view known without sounding like an idiot.

  657. #659 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    Now, these Catholics who are getting their holy panties (oops, sorry, that’s Mormons) in a wad over this “hate crime” (oh, please) must have about had their heads explode after the ACT UP demonstration at St. Patrick’s — where one of the members crumbled the cracker right there during mass. Now that’s a protest!

  658. #660 Pierce R. Butler
    July 9, 2008

    When I started reading this post this morning, the headline read “IT’S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!”

    Now it says, “IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!”

    (and there’s not even an explanation from our esteemed, ah, host, as to how the wine-curdling blasphemy came to be replaced by such a bland euphemism.)

    Behold the miracle of Transubstantiation, ye sinners!

    PS: Are there bonus points for whoever posts comment # 666? Make it a good ‘un!

  659. #661 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    It’s not a “disagreement.” It’s one person getting annoyed with the lies and deliberate conflating of another.

    What lies did I tell? And really, expressing another p.o.v. here makes it okay to be called names? Good grief. At least the fundy Christians pretend to love you.

    All I said was that everyone holds certain objects as sacred. Whether they are a monument or something distributed to adherents is irrelevant.

    Atheism is not, nor ever has been, a religion. Just like science isn’t a religion. Or mathematics is not a religion.

    Atheism is an ideology. Math and science, which are provable, are not.

    There are fundamentalist ideologies, like “free market fundamentalism”, for example.

    “it’s all religion” crowd do get pissed.

    Please show me where I called atheism a religion. I called it an ideology in my post above.

    Wow. The behaviours are really no different.

  660. #662 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    To somehow say a crime is worse based on what you were thinking at the time is insanity

    Aaron, you might want to check out the difference between murder and manslaughter some day. Betcha’ll find something surprising!

  661. #663 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    “Wow. The behaviours are really no different.”

    watch where you point that thing.

    KEvron

  662. #665 KEVron
    July 9, 2008

    first!

    KEvron

  663. #666 Zeno
    July 9, 2008

    So what’s wrong with being poster #666?

  664. #667 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    i won’t call you an idiot, toujoursdan, but i will point out that having principles does not make one a fundamentalist, else we wouldn’t have the two different words.

    KEvron

    It’s one thing to have principles. It’s quite another to allow no room for questioning or dissent of these principles by others. The level of hostility here is as bad as I receive on the right-wing blogs.

    I come here because I often think the fundamentalist religious types get what they deserve. I am a liberal social democrat and hate the religious right as much as everyone else here. But the ad hominems confirm that this side is every bit as closed minded as the other.

  665. #668 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    missed it by that much….

    KEvron

  666. #669 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    GODDAMN –> FRACKIN?

    WTF?!?!?!?

  667. #670 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    missed it by that much….

    KEvron

  668. #671 astroande
    July 9, 2008

    @ Grumpy #34: Ha! God-blessed. Good one.

  669. #672 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    But the ad hominems confirm that this side is every bit as closed minded as the other.

    Right, because the comments of one or two commenters is necessarily representative of “this side.”

    Physician, heal thyself (to quote a certain famous cracker).

  670. #673 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan,

    “”Being an atheist just means you don’t believe that there’s a god.”

    Which is a principle, is it not?”

    Is not believing in the tooth fairy a principle?

    A favorite tactic of theists is to label atheism as an ideology or “religion” in a vein attempt to assert that theism and atheism are equally dogmatic. This is simply not the case. An atheist is open to evidence that there is a god, but there just isn’t a shred. A theist will continue to believe what they want to regardless of the evidence at hand, and no amount of evidence will change their mind. That’s what it means to be dogmatic. Show me concrete proof of a god and I will examine that evidence. If I find it to be satisfactory, I will accept your idea. That’s what we call “thinking”.

    Is not believing in Zeus or Baal or Mythras a dogma?

    In case you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s a no.

    Atheism is not a religion, a dogma, or even a worldview. Just like not being a plumber is a profession.

    “What do you do for a living?”

    “Oh, I’m not a plumber.”

  671. #674 Ocseemorahn
    July 9, 2008

    I’m a reformed Catholic that ended up as a Biochemist.

    I’m thinking it would be a nice to use god to help my evolution research by making a mobile out of church wafers to hang over my bench while I refine knowledge of modern evolutionary mechanisms.

  672. #675 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    “But the ad hominems confirm that this side is every bit as closed minded as the other.”

    i did ask that you watch where you point that thing. without death threat, i might add….

    KEvron

  673. #676 Zeno
    July 9, 2008

    I confess: I was able to post comment #666 only because I sold my soul to Satan. (What a sucker he is!)

    I am also qualified to be a creation science researcher. But, then, who isn’t?

  674. #677 spencer
    July 9, 2008

    UCF sucks in pretty much every imaginable way.

  675. #678 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    Glenn,

    I think maybe I didn’t make my point clearly enough. I understand that intent has a lot to do with the severity of a crime. However if I intend to kill my neighbor because he’s a jerk, or if I intend to kill him because he’s black are equally heinous. I don’t see how one is worse than the other. In either case I didn’t like my neighbor and I killed him.

  676. #679 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    A favorite tactic of theists is to label atheism as an ideology or “religion” in a vein attempt to assert that theism and atheism are equally dogmatic.

    They certainly can be equally as dogmatic. Science and Math are testable and verifiable. Atheism is not. It is not a religion but is an ideology.

    This is simply not the case. An atheist is open to evidence that there is a god, but there just isn’t a shred.

    No, not all atheists are open to evidence that there is a god.

    It’s one thing to say “I am open to evident of a god, but haven’t found any” and other to say “Anyone who believes in a god using criteria I don’t agree with is an delusional idiot”. The latter is dogmatic.

    Right, because the comments of one or two commenters is necessarily representative of “this side.”

    But this line of argument is used for the other side here all the time.

  677. #680 BJN
    July 9, 2008

    If it’s a “cracker” it isn’t a very good one. Unless they changed the recipe from when I was a boy in parochial school, it’s an un-crisp pressed grain and yeast wafer that melts in your mouth (but apparently not in your hands). “Host Toasties” they’re not.

    Let’s see, a guy flaunts a ritual that Catholics regard as holy and he gets the predictable reaction. Here’s a clue folks, it’s easy pickings to find ways to piss off people with firmly held religious beliefs (or even ideologies – witness flag burning reactionaries). Are you really indignant that an antagonistic act gets the predictable reaction?

    Do you defend offensive behavior using symbols on all fronts? “It’s only an X of burning gasoline!” “It’s only a loop of rope tied with a robust sliding knot.”

  678. #681 Busby
    July 9, 2008

    What the?!?!?!?! They send him death threats because he took the cracker home? Now that’s so very Christian. “yeah, let’s kill him… he kidnapped our god!”

    Stupid!

    One of the world’s largest religious organizations is acting like this over a piece of cracker! More reason to become an atheist!

  679. #682 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    “In either case I didn’t like my neighbor and I killed him.”< ?i>

    whoever you finally decide to kill, please don’t kill webster cook, as some are threatening to do. it was just a cracker. wafer thin….

    KEvron

  680. #683 SEF
    July 9, 2008

    When I started reading this post this morning, the headline read “IT’S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!” Now it says, “IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!”

    The URL still has the original version though.

  681. #684 Damian
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan said:

    Which is a principle, is it not?

    Well, I suppose, just as you might not play chess, or collect stamps, or even, and here’s the killer, believe in Allah, Zeus, or Thor. Are you a dogmatic a-thorist, toujoursdan? In my experience they can be the worst fundies of the lot.

    Of course non-belief is a principle, but the only thing that you can derive from it is that a person doesn’t believe in any God. That doesn’t even rule out other forms of supernatural agent.

    toujoursdan said:

    No. That doesn’t matter. As long as we are using definitions:

    “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from.”

    You have an ideology. As you said above: “There is no god”. There is no room for disagreement, evidently.

    so that your dogmatism doesn’t look so bad, but it doesn’t work that way.

    Anyone who dissents from the principle that religion is bad by having religious beliefs is treated exactly the same as fundamentalist Christians do to everyone else.

    This is bollocks of the first order. The only belief is that there probably isn’t a God. And you will find few atheists who will say that there certainly isn’t one. And of course there is room for disagreement. If I wasn’t so charitable, I might do as you have and unfairly read more in to your words than you probably meant, thereby concluding that you were being purposefully mischievous.

    And if the only dogma that you can pin me down on is that I don’t believe in God, that is far, far less than virtually any other belief that I can think of. So, would I be right in thinking that you would approve, given that we atheists are clearly so free from dogma, toujoursdan? Or did you not intend to follow your own logic to its final conclusion?

  682. #685 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    A favorite tactic of theists is to label atheism as an ideology or “religion” in a vein attempt to assert that theism and atheism are equally dogmatic.

    This reminds me of the fundamentalist Christian dogma that theirs isn’t a religion but a relationship. I guess people can bend words any way they want but an ideology is simply an unprovable set of beliefs. One can’t prove there is no god any more than one can prove there is a god.

  683. #686 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008
    It’s sort of like being sold a drink in a bar in the U.S. You’re not supposed to take it home and save it for later.

    Analogy fail.

    Besides the invalidity of arguments-by-analogy in general, unlike booze, bread products are allowed to be eaten freely on the streets.

    I wasn’t pretending to make a tight, explicit argument. I was giving an example that contradict the simple model of legal possession transfer many people here seem to assume.

    There are a bunch of subtle legal issues here.

    It is not true that there’s a simple binary legal distinction between being “given” something and being completely free to do whatever you want with it. Context matters.

    Sometimes there’s an implicit agreement with constraints on what you can do with something you’re “given.”

    A communion wafer is not simply given away. It is given to somebody for a specific implied purpose in the context of a specific religious ritual. It is assigned a certain value.

    The fact that it’s all bullshit and the constraints on what you can do with it are silly doesn’t change that.

    It’s their house, and their rules. If you aren’t going to play by their rules, you shouldn’t be there.

    The law recognizes values beyond simple monetary ones, and beyond whether a particular object “is food.” A communion wafer isn’t just food—it’s a communion wafer—and one of the things you’re expected to respect if you participate in the ritual is that a communion wafer is way, way more than a wafer.

    The wafer has a whole lot of “sentimental value,” and something that goes beyond sentimental value. Believers think that consecrating the wafer is the important part, and its food aspect is secondary, so it has a lot of sentimental value. But way beyond that, they (wrongly) think that the consecration does something much more than attach a sentimental value. They think its essence is transubstantiated into a much more important essence, with real consequences for how it must be handled.

    The fact that that’s not demonstrably true is pretty much irrelevant. Even the fact that it’s demonstrably false by any rational standard is irrelevant.

    The first amendment freedom of religion allows you to believe things that are false, and even to believe things that are demonstrably false. (I think that religious beliefs are generally demonstrably false.)

    The right to free exercise includes the right to believe demonstrably false stuff, and up to a point, it includes the right to act on those demonstrably false beliefs.

    Catholics don’t have the right to tell you what to do with a random piece of bread in your house. They do have the right to tell you what not to do with their communion wafers in their “house.” (Even if it’s just the temporary use of a space they’ve gotten permission to use.)

    I won’t even address your biohazard analogy: It’s just too silly.

    Of course it’s silly in the utterly obvious way—communion wafers don’t really have magic powers, and Jesus won’t really suffer a whit no matter what you do with them. But freedom of religion is includes the right to believe and even act on utterly silly beliefs. In the context of a religious ceremony, that includes the right to require that other participants act like they believe the silly stuff, too.

    I don’t have the legal right to march into a Mass and start vocally disagreeing with the priest.

    I do think I deserve that right, in an important sense. I was subjected to thousands of hours of their bullshit growing up, and I think I deserve a chance to talk back and express my disagreement—say, to make a hundred Catholics listen to my well-thought-out opinions for a few hours. But I don’t think I could find any court that would agree with me about that.

    Instead, if I did that, I’d likely get busted for something amounting to inhibiting those Catholics’ right to free association and free exercise of their religon—for making it harder to practice Catholicism.

    Disrupting a Mass by refusing to play by Catholic rules is the same sort of thing. Legally, it doesn’t matter that the non-Catholic is right and the Catholics are demonstrably wrong about transubstantiation.

    Even if you don’t get caught, with the ensuing hoo-ha disrupting the Mass, it’s still dangerous territory. Accepting property that somebody else assigns great value to under false pretenses is fraud or something like it. Arguably fairly serious fraud. The fact that they value it very highly in a very stupid way doesn’t mean that it isn’t very valuable because they assign value in that way.

    Courts do respect merely sentimental value. If you destroy someone else’s property, or defraud them of it, what’s relevant is not its value to you, but its value to them.

    Courts respect religious values even more. Religion isn’t mere sentiment; it’s specially protected.

    If you don’t see that, consider corpses. Some people stupidly believe in the resurrection of the body, and think it’s important to be buried rather than cremated.

    A funeral director who agrees to bury a body may be right that “it’s just rotting meat and bones,” but is still obligated to bury the body. (And not to fuck it in the meantime.)

    Yes, it’s all silly, but if people didn’t abide by the rules for handling bodies, it would erect a substantial barrier to the free practice of religion. Corpse-valuing religious folks would have to go to extra effort and pay extra money to ensure that very trustworthy, corpse-valuing people handled their bodies after they died.

    There is no court that would agree with the argument that corpses aren’t really valuable in that way (and the “owner” is dead anyway), so you can fuck them if you feel like it. And under the first amendment, they can’t agree with such arguments, no matter how objectively correct they are. It is explicitly not the courts’ job to decide whether claims like that are true.

    Likewise, no court is going to agree that a communion wafer used in a Catholic mass is just food, and that the priest just gave it away.

    The first amendment guarantees religious people the right to act stupidly, and even to require that other people act utterly stupidly, in certain contexts that they control.

  684. #687 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    “In either case I didn’t like my neighbor and I killed him.”

    well, youyr neighbor had it coming, one reason or the other. but, please, don’t kill webster cook, as some xtian fundies are threanting to do. it was just a cracker. wafer thin….

    KEvron

  685. #688 PZ Myers
    July 9, 2008

    The title was changed because, as you may have noticed, it has become one of the ‘most popular’ articles on Sb, which means the title and link appears on everyone’s blog here…and some complained that a shouted “GODDAMN” in their right sidebar was obnoxious.

    Some people are just so touchy.

  686. #689 Jaded Skeptic
    July 9, 2008

    There are plenty of atheist happy to discuss and debate.

    The trouble for many here, I imagine, continues to be, like with dealing with creationism, that you get the same tired arguments thrown at you, like Pascal’s Wager. It wears one down. So when someone wants to throw out that smewthing is holy, sacred, or the Truth, it won’t be taken as face value.

    Merriam Webster:
    Fundamentalist – “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”

    Atheist – “one who believes that there is no deity”

    How can one be a FUNDAMENTALIST atheist? We don’t think there are gods. Now, there is some variance between “no change in hell” and “eh, maybe, but I am not holding my breathe”. But when religious people do come on and expect there scripture to be lauded, or myths taken seriously, they are talking to the wrong audience.

  687. #690 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    No, not all atheists are open to evidence that there is a god.

    Try us. Or, if you admit that there is none, what the fuck is your point? There is none on offer, so how can I be “open to it”?

    It’s one thing to say “I am open to evident of a god, but haven’t found any” and other to say “Anyone who believes in a god using criteria I don’t agree with is an delusional idiot”. The latter is dogmatic.

    If the supposed criteria are delusional and idiotic, then it’s just calling a spade a spade.

  688. #691 Liane
    July 9, 2008

    Maybe he was trying to set the baby jeebus/cracker free so he/it wouldn’t get eaten.

    For some reason this makes me think of the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. Someone ought to set up a Host Liberation Front – save Jeebus from the cannibals !

    Re: the bleeding-host yarns –

    If the communion wafer itself already contains the blood of Christ, what’s the wine for ? Hmmmmm.

  689. #692 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    To everyone trying to figure out what constitutes a hate crime, it’s essentially a thought crime. The whole idea of a hate crime is ridiculous. Somehow assaulting someone because of their race/religion/etc is worse then a “regular” assault. It defies logic. A crime is a crime. To somehow say a crime is worse based on what you were thinking at the time is insanity, and frankly is equivalent to the whole religious idea of god punishing you for your thoughts.

    AaronF, you’re a shit-sucking liar. A hate crime is not a “thought crime.” Your right-wing frames are not welcome here.

    Outside of your paranoid fantasies, back here in reality, a hate crime is an assault committed for the intent of intimidation against a group of people.

    So if you beat up the Mexican kid next door because he’s got nicer shoes than you, you’ve just committed assault. If you beat him up in order to intimidate other Mexicans in the neighborhood, then that’s a hate crime, because the results are different. In one scenario, the community understands your violent behavior is probably an isolated incident, and they can move on. But if you’re threatening the community with the likelihood of further violence, creating an environment where certain people are robbed of their sense of security, then you are causing much larger detrimental effects, and you should be punished accordingly.

    If the results are different, then the punishment may be different. That’s all a hate crime is. You’re contributing to a threatening environment for some of your fellow citizens, and that’s taken into account during sentencing.

    And don’t even think about bitching that intent shouldn’t influence sentencing. The law has always considered intent; that’s the whole difference between murder and manslaughter.

    In this situation, since the person in question did not commit an actual crime, a “hate crime” is invented on the spot in a laughable attempt to appease religious nutjobs who think a cracker deserves more rights than a human being.

    Most likely, what’s actually happening here is that patriarchal fuckheads (like Catholics) tend to despise hate crime laws, because it means when they assault gay people, they’re more likely to get in trouble. So they’re trying to undermine the whole idea of hate crimes, by dilution.

  690. #693 KEvron
    July 9, 2008

    “Disrupting a Mass”
    “the ensuing hoo-ha disrupting the Mass”

    there was no disruption, and no hoo-ha.

    that fish gets bigger with each telling. at this rate, it’ll end being canonized….

    KEvron

  691. #694 Atheologian
    July 9, 2008

    PZ, Here’s what you should do if you get a consecrated biscuit:

    Buy a box of unconsecrated biscuits then lay all the biscuits on a table with the consecrated biscuit mixed in and tell them if they can tell which one is consecrated, they can have it.

    If they can’t tell the difference they’ll have to admit (yeah, right) that there IS no difference.

  692. #695 J
    July 9, 2008

    OK, let me get this straight – the wafer(cracker) is consecrated and is therefore transubstantiated into the flesh of Jesus? Any particular PART of Jesus? On the bright side, we can be sure it isn’t the foreskin…

  693. #696 windy
    July 9, 2008

    Ken Cope #348:

    an excuse to exchange greetings with Truth Machine–Hi, TM!

    You two might be amused by this incident of someone who’s obviously Neil B. skulking anonymously around on Sandwalk, shilling his misunderstood version of modal realism again.

  694. #697 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    Well, Aaron, first, you made your point clearly, I was just trying to point out that you were reasoning from clearly erroneous principles. Society does have an interest in why people do things and stopping them from doing things for certain reasons, and the law reflects that.

    But as for your assertion that it doesn’t matter whether you kill your neighbor because he’s black, or because he’s a jerk, my first response is, I’m guessing that you are not part of any minority that has been the object of campaigns of violence directed at them. If I’m wrong, I sincerely apologize. But let me just say that as a gay man, whenever there is violence against gay men for being gay — which still goes on a LOT — I feel threatened by that in a way that random violence does not cause. In any society we all have to live with the possibility of violence. But anti-gay attacks tell me and my fellow gays and lesbians that there are those who would single us out as a target.

    Think for a moment about lynchings of blacks in the Jim Crow days. Do you really see no difference between the hanging of black men from the trees and random violence? Don’t you see how the former was done precisely to — and to a large extent did — keep blacks in fear and oppression? (I won’t violate Godwin’s law by bringing up the even more heinous example.)

    Well, it’s that communal fear that, in part, hate crimes laws are meant to attack. It also, in my view, is a statement by the community that such oppression of minorities will not be tolerated.

  695. #698 Dahan
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan,

    How can you be so willfully obtuse? How can you not get this? Let’s stay with the definitions then. Here’s one for you. You claim atheism is an ideology, just like Christianity, etc. OK what is an ideology…

    Ideology: A systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture c: the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program

    Hmmm… Not believing in something. Is that really a systematic body of concepts? No.

    Is atheism a manner or content of a thinking group? No again, unless you’re willing to lower this threshold down to the point where you would say something like “All people who don’t believe that George Bush is a woman have an ideology”.

    How about the last one? Is it a set of integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program? No, sorry, fails again.

    So atheism isn’t an ideology then. Can’t be dogmatic then, or fundamentalist. Huh, seems rather obvious now doesn’t it? Atheism has no teachings we can wish to return to, like religions. No grand dissertations and programs to try to cull from the holy writ of atheistic knowledge.

    The fact that you don’t seem to understand these differences is why I called you an fucking idiot and hold to it. Not because you disagree with me. Again, you’re being willfully obtuse.

    “You have an ideology. As you said above: “There is no god”. There is no room for disagreement, evidently.”

    I don’t believe there is a god. There is room for disagreement, however, the burden of proof (just like claiming George Bush is a woman) is on you. If I get a bit frustrated with people like yourself for making outrageous claims without proof, try to understand. It still doesn’t make it “fundamentalist”.

    Hope that clears things up for you, but I doubt it. You don’t seem to want to understand.

  696. #699 frog
    July 9, 2008

    SteveW: The physical properties all remain the same, but the wafer’s essence (it’s “substance”) changes. The wafer isn’t a symbol of Jesus – it is Jesus. No metaphor or poetic imagination – physical transmutation to a piece of the divine
    (and yet Catholics I know get upset when I point out that they practice ritualized cannibalism). As far as they’re concerned, he stole a part of Jesus.

    Here’s the problem — it’s not just the problem of the idiocy of many religious beliefs, but the philosophical inanity that underpins it – the neo-Platonism (vulgar as it is) that distinguishes between “accident” and “essence”.

    For God’s sake, when will people stop thinking like 3rd century BC barbarians? It’s been f*ckin’ 2500 years — Socrates and Plato have the same relation to modern thought that shamans have to science — they’re at best early precursors, historical accidents of interest to historians of ideas.

    What do you expect from people who actually follow such archaic trends? What other than the most incredible absurdities?

  697. #700 jimC
    July 9, 2008

    #313

    Have you actually read Luther and the other Reformation theologians? They somehow manage to pull off being worse than their contemporaries in the RCC, and considering that we’re talking about the church of Duns Scotius that’s no mean feat.

    yes I have and no they are not worse. Not at all, they dump a great deal of superstitious garbage overboard.

    The Reformation only wound up helping along the Enlightenment by historical accident

    Regardless mainstream Protestantism is much more ‘rational’ and free from the superstious overkill presentin the RCC.

  698. #701 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    Jaded Skeptic, #689: Fundamentalist – “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”

    Yes, a fundamentalist is one who believes that there is only one correct way to believe and interpret the basic principles. So an atheist who believes that the only true way to be an atheist is to believe that “there is no god” literally means there is no god would be a fundamentalist. I guess. Seems a bit silly to me, too. It sounds like toujoursdan is trying to escape from the embarrassment of a really poor analogy. Now, it’s not for me to give unsolicited advice, but I think he should just admit he didn’t really make his point well and move on.

  699. #702 toujoursdan
    July 9, 2008

    Of course non-belief is a principle, but the only thing that you can derive from it is that a person doesn’t believe in any God. That doesn’t even rule out other forms of supernatural agent.

    Ummmmm… you are missing the point. I have said it twice above but will repeat it again. It’s one thing to have principles. It’s quite another not to allow room for those who have different ones. The latter is what makes it “fundamentalism”.

    This is bollocks of the first order. The only belief is that there probably isn’t a God. And you will find few atheists who will say that there certainly isn’t one. And of course there is room for disagreement. If I wasn’t so charitable, I might do as you have and unfairly read more in to your words than you probably meant, thereby concluding that you were being purposefully mischievous.

    Again, you seem to be reading what you want to read, not what I have written. I DID express disagreement and people called me an idiot for doing so. So for some (not all) there is a fundamentalist atheism. As an Anglican theist, I am completely respectful of those who do not believe in a god as do many who attend church with me but there are Christian fundamentalists who don’t.

    I never called all atheists fundamentalist, but there is that element (ideology with no room for dissension).

    And if the only dogma that you can pin me down on is that I don’t believe in God, that is far, far less than virtually any other belief that I can think of.

    How many dogmas does one need to cross the line? 1, 2, 10, 20?

    So, would I be right in thinking that you would approve, given that we atheists are clearly so free from dogma, toujoursdan?

    You just said you may have a dogma.

    Or did you not intend to follow your own logic to its final conclusion?

    Your counterarguments are a bit too incoherent for me to figure out what you are advocating.

  700. #703 AndrewC
    July 9, 2008

    I fucking love you PZ. Show that jesuscracker who’s boss.

  701. #704 Brownian, OM
    July 9, 2008

    As an Anglican theist, I am completely respectful of those who do not believe in a god as do many who attend church with me but there are Christian fundamentalists who don’t.

    Unless you resort to a lot of handwaving apologetics, it’s pretty plain that your god doesn’t share your open-mindedness.

  702. #705 Skippy
    July 9, 2008

    I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a more justified use of the term “demented fuckwit”.

    Once upon a time when I a little kid, the teacher of the Catholic religious education class I was stuck in told us all that when she was little she stole a eucharist and tried to flush it down the toilet. In her version of the story it pissed off Yahweh so much that he turned all the water in the toilet into blood. 17 years later it enrages me that some loon was terrorizing a captive audience of 8 year-olds with tales of her vengeful imaginary god.

  703. #706 frog
    July 9, 2008

    jimC: Regardless mainstream Protestantism is much more ‘rational’ and free from the superstious overkill presentin the RCC.

    The problem is the asinine, archaic philosophy that underlies all of Christianity and Islam, and much of Judaism. The superstitions are just the frosting on the cake.

    If anything, it’s the superstitions that keep the entire system from it’s most dangerous expressions — just compare traditional Islam with the modern versions — at least the saints and the baracka kept the most murderous elements under wraps; the relationship between Catholicism and Protestantism is analogous.

  704. #707 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    I DID express disagreement and people called me an idiot for doing so.

    DID we? Or did we call you an idiot for behaving as an idiot would, confusing issues deliberately and throwing around meaningless terms of abuse? Unless you have some priveleged access to the motivations of others, you cannot claim to know for sure that you were called an idiot solely for the fact that you expressed disagreement. So cut it out.

  705. #708 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan, #702: As an Anglican theist, I am completely respectful of those who do not believe in a god as do many who attend church with me but there are Christian fundamentalists who don’t.

    Christian fundamentalists are those who insist there is only one way to be a true Christian. That is what fundamentalism means. If you were complaining that some atheists here are insisting that other atheists aren’t true atheists because of some doctrinal difference, then you would be using the term appropriately.

    In informal colloquial English it may also mean someone who tries to use state power to enforce compliance with her sectarian beliefs. If there were atheists here who are advocating using state power against you, then again you would be using the term appropriately.

    If, on the other hand, you were using the term very loosely, then I don’t think that a pedantic debate over meanings is going to get you very far.

  706. #709 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008
    Disrupting a Mass

    the ensuing hoo-ha disrupting the Mass

    there was no disruption, and no hoo-ha.

    that fish gets bigger with each telling. at this rate, it’ll end being canonized….

    KEvron,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to exaggerate, and it’s not very relevant to my point if I did.

    My impression—perhaps mistaken—was that the to-do occurred before everybody had left the church. So while in this case it didn’t disrupt the Mass proper, it did cause a scene of sorts. That’s sufficient for my point.

    Even less is sufficient for my point. If this sort of thing happens too much, it will cost the Catholics in terms of free exercise. They’ll feel like they have to put more effort into “guarding” the “sacred” wafers, watching people to ensure that “the wrong people” don’t get in and do things “the wrong way,” etc.

    That inhibits their free association and free exercise rights. Believing Catholics have a right to keep non-Catholics or anyone who won’t play be the rules out, or to stop people who break the rules. If that does disrupt the mass—as I would expect it to sometimes—that additional cost is the disrupter’s fault, not the fault of the enforcers of the Catholic rules.

    It’s very stupid if they care very much. But it’s Constitutionally protected stupidity, so we should leave them and their crackers alone.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t loudly and frequently point out the ridiculousness of it all, protest outside of churches, and maybe symbolically desecrate non-consecrated wafers. But if we cross the line into subverting their right to free association, defrauding them of their consecrated wafers, and freaking them out with all that, we are screwing up—both politically and likely (I think) legally.

  707. #710 akshelby
    July 9, 2008

    I must say that I have enjoyed this thread more than any other on Pharyngula. There was a time when I would have been weeping and praying the rosary over Jesus being desecrated in this way.

    Now I don’t give a shit and have been laughing my ass off. I do give a shit about the death threats against the kid, though. That’s scary and pretty much on par with far right catholicism that advocates killing abortion providers.

    I’m so glad I don’t believe in that shit anymore and can go about my life without worrying about an angry sky fairy watching me.

  708. #711 Diagoras
    July 9, 2008

    “Well, aren’t you going to feel silly when you’re down in hell, and your dog, as a bona fido Catholic, is looking down at you from heaven?”

    Is this a joke or are you serious? If you serious then the following is for you.

    So my dog will be looking down at me from heaven; well then that must mean that he has a soul! LMAO you don’t actually believe in Heaven, Hell, or souls do you? It’s all made up for crying out loud!

    We should start a competition of who can do the most blasphemous act to the eucharist.

  709. #712 Ron Sullivan
    July 9, 2008

    One more recovering Catholic here, just chiming in to thank you for the funny lines appearing here and there along with the (reasonable) shock at what people believe and the logical taffy-pull by people trying to make this stunt a crime.

    I’m sure we’ve all heard versions of the Bleeding Host tale; I got mine in second-grade First-Communion class and it involved a boy and a pocket handkerchief–no Muslims, as the big bad enemy then was Godless communism, and no baggies, because in 1957 nobody had heard of a “baggie.” I suppose there were plastic bags around, but they were about as ubiquitous as, oh, color TVs maybe. If you stretched really hard you might make get around the lapse in plot continuity there, the way someone posited that maybe They had stored the miraculous Muslim-scaring blood away for 500 years. After getting it somehow off the scared Muslim’s table and floor.

    is it womanly of me to wonder who had to clean up the sacred mess?

    It all sounds so familiar. Weird and twisted stories seem to be a favorite Catholic-school teaching method. ‘Dja hear the one about the kid who stepped on a crack and really did break his mother’s back?

    I can’t count 16 years of Catholic schooling as a total waste. I did have some good teachers, and I sure as hell learned politics.

    Here, in case anyone doubts: my First Communion pic:

    http://tinyurl.com/6bu658

    Cut ‘n’ paste if necessary.

  710. #713 Brownian, OM
    July 9, 2008

    Diagoras, Nick is indeed joking. I believe the Almighty Dog would require more than having eaten the Holy Host as pwoof of your dog’s Catholicism.

  711. #714 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    Grammar RWA,

    Way to have a thoughtful intelligent conversation. You know nothing about me, so how would you know I’m a right-winger?

    Grammar and Glenn,

    Let’s be clear here. I understand that intent is important when sentencing for crimes! I know the difference between murder and manslaughter, and I understand why that difference is important. What I am saying is, everyone should be equally protected under the law. There should be no special protections for particular groups. That’s what a free and fair society is all about. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly.

    I do see a difference between hanging a black man and random violence, Glenn. But should hanging a black man be considered more heinous then hanging a white man? I don’t think so. I think committing violence against any person is equally wrong. You shouldn’t be punished more for hurting a black or a hispanic over hurting a white or an asian. People aren’t going to be seen equally until they are treated equally.

    I know I’m not going to convince anyone here, and that’s OK. You can continue to personally assault me if you wish. That’s OK too. My point is you cannot and should not attempt to legislate how people should think. That’s one of the negatives of living in a completely free society. People are *free* to think how they want. It’s horrible that groups like the KKK exist in this country, however they are free to think that if they wish. It’s unfortunate, but in a truly free society you have to take the good with the bad. People need to be encouraged to think and act kindly, not forced.

    I think religion is dangerous and is the source of much hate in this country. However, I would never support legislation to ban religion altogether. And I think you probably wouldn’t support that too.

    Well, that’s my point. Agree or disagree if you wish. But I don’t think we need to resort to name calling.

  712. #715 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan,
    One can’t prove there is are no god fairies any more than one can prove there is are a god fairies.

    So afairyism is an ideology? You’ve been asked this question before and not answered it. The thing is, theists want to claim a special privilege for their particular kind of wacko belief in the supernatural; that’s the only ground for claiming that not sharing it is an ideology.

  713. #716 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    Diagoras,
    I thought even if the rest of it could be taken seriously, the “bona fido” would be a dead giveaway.

  714. #717 Damian
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan said:

    It’s one thing to have principles. It’s quite another not to allow room for those who have different ones. The latter is what makes it “fundamentalism”

    Someone calling you an idiot may well be perfectly reasonable. Just because you claim to be ‘completely respectful’, it does not mean that others have to accept your definition of respect and behave accordingly.

    And if you want to mash all definitions to fit your own agenda, that’s fine, but we will call you on it. Namecalling does not prevent disagreement. In fact, I would say that it is a pretty clear sign that you are being disagreed with. And therefore, engaging in namecalling does not make one a fundamentalist, either. If you wish to call it disrespectful, I doubt that anyone would disagree.

    May I suggest that your own sensitivity is perhaps part of the problem here? This is a rowdy blog. I have no power, or desire for that matter, to contest that.

    toujoursdan said:

    How many dogmas does one need to cross the line? 1, 2, 10, 20?

    Oh, come on, I have already shown that atheism contains no official dogma’s, although I would admit that a person who steadfastly maintains that there is definitely no God, when the definition of said God is: a being that will purposefully hide all evidence of its existence, is probably behaving dogmatically. You will find no such people here, though.

    The point that I was making was that if you are attempting to claim that an atheist necessarily holds to a dogma (a point I disagree with, as it essentially destroys the meaning of the word, as anyone who doesn’t believe in something — namely all people — can be said to hold to a dogma), and that that is not a good thing, then atheism would tend to score highly compared to almost all other beliefs which contain far greater content.

    toujoursdan said:

    Your counterarguments are a bit too incoherent for me to figure out what you are advocating.

    Why am I not surprised? If I may be so bold, is it possible that it is a consequence of your own ability to follow an argument, perhaps?

  715. #718 AndrewC
    July 9, 2008

    Oh and I’m a fundamentalist of not believing animals have cell walls

  716. #719 lurker_above
    July 9, 2008

    @Moses #651:

    My son’s allergic to gluten AND soy (and a whole bunch of other stuff), so I guess he’s really SOL. No sweet, sweet Jesus love for him.

  717. #720 kryptonic
    July 9, 2008

    As a kid I always wondered why the priest got the big wafer but only gave me a small one.

  718. #721 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    I understand that intent is important when sentencing for crimes!

    My point is you cannot and should not attempt to legislate how people should think.

    Logic. Ur doin’ it rong.

    There should be no special protections for particular groups.

    So, if a loan officer at a bank systematically denies loans to qualified African-Americans, that’s just dandy, eh?

    People aren’t going to be seen equally until they are treated equally.

    This is the kind of dishonest crap argument against affirmative action and civil rights legislation that leads people to assume that you are in the grips of a right wing ideology. The whole fucking point is that society is filled with individuals and institutions who will not treat people equally unless they are forced to do so.

  719. #722 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008

    As a kid I always wondered why the priest got the big wafer but only gave me a small one.

    They build up tolerance and need a bigger dose of Jesus H.

  720. #723 Blondin
    July 9, 2008

    Perhaps the Catholic church will suspend Mr Cooks cracker privelidges. After all they did it to Rudy Giuliani:
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/04292008/news/regionalnews/giuliani_catches_holy_hell_108559.htm

  721. #724 Steve_C
    July 9, 2008

    I’m a fundamentalist because I don’t believe in unicorns.

  722. #725 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    kryptonic, maybe he had more sinnin’ to clean up. Just sayin’.

  723. Hey PZ @#104,

    You are calling me a moron and you think that Cook was only being rude to a cracker?

  724. #727 kryptonic
    July 9, 2008

    I wonder how many wafers Kobayashi can eat in 12 minutes.

  725. #728 windy
    July 9, 2008

    Courts respect religious values even more. Religion isn’t mere sentiment; it’s specially protected.
    If you don’t see that, consider corpses. Some people stupidly believe in the resurrection of the body, and think it’s important to be buried rather than cremated.
    A funeral director who agrees to bury a body may be right that “it’s just rotting meat and bones,” but is still obligated to bury the body. (And not to fuck it in the meantime.)
    Yes, it’s all silly, but if people didn’t abide by the rules for handling bodies, it would erect a substantial barrier to the free practice of religion. Corpse-valuing religious folks would have to go to extra effort and pay extra money to ensure that very trustworthy, corpse-valuing people handled their bodies after they died.

    But people already pay extra to have corpses buried instead of cremated. And if you have paid for a burial, and the body is cremated instead, that’s a breach of contract. People may consider this an especially bad breach of contract because of the religious aspect, but there’s no automatic deference for beliefs in the handling of corpses (I bet many places won’t allow Zoroastrian burial)

    Likewise, no court is going to agree that a communion wafer used in a Catholic mass is just food, and that the priest just gave it away.

    Again, your “likewise” is problematic. When you accept the wafer, do you also accept a contract to handle the wafer in a certain way?

  726. #729 Jason W
    July 9, 2008

    Want to thank whoever coined ‘Jeez-Its’ up above; I was incredibly angry when I saw the original news article this morning and reading the comments here have helped me calm down a good deal.

    Also, bonus points towards a no-prize to the commenter who posted the “Wow, I guess it’s true that the media only cares when white crackers are kidnapped.”

  727. #730 True Bob
    July 9, 2008

    So is cheesy-flesh better if you soak it in sangre de cristo? If you only quaff the wine, are you a vampire and not a cannibal?

  728. #731 BlueIndependent
    July 9, 2008

    I’m going to reply to toujoursdan @ 652:

    “Which is a principle, is it not?”

    You are making a fallacious equation, that being the use of the word “principle”. Atheists do not say there is no god on principle, they say it based on evidence. Principles do not have to be based on evidence to be taken as stances. Evidence, however, at the very least demands a stance, whether you are forced to take it or not. A racist stands on the principle that all other ethnic groups are inferior; he can stand on that principle, but that doesn’t make him right. Further, even if we treat the idea of no god existing as a principle, what follows from that? Nothing other than “I do not believe a god or gods exist.” by contrast, religions on the other hand make ethical determinations based on principles (few of which are substantively verified) across the board. Atheists make their determinations about the lack of a god or gods based on what the evidence says.

    “No. That doesn’t matter. As long as we are using definitions:

    ‘Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from.’

    You have an ideology. As you said above: “There is no god”. There is no room for disagreement, evidently.”

    There is no atheist dogma. Please define where it comes from. There is no book, no power structure, no governing bodies, no collections, no set of rules, no commandments, no places of worship, no government offices supporting the movement, no lingo, no nothing. The only “dogma” is that it has thus far not been proven that a god or gods exist. That’s the extent of it. Can’t make dogma out of that, can you?

    Anyone who dissents from the principle that religion is bad by having religious beliefs is treated exactly the same as fundamentalist Christians do to everyone else.

    Um, no. He has not called for you expulsion from anything, harm to come to your person, government sanction to be used on you, or death to be acted upon you by another. You are not being treated “exactly the same”. Perhaps in blog conversation it will feel that way, but then again you are not answering his questions substantively, and you are not reading language terribly well either. I’d converse with you in a more charitable fashion myself, as expletives aren’t always, eh, efficient. But a lot of atheists here are sick and tired of the same pat answers we’re supposed to accept from religious apologists, answers that make no sense, and are not based in evidence or reason. Most of what we get is some version of “a god or gods did it, stop asking so many questions”, and endless dodging about probing questions that the religious apologists always fail to answer.

  729. #732 JoJo
    July 9, 2008

    #693

    there was no disruption, and no hoo-ha.

    Yes, there was no disruption. But when people get death threats, get threatened with explusion from a university, and have KEvrons whine about the matter, then hoo-ha has been demonstated.

  730. #733 Glenn
    July 9, 2008

    You shouldn’t be punished more for hurting a black or a hispanic over hurting a white or an asian.

    Aaron, you do understand that hate crimes laws are not limited to attacks on minorities, right? That if someone kills a white person because they are white, that’s a hate crime? No group gets special treatment.

    Now, it just so happens that there’s a lot more people killing minorities for being minorities than the reverse. And the special need for the law (as I said) is, in my view, to protect those minorities. But the laws are themselves neutral (as they should be).

    BTW: I really don’t think I disrespected you in what I said or called you names. If you feel otherwise then obviously I wrote poorly and I apologize. I do strongly disagree with your viewpoint, though.

  731. #734 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    Way to have a thoughtful intelligent conversation. You know nothing about me, so how would you know I’m a right-winger?

    You’re going to end up digging ditches in one of my reading comprehension camps.

    I didn’t say you’re a right-winger. I said you’re a shit-sucking liar, and you are, for misrepresenting what hate-crime laws actually are. You want an apology for that? You want the discourse to be more respectable? You think you deserve better than name-calling? Then stop fucking lying.

    I also said that your particular lie (hate crime = thought crime) is a right-wing frame. That’s a fact. There’s two ways you could end up repeating it. Either you’re a right-winger, or you’re unwittingly parroting their rhetoric. In the second scenario, you’re actively working against your own interests, so you’d best learn about framing, and fast.

    What I am saying is, everyone should be equally protected under the law. There should be no special protections for particular groups. That’s what a free and fair society is all about. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly.

    We all agree on that. When, for the sake of your rhetoric, you have to pretend that other people don’t believe what they actually believe, and you’re the only one who holds the common-sense position, you’re building a straw man.

    But should hanging a black man be considered more heinous then hanging a white man? I don’t think so. I think committing violence against any person is equally wrong. You shouldn’t be punished more for hurting a black or a hispanic over hurting a white or an asian.

    You are either the stupidest motherfucker I have met today, or an absolutely amoral liar. Which is it?

    If a bunch of black men were to hang a white man for the purpose of intimidating white people, then that would be a hate crime. You’re pretending that isn’t true. Once this is kept in mind, all your insinuations of unequal punishments are obvious bullshit.

    My point is you cannot and should not attempt to legislate how people should think.

    Straw man again, you liar. Nobody is doing that.

    People need to be encouraged to think and act kindly, not forced.

    Hear that, my fellow faggots? Next time you’re assaulted for being queer, you have to respond with kindness, or you’ll never get any better treatment. Turn the other cheek!

  732. #735 Fergy
    July 9, 2008

    Like most people, I’m normally averse to using lawyers to resolve conflicts, but I think this guy absolutely should sue the church and the university to send a clear message that this behavior should never be tolerated. Religiously fueled hatred–including threats of physical violence–have no place in schools, or anywhere else.

  733. #736 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    BTW: I really don’t think I disrespected you in what I said or called you names. If you feel otherwise then obviously I wrote poorly and I apologize. I do strongly disagree with your viewpoint, though.

    He was just responding to both of us, but I don’t think he meant to imply that you’ve been as mean as I. You’ve been perfectly cordial, Glenn. And if I’d seen your original response before I started writing mine, I wouldn’t have bothered. Your tone may well be more effective than mine.

    He’s still a liar, though, and I’m not sorry I said it.

  734. #737 Evolving Squid
    July 9, 2008

    And they’d, you know, lose in court. Nobody reasonable would conclude that stealing a car constitutes a message crime against a visible or invisible minority, unlike, say, walking up to someone, calling them a “nigger faggot” and rearranging their face, which is the usual sort of hate crime MO. Do you actually live here, or are you just seeing Canadian politics through the lens of the US sociopolitical culture like Americans usually do?

    Did you mean, like the guy they just sent down here in Ottawa for throwing a gay man off a bridge? That was treated as a hate crime even though the perp had no prior knowledge that the victim was gay.

    Yes, I was exaggerating a bit to make the point, but not lots and lots. The “hate crime” label seems to pop up any time a crime is committed by a white person against any minority. It doesn’t always get anywhere, but it still comes up far too often.

    I happen to think it is unreasonable to consider a crime greater simply because the perpetrator has some irrational dislike of the victim.

    But in your specific example, why should calling someone “nigger faggot” and beating them up more of a crime than beating them up because it’s Wednesday?

  735. #738 Magnus
    July 9, 2008

    How can any one of you disbelieve transsubstantiation!? From this event it’s bloody obvious that the church-goers have had their brains eaten by zoombie-Jesus nee wafer.

  736. #739 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    My point is you cannot and should not attempt to legislate how people should think.

    Logic. Ur doin’ it rong.

    There should be no special protections for particular groups.

    So, if a loan officer at a bank systematically denies loans to qualified African-Americans, that’s just dandy, eh?

    Way to miss the point. Explain to me how stating that everyone should be treated equally means that I think it’s OK for people to be discriminated against. Get back to me when you want to some make sense.

    People aren’t going to be seen equally until they are treated equally.

    This is the kind of dishonest crap argument against affirmative action and civil rights legislation that leads people to assume that you are in the grips of a right wing ideology. The whole fucking point is that society is filled with individuals and institutions who will not treat people equally unless they are forced to do so.

    What’s dishonest by thinking everyone should be treated equally? Can anyone here explain to me how supporting the idea that everyone should be treated equally (with no special protections for anyone) means I support discrimination? Equality and special protections are not compatible. Everyone deserves the equal rights. However providing special punishments for discriminating against one group over another is not a characteristic of equality and fairness.

  737. #740 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    As a kid I always wondered why the priest got the big wafer but only gave me a small one.

    must.resist.altarboy joke

    oops

  738. #741 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    AaronF, #714: But should hanging a black man be considered more heinous then hanging a white man?

    Well, the discussion is about hate crimes, and the question is about whether hanging a black man with the intent of terrorizing black people should carry stiffer penalties than hanging a particular man because he was cheating at poker.

    Maybe you understand what the issue is, but your posts don’t really give that impression.

  739. #742 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    But in your specific example, why should calling someone “nigger faggot” and beating them up more of a crime than beating them up because it’s Wednesday?

    Because hate crimes are not just to injury the party physically involved. They are also an intimidation of a segment of the population.

    “Fag Bashing” doesn’t just affect the individual who was beaten up.

  740. #743 CrypticLife
    July 9, 2008

    Well of course the crackers have to be gluten-free. Glutteny is one of the seven deadly sins, right?

  741. #744 Longtime Lurker
    July 9, 2008

    To Evolving Squid
    “But in your specific example, why should calling someone “nigger faggot” and beating them up more of a crime than beating them up because it’s Wednesday?”

    Gotta back up GrammarRWA and Glenn’s position here. In the case of the first beating, the intent of the beating is to intimidate the black and gay community (or both black and gay communities), it’s not an isolated incident. The second example is merely an example of someone’s particular derangement.

    “I happen to think it is unreasonable to consider a crime greater simply because the perpetrator has some irrational dislike of the victim.”

    It is not the irrational dislike of the victim, it is the irrational dislike of an entire demographic, and the systematic attempt to sow fear in all members of that population.

    As far as beating people up because it’s Wednesday, I am all for it, although I just haven’t had enough time lately to go to the dojo for some whup-and-be-whupped.

  742. #745 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    Way to miss the point. Explain to me how stating that everyone should be treated equally means that I think it’s OK for people to be discriminated against. Get back to me when you want to some make sense.

    Look, dumbass, we agree, in the abstract, that “everyone should be treated equally.” The difference between us is, you fold your arms and say with conviction “everyone should be treated equally,” and the matter is resolved as far as you are concerned, whereas, I am saying, given that everyone patently is not being treated equally, certain steps are necessary to advance society as a whole to that end. Moreover, you didn’t simply state that “everybody should be treated equally,” you said “There should be no special protections for particular groups.”

    If you would care to make some sense, explain to me how this would not eliminate equal-opportunity employment laws, for instance.

    Protections for particular groups are how we attempt to mandate that all are in fact treated equally in a society where many simply don’t want to treat everyone equally, and will not, unless there is some penalty for not doing so.

  743. #746 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    Well of course the crackers have to be gluten-free. Glutteny is one of the seven deadly sins, right?

    Rim shot

  744. #747 JoJo
    July 9, 2008

    However providing special punishments for discriminating against one group over another is not a characteristic of equality and fairness.

    Motivation has always been a matter in determining the seriousness of a crime. Killing someone accidentally is a lesser crime than killing them with intent. In a similar way, if I assault someone because that particular person pissed me off by being a jerk, then I am not guilty of a hate crime. If I assault someone because they’re black or gay or whatever and either solely or mainly because of this distinction, then I am guilty of a hate crime. It all comes down to motivation, which is a proper subject for legal consideration.

  745. #748 Tulse
    July 9, 2008

    AaronF, hate crimes are essentially terrorism. If you don’t believe in hate crimes, you can’t believe in terrorists crimes either.

  746. #749 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    Useful link there, BDC (#746).
    However, in the interest of musical pedantry, I feel it incumbent upon myself to point out that that is not, in fact, a recording of a rimshot sensu stricto. I believe it is instead a flam followed by a cymbal crash. However, IANARD.

  747. #750 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    Glenn,

    No, not you but Grammar. You’ve been very pleasant.

    In any case, my main objection is this:

    If a white guy kills a hispanic guy because he thinks he’s a jerk, or he slept with his wife, no hate crime.

    However, if he kills him because he’s hispanic, that’s way worse and so therefore he deserves extra punishment.

    So what we have is a special punishment for crimes against people based on who they are and whether or not you harbor ill feelings toward that particular group of people. In the scenario above, I don’t think either case is worse then the other. At the end of the day, a man killed another man because he disliked him. Whatever the source of that dislike is, is irrelevant.

  748. #751 kryptonic
    July 9, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp #740

    must.resist.altarboy joke
    oops

    I was an altarboy.
    Once, the priest let me watch when he put his wafer in the tabernacle.

  749. #752 mgroves
    July 9, 2008

    This just furthers my idea that Catholics have to start making terrorists attacks if they want something done. Comedy Central didn’t think twice about showing Jesus pooping everywhere, but show 2 seconds of Muhammed on TV and OMG RELIGIOUS HATE CRIME!

  750. #753 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    It all comes down to motivation,

    JoJo, I think focusing only on motivation is counterproductive to helping people understand hate crime legislation.

    If, in some parallel universe, those crimes classified as hate crimes really did not affect anyone in the community except the victim, then there would be at least a halfway decent argument that the laws are unfair, addressing only “thought crimes.” This fantasy land is where AaronF and Evolving Squid live, apparently.

    When you don’t focus on the community-wide effects that hate crimes have, you run the risk of letting the right wing define the terms of the debate. If you let it really all come down to motivation, then they’re winning the debate. We’ve got to focus on intent and effect.

  751. #754 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    AaronF, #750: Whatever the source of that dislike is, is irrelevant.

    I for one think it is relevant when hispanic kids are afraid to play in the local playground, when a hispanic teenager is too afraid to go out to a movie in the evening, or when a hispanic is just plain nervous when she goes to bed about what may happen that night.

    Taking into account the overall effects of an action also is a long legal tradition, just like taking into account intent.

  752. #755 Adrienne
    July 9, 2008

    mgroves @752:

    This just furthers my idea that Catholics have to start making terrorists attacks if they want something done.

    Yes, of course, because the world absolutely needs more religiously motivated violence and terrorism.

  753. #756 j
    July 9, 2008

    Bwahaha I just talked to an aquaintance who is Southern Baptist YEC. The wafer theft brouhaha made him aware of the RCC belief in actual transubstantiation. His classic response? “Man, those Catholics believe in some fucked up shit!”. He was completely oblivious to the irony. It’s bad when the Southern Baptists claim to be more rational.

  754. #757 Greg Stras
    July 9, 2008

    There will never be a civilized country in this world as long as religion is around to keep it medievil.
    I hope this case goes to court. Then the entire country will see how ridiculous religious is.

  755. #758 Eric Paulsen
    July 9, 2008

    Hate Crime is just another word for terrorism. Beating, torturing,then hanging a black man from a tree or a gay teen from a fence is just as much about the message to the “rest of them” as it is an attack on that individual. If their only crime is who they are, who they love, or how they look (for a few examples) then to attack them is to advance terrorism.

  756. #759 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    However, if he kills him because he’s hispanic, that’s way worse and so therefore he deserves extra punishment.

    So what we have is a special punishment for crimes against people based on who they are and whether or not you harbor ill feelings toward that particular group of people.

    Again you lie, you scurrilous motherfucker.

    What we have is a punishment for the separate crime of trying to intimidate the Hispanic community.

    This has been pointed out to you multiple times now (693, 734, 741, 742) and you fail to even address the point. That can’t just be stupidity.

    You are clearly a dishonest player.

  757. #760 Tulse
    July 9, 2008

    what we have is a special punishment for crimes against people based on who they are

    So there shouldn’t be special laws regarding killing police officers, for example? Such crimes should be treated as simple murder for the purpose of charging and sentencing?

  758. #761 Kagehi
    July 9, 2008

    Ok.. Not going to read every comment. Too damn many. Just going to make one comment. If you ever wanted to make a poster expressing the stupidity of this BS, or if someone wanted to make a, “How Catholics are nuts”, blog, I think what is needed is a 1950s style propaganda poster showing a communist or terrorist pointing a machine gun at a communion wafer. I am sure the appropriate title could be come up with for its caption too, but my brain is still trying to recover from the original article, so I can’t think of anything that doesn’t involve things like, stupid/insane/WTF/’its just a fracking cracker’, none of which has quite the right “feel” to express the sort of paranoid stupidity in those old posters.

  759. #762 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan #702 wrote:

    It’s one thing to have principles. It’s quite another not to allow room for those who have different ones. The latter is what makes it “fundamentalism”.

    Damien at #717 said something like I wanted to say:

    “Namecalling does not prevent disagreement. In fact, I would say that it is a pretty clear sign that you are being disagreed with.”

    Arguments and nay-saying (even when mean or rude) are not really attempts to squash or forbid dissent. On the contrary, they’re requirements for all criticism and discussion, and an invitation to dissent. “I think you are wrong, and here is why I think you are wrong (you asshole)” assumes — rather ironically — an underlying respect for the other person, because, technically, it’s an attempt to persuade them, as another rational person of roughly similar capacity, to change their minds. It only works from a common ground.

    In other words, you’re one of us because we are yelling at you, telling you you’re wrong — and waiting to hear what you have to say to THAT. Our turn, your turn, our turn, then yours. Till one side gives up, gets tired, or has to do something real in the Real World. Or says “ok, that’s a fair point.”

    Being allowed room to express yourself doesn’t mean your beliefs are off limits, sacred, or accepted. No, you’ve been given room to have your say in the debate. It seems to me that a “fundamentalist” requirement that everyone have the same mindset means that debate is NOT allowed. You’re one of us, or else you’re kicked, vanquished, shut down, shut up, and expelled — politely or not. No turns. No arguments. No name-calling or insults. No disagreement. Only the sound of one hand clapping.

    Frankly, I see nothing dogmatic in the inflexible insistence that atheists must NOT believe in God. That seems rather like the inflexible insistence that Christians MUST believe in Jesus (in some sense, at least), or that Expert Woolen-Mitten Knitters MUST know how to knit woolen mittens. It’s definitional, not really a matter of force. Telling you why you ought to be an atheist, a Christian, or learn to knit woolen mittens isn’t force either.

  760. #763 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    Good point, mgroves (#752). Maybe you should go make that point at a website where people are saying that showing Muhammad on TV is a hate crime.

  761. #764 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008

    But people already pay extra to have corpses buried instead of cremated. And if you have paid for a burial, and the body is cremated instead, that’s a breach of contract. People may consider this an especially bad breach of contract because of the religious aspect, but there’s no automatic deference for beliefs in the handling of corpses.

    I agree that there’s a point of disanalogy in whether there’s an explicit contract. I do think that religious beliefs would be considered highly in any damages awarded due to an unwanted creation of a body meant to be buried. The value of the body is determined by the beliefs on its owner and/or heirs, not the beliefs of the person it’s entrusted to.

    Likewise, I think that priests handing out communion wafers to apparent Catholics have a reasonable expectation that they can “entrust” something sacred to any participant in that “sacred” ritual. The transfer of physical possession in a sacred ritual doesn’t mean that its value and proper treatment are solely up to the recipient.

    (Keep in mind that Catholics think that the Host is a person, in a distributed form. It has rights too. That’s stupid, of course, but that’s what determines what’s a reasonable expectation of what someone will do when “given” a “wafer” in Catholic communion. It’s kind of like giving somebody a puppy; usually there’s an implied agreement that you won’t torture it, and if it appears that somebody is likely to torture it, it’s reasonable to demand it back.)

    I don’t think that an explicit contract is necessary in this case. Pretty much everybody knows that it’s a religious ritual and there’s a special significance to the “Host,” and even somebody ignorant of that can be expected to follow the rules once they’re pointed out. If you’re told to swallow the Host or give it back, you should—their house, their rules. You don’t have to understand or agree with the logic of those rules, but you are still obliged to follow them.

    Likewise, no court is going to agree that a communion wafer used in a Catholic mass is just food, and that the priest just gave it away.

    Again, your “likewise” is problematic. When you accept the wafer, do you also accept a contract to handle the wafer in a certain way?

    Legally, I don’t know. I am not a lawyer. But I think that pretty much everybody in this discussion knows that the Host is a Big Deal to Catholics, and that if told to swallow or surrender it, they “should” by the Catholic rules.

    It’s a touchy gray area because it’s a religious thing. If Cook hadn’t given the cracker back, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had gone to court and a court ruled he had to give it back and that taking it in the first place was a violation of the civil rights of the Catholics.

    Worse, if the courts didn’t rule that, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a spate of laws classifying it that way, making it specifically illegal to do what he did—spelling out the assumed implicit polite agreement as legally an implied contract—and I wouldn’t be surprised if the courts upheld such laws.

    Again, IANAL and I would be interested in what a Church/State lawyer would say, but here’s my reasoning:

    Suppose we had a rash of such events, as a lot of people in this thread seem to want, and the Courts did not rule in favor of the Catholics’ right to enforce their rules. Suppose they ruled that there’s no law against it, and no reasonable expectation that people politely follow rules and directions if there’s no law.

    Catholics who (wrongly) believe the Host is a big deal and that such actions have grave consequences would feel forced to protect the Host from non-Catholic infiltrators, heretical Catholics who disagree, etc.

    They might, for example, make everybody sign in and show ID before getting communion, to make the contract explicit and legally enforceable. They might station somebody there by the communion rail to watch each communicant (?) and ensure that they did put the wafer in their mouths and appear to swallow, and then make them open their mouths and show that they weren’t holding it there.

    That would be ridiculous, but given their constitutionally protected right to believe their nonsense, it would be a reasonable consequence of that unreasonable belief. We can’t expect them to believe such crap and not act like they believe it.

    That scenario would clearly create an extra hurdle for Catholics’ exercise of their religion.

    I would expect the Courts to see that, and say that no, it’s not fair to put Catholics in that position—having to pollute their religious ceremonies with onerous enforcement tactics reminiscent of blowjob porn—and that it is more reasonable to expect people participating in Catholic rituals to abide by Catholic rules and directions.

    Much of that applies to non-religious situations as well. If you go to a private party, the host can throw you out for failure to abide by their rules even if those rules are unreasonable. With few exceptions, attendance is a privilege, not a right. And I think that if you take something “given” under false pretenses, they can make you give it back before you leave.

    That last part may be a gray area, but I would expect the courts to side with the Church. To a nonbeliever, it’s just a free cracker, and a notoriously bad one at that. To a believer, it’s the body of God and something they must protect from desecration. The court can’t decide who’s right on the point of fact, but can decide who has a more compelling interest, given that the fact cannot be established.

    The only reason a nonbeliever has for being very attached to that particular free lousy cracker is to interfere with its intended function, and accepting that as a compelling interest would put an undue burden on the Church.

  762. #765 travc
    July 9, 2008

    Wow, just wow…

    There is a fun art idea in this… buy a bunch of wafers from the manufacturer and build a life-sized ‘Corpus Christi’ out of them. Maybe add some prominent bite marks / missing bits as homage to all the Catholics out there.

    A companion piece which would be slightly less fun to make but pretty effective message wise… buy a whole lot of wafers, and eat only them (take vitamins and do it in runs of a few days at a time with a normal diet between), collecting your feces. You can guess what to do next ;)

  763. #766 AaronF
    July 9, 2008

    Grammar RWA:

    You act as if hate crimes are the only crimes that effect a community. All violent acts affect the entire community. If there is a rapist at large in the community, that makes women feel unsafe. If there are a rash of armed robberies in a community, that also affects many people. There are a lot of crimes that psychologically effect a community. As far as I’m concerned, a rapist or murderer at large has just as much negative impact on a community as a white supremacist who attacks hispanics (or more because they can attack anyone). I don’t see how the white supremacist should deserve any extra punishment than a rapist or murderer who is indiscriminate.

    If you hate people who drive Mustangs, and murder a Mustang owner, that terrorizes other Mustang owners. Is that a hate crime?

    If a poor person murders a rich person because they hate rich people, is that a hate crime?

    You can hate people for all sorts of reasons. I don’t see as how hating someone for one reason should deserve any extra punishment than hating someone for another reason. It’s an argument based on emotion rather than reason. Hate crimes legislation, while well intentioned, exists to make people feel good rather than to address and solve the problems of racism, sexism, and other kinds of prejudices.

  764. #767 Goldfish08
    July 9, 2008

    This is so freak’n sad that this even made news! A college student holds a cracker hostage and gets death threats! As Newman (on Seinfeld) would say, “oh, the humanity!!!”.

    I do remember taking communion as a teenager and young adult and I distinctly remember the preacher making it a very scary event. He would literally have the young & naive (me at the time) scared shitless to eat the damn cracker. Because apparently, you are “accountable” for even the unknowable sin you’ve commited…oh, and if you aren’t sincere enough in repentance you may STILL be struck down when the cracker hits your tongue!

    I wasn’t Catholic, I was Pentecostal. Same bullshit…but crazier.

    It would get so freaking intense that people would be crying and wailing in repentance in line to get the cracker! And the line was so freaking long with over 700 people in the church, so by the time it was your turn you were a freaking nervous wreck!

    Those were high stress times…I’m so glad it’s over!

  765. #768 JoJo
    July 9, 2008

    Grammar,

    I agree with you that the effects of thought crimes are more important than distinguishing thought crimes from other crimes. However, there are large numbers of people, like AaronF, who think “hate crimes are thought crimes.” The point is they’re right but there’s a major caveat.

    The motivation for a crime is a thought process. Therefore, the motivational difference between murder and manslaughter means that murder is a thought crime. The rightists have it right. Hate crimes are thought crimes. However, thought crimes have been part of the Anglo-American legal system for centuries.

    Once we show that the phrase “thought crime” is a meaningless objection, then we can discuss the effects of hate crimes.

  766. #769 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    mgroves@752
    Have you noticed that this thread is about someone taking a cracker he’d been give out of a church, and some Catholics are yelling “religious hate crime”? No? then you’re an idiot. Yes? Then you’re an idiot and a bigot.

  767. #770 shyster
    July 9, 2008

    You want an example or a hate crime?
    Well, I’ll give you an example from #571: “Pastafarianism is and was a joke. It made a point, but it’s a joke.”
    ” Would you really get offended if someone palmed your meatballs? Unless it’s your real meatballs, who cares.”

    I care #571.
    It is my rite to care and who the hell are you to call my faith a joke? If I were to worship a god who became a man so that he could die for our sins and rise from the dead — now that would be a joke.
    The FSM is a living, breathing plate of holy pasta. May he smack you with his angel hair and blind you with his pesto. Can I get a ramen?

  768. #771 Longtime Lurker
    July 9, 2008

    mgroves @752:

    You said it, brother, because everyone knows that there have never been any Catholic terrorist groups.

    Scuttering gobshite!

  769. #772 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    Wow, toujoursdan must have been overclocking the old Tic Tac:

    Fundamentalist atheism is just as obnoxious as fundamentalist Christianity, IMO.

    Every time I encounter the facile equivalence, the slapstick and squirting flower gag that’s supposed to leave us all rolling in the aisles as the punchline of a first post, I get out my popcorn in anticipation of some classic pratfalls and other time-wizened routines from students of Doctor Whiteface and The Guild of Fools and Joculators and College of Clowns, and toujoursdan doesn’t disappoint.

    In response to this rather helpful unpacking of the only thing that atheists agree about mostly (although it’s as much of a subject for argument as any other): Being an atheist just means you don’t believe that there’s a god, toujoursdan tries to redefine atheists as hidebound fundamentalist ideologues with this one right out of the old call and response handbook:

    Which is a principle, is it not?

    Well, no, it is not; you must be thinking of theism, which begins with the premise that there is a god. The statement that there is no god is not similarly a premise, but a conclusion, as provisional and subject to revision upon the receipt of new and compelling evidence as any other parsimonious empirical description of nature.

    I guess people can bend words any way they want but an ideology is simply an unprovable set of beliefs. One can’t prove there is no god any more than one can prove there is a god.

    Doesn’t anybody ever point noobs to the FAQs anymore? “Science doesn’t do proof.” [pause beat beat beat] “Proof is for liquor and math.”

  770. #773 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    It is my rite to care

    A pun?

  771. #774 Chiroptera
    July 9, 2008

    AaronF, #766: It’s an argument based on emotion rather than reason.

    That’s pretty much what I think of your posts. It probably is true that at least one of us isn’t reasoning properly.

  772. #775 Dean Booth
    July 9, 2008

    I went to Catholic school for 9 years and have two communion stories:

    * In the first grade after I received communion and returned to my pew, the host stuck to the roof of my mouth. I reached in with a finger to peel it off. A nearby nun grabbed me, and rushed me back to the sacristy to a special holy sink with holy water faucets. She washed my hands and had me gargle!

    * In the eighth grade, the teacher told us a story of a man who ran out of the church with the host in his mouth, took it out, and stomped on it. It *bled* on the sidewalk!!!11eleven!

  773. #776 Cardinal S
    July 9, 2008

    Lesson to be learned here, when you are kneeling before a priest, you better swallow what he gives you.

  774. #777 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    However, in the interest of musical pedantry, I feel it incumbent upon myself to point out that that is not, in fact, a recording of a rimshot sensu stricto. I believe it is instead a flam followed by a cymbal crash. However, IANARD.

    You know I never really thought about it but you’re right. That is in no way a “rim shot”

  775. #778 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    According to Wikipedia (man, am I procrastinating), these percussive punctuations to humor are properly called a “sting”.

  776. #779 JeffreyD
    July 9, 2008

    Oh, so is really is just a cracker. Silly me, I thought the blessing at the end of mass was pax nobiscum, but apparently it is pax nabisco.

    Anyway wanna buy any consecrated taco shells? They are a little past their use by date.

    Ciao y’all

  777. #780 Dave
    July 9, 2008

    toujoursdan@702:

    I DID express disagreement and people called me an idiot for doing so.

    Im sorry, thats not evidence of atheist fundamentalism, that is evidence that youre on the Internet! Congratulations, your ISP works, now quit whinging.

  778. #781 Ragutis
    July 9, 2008

    Are you a dogmatic a-Thorist[...]?

    Yes. If you want me to believe, show me a trailer and an official release date. FFS, they haven’t even cast any-effing-one yet!

  779. #782 Ken Cope
    July 9, 2008

    Windy OM at #696

    …someone who’s obviously Neil B. skulking anonymously around on Sandwalk, shilling his misunderstood version of modal realism again.

    After the shellacking he was administered here, it’s no wonder he doesn’t want anybody to know he’s Neil B.

  780. #783 Marcus Ranum
    July 9, 2008

    cicely writes:
    Respect for those people holding this belief is one thing. Respect for the irrational belief (which they are fully entitled to hold) or their hysterical over-reactions (which have the potential of causing harm to others), is a different thing altogether.

    How can anyone in their right mind respect someone who holds such ridiculous beliefs? Especially if they claim that those ridiculous beliefs are what they build their life around?

    Pointing and giggling makes sense but respect? Out of the question.

  781. #784 Paul Lundgren
    July 9, 2008

    Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.

    You’re out of line, Dr. Myers.

    The idea, in case you’ve forgotten, is to point out the illogical and irrational stupidity of the right-wing-nuts in the Catholic Church, NOT to try to out-do them and make us look bad as a consequence! My best friend on Earth is a Catholic, and I can assure you, he’s as disgusted by these hysterics as anyone.

    I’m having a rough enough time convincing my Catholic family that being an atheist doesn’t make me a puppy-killer without YOU trying to attack the Church’s own rituals.

    And don’t forget: attacking an organization’s rituals in this way only strengthens their determination, because you’re playing into their hands in terms of persecution. They thrive on that. Hammer them on how unchristian they are being by threatening this kid with death, and leave it at that.

  782. #785 windy
    July 9, 2008

    Paul W:

    Keep in mind that Catholics think that the Host is a person, in a distributed form. It has rights too.

    But it doesn’t legally have personal rights! If the question went to court, wouldn’t you expect them to decide that the wafer isn’t legally a person?

    It’s kind of like giving somebody a puppy; usually there’s an implied agreement that you won’t torture it, and if it appears that somebody is likely to torture it, it’s reasonable to demand it back.

    Torturing a puppy is illegal in any case. It’s not at all clear that you can reasonably demand back a puppy that you have sold or given away, if the new owner does a legal thing you don’t approve of. Usually an explicit contract is signed in such cases and even so, such contracts are not necessarily legally binding (like Microsoft’s EULA arguably isn’t in many countries).

    I would expect the Courts to see that, and say that no, it’s not fair to put Catholics in that position—having to pollute their religious ceremonies with onerous enforcement tactics reminiscent of blowjob porn—and that it is more reasonable to expect people participating in Catholic rituals to abide by Catholic rules and directions.
    Much of that applies to non-religious situations as well. If you go to a private party, the host can throw you out for failure to abide by their rules even if those rules are unreasonable.

    Yes, Catholics can block Cook from their rites from now on, and hosts can ask you to leave for chewing with your mouth open or some such minor offense. In each case, enforcement of onerous rules falls on those who insist on the rules, not on society as a whole.

  783. #786 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    Yes. If you want me to believe, show me a trailer and an official release date. FFS, they haven’t even cast any-effing-one yet!

    As long as they don’t cast Jim Carey as Loki.

    Loki, coolest mythical guy ever.

  784. #787 ChrisKG
    July 9, 2008

    Ok, can I sell crackers on eBay and claim they are “Jesus in the flesh”?

    If the standard is so low that a simple claim of authenticity is enough, then anything could be claimed (slippery slope).

    Alternatively, if eBay rejects my claim, then we know that the Catholic Church standards are lower than that of an online consignment/auction house. Could I fight back in court if rejected? If not, then there is no case for the other side as well. Can a cracker be a victim of a crime? Can a food, uneaten, be subjected to “hate”?

    What the hell is going on here?

    Sigh……

  785. #788 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    I think Paul W. (at #764, etc.) has been doing a very good job arguing against Webster Cook’s act by using the objectively neutral ideals of contract law, and more or less avoiding the whole concept of sacrilege or blasphemy — and I think I more or less agree with him. Technically, the kid shouldn’t have done it, and NOT because it hurts the poor feelings of the Catholics. You could agree that Cook was wrong to steal the wafer, and still think he could and should stand outside the church with picket signs and anti-theist tracts from FFRF and make the Papists wail and gnash their teeth. There’s another principle involved, a more important one, having to do with basic duty and obligation in private situations.

    This whole area of implied contract in religion vs. right to protest religion is an interesting one. I was just over at Dispatches From the Culture Wars reading about the Church of Scientology and the shit-fit they threw when their sacred, secret, top-tier tenets were going to be opened to public scrutiny in a court case. They were open, then shut — but not quickly enough to avoid being caught and broadcast on the internet, where it was revealed that the Big, Deep, Dark SECRET KNOWLEGE available only to the highest enlightened initiates in Scientology is that our bodies are inhabited by thousands of alien souls, all banished to earth hundreds of millions of years ago by Xenu, the Galactic Overlord.

    That defiant act of publication (against the law, btw) resulted in Scientology’s exposure as a major piece of bullshit — even as religions go. In a sense, I suspect that Cook’s act of defiance — while also wrong — had a similar intention. Betray a trust in order to open something to the clear light of day and reason, so that it might be scrutinized in a forum not obscured or blinded by mystery and hoopla and sense of the sacred.

    So yeah, Paul; he shouldn’t have done it. Granted, and point taken. But, for me at least, it’s still a bit like the rude and crude exposure of Scientology. There are some critical differences, but, when all is said and done, it’s been made up by a science fiction writer, and it’s just a frackin’ goddamn cracker, too.

  786. #789 Paul Johnson
    July 9, 2008

    I could totally get you one. My mom is even a eucharistic minister (of course this doesn’t actually help very much). The only problem is that i would have to go back to that church and that is completely not worth it.

  787. #790 Moses
    July 9, 2008

    I guess people can bend words any way they want but an ideology is simply an unprovable set of beliefs. One can’t prove there is no god any more than one can prove there is a god.

    An old, tired canard.

    Each and every person is born an atheist. A culturally sanctioned delusion, different in many cultures, is poured into the head of the unsuspecting child.

    Years later, one of them says exactly what you’re saying. “You can’t prove there is no god.”

    Dude, I, nor anyone else is required to prove god does not exist. It is wholly incumbent on you to prove that he/she/it does.

    And you can’t.

    Ever.

    Put on the proof.

    So, put on proof or shut the fuck up with the sophomoric, no I’m too kind, kindergarten logic.

    As for an ideology, you don’t need religion or belief in superstition to have an ideology. Nor does an ideology have to be based on religion and calling an ideology a religion does not make it so (see wishful thinking).

    Marxism is an ideology. Capitalism is an ideology. Science, through the “scientific method, is, in fact, an ideology. Post-Modernism is an ideology, as is Modernism. Economics is full of ideologies: “Fair Trade,” “Mercantilism,” “Classical,” “Austrian,” “Liazze-Faire (in multiple sub-genres),” etc.

    None of these are religions. None of these force you to believe in the supernatural. About many of these, many people get quite impassioned. They may all suffer, to a greater or lesser extent, from various dogmatic characteristics.

    There are many more ideologies than these. And your fallacious assertion that they can’t be proven/shown to be true misses the mark. TO the point that your assertion is laughably niave.

    As if you’re throwing shit against the wall, hoping that with all the inanities spewn, something will stick and allow you to “win” an argument.

  788. #791 Woozle
    July 9, 2008

    To the extent that he “shouldn’t have done it”, the appropriate punishment should be at most banishment from the Church. (If he so badly wants to stay in the Church that he’s willing to accept some greater punishment in lieu of banishment, that’s up to him — but I don’t think that any such deal has been offered.)

    If the Church had reacted more calmly, perhaps sending a polite request to please return the sacred biscuit of Antioch, his action would have been more of a childish prank. To the extent that the Church’s overreaction reveals the depth of their insane devotion to dogma, however, he has done us a great service and his potentially childish prank is very much redeemed.

  789. #792 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    PZ wrote:
    I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare.

    Actually, I’ll agree with Paul Lundgren (#784) that I’d rather not see PZ pee on a consecrated wafer or whatever he’s thinking of doing.

    I think he’s too old for that kind of thing. It’s so angry-teenage athIEst with a hammer and a Bible. I prefer arguments that cut into the basic theology like a surgeon’s scalpel.

  790. #793 windy
    July 9, 2008

    I think Paul W. (at #764, etc.) has been doing a very good job arguing against Webster Cook’s act by using the objectively neutral ideals of contract law, and more or less avoiding the whole concept of sacrilege or blasphemy — and I think I more or less agree with him.

    I appreciate his effort too, but I don’t think he has been entirely convincing. There are many such unstated informal contracts in society, but it’s not clear that they are legally binding. If there’s a convincing argument from contract law, let’s hear it without recourse to completely different situations like torturing a puppy (illegal) or an undertaker cremating a corpse without permission (breach of contract?).

  791. #794 Andreas Mueller
    July 9, 2008

    German atheists humbly support you, dear PZ.
    http://hpd.de/node/4978

    I just hope you won’t get too many holy crackers. Maybe if more people took part in this cracker abuse thing…

  792. #795 shyster
    July 9, 2008

    Sven@773, as wit most comments of that nature, the answer is both yes and know.

  793. #796 ndt
    July 9, 2008

    Sastra, that was a well-written and thoughtful post, and I completely and utterly disagree with you. Cook did not do anything wrong. As soon as the priest handed him the wafer, it becamse Cook’s possession, to eat, walk home with, or throw in the trash as he saw fit.

  794. #797 StuV
    July 9, 2008

    Paul Lundgren,

    You’re out of line, Dr. Myers.

    Who the hell are you to decide this?

    The idea, in case you’ve forgotten, is to point out the illogical and irrational stupidity of the right-wing-nuts in the Catholic Church, NOT to try to out-do them and make us look bad as a consequence!

    No, I think we missed that memo. When did you write it? Oh, and by the way: who’s “us”? Concern Trolls, Inc.?

    My best friend on Earth is a Catholic, and I can assure you, he’s as disgusted by these hysterics as anyone.

    Well, either he believes in transsubstantiation and should be as outraged as these clowns are, or he does not and is a shitty Catholic.

    I’m having a rough enough time convincing my Catholic family that being an atheist doesn’t make me a puppy-killer without YOU trying to attack the Church’s own rituals.

    Ah. Friendly tip: nobody gives a shit.

    And don’t forget: attacking an organization’s rituals in this way only strengthens their determination, because you’re playing into their hands in terms of persecution.

    Playing nice has gotten atheists SO far, right?

  795. #798 themadlolscientist
    July 9, 2008

    OK, maybe it’s not quite an idol, but the idea’s the same.

    Ah yes, good old idolatry. In his book The Reason-Driven Life (in which he TEWTALY PWNZORZ Rick Warren and the whole Purpose-Driven Fundy Dementedist Zombie Army with his +666 Intelligence and Excellent Wit), Bob Price “The Bible Geek” refers to the Bible as “This Paper Idol.”

    It was so gratifying to hear him say publicly what I’ve been saying privately for decades……….

  796. #799 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    windy #794:

    Hmm. What about “I’m the Pink Mitten Lady, and I’m giving out some free pink mitten wool to people who will make pink mittens out of it.” “Thanks. Now I’m going to knit me some socks.” “Then give it back.” “No — you gave it to me, and for free, so it’s mine to do with as I will. There’s nothing special about mittens.”

    ?

  797. #800 truth machine
    July 9, 2008

    Sastra writes nonsense:

    That defiant act of publication (against the law, btw)

    Ahem. The publication was in court records, by way of discovery — not at all “against the law”. And that’s hardly all you don’t know about Scientology.

  798. #801 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008
    Keep in mind that Catholics think that the Host is a person, in a distributed form. It has rights too.

    But it doesn’t legally have personal rights! If the question went to court, wouldn’t you expect them to decide that the wafer isn’t legally a person?

    I wouldn’t expect the court to rule that the Host has rights or is more than just a wafer. I’d expect them to be as silent as possible on that subject. If forced,I’d expect them to say that they can’t take such religious ideas as fact claims, so the host does not legally have personal rights.

    I would expect them to say that within the context of a Catholic ritual, Catholics are allowed not only to believe that the Host is much more than a cracker, but to act accordingly. (Up to some reasonable point they’d mumble about and hope they never have to make clear.) In particular, Cook has no reasonable expectation that they won’t lay hands on him if he refuses a direct order to swallow the thing or give it back—either to get it away from him, or to keep him there until the cops come and take it away from him. That amount of force is justified in dealing with an uncooperative guest.

    In the politest, most neutral, value-free way possible, they’d say that maybe the Catholics are crazy about transubstantiation—the court can’t decide—but if he didn’t want to deal with people to act all crazy about a cracker, he shouldn’t have gone to a party for crazy people, where the focal event is people acting all crazy about a cracker.

    That would open up a big scary gray area of what exactly the Catholics could have gotten away with, trying to stop him, but I think they’d go at least far enough to find them of battery for grabbing him and trying to pry his fingers open.

    (If I were the judge, I’d say that if they want to be excused for doing anything more than that—say, hitting him—they should have much better security, and make the rules and potential penalties much clearer ahead of time.)

    Yes, Catholics can block Cook from their rites from now on, and hosts can ask you to leave for chewing with your mouth open or some such minor offense. In each case, enforcement of onerous rules falls on those who insist on the rules, not on society as a whole.

    Only up to a point. If telling somebody to put down the cracker and leave doesn’t work, you can call the cops and use the courts.

    And if protecting your own civil liberties is too difficult or expensive, because there’s a pattern of people trying to violate your rights, you have the right to get the state to protect them for you.

    So, for example, if infiltrators regularly crashed and disrupted my local atheist group, stealing our stuff that has merely sentimental value, I’d ask for police protection, and I wouldn’t think I should have to pay for it.

    If people defrauding Catholics out of communion wafers is criminal, as it arguably is on several grounds, they have the right to have the police enforce their rules, at no cost to them. The police are supposed to protect law abiders from lawbreakers, without fee.

    I find it horrifying that crazy folks have the constitutional right to get the police to protect their crackers against the occasional filching, and to jail people who try to trick them out of a single cracker here or there, but in this case, I think that’s the bottom line. Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe crazy stuff and to act crazy and demand that others do, too, in certain contexts—and it is the government’s job to protect that bizarre freedom.

  799. #802 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 9, 2008

    And that’s hardly all you don’t know about Scientology.

    Are (were) you a member?

  800. #803 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    In my Shiny New Religion, the Holy Food is PEZ, and the presiding clergy can kick your ass if you chew it. I’m still working out some details, like what to call the presiding clergy; I’ve decided against “pederastics” and am presently leaning toward “PEZ dispensers.” But it’s all a work in progress. Tithing encouraged, all major credit cards accepted.

  801. #804 Siamang
    July 9, 2008

    “If the Eucharist is just a cracker, then the US Constitution is just a piece of parchment, ”

    Yes, and if someone was handing out Xerox copies of the Constitution or bumperstickers of the American flag on the steps of the capitol to all comers, would someone really incur news coverage, threat of legal action, charges of hate speech and death threats if he let it touch the floor?

  802. #805 Kenny P
    July 9, 2008

    From #30:
    “Uh … this brings whole new meaning to ‘biological ejaculations from a godless liberal’ ”

    Since we are on the subject of the Catholic church, as a
    lapsed Catholic, I still admire the religion of my upbringing for it’s ability to laugh at itself (except for the few who do take it too seriously).

    Go see the play “Nunsense” or “Late Nite Catechism” and the ones laughing the loudest are Catholics or lapsed Catholics.

    “Late Nite Catechism” is a play in which Sister gives the audience a refresher course in their Catholic upbringing.

    On of the questions she asks her audience is:

    What is an ejaculation?

    Then, after seeing this, I had to ask my very orthodox Catholic mother the same question. She answered (just like Sister) that an ejaculation is a short prayer.

    Indeed, one of the definitions in Webster for ejaculation is: “b. A brief pious utterance or prayer.”

    Sister would probably like Paul Zachary. “Such a lovely biblical name,” she would say.

  803. #806 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    by way of discovery

    I misstated that. But the materials were entered into the court record, and thus publication by the LA Times and across the internet was not “against the law, btw”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishman_Affidavit

  804. #807 Prof MTH
    July 9, 2008

    Jesus’s body is rather bland. He should have smothered it in cream cheese with a cucumber garnish.

  805. #808 Dennis
    July 9, 2008

    “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

    While I don’t know what it would be like to have a loved one kidnapped, perhaps the parents of Edgardo Mortara could have enlightened the Catholics on the subject.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgardo_Mortara

  806. #809 CJO
    July 9, 2008

    Paul W.
    …and demand that others do, too, in certain contexts

    I’m with ya, man. Right up to there. Could Pentacostals demand of me that I handle a viper or be excluded from the premises? If not, what are the limits of this putative right?

  807. #810 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    truth machine #800 wrote:

    Ahem. The publication was in court records, by way of discovery — not at all “against the law”. And that’s hardly all you don’t know about Scientology.

    Okay; I thought that when records were “resealed” they weren’t supposed to be made public.

    And yeah, but I know more about Scientology than I like. New and disturbing levels of creepy (or, maybe, old levels not often seen today in weird combinations with the new.)

  808. #811 windy
    July 9, 2008

    Only up to a point. If telling somebody to put down the cracker and leave doesn’t work, you can call the cops and use the courts.

    Let’s say you have handed your guest a drink on the understanding that he toasts person X, he starts objecting loudly, you ask him to put down the drink and leave. He defiantly chugs it down instead and leaves. Has he “stolen” some of your booze?

    So, for example, if infiltrators regularly crashed and disrupted my local atheist group, stealing our stuff that has merely sentimental value, I’d ask for police protection, and I wouldn’t think I should have to pay for it.

    Where is the “regular” “crashing” and “stealing” in the current situation? If a single person abuses one of the free handouts from your atheist meeting, is that a legal matter?

  809. #812 themadlolscientist
    July 9, 2008

    I just ordered 1000 of the little bastards. I’m going to send them to P.Z. right after I consecrate them myself.

    What? I just as qualified as the next dude!

    Hey, if you wanted to make it official, you could go to one of those buy-a-diploma places. For a few bucks they’ll ordain you, 100% legal. My buddy’s brother did exactly that, specifically so he could officiate at his own son’s wedding a couple of months back. Damn, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that one!

  810. #813 James Hurley
    July 9, 2008

    PZ,
    I am only sorry that I didn’t see this sooner. Your blog is a breath of fresh air and funnnny. Your blogiters are each more riotous than the previous but the funniest of all are the church’s outraged members, priests, practitioners whatever. It is absolutely and without doubt a dang small piece of white bread through and through ironed flat by nuns who have no other purpose in life than to provide these bits of material to priests who say magic words over them and shazam, there’s the body o jesus.
    transubstantiation spamsubstantiation, its a cracker first last and always.
    I sincerely hope that Webster Cook substituted one that had not yet had the words spoken over it for the one that he swiped. If he didn’t thats the move PZ should make.
    To be serious for one moment we all should let the university know how we feel about doing anything to Webster short of giving him a medal. Punishment is not to be condoned. Maybe we have by writing these comments.
    Jim Hurley

  811. #814 windy
    July 9, 2008

    Hmm. What about “I’m the Pink Mitten Lady, and I’m giving out some free pink mitten wool to people who will make pink mittens out of it.” “Thanks. Now I’m going to knit me some socks.” “Then give it back.” “No — you gave it to me, and for free, so it’s mine to do with as I will. There’s nothing special about mittens.”

    Person knits socks, Pink Mitten Lady decides not to give that person any more yarn, problem solved?

  812. #815 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    Okay; I thought that when records were “resealed” they weren’t supposed to be made public.

    They were published before being sealed.

  813. #816 Sastra
    July 9, 2008

    windy #814:

    Person knits socks, Pink Mitten Lady decides not to give that person any more yarn, problem solved?

    NO! She is the Pink Mitten Lady and she specifically said the wool was for mittens! Not smelly socks.

    Give it back. To be unraveled, if necessary. Hmph.

  814. #817 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    P.S. From http://w2.eff.org/legal/cases/Scientology_cases/brinkema_rtc_washpost_112895.opinion :

    The day after the Post obtained its copy of the Fishman affidavit, the RTC applied for a sealing order and the trial judge ordered the file sealed. However, there is no evidence in the record that the judge ordered The Post to reurn the copy made by the Clerk’c office or that any kind of restraining order was issued by that court against The Post.

    Also, the Wikipedia article claims, quite erroneously, that “The U.S. Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that Arnie Lerma had violated the Church’s copyrights.” but

    Although the Court has serious reservations about whether the AT documents at issue in this litigation are properly copyrighted,
    for the purposes of this motion, the Court assumes that the RTC
    hold properly registered, valid copyrights for the AT documents
    attached to the Fishman affidavit.

    Although both sides have raised numerous additional issues, the essential analysis for the copyright claim comes down to these four factors. Based on this analysis, we find for the defentants [sic].

  815. #818 DominEditrix
    July 9, 2008

    My sister and I used to steal communion wafers from the sacristy and use them for teddy bear tea parties. My father never threatened us with eternal damnation, but did mandate that we take only the broken ones.

    I think he was just happy that we hadn’t got into the wine.

  816. #819 Paul W.
    July 9, 2008

    Sastra:

    So yeah, Paul; he shouldn’t have done it. Granted, and point taken. But, for me at least, it’s still a bit like the rude and crude exposure of Scientology. There are some critical differences, but, when all is said and done, it’s been made up by a science fiction writer, and it’s just a frackin’ goddamn cracker, too.

    I agree. I hate taking the Catholics’ side in saying they have the right to get the government to help them enforce crazy rules about a few crackers here and there.

    My main reason for posting is that I think these cases are similar in that if I’m right, they are acts of civil disobedience. They’re illegal.

    Civil disobedience is serious shit. If you are not up for going to jail, don’t do it. If you do it anyway, work really hard at not getting caught. And if you are caught, and don’t want to go to jail, give up right away—give them back the cracker, play dumb, and hope they forgive you rather than prosecuting you for fraud and civil rights violations.

    One difference between this and the Scientology thing is that revealing copyrighted scriptures is that for most people, the latter is an obviously Promethean act.

    Most people don’t like or trust Scientology, and don’t think it’s reasonable to have secret scriptures and protect the secrecy with copyright suits. Copyright law was never intended to protect religious cults that way.

    Most people can see that while that may have been a legal use of copyright law, it was really a loophole, and breaking the law with respect to that was just refusing to follow an unjust law.

    Most people can’t see that about filching sacred objects. It is no secret that the Catholic church tells people that crackers turn into Jesus, or that it’s an unfalsifiable claim. Stealing the crackers doesn’t reveal any new information—it’s just an attention-getting stunt, and it’s theft or something like that.

    Most people would see that as making us look very bad—being willing to resort to breaking the law for a cheap attention-getting stunt that gets attention by upsetting a lot of people.

    I think we should stay on this side of that line—sure, be “militant” in the sense of honest and outspoken about our views, like the New Atheists, but not militant in the more literal sense of taking the law into our own hands. That is not usually a good move for an unpopular minority.

    That said, I do think the Catholic Church has done plenty to deserve that sort of flagrant disrespect. If you teach people to worship crackers as God, you shouldn’t be surprised if occasionally people steal them and play with them, and make fun of you.

    On the whole, I think we should take the high road. We should ridicule their cracker fetish, but not crash their cracker-worship parties and steal their crackers.

    If some of us do steal the crackers, the rest of us should make it clear that we don’t approve of such actions… while nonethless finding it funny as hell that people care so much!

  817. #820 frog
    July 9, 2008

    The analysis of religious scriptures, beliefs and organizations in terms of contract law and copyrights is just way off the mark. You shouldn’t try to fit all objects into the same classes — churches shouldn’t have copyrights, and a religious ceremony is not a contractual situation.

    A church isn’t a business. It’s a church — the rules not only are different, but they should be very different. It makes even less sense to treat a church as a business as treating a university as a business (and the latter shouldn’t hold patents, either).

    This one size fits all world just sucks.

  818. #821 Julee
    July 9, 2008

    What exactly does Jesus taste like?

  819. #822 BlueIndependent
    July 9, 2008

    “…You can hate people for all sorts of reasons. I don’t see as how hating someone for one reason should deserve any extra punishment than hating someone for another reason. It’s an argument based on emotion rather than reason. Hate crimes legislation, while well intentioned, exists to make people feel good rather than to address and solve the problems of racism, sexism, and other kinds of prejudices.”

    There are huge differences you are missing. A serial murderer or rapist doesn’t necessarily “hate” their victim in the way a white supremacist hates people of other ethnic groups. Serial offenders do what they do at random, for entirely different reasons. A white Supremacist on the other hand is conditioned by dogma to act against ethnic groups that are not his or her own, but are otherwise performing members of society. That is why white supremacists killing a Hispanics, or gangs dragging gays behind vehicles, are committing hate crimes. The motives are obvious and well-known, and they are entirely anti-social, as it is one group’s member or members acting on those of another group. It has the potential for greater violence and unrest.

    Serial offenders are quite the opposite, and may kill or rape for entirely capricious reasons other than hate. Hate could be behind their psychological machinima for acting, but the motives for commission of their crimes are obtuse enough that it can’t be classified as a specific kind of hate. If a serial murderer goes on a spree and kills 34 long-haired brunette women before being caught, that could only technically be considered hate, if you stretched the definition a lot. But there’s no mass organization to hate women with long brown hair; it would be an individual sort of thing. Hating ethnic groups, sexual groups, and/or religious groups is far more public, visible and common around the world, and as such can be classified as “hate” for a number of reasons: it’s organized, it’s taught, it’s sanctioned (by illegitimate leadership), it’s written down. It has to do with ethnic, sexual, religious, etc. lines that have historically been drawn in a less civilized time, and now that this is the 21st century, we’d prefer it not happen for a number of perfectly ethical reasons.

    Hate crimes are different, whether the result of the committed act is the same as a less specific crime or not.

  820. #823 Jors
    July 9, 2008

    I was recently listening to Carl Sagan’s last speech to CSICOP. Near the end of the speech he made some comments which may be relevant to the topic at hand.

    http://libsyn.com/media/pointofinquiry/9-15-06.mp3

    You can also get it via the “Point of Inquiry” podcast. The speech starts at 51:45. To see what I’m getting at, fast forward to 1:36:15. Please consider listening to the whole speech before deciding that you disagree with Sagan.

  821. #824 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    the Wikipedia article claims, quite erroneously

    And now I’ve fixed it.

  822. #825 Nick Gotts
    July 9, 2008

    Julee@821,

    The piece of cod that passeth understanding?

  823. #826 frog
    July 9, 2008

    PaulW: it’s theft or something like that

    It’s not theft — not at all. It’s blasphemy — that’s what pissing the Catholics off, not some “theft”. He didn’t steal a candle, or vandalize a window, but took something that was freely given to him — and then broke the ritual.

    That’s the crux here — this isn’t like stealing documents from your boss, this is like what it is: saying “fuck Jesus”, or using holy water to wash your car, or declaring yourself a prophet in a mosque.

    It just sound silly trying to put this into a box in which it doesn’t belong, just because we like one kind of box, and dislike another.

  824. #827 ChrisKG
    July 9, 2008

    #821 What exactly does Jesus taste like?

    Posted by: Julee | July 9, 2008 6:41 PM

    I guess it depends on which end of the cracker you eat first. If it tastes like shit, flip it over.

    :)

  825. #828 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    he shouldn’t have done it

    I see no basis in ethics for that claim. I think not only that he should have done it, but that he shouldn’t have given the wafer back, and that more people should do it.

  826. #829 Sven DiMilo
    July 9, 2008

    The piece of cod that passeth understanding?

    so, like, bacala?

  827. #830 truth machine, OM
    July 9, 2008

    Most people can’t see that about filching sacred objects.

    Stop the dishonesty; no one “filched” anything. Cook was given the wafer to put in his mouth. He did put it in his mouth. Failing to swallow it isn’t theft.

  828. #831 Grammar RWA
    July 9, 2008

    Grammar RWA:

    You act as if hate crimes are the only crimes that effect a community.

    The word you’re looking for is “affect.” Anyway, I don’t think you’re going to get out of reading comprehension camp alive. “Hate crimes intimidate communities” is not at all equivalent to “only hate crimes intimidate communities.” I say the first and you claim I’ve said the second. Are you even capable of honest argumentation?

    If there is a rapist at large in the community, that makes women feel unsafe.

    The majority of rapes are about exerting power over a victim who the rapist views as inferior, and are in fact an important component of the patriarchal culture that seeks to control women. I would like to see more prosecutions of rapes as hate crimes.

    As far as I’m concerned, a rapist or murderer at large has just as much negative impact on a community as a white supremacist who attacks hispanics (or more because they can attack anyone).

    And when that indiscriminate murderer is put behind bars, the murder streak ends, and the community can rest again. It was an isolated case, not part of a wider system of oppression. The same does not apply to hate crimes. The threat persists even when one particular criminal is imprisoned. That’s why these crimes are more damaging.

    Look, if you’re so fucking dense that you can’t understand why a racially-motivated murder is worse than another, then imagine separating the hate crime into two crimes. Both murderers have taken a life, with all the suffering that entails for the victim’s family, friends, etc. That’s one crime each. The racist murderer has also made a threat against others in the victim’s community, the same as if he had written letters to them saying “I’m going to kill you.” Making those threats (like writing those letters) is also a crime, and a separate crime from the murder. The racially-motivated murderer has committed two crimes, and shall be punished for two crimes.

    Should you completely miss the fucking point again, and insist that both crimes are terrorizing a community, remember that just like manslaughter and murder, intent matters. There’s a difference between a perp who is deliberately choosing to threaten certain people, and one whose crimes are incidentally threatening.

    Hate crimes legislation, while well intentioned, exists to make people feel good rather than to address and solve the problems of racism, sexism, and other kinds of prejudices.

    That doesn’t explain why law enforcement groups endorse hate crime legislation though, like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National District Attorneys Association.

    Anyway, you aren’t willing to argue this honestly, so I’m done wasting time on you. It’s evident enough to the reader that you didn’t know what the fuck you were talking about, and didn’t care to be corrected. This isn’t about the facts for you, it’s about spreading your rhetoric.

    You lied when you said that under hate crime legislation, “hanging a black man [is] considered more heinous then hanging a white man”, and perps are “punished more for hurting a black or a hispanic over hurting a white or an asian”. It was then pointed out to you that this was complete bullshit, back in posts 733 and 734. And you’ve done nothing to acknowledge the correction. You didn’t know what you were talking about, and when you’re corrected, you don’t care; you just keep on running toward your shifting goalposts like you were never wrong (like a creationist).