Pharyngula

Write to UCF

I guess that since the Catholic League was unable to fire up a stake in Minnesota, they’re going to push for some success in Florida. Webster Cook has been impeached, and now look at this: his friend Benjamin Collard who was there but not involved in the heinous crime of not eating a cracker is being harassed by UCF.

“I tried to look at my class schedule,” Collard said. “There was a hold placed on my account that I couldn’t sign up for classes. I went to the office of Student conduct to see what was going on and they told me Catholic Campus Ministries filed charges against me.”

Collard learned that he has been charged with misconduct, disruptive conduct and giving false identification, the exact same charges as Webster.

“I never spoke to a university official, I never lied about who I was,” Collard added. “I never engaged in any disruptive conduct. I just think this is absolutely disgusting that they’re going after me.”

Because of the intolerance and superstition of the Catholic magisterium, two students are threatened with expulsion, suspension, or probation, and the University of Central Florida is going along with it. I find that absolutely disgusting, too. Don’t worry about me, we ought to be barraging the president of UCF with mail in protest. Would you want to send your kids to a university that is willing to cave in to blustering Bill Donohue and subject them to an ecclesiastically motivated witch hunt?

Comments

  1. #1 Kirkq
    July 26, 2008

    sent.

  2. #2 Damien
    July 26, 2008

    This is exactly why I’m happy you’re around, PZ, we need people taking the fight right back to the cowards’ doorsteps.

    I’m tired of having my beliefs disrespected every damn day, more desecration forthwith and verily!!

  3. #3 Keith B
    July 26, 2008

    Ungh, now I have to wipe the cobwebs from my brain and come up with a good letter in thirty minutes before I carry myself to work…

    What to say? What to say?

  4. #4 Nerd of Redhead
    July 26, 2008

    Sounds like Collard should contact the local ACLU office. I bet the school will cave quickly if contacted by a lawyer citing harassment of a student. The last thing they want to have to defend their actions in a courtroom.

  5. #5 Benajmin Franklin
    July 26, 2008

    I’ve been laughing for a week since I read that the person who originally brought forth the impeachment is named-

    Furbush.

    I will send a note to UCF and try to cc Furbush.

    this post brought to you by:

    .
    ChristOCrackers Caution- this product is not intended to be used as a merkin

    ..
    .

  6. #6 clinteas
    July 26, 2008

    Dont these people have any conscience or morals? Im not surprised a University would cave in,but those good catholics lying and causing grief to people in the name of jesus just disgust me.

  7. #7 Steve8282
    July 26, 2008

    Mail sent.

    Fuckers!!!

  8. #8 Kcanadensis
    July 26, 2008

    You know, I would have so much more respect for them if they had retracted this and said, “Hey, it’s okay, you made a mistake. Just don’t do it again.” You know, turn the other cheek and all that which is preached but never practiced. This is just mean-spirited. Vengeful hatred, even. I hope they know that they are showing everyone just what kind of people Catholics are- vicious and intolerant.

  9. #9 Zeno
    July 26, 2008

    You’d think that Christians would, as a rule, try harder to follow the supposed tenets of their own faith, but Bill Donohue is a fine example of a bully boy who shows not the least sign of Christian humility, mercy, or kindness. He’s basically a thug and professional martyr, constantly bellowing about how oppressed he is. Donohue doesn’t emulate his own professed savior and has admitted that he doesn’t actually know Jesus. An odd sort of confession, but it’s out of his own mouth:

    Remember the phony “war against Christmas”? Donohue was particularly noisy in 2005 about how awful nonbelievers were in not respecting the commercial extravaganza in honor of the baby Jesus. He found evidence of this in holiday greetings other than “Merry Christmas.” Anyone who said “Happy Holidays” was evidently an evil secularist of the worst stripe. Donohue even went off on President Bush, whom he normally loves, because the official White House Christmas card said “Happy Holidays.” Then came this highly revealing episode:

    Donohue was pinned down by Miles O’Brien on CNN’s American Morning, who asked him how the Christian savior would have reacted to the White House holiday card. In the transcript for the December 8, 2005, broadcast, O’Brien says, “What if Jesus got this card? What would he do? Would he be angry about it? He’d be okay with it, wouldn’t he?

    Donohue replies, “Well, maybe he would, but I’ve never met him.”

  10. #10 ChrisKG
    July 26, 2008

    Well, it looks like another Inquisition and based on the long Church’s history of fighting education (sex, Galileo, bible’s in English, etc.) I’m not surprised they want to control the education of others if they can. If Bill “the Donkey-Fisting Inquisitor” Donohue (who started a lot of this mess) was as big a man as his fat ass, he would post his own email along PZ’s. And to any Catholic who wants to say “look at all the colleges we started” all I have to say to that is that teaching bullshit, is still teaching bullshit.

    Chris

  11. #11 clinteas
    July 26, 2008

    Zeno @ No 9:

    I would have been more worried about his mental state if he had replied “He’s cool with it,we had a chat about it last nite over a few pints”.

  12. #12 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    Bernard Gui is alive and well, apparently, and running Catholic Campus Ministries Inquisitions at UCF. Can’t somebody there file a complaint against them for abusing the disciplinary process?

  13. #13 marc buhler (phd)
    July 26, 2008

    Hey PZ – maybe you should invite those two boys to transfer to your school!

    (signed) marc

  14. #14 Tom Levenson
    July 26, 2008

    message sent.

  15. #15 SEF
    July 26, 2008

    Those religious scum are apparently so immoral that they see nothing wrong in bearing false witness, eg against Collard. It’s that lying for Jesus thing again – and the conveniently contrived opportunity to simply absolve themselves of their crimes in the view of a non-existent being by non-confessing (if they recognise their crimes as such at all), ie “confessing” in secret to someone else of dubious morality rather than admitting their fault in public and being forced to make genuine amends.

  16. #16 LisaJ
    July 26, 2008

    Just sent my message.

    Thanks alot for bringing this to our attention PZ. Hopefully we can make a difference for these two kids. This is utterly despicable. I can’t believe they’re going after his friend now. I feel like I’m living in medieval times, this is unreal.

  17. #17 Doubting Foo
    July 26, 2008

    Did the “Don’t taze me bro!” guy get expelled? This is crazy!

  18. #18 Mike O'Risal
    July 26, 2008

    I wish I could be even a little bit surprised that this would happen at a publicly-funded university in Florida. If it weren’t in Florida, at least I’d be more surprised.

    Tip to UCF students: don’t attend Catholic Campus Ministries events. If someone other than yourself does something they don’t like, you may be expelled.

    I’ll be writing an email today, for what it’s worth.

  19. #19 Julian
    July 26, 2008

    It truly is amazing how far the religious will sink, and how obsequiously actual State authority will follow them (UCF isn’t a private university, afterall). Cook isn’t even an atheist; the kid’s a devout catholic who wanted to show his friend a communion wafer. How paranoid does that show his fellow parishioners and his priest to be, that they watched him closely enough to notice he didn’t immediately eat it, and that they attempted to recover it from him, by force, without even asking him what he was doing? Is it not religion itself which claims the community of believers is one of total trust and the purest love? Is it not religion that claims the relationship between priest and parishioner to be inviolate and closer than that of family itself?

    The outrageous and wrong-headed reaction of against this young man has shown how huge and vile these lies truly are. In the mouth of a priest, love becomes fear and trust, hate. Even the simplest act of education and proselytizing becomes a crime when taken from the hands of the cleric, and the flock bears its teeth against its own at his words, without a thought or question.

    This disgraceful episode makes the argument that religion is nothing more than a system of control better than I or Dr. Myers or anyone ever could.

  20. #20 Julian
    July 26, 2008

    dangit. I hate when my brain makes unnecessary ‘ofs’ invisible. Damn you, residual dyslexia! *shakes fist*

  21. #21 TomDunlap
    July 26, 2008

    Sent mine too. Kept it short cause I hope he gets so many he can’t possibly read them all.

    Suggested he Google “Blood Libel” for some historical perspective. A good thing for a University Pres.

  22. #22 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    Oh shit, they are in trouble! I found a picture of a UCF disciplinary hearing.

  23. #23 Dave Wisker
    July 26, 2008

    My favorite comment on the Cook story, specifically about him being impeached by the Student Government:

    “He should be kicked off Student Government for just being stupid – resign and get on with your life.”

    Poor reasoning. Given this logic the Florida Legislature could never meet again.

  24. #24 Athe the False
    July 26, 2008

    Unbelievable. These clowns just don’t stop, do they?

    Why don’t they stop and ask themselves “what would Jesus do” sometime?

    Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek?”

    Right, I forget. You’re only supposed to turn to the bible when it says that you’re supposed to hate someone.

  25. #25 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    No mail from me.

    This situation is not clear enough to me and I’m not sure it’s a good idea. I don’t think we would really be helping the two students who are threatened with expulsion, suspension, or probation. We, in fact, might be the problem for them.

    Unlike PZ’s actions which are all clearly here on his blog, I’m not sure exactly what Cook did. The linked Orlando Sentinel story is saying that:

    …and refusing their demands that he give it back. Cook reportedly claimed he swallowed the wafer during the service. He later returned the wafer to church officials after claiming he was threatened with violence. Cook could not be reached to confirm the threats.
    But the impeachement is not based on Cook’s taking the wafer. It’s based on allegations that he represented himself as a student government official at the service.

    That doesn’t sound good to me. He lied and represented himself as a student government official?

    I’m not cool with that, if it’s true, sorry.

  26. #26 thegomezsymbol
    July 26, 2008

    Done

  27. #27 Bostonian
    July 26, 2008

    Definitely write to the president. And definitely try to remain lucid, brief and polite, as the goal should be to project a sense of rationality (that is our chief weapon).

    Model of politeness:

    Dear Mr. Hitt,

    I was very disappointed to read that the University is considering disciplining two students over matters related to a communion wafer. Protecting the fragile sensibilities of a religious community is not the responsibility of an institute of higher education. While many people disapprove of what Mr. Cook did, these students did not harm any people. In particular, I understand that Mr. Benjamin Collard had no connection with the incident, so the charges raised against him by the University are nonsensical.

    It is every Catholic’s right to believe that bread is their savior’s flesh, despite visual and olfactory clues to the contrary, just as it is every Muslim’s right to believe their prophet had a flying horse. It is not a requirement, however, that others embrace or even respect these irrational beliefs. While the student senate can take whatever action it deems necessary in Mr. Cook’s case, I hope that the University will reverse its charges against these students. To enforce someone else’s irrational beliefs is outside the bounds of your authority.

    Regards,
    My Name

  28. #28 llewelly
    July 26, 2008

    You’d think that Christians would, as a rule, try harder to follow the supposed tenets of their own faith …

    In his book Fighting Words Hector Avalos shows that the bible preaches generosity and forgiveness only for those in one’s own group. For outsiders, the bible preaches hostility. It is an inherently xenophobic book. In recent years, a large portion of Christians have come to see their in-group as being extremely broad – or ignore most of the Bible’s xenophobia. But a vocal minority remains true to the Bible’s original message.

  29. #29 Benjamin Franklin
    July 26, 2008

    Norman Doering-

    Cook is, indeed, in the Senate of the UCF SGA.
    I ‘m not sure exactly what the charge refers to, probably some misuse in stating he was an officer.

  30. #30 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    Hmmm… I like how Bostonian put it. Maybe something like that.

    But not today. I need to think about this one.

  31. #31 Manlius
    July 26, 2008

    Seems to me the Catholic Campus Ministries group, or any group for that matter, has a right to operate without fear of being harassed. If a student misrepresented himself to bring mischief on an atheist student group, that would likewise be intolerable. A university community should be a place where ideas are freely debated, but people are respected enough to be left alone. Catholic Campus Ministries is right to press the charges.

  32. #32 SEF
    July 26, 2008

    He lied and represented himself as a student government official?

    The only reason they are able to impeach him is because he was on the student government! He wouldn’t have had an office from which to be impeached at all if he hadn’t been. So the evidence is very much for him telling the truth. Now, if he was supposed to have claimed that he was acting in an official capacity (eg had been authorised to abduct crackers) rather than merely being an official, that would be different. But that’s not what they appear to have been saying.

  33. #33 CanadianChick
    July 26, 2008

    sent.

  34. #34 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    Manlius #31,

    You shouldn’t be using a computer in your condition. At least wait until the two black eyes go away.

  35. #35 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    SEF wrote:

    So the evidence is very much for him telling the truth.

    Not about the cracker. Cook reportedly claimed he swallowed the wafer during the service. He later returned the wafer to church officials …

    It sounds like he might have been disruptive. If asked, he should have returned the cracker and apologized rather than making a scene. Sure, it’s partly the fault of the Catholics for getting nutty about a cracker and expecting everyone to honor that. But you probably should honor it during a service, but nowhere else can the Catholics rightly expect that.

    The question I’m considering is whether the Catholics are getting special treatment. Would an atheist group, or a Muslim group, or a Scientology group be given the same protection from disruptive people? Then, yea, maybe what they’re doing is right.

  36. #36 szqc
    July 26, 2008

    “There’s a dead bishop on the landing.

    Ooo! We should call the police.

    We should call the church.

    We should call the church police!

    CHURCH POLICE!!!!”

    - Salvation Fuzz/Dead Unjugged rabbit sketch, Monty Python’s Flying Circus

  37. #37 fatherdaddy
    July 26, 2008

    I sent my comments. I even tried to keep it coherent and on point without sounding like the angry aetheist. Somehow, I don’t think it will make much of an impact on his decision. I guess it’s not “politically correct” to expose the ridiculousness of the beliefs of ridiculous believers. At least it is one more voice against the tide of hate being directed at these two fine young gentlemen.

  38. #38 Jeremy
    July 26, 2008

    Here’s what I wrote:

    I’ve been following the recent events involving Webster Cook’s removal of the Eucharist from Catholic mass.

    I think it’s disgusting that the university is actually taking action against not only him, but an acquaintance that didn’t even do anything.

    A university is supposed to be a bastion of academic enlightenment, not a slave to ancient superstitions. When my children, nieces, nephews, and other other young minds I know are deciding on a college, I will remember UCF’s actions in this matter. I would hate to see any impressionable young minds attending a school that bends to the will of obsolete religious authority instead of modern reason.

    Please, I ask that you exercise some common sense and drop all disciplinary action against these two men. What Cook did was at best a meaningless gesture, and at worst a lapse of judgment. There is no malicious intent, and no actual harm from his actions. He does not deserve this punishment, and that goes double for Collard. In the year 2008, no one should be subjected to this sort of Dark Age Inquisition.

    Thank you for your time,

    Jeremy xxxxxx

  39. #39 dudge
    July 26, 2008

    “Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything.” this is what you wrapped up your desecration blog with. I presume this quote is the driving force behind this blog entry as well. Can you tell me what you hope to gain by “Question[ing] everything”? It just sounds like a pithy catch-all phrase that your admirers like to take from your blog as wisdom. I guess I am wondering if you are seeking truth or just seeking anything and everything just b’cause? You are an evolutionary biologist. Why is there evolutionary biology? Why is there anything at all? At some point the questions being asked need an answer, not just another question, as you would suggest… you should read “Warranted Christian Belief” or at least get the clif notes on it so you don’t completely embarrass yourself with your anti-religious diatribe.
    All the best… and yes, I’ll be praying for you too.

  40. #40 Jeremy
    July 26, 2008

    dudge@39…

    Uh, hello? You’re vehemently worshiping a fairy tale. Wake up and smell the reality.

    It’s as ridiculous as someone refusing to admit to their dying day that Santa isn’t real. It’s pathetic for adults with their capacity for critical thinking to spend their lives swearing allegiance to Harry Potter.

  41. #41 Rob J
    July 26, 2008

    @Norman Doering #25

    I agree that there is some question as to what really happened, but what does that have to do with his friend who, by all accounts, was nothing more than a bystander?

  42. #42 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    At some point the questions being asked need an answer.

    And the myths of bronze-age Levantine goatherds are not good enough.

  43. #43 Charlie
    July 26, 2008

    PLEASE guys, send an E-mail to UFC’s president in support of both these guys! Let’s not let those pigs at the catholic league ruin two student’s lives.

  44. #44 SEF
    July 26, 2008

    Not about the cracker. Cook reportedly claimed he swallowed the wafer during the service.

    Please do learn to read properly some time. We are talking about the complaint they are actually making and not the real but farcical complaint which they daren’t make. Plus Collard didn’t, by any reading of any of the accounts, do either of those things and yet they’re falsely accusing him too. The Catholics are being wholly dishonest and you are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

    Meanwhile, I think the version of events in which it’s the Catholic hot-heads who disrupt the service is the more plausible one. It is perfectly normal to return to one’s place first with the wafer in some services and therefore quite understandable for some Catholics to expect that to be OK.

    NB The reason service rules differ is of course because these crazy people have been making up all their rubbish and ritual all along anyway. It bears no resemblance even to the bible story version.

  45. #45 raven
    July 26, 2008

    This is how the Catholic church works. A dead body here, a massacre there, a stupid arbitrary rule here, some pointless crimes against humanity and so on.

    Before you know it, their membership is drifting off to other sects or none. The ones who are left are apathetic and disinterested.

    Catholism in the US survives due to a de facto policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” For one glaring example, the birth rate in Catholic families is identical to the national average at 2 something. Like most sane individuals, most members smile and nod and do what they think is right.

    Donohue and his tiny band of catholic trolls and extremists are making ex-catholics and anti-catholics by the thousands at this very moment.

  46. #46 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    Rob J wrote:

    …his friend who, by all accounts, was nothing more than a bystander?

    Was he? Are you sure? Where is that stated? I don’t see much about him at all and I’m not ready to jump to conclusions.

  47. #47 craig
    July 26, 2008

    I don’t understand any reason for him being threatened with expulsion from a PUBLIC university unless he did something to disrupt that university.

    Even if he WAS disruptive in a church, what the hell does that have to do with his education? How is the State University beholden to and governed by a religious organization? What’s the connection there?

    I mean, if I went into a mosque, or a meeting of the local chapter of MENSA, or a Walmart and made an ass of myself, what the hell would that have to do with my right to an education?

  48. #48 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    the myths of bronze-age Levantine goatherds are not good enough. – Emmet Caulfield

    I’ll take the opportunity to raise a question about this characterisation with those knowledgeable about the history of the Bible – a lot of the myths are set in the bronze age, but surely all the text as it now exists is iron age or later?

  49. #49 Brian W.
    July 26, 2008

    He lied about eating a cracker?!? String him up!

  50. #50 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    According to the Orlando Sentinel:

    Cook filed against the Catholic Campus Ministry,…. Cook had alleged personal abuse, hazing and alcohol-policy violations, claiming he was grabbed and that the sacramental wine offered during the service should not have been allowed. School officials didn’t find enough evidence to pursue his complaint.

    Alcohol-policy violations because people are offered a sip of wine? That’s rather absurd.

  51. #51 Holbach
    July 26, 2008

    Uh oh, time for another headline catholic desecration of a cherished insane symbol. How about the rosary? Boy, PZ and all of us can do wonders with that string of beads and its attendent incessant mumbo jumbo ranting. The possibilities of mockery and usage are many and various! Shall we work on this and keep the catholics riled up and frustated at the laughable and contemptible crap they have puked over for so long?

  52. #52 Jeremy
    July 26, 2008

    Yeah, in addition to wishing to a sky fairy, strings of beads can be used for…other things…

  53. #53 Hal in Howell MI (not far from Hell, MI)
    July 26, 2008

    Letter to Pres. John C. Hitt, University of Central Florida:

    Regarding the harassment of Mssrs. Cook and Collard by the Catholic Campus Ministries, apparently aided and abetted by University of Central Florida, this is positively medieval. Let the punishment fit the crime. And the crime? Hurting a group’s feelings because of the alleged theft of a communion wafer (otherwise known as a cracker to most rational beings.) As far as I know, there is no Constitutional protection against being offended and therefore no crime.

    This entire episode is the result of religious dogma and a state supported institution has no legal interest in this matter except to the extent that the university must protect and defend the Constitutional rights of free expression and due process.

    As the UCF is seemingly so willing to be co-opted into exercising its secular authority in religious matters, is the university being equally vigorous in publicly condemning and investigating the threats of physical harm made against Mr. Cook by members of the Catholic community and pursuing criminal charges against those responsible? Has the university conducted further investigations to determine the identity of Mr. Cook’s friends, acquaintances and known associates, other than Mr. Collard, so they too can have judicial proceedings brought against them or is that task being left to the Catholic Campus Ministries?

    Pres. Hitt, I am hoping against hope that you are a rational person and that you can see that this is nothing less than a religiously inspired witch hunt. I cannot compel you to accept my point of view (unlike religious zealots), however, I urge you to consider that not all belief systems are deserving of respect, especially when there is the attempt to impose irrational beliefs on those who reject them. At best, those beliefs are due only tolerance. At worst, beliefs that seek to oppress, restrain, impose, intimidate, stifle the mind, etc. are only worthy of contempt.

    Thank you for reading this.

  54. #54 barelyEvolved
    July 26, 2008

    My email to the President:

    Dear Sir,

    I write from the UK in support of Benjamin Collard, a student at U.C.F., who is currently the victim of persecution by the Catholic Campus Ministries.

    This unfortunate student friend of Webster Cook has become unwittingly embroiled in the farce over ‘Crackergate’ – the excessive, unfounded, unbelievable reaction of many members of the Catholic community to Cook’s failure to consume the metaphorical communion wafer.

    To have an innocent student’s education curtailed due to the paranoia, bigotry and stupidity of a religious group’s unfounded beliefs smacks of the Spanish Inquisition. Such practices should have been relegated to the Dark Ages and should certainly not be allowed to corrupt an educational establishment of the 21st century.

    I implore you to cease this ridiculousness and remove the hold on Collard’s account.

  55. #55 sun
    July 26, 2008

    Message sent!

  56. #56 arensb
    July 26, 2008

    Julian @ #19:

    Cook isn’t even an atheist; the kid’s a devout catholic who wanted to show his friend a communion wafer.

    Are you sure he’s a Catholic? I used to think so as well, but he was a guest on Freethought Radio, and merely said he was “raised Catholic”. He didn’t say what his current religious views are.

  57. #57 James Goetz
    July 26, 2008

    “But the impeachement is not based on Cook’s taking the wafer. It’s based on allegations that he represented himself as a student government official at the service.”

    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2008/07/ucf-student-who.html

  58. #58 NanuNanu
    July 26, 2008

    raven #45:

    About that birth rate…
    I had a catholic girl in a health class that maintained that the church was neutral on issues of birth control.
    I don’t think it implies anything, just found it amusing.

  59. #59 d'George
    July 26, 2008

    Message sent. Emphasised that I would do whatever I can towards publicising the issue over here (UK).

  60. #60 mwb
    July 26, 2008

    Mr. Collard was clearly part of a conspiracy to take free food. There are numerous penalties traditionally associated with this offense, including the consumption of undercooked potatoes and overcooked hamburgers. If tried as a juvenile he could be subjected to noogies, and ridiculed for liking girls.

    At least that has been my experience. Then again I avoid social gatherings where the purpose is to eat the flesh of zombies. It’s all fun and games until you fail your saving throw vs. insane mob.

    What business religious franchises have performing magic rituals at public universities is another matter.

  61. #61 Mena
    July 26, 2008

    So doing stuff like this isn’t disruptive?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Donohue
    Billy sure is confrontational.
    It’s also of course not disruptive to harass a couple students and a professor. Both universities have endless time and resources to deal with this stuff, as do the Morris police department. Is any of this considered inciting to riot yet? No one is turning the other cheek, they are retaliating way out of proportion to what happened because an attention whore keeps egging them on. He should be held to be an accessory to any and all death threats.

  62. #62 NonWonderDog
    July 26, 2008

    So they’re accusing him of going in and saying something like “by the power invested in me by the student government of UCF, I’m citing you for an alcohol violation for serving wine on University premises, and I’m going to do horrible things to this cracker until you relent”?

    OK, so the fuck what? He’s an asshole. Kick him off student government, by all means. But even that far-fetched story isn’t grounds for expulsion, for him or his friend.

  63. #63 J Myers (no relation)
    July 26, 2008

    Alcohol-policy violations because people are offered a sip of wine? That’s rather absurd.

    Have you read the UCF alcohol policy? Is offering a sip of wine during a religious service permissible under said policy? Section A.2.a. states “Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited by persons younger than 21 years of age.” There are no exceptions indicated. You might argue that the policy is absurd (which entails more than simply stating as much), but the complaint seems entirely merited (unless, of course, they carded everyone at the alter, and turned away the young’uns).

    Not that Cook’s complaint has anything to do with the persecution of him and his friend… where are you going with this, Norm? You seem to be bouncing around in effort to identify mitigating factors on behalf of UCF and the Catholics without doing much to verify or support your statements. If such factors exist, by all means, offer up some evidence for them; I haven’t seen any in the accounts I’ve read.

  64. #64 raven
    July 26, 2008

    I had a catholic girl in a health class that maintained that the church was neutral on issues of birth control.

    http://www.popline.org:

    The Catholic-non-Catholic differential in fertility, the distinctiveness of traditionally higher “Catholic” fertility, appears to have all but disappeared. The most probable explanation for this lies in a combination of processes and events that borrows from many of the theories advanced to account for fertility differences among religious groups. The assimilation of Catholics into the mainstream of American culture is certainly greater now than previously. The sharp decline of Catholic fertility that began around 1963-1964 was most likely facilitated by the moral ambiguity surrounding the oral contraceptive. The combination of all of the social forces encouraging low fertility in the U.S. The combination of all of the social forces encouraging low fertility in the U.S. along with the undermining of the church on the birth control issue seems to be sufficient explanation for the disappearance of “Catholic” fertility in the U.S.

    In practice, they are neutral. If the church kicked out every Catholic for family planning, 80-90% of their members would be gone. No members means no money in the collection plate every week. This would be a recipe for sect suicide.

  65. #65 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    I asked:

    The question I’m considering is whether the Catholics are getting special treatment. Would an atheist group, or a Muslim group, or a Scientology group be given the same protection from disruptive people? Then, yea, maybe what they’re doing is right.

    No, they would probably not say that was grounds for expulsion.

    Yes, the Catholics are probably getting special treatment.

    Okay, I’ll write about that.

  66. #67 Max Verret
    July 26, 2008

    “Catholic Magisterium”? Wow, PZ talk about hyperbole. The Catholic Magisterium is the teaching authority of the universal Church (Pope and Bishops). The only agency that challenged Webster and now this other fellow is the Catholic League. The Catholic League is a private lay organization which gets no money from the Church and has no official connection to the Church.

  67. #68 Neural T
    July 26, 2008

    Comments or questions should be directed to:

    Administrator
    Office of the President
    Millican Hall 308
    P.O. Box 160002
    Orlando, FL 32816-0002

    Let’s get those letters out there!

  68. #69 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    where are you going with this, Norm?

    Cook sounds like the kind of jerk I don’t really want to defend. It sounds like he deserves a slap on the wrist of some kind.

    But, I will write that I don’t think he should even be threatened with expulsion and I don’t think they would do the same for an atheist group.

  69. #70 Peter Ashby
    July 26, 2008

    Well I have just let the President know how his institution looks from this side of the pond: poised to hurtle back to before the Reformation.

  70. #71 Max Verret
    July 26, 2008

    “Could not fire up a steak in Minnesota”? Well PZ the appear is before the U. of Minnesota Board of Regents. As I noted before, on that Board sits two regents named Allen and James. Clyde Allen was Vice-President of Concordia Colllege and James spent 35 yrs. of his life as Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church and got his Master’s from Luther Theological Seminary. I don’t think either of them will find your antics amusing.

  71. #72 wright
    July 26, 2008

    Sent an email, for what it’s worth. Just hoping those administrators haven’t checked their spines at the door.

  72. #73 PZ Myers
    July 26, 2008

    Mr Verret: You keep writing the same thing over and over again. This is spamming. You’ve made that same point many times over, so you can stop now. I’ve had quite enough of the Catholic apologists who are stuck in this rut, and I’d be pleased to make an example of you.

    As for Allen and James — I do not assume that because of their religious background that they are a pair of morons who do not respect the principle of academic freedom. You do.

  73. #74 raven
    July 26, 2008

    Yeah, a Lutheran minister is going to be real sympathetic. The Catholic church tried to kill Luther and did kill 5-10 million Lutherans during the Reformation wars. Ratzinger just called the Lutheran church fake a few months ago. Always a good way to make friends.

    Max the moron:
    Dean Johnson who spent 35 years of his life as Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church and got his Master’s from Luther Theological Seminary.

    wikipedia: the next five days, private conferences were held to determine Luther’s fate. The Emperor presented the final draft of the Edict of Worms on May 25, 1521, declaring Luther an outlaw, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest: “We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic”.[50] It also made it a crime for anyone in Germany to give Luther food or shelter. permitted anyone to kill Luther without legal consequence.

    Max is dumb. Lutherans and Catholics have been enemies for 400 years. Lutherans still believe that Catholics are corrupt bastions of idolatry and superstition. Catholic doctrine is that the Lutheran religion is fake, Ratzinger just said it again a few months ago.

    Getting a bit desperate here if he thinks a Lutheran is going to give a rat’s ass about Catholic extremists. The guy is probably laughing his ass off.

  74. #75 decrepitoldfool
    July 26, 2008

    Dear President Hitt,

    This is in response to reports that Webster Cook is impeached on the student senate and his friend Benjamin Collard is unable to register and is charged with mopery and dopery by the Catholic Campus Ministries.

    A university, of all places, should not hold anyone’s ideas as above criticism. Neither student discriminated against anyone or intimidated anyone. But now they are being subjected to varying degrees of both for what is essentially a religious disagreement.

    Please make an official stand for free speech, and tell the Catholic Campus Ministries to go read Matthew 5:11-12, and stop seeking an official remedy to a perceived ecclesiastical insult. Lead the students of your university to an understanding that the marketplace of ideas needs no regulatory agency.

    Thank you,
    - George W..

  75. #76 Rayven Alandria
    July 26, 2008

    Below is what I wrote. I titled the header “You will open the door for discrimination lawsuits”. Do not put “blaa blaa about *student names*, it will most likely get ignored. Make a title that will catch attention and make them read the message.

    ________________________________________________
    Dear Mr. Hitt,

    This letter is in regard to the actions taken against Benjamin Collard and Webster Cook. I am appalled by the actions of the Catholic League. Their efforts to ruin the lives of two young men is deeply disturbing and I hope that your college will not allow itself to be used in this manner. It is my opinion this is nothing but a publicity stunt and an opportunity to further a religious agenda that is directed at our Nation’s educational institutes. Religious Organizations such as the Catholic League do not like freedom and they cannot tolerate criticism. Our country is based on the idea that we are allowed the freedom to criticize, please remember that. An environment which upholds freedom of thought and expression is essential to foster the development of our Nation’s youth, please do not allow them to take that away from your college. You are not a religious institute, you are an educational institute. Freedom should be a tenant you hold dear.

    It is wrong for any religious institution to ruin the lives of two men over a cracker. If you walk down this path, you open the door for any and all religious organizations to dictate regulations your college must abide by. I know many Hindu in Florida, perhaps they should sue your school and demand you not sell beef or allow it on campus since it is sacrilege in their religion and the act of eating beef deeply offends them. Perhaps you should not even be allowed to discuss the slaughtering of beef, as some find this subject disturbing and an insult to their religion. Perhaps you should not be allowed to use any preserved specimens in biology lab, because they might offend someone’s religious beliefs. You should not pick and choose which religions you give in to. If you give in to the Catholic League’s demands, you must give in to all demands from all religious group. If you do not do so, this will open the door for many discrimination lawsuits. Your school will spend so much time and money defending yourselves against lawsuits that you will have neither the time nor the money to do what you are supposed to be doing, which is educating people.

    Thank you for your time,

  76. #77 Chris
    July 26, 2008

    Should I just rip my UCF diploma up now? How stupid can UCF be?

  77. #78 Brian Coughlan
    July 26, 2008

    Done!


    President Hitt,

    I have recently read of the absurd goings on that have seized your university in the last few weeks. What on earth can you have been thinking?

    No religious person has been harmed here (feel free to correct me if I’m missing some key element of the story), on the contrary, at least one of the people you are considering for expulsion has received death threats from the ranks of those now baying for his blood, and the other, appears to have been little more than a bystander.

    This sort of story simply reinforces the stereotype that americans are mad with religion, indeed it makes otherwise level headed people like myself wonder just how much of a stereotype it is!

    Assuming we can dismiss the stereotype of the rabidly religious american, it is likely that the vast majority of catholics won’t care one whit about this issue, but reasoning people, regardless of their religion (or lack of it) will consider expulsion based on the events that have transpired a travesty, and an extreme overreaction.

    This incident is being observed, of course you may do as you please, but understand that you tarnish your university, your state and your country by expelling these students for what amount to little more than imaginary crimes.

    Regards,

    Brian Coughlan
    Sweden

  78. #79 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    Thus spake Nick Gotts:

    I’ll take the opportunity to raise a question about this characterisation with those knowledgeable about the history of the Bible – a lot of the myths are set in the bronze age, but surely all the text as it now exists is iron age or later?

    I’m certainly not knowledgeable, but I usually use “bronze age” as a characterisation of the creation stories of the Bible. AFAICT, the use of stone/bronze/iron age is not really considered appropriate outside Europe, where the terms originated. In some places, they went from stone to iron with no bronze age, not to mention the fact that there are a few tribes in South America effectively living in their own little stone age to this day.

    Biblically, it’s clear from (the famous) Judges 1:19 that they had iron even in the Old Testament, but that it was new enough technology for it to be able to thwart God:

    And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

    Since the Egyptians didn’t have iron, I think it’s probably fair to characterise anything at least up to the (fictional) Exodus event, including the creation myth, as “bronze age”. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it :o)

    AFAICT, the time of Jesus in Palestine is properly characterised as “Roman” rather than iron age. I’ll leave it to the historians to correct me and/or enlighten us further.

  79. #80 NanuNanu
    July 26, 2008

    raven:
    I should have specified that we were talking condoms and I understood her to mean that she thought they were completely neutral as in the church didn’t condemn their use. I’m not 100% sure about their policies on other types of birth control but considering their policies concerning condoms it gave me a bit of a double take.

    Could be wrong though, and I’d actually be glad if I was, considering how stupid the statement how I understood it was.

  80. #81 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    Catholics are assholes and morons, I don’t care how moderate they think they are.

    The only people worse than Catholics are the atheist wimps who think Catholics should be respected. I say this because in another thread some atheists gave me a hard time when I suggested all Catholics should go fuck themselves.

    I’m especially interested in ridiculing priests. They’re the people who have made Catholic stupidity their career. They make a living from lying to children (when they aren’t busy raping them). All priests should be treated with contempt.

  81. #82 NanuNanu
    July 26, 2008

    Those commas I have in #80 are dubious and I apologize for them.

  82. #83 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    All priests should be treated with contempt.

    I hope no one has included anything like that in their letters to President Hitt.

  83. #84 PZ Myers
    July 26, 2008

    BobC, you’re missing the point. We don’t have to condemn a whole diverse collection of people, we need to focus on the absurdity of certain beliefs, and protest the execution of specific actions.

    Catholics aren’t the problem. Some individual Catholics are, and they are enabled by the foolishness of Catholicism.

  84. #85 NH Baritone
    July 26, 2008

    Here’s the message I sent to the UCF President:

    It is my understanding that the University may impose disciplinary action upon Webster Cook and Benjamin Collard for behavior that, in any other context, would not have even risen to the notice of the University.

    However, because of a tempest being raised by Taliban-styled religious fascists like Bill Donohue and the Catholic League, the two of them are being harassed to the point of potentially destroying their college careers.

    It is incredible that in the US such innocent action could be considered even worthy of the University’s attention. If the University does anything more than simply let these students go about their continued student life, then you are simply becoming the whip by which religious zealots are trying to impose worship of their god on the rest of the populace.

  85. #86 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    PZ, I agree we need to focus on the extremists, their insane beliefs, and their overreaction to cracker abuse. However all Catholics brainwash their children. That’s child abuse. That’s why I say all Catholics are a big problem.

  86. #87 Dr Doctor
    July 26, 2008

    I suggest this is a tactic to intimidate and destroy the credibility of a witness.

    “He would say that, he committed the same offence!”

  87. #88 Copernic
    July 26, 2008

    For anyone interested, Webster Cook was interviewed by Freethought Radio regarding the incident. Here’s the link http://ffrf.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=361015 . It’s from a couple of days ago.

    J

  88. #89 Zeno
    July 26, 2008

    As far as I’m concerned, Catholic Campus Ministries has every right to file a complaint, although the complaint is one I think UCF should promptly dismiss. The thing that really bugs me is that a hold was placed on Benjamin Collard’s student account before the complaint against him was even heard. In my e-mail to the UCF president, I asked why Collard was being punished (not being allowed to sign up for classes is certainly a penalty) in advance of having been found guilty of any misbehavior. Apparently UCF believes in the presumption of guilt rather than the presumption of innocence.

    I am fairly confident, however, that the president will ignore my complaint, although under UCF’s own rules he should already be considered guilty of maladministration.

  89. #90 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    Did you see this:

    “STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A man who had threatened a Christian radio station was shot and killed by police Friday after he fired at officers with a rifle and tried to run them over with his sport utility vehicle, authorities said.”

    Maybe this guy took Myers kind of hate and bigotry seriously? It is Christians who are in danger from atheists. This weekend I plan to talk to my congregation about Myers and atheism. You can be sure that after I am finished they will have no sympathy for any whining atheist. They will know that atheists are violent bigots who hate them.

    I said before that the Constitution protects the right to worship peacefully and without interference. These men are discovering that there are consequences to their actions. So if you don’t like Mass, don’t go. If you want to oppose us then debate our respective beliefs. We have no fear of that because after my experience here you will lose. Especially if we ban profanity from the debate.

    Good job Myers, you hurt us but you also hurt your own side. Lot’s of innocent people hurt for your personal pleasure. What a sick sad little man you are.

  90. #91 OctoberMermaid
    July 26, 2008

    So can we just get rid of Fr. J now? He’s stupid a waste of time.

    I know I promised to feed him and take him for walks, but he just won’t stop shitting all over the place.

  91. #92 Jim Lippard
    July 26, 2008

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (www.thefire.org) should get on this case.

  92. #93 MAJeff, OM
    July 26, 2008

    Maybe this guy took Myers kind of hate and bigotry seriously? It is Christians who are in danger from atheists. This weekend I plan to talk to my congregation about Myers and atheism. You can be sure that after I am finished they will have no sympathy for any whining atheist. They will know that atheists are violent bigots who hate them.

    That’s some intense stupidity and hatred. So sad to see it in a position of authority.

  93. #94 Zeno
    July 26, 2008

    Dear Fr. J, you ranting idiot: Please note for the record, if you would be so kind, all the places where PZ suggested that idiots should be treated with violence?

    By contrast, we do have ample examples of violence threatened by purported Christians.

    Your turn, jerk.

  94. #95 Rick T
    July 26, 2008

    Here’s my version:

    I would like to register my displeasure upon hearing that your university is acting in such a shameless manner in harassing Benjamin Collard and Webster Cook. Having read the mission and values of your public university I see that you do not value these as guides to your administration’s actions and must just be lip service or only for certain students at certain times.
    It would show character if you would ignore the vitriol and rabble rousing of the Catholic League and stick to what you are chartered to do. Become more inclusive and diverse. Promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual. These statements, from your own literature, would apply to Benjamin and Webster.
    This witch hunt that you are engaging in has got to stop. There are civilized people watching you and you are not looking respectable in all of this.

    Rick Terriere

  95. #96 Scott
    July 26, 2008

    Thought this might clear things up

  96. #97 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    Myers has called us delusional, dumb, fanatics, and “I find you and your church petty, foolish, twisted, and hateful…” From someone in a position of authority that is pretty bad isn’t in MA? Don’t worry Bob, Myers does hate ALL of us.

    He has stated clearly that he hates all of us. He is a true bigot and I will quote him verbatim in my homily. I don’t need to make anything up, I will just use his own words. Thanks Myers, very helpful of you to be so upfront about hating a whole group of over a billion people that you don’t even know. Now do you think that will incline them to listen respectfully to your opinions and ideas?

  97. #98 Copernic
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J.

    You have no idea what you are talking about and to think you have a smidgen of influence over other people’s perception of the incident scares me.

    Perhaps you should listen to Webster Cook’s description of the what happened before you pressume too much.
    http://ffrf.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=361015

    You’ve made assumptions about who is creating the disruption. Webster says he was accosted by a woman at mass, that she threatened to make a scene, that she grabbed him and he repeatedly told her to let him go, that he was eventually asked to leave and he did. Why did all this happen? Because he brought a wafer back to his friend who was curious about the Eucharist.

    This blew up because of an overzealous lady thought she could dictate what others are allowed to do in a forum open to all. Because this Mass was conducted in a university building and because Catholic Campus Ministries receives student activity funds, it was open to all students.

    Fr J. You are not a nice person. You expect unearned respect for your beliefs. You want to control what others think and how they think about your medieval ideas.

    Oh, and as far as most of us are concerned…it’s just a cracker.

  98. #99 J Myers (no relation)
    July 26, 2008

    Fr J, you fucking twit…

    You demented Catholic cretins would do well to accept this reality: you have failed. You had centuries of unchallenged dominance in which to fortify an institution that could preserve you delusions and stamp out those opposed, but you were incapable. Reason encroached. Now, the institutions of the modern world, no matter how unjustifiably sympathetic to your idiocy they may be, are much more accommodating of rationality. Hell, they even find their way to defend it on occasion (it remains to be seen what will happen in this case). Your prognosis is grim.

    The terrible truth, so evident now that even your monumental delusions must admit of it on unguarded occasions, is that not only shall you perish forever from this earth, but eventually, so shall the smattering of silly superstitions to which you are now enslaved. Your legacy–the most you can reasonably hope for at this point–is that future generations will find the chronicle of your inanity interesting enough to preserve. More likely, though, is that your religion will be to our distant descendants what the customs of prehistorical civilizations are to us: forever lost.

  99. #100 Jim Lippard
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J: Where’s the evidence that the guy in the State College, PA story was an atheist?

  100. #101 Dr Doctor
    July 26, 2008

    Fr J

    Those who want respect must earn respect.

  101. #102 raven
    July 26, 2008

    Was Eric Rudolph, the Catholic terrorist, a Bill Donohue wannabe?

    wikipedia:

    Eric Robert Rudolph (born September 19, 1966), also known as the Olympic Park Bomber, is an American terrorist[2][3][4][5][6][improper synthesis?][neutrality disputed] who committed a series of bombings across the southern United States which killed three people and injured at least 150 others. He declared that his bombings were part of a guerrilla campaign against abortion and what he describes as “the homosexual agenda.” He spent years as the FBI’s most wanted criminal fugitive, but was eventually caught. In 2005 Rudolph pleaded guilty to numerous federal and state homicide charges and accepted five consecutive life sentences in exchange for avoiding a trial and the death penalty. Rudolph was connected with the Christian Identity movement;[3] today, he self-identifies as a Catholic, and although he has denied that his crimes were religiously or racially motivated[7], Rudolph has also called himself a Roman Catholic at war over abortion[5].

  102. #103 Norman Doering
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J wrote:

    Maybe this guy took Myers kind of hate and bigotry seriously?

    Maybe, instead, he took your kind of hate and bigotry seriously, Fr. J. Maybe his argument was a theological one? Maybe it was because of a personal insult?

    I looked up the news story. There is not a word in the one I found that declares the man was an atheist, that he knew of Myers, or that he wasn’t some kind of Christian himself.

    Seeing as that information isn’t there that would indicate that it is Fr. J that is the hateful bigot.

  103. #104 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    Copernic, if you want not nice read some of the other posts by your allies. The woman did the right thing. People have been arrested for trying to steal the Eucharist. He was wrong and if he just admitted it and apologized this would all end. He could go to Mass, but he cannot interfere in our service and he did. Get it through your skulls that you can’t just walk into a worship service and do as you please. You can think it is just a cracker, but you can’t treat it like that when you come to our Mass. #99 I see little reason here, mostly just insults. Not much logic in evidence.

  104. #105 MAJeff, OM
    July 26, 2008

    Git me a lion.

  105. #106 raven
    July 26, 2008

    Hmmm, looks like the Catholic church has a bit of a problem with raping little kids. Wikipedia has a list but it is too long to post.

    wikipedia Roman Catholic sex abuse:

    Diocese of Phoenix
    On November 21, 2005, Monsignor Dale Fushek of the Diocese of Phoenix was arrested and charged with 10 criminal misdemeanor counts related to alleged inappropriate sexual contact with teens and young adults.[84]
    Also in November 2005 Fr. Paul LeBrun was found guilty of six counts in the sexual abuse of boys when he was stationed in the West Valley.[85] [86]
    Fr. Joseph Briceno fled to Mexico and was later captured and charged with one count of sexual abuse, six counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. [87] [88]
    In December 2006 the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix agreed to pay $100,000 to William Cesolini who claimed he was sexually assaulted as a teenager by a priest, Mark Lehman, and a former teen minister, Phil Baniewicz, at a Mesa church. Monsignor Dale Fushek, who was pastor of that parish and co-founded Life Teen, the nation’s largest Catholic youth ministry with Baniewicz, was accused in the suit of giving alcohol to the teen and then watching Lehman sexually abuse Cesolini. [89]

  106. #107 Jim Lippard
    July 26, 2008

    The man in the State College, PA case was Bryan Neiman, 50, recently of Casper, Wyoming and most recently living in Pottersdale, PA. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005 and his ex-wife says he would become violent when he didn’t take his medication.

    “The incident began just after 10 a.m. when police ac ross Centre County began broadcasting that they were searching for a bearded man driving a white Ford Bronco and that the man was thought to be mentally unbalanced and armed with a shotgun.

    Neiman, about 9:30 a.m., had walked into Log Cabin Motors in Spring Township, laid a loaded shotgun on the counter and told one of the owners he needed money. He said he was on his way to WTLR radio station at 2020 Cato Ave. because he wanted to broadcast something going on in his life. He rambled about a conspiracy involving drugs and said the FBI and police wouldn’t help him.”

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/736695.html

    Another story indicates that Neiman attended Community Alliance Church in Karthaus, PA:

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/736681.html

    So this guy was a Christian, not an atheist. Fr. J, if you use this story to slander atheists, that’s bearing false witness.

  107. #108 Michael X
    July 26, 2008

    The school paper, “Central Florida Future” has had a few articles on this. None clearly in his defense, but a few that aren’t quick to condemn. The reader feedback is mostly pathetic.

    As for you J, I’ll inform you that I HATE popcorn flavored jelly beans. Disgusting. I hate, hate, hate, them. Does it then stand that I support anyone who attacks those who really like that flavor? Is it possible to despise something without having to lose ones mind and act like a physically violent barbarian?

    You seem to have a very low opinion of humanity if you think negative feelings lead always and directly to physical violence.

  108. #109 chgo_liz
    July 26, 2008

    @90: Much more likely explanation is that the violent man was very much religious, and became angry at some perceived transgression within his imaginary belief system.

    My letter has been sent.

  109. #110 Canuck
    July 26, 2008

    I sent him my comments. I have a feeling that his in box is going to be rather full on Monday morning. He should learn not to mess with the Pharyngulites.

  110. #111 MAJeff, OM
    July 26, 2008

    bipolar disorder, atheistic satanic possession, what’s the difference?

  111. #112 Michael X
    July 26, 2008

    bipolar disorder, atheistic satanic possession, what’s the difference?

    Depends on how Catholic you are I suppose.

  112. #113 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    In another thread Fr. J said he would demand the police arrest anyone in his church who refused to eat his crackers. Of course any police officer would laugh at Fr. J if he tried to do this.

    Imagine a Catholic going to Fr. J’s church. She’s not feeling well and she’s unable to hold food down. She’s afraid she might vomit if she ate the cracker, but she wants to participate in the communion ceremony. Fr. J gives her a cracker. She holds it in her hand and walks back to her pew. Fr. J assaults her, rips the cracker from her hands, and calls the police.

    After the priest demands the sick woman be arrested, the police, after they get done laughing at Fr. J, arrest Fr. J for assault and for being a stupid asshole.

  113. #114 raven
    July 26, 2008

    Salvi is a Catholic. And a convicted terrorist and murderer.

    John C. Salvi III, the troubled young man who went on a shooting rampage at two suburban abortion clinics, was found guilty of murder Monday and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Despite his lawyers’ attempts to prove him insane, Salvi, 24, was convicted of all charges against him: two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of armed assault with intent to murder, all arising from his Dec. 20, 1994, attack on the two clinics. He was quickly taken to state prison.

  114. #115 AJ Milne
    July 26, 2008

    Fr J, you fucking twit…

    Seriously, dude, while I get how you might be a bit peeved at this guy, don’t give him the pleasure. It’s precisely what he wants.

    Grasp this: he knows he’s lying, knows it will get a reaction, and my bet is: like most trolls, it’s all he’s got in an otherwise pretty empty life. His strategy is simple enough: be reprehensible, be disgusting, be dishonest. Wait ’til people call you reprehensible, disgusting, and dishonest. Then call that perfectly sane reaction bigotry… Wait for them to get pissed at that… Repeat. He could go for weeks like this, if he keeps getting fed, and all you’ll get by feeding him is more of the same. You will get no honesty from him, you will get no honest discussion from him; doesn’t matter what you offer. You can’t reach him with reason, and you certainly can’t punch through to his conscience with anger, nor hope to shame him, however much that might seem a reasonable hope. Yes, a normal human being with a normally functioning conscience might recognize and understand that anger, but he’d not normal; your anger serves him, and he feeds on it. Responding in anger, more than anything else, will only reward him.

    So I know it’s odd, but the point is, you just can’t hurt him responding like this. Only thing you can do is ignore him. And that, actually, though it’s the last thing he wants, is also exactly what he most needs. Best thing anyone here can do for themselves or for him.

    (Oh, and keep in mind, much as it’d be kinda nice from a number of perspectives to be able to say we caught a priest being this messed up over this, we’ve really got no way of knowing he is any such animal. He’s a troll, and a systematically dishonest one; assuming he’s even got that congregation he claims to be able to influence is really getting ahead of ourseves. Caveat emptor. And ignore the troll. As you were.)

  115. #116 raven
    July 26, 2008

    Another story indicates that Neiman attended Community Alliance Church in Karthaus, PA:

    Good find. The radio station guy wasn’t an atheist but a psychotic who wanted to broadcast something about his life that was delusional and no one would care about anyway.

    Where I used to live, a kid burned down a fundie church. No he wasn’t an atheist, just the teen age son of members who had some issues of some sort with the whole group.

  116. #117 ChrisKG
    July 26, 2008

    Fr.J

    What would you do in “your”church if someone had Ciliac Desease?
    From: http://www.celiaccentral.org/What_is_Celiac_/13/gclid__COnooKqV3pQCFQOIFQodt3z7SA/

    “Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.”

    Would you force someone to eat a cracker if it would cause serious harm? Or, is this just God’s way of saying someone can’t be Catholic?

    Serious reply only FrJ.

    Chris

    Note: the logo on the main page looks a little like a cracker.

  117. #118 andrew
    July 26, 2008

    sent. this lunacy has to stop

  118. #119 ChrisKG
    July 26, 2008

    Sorry about the typo, I should have caught that.

    “Celiac” not ciliac.

    C

  119. #120 Mena
    July 26, 2008

    Does anyone actually believe that Fr. J is really a priest? And I’m the nun in the Dawkins clip.
    C’mon people, he’s a troll just trying to get a reaction! Don’t take the bait. He’s probably just sitting at home bored and has nothing better to do since doing something productive is an alien concept to him.

  120. #121 Zeno
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J: Thanks Myers, very helpful of you to be so upfront about hating a whole group of over a billion people that you don’t even know.

    Fr. J can’t tell the difference between scorn and hate. Perhaps an even better word is “contempt.”

    Fr. J probably can’t count very well either. “[O]ver a billion people”? Well, sort of. But not really.

  121. #122 OctoberMermaid
    July 26, 2008

    “Does anyone actually believe that Fr. J is really a priest?”

    Not really.

    And hey! I find doing something productive to be an alien concept, but I try to be a pretty ok person… which I guess is *kind of* productive in a way, but at least it doesn’t require much effort.

  122. #123 Damian with an a
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J, there are several Catholics that have visited this site and they have engaged in what I would describe as interesting and ultimately useful dialogue. You are, unfortunately, not one of them. Nobody has insulted the Catholics that come here with the intention of furthering both their own, as well as our own, understanding. I may still find their religious beliefs to be unjustifiable, but I can respect them as human beings.

    I don’t respect you. You have played the martyr from the moment that you arrived. You have exaggerated every one of your criticisms, to the point that you are now literally accusing us of wanting to commit violent acts against believers. And you have lied so many times that I lost count after your second post. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    The only hurt that you may have experienced as a consequence of anything that we have done is to your seemingly fragile feelings and ego. It’s not my job to pander to your sensibilities, and to be honest, the church that you belong to has, and continues to, cause real pain and suffering in the world, despite the charity work that it undertakes, which I both acknowledge and applaud.

    People like you minimize real pain and suffering in the world with your incessant whinging about nothing whatsoever. There are people in this world that are really experiencing horror and persecution, and yet you expect us to sympathize with your false and frankly pathetic martyr complex.

    It’s time that you grew up, J, and it won’t be a moment too soon, in my opinion.

  123. #124 OctoberMermaid
    July 26, 2008

    @ #115

    Actually, I’m starting to wonder if he isn’t just one of us playing the role of the ultimate stupid, evil theist knowing that he’ll be beaten to a pulp here.

    Maybe he’s taking on the role of an easily defeated idiot so that those of us who are frustrated can take him on and squash him and get some catharsis from it.

    Probably not, though.

  124. #125 dubiquiabs
    July 26, 2008

    “Father” J

    You sound like you are speaking less to the science blog crowd than to your bewildered fellow believers. You sound like you are trying to reassure them that ‘the Professor and his minions’ are just evil, and so there’s no point for the believers to examine arguments and look inward at their voluntary lunacy.

    Guessing from your rhetoric, you should be capable of understanding that you are using propagandistic techniques commonly used in totalitarian regimes. Most likely, you are using them consciously. You come across as a professional liar.

  125. #126 Bubba Sixpack
    July 26, 2008

    The muslim, I mean fundie-religious-right, fatwa has begun. The Koran, I mean the Cracker, was not venerated properly by outsiders.

    Nice to know these religious-right loons have so much power over the rest of us. Muslim caliphates would almost be jealous.

  126. #127 Copernic
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J.
    You are receiving the venom from this community because you are espousing the beliefs that have for centuries tried to control the minds and actions of billion in order to maintain power and wealth. That is hateful and should be exposed.
    Furthermore you demand respect and deference without providing evidence of being true. For that, you get a doubleshot of sneer.
    Thirdly, your ilk wants to disrupt, destroy, and/or end the lives of two college students. For that…a third shot of “may your worldview wither quickly”
    Fourthly, your ilk want to disrupt, destroy, and/or end the life of a college professor. For that, a fourth shot of “go F yourself”.

    You are misinformed about this event. He didn’t interfere. He walked back quietly without swallowing. The commotion was brought about after being manhandled by some lady. She threatened to cause a scene. She assaulted him by putting her hands on him and tried to obtained the wafer. She had him thrown out.

    Human nature can elicit mob-like behavior. Your belief system relishes in being able to take advantage of human proclivities. We are empowered by the notion that the Catholic Church can no longer murder hundreds at a time because of the charge of wafer desecration like they could in the past. Ain’t secular morals great? Instead you whip up a mob to go as far as modern society will allow you, to destroy people’s lives. And while you can’t kill them, you fantasize about their eternal torment. That is why we hate your worldview.
    Jason

  127. #128 Lee Picton
    July 26, 2008

    At first when I began reading the shit slinging from FrJ, I wondered how a priest could behave this way. It didnt take long before I figured out that there was no way he could be a cleric. Not just because of his abominable bigotry and compulsive lying, but because, in order to make as many posts as he does, he has to spend several hours a day on this stuff. (Hell, it takes me over a hour on a daily basis just to check out THIS newsgroup!) The priest shortage in this country is so severe (and practically no young men want to be priests anymore) that most priests are seriously overworked with some having to serve more than one parish, that no real priest would ever have time for such activities.
    I understand, PZ, that you tolerate a lot of asinity from these morons, mostly because they serve as a prime example of the worst the human race has to offer, and they are as examples to others of how NOT to be a decent human being. Still, the point has been made, over and over and over and……… Seriously, dear professor, isn’t it time the rantings of this lunatic be consigned to your dungeon?

  128. #129 Dustin
    July 26, 2008

    My expectation is, sadly, that both students will be expelled. The last twenty years and, perhaps longer, have seen universities devote themselves more to the protection of appropriate behavior than to academics to such a degree that they all have policies regarding “hate speech” which are so vague and nebulous that they can make charges of “hate speech” stick to anyone who they don’t like. Many of them go so far as to even say that it is the receipt of offense rather than the intent behind an action which is punishable, so that the moment someone points at you and piously claims that you have offended them, your career as a student is finished.

    It’s a little like one of the two laws of Venice: “Do not defame the Republic”.

  129. #130 Logicel
    July 26, 2008

    Mr J seems to be emotionally challenged–strong emotions push his buttons so he frantically tries to ‘frame’(atheists hate Catholics and mean them harm, atheists are just rebellious, etc.) said emotions so he can remain insulated from the real, smoking-hot, emotional concern that many of us here have concerning the rotting piece of junk that is the Catholic Church.

    Stick a fork in it, the Catholic Church is done.

    Though most priests are idiots, I doubt that they would resort to the kind of open intellectual dishonesty (most are more careful when they do that) that Mr J has done earlier in this thread regarding the slanderous connection between PZs blog and actual violence. I now think that Mr J is not a priest, perhaps a deacon (who can preach to their sheeple) pining for the priesthood.

  130. #131 unicow
    July 26, 2008

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I have absolutely no difficulty believing Fr. J is a Catholic priest.

    From what I’ve seen from other Catholics in these threads, he’s exactly the kind of guy a lot of them would be more than willing to follow.

    I hope he does give a sermon on how atheists are all evil bigots. Because while they’ve not represented themselves well here, there are plenty of Catholics are are neither insane nor hateful, and his sermon should do a nice job of driving those more reasonable people away from his congregation.

  131. #133 unicow
    July 26, 2008

    @ myself

    That should be “there are plenty of Catholics who are neither insane nor hateful,” not “are are”.

    Dangit.

  132. #134 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    october, didn’t you say you wanted to “get rid” of me? Isn’t that a possible death threat?

    Chris, instead of the Host he could receive Holy Communion from the chalice. Either way is valid. So no problem, seriously.

    AJ, the insults began as soon as I posted. My title instantly made me a target of bigotry. Obviously that doesn’t bother you.

    Mena, get a reaction? Isn’t that what Myers was trying to do?

    Zeno, I can tell the difference and it was hate.

    Damian, I haven’t see one logical argument from an atheist anywhere on these threads. The calling me a pedophile and other insults doesn’t bother you, therefore I don’t care about your opinion. Aim your words at the posters here who use foul and vile language. Then I will take you seriously. As for growing up, that’s what Myers needs to do or don’t you agree?

    dub, I don’t need to do such a thing. Myers and his sycophants make my case for me. I don’t need to instigate their hateful bigoted rants. It comes naturally do them. I haven’t lied, but they have. Apparently when they lie it’s okay, right?

    Bob, they didn’t laugh in New York when they were arrested for precisely the same thing. Sorry bud, you can’t interfere in religious worship.

    raven, so if I google up stories of atheists who do terrible things then atheism is wrong? Didn’t an atheist murder Madelyn O’Hare who was head of American Atheists? I am betting that you won’t agree to having your logic applied in reverse.

    Time to go prepare for Mass. As I said I don’t have to worry about a homily this weekend. Myers gave me one which will paint the atheists in their true colors-as mindless bigots.

  133. #135 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    My title instantly made me a target of bigotry.

    Ridicule of priests who make a living lying to children is not bigotry. Your title, priest, deserves ridicule, but probably most people here ridicule you because you’re a stupid asshole.

  134. #136 MAJeff, OM
    July 26, 2008

    Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!

    The persecution fetishist is getting more hysterical. Someone must be feeling very very tingly.

  135. #137 ChrisKG
    July 26, 2008

    Fr.J,

    What does this mean? “instead of the Host he could receive Holy Communion from the chalice”, is that still a food item or is it just the wine (grape juice)?

    I guess my point would be, if you can’t have a wafer, or wine, then there are other options. If this is the case, then doesn’t that negate the loftiness of the wafer? It can be replaced by something else, right? As long as it is blessed? I am I understanding this correctly?

    Chris

  136. #138 Dustin
    July 26, 2008

    I think I’ll send some of the higher-ups at UCF copies of “The Maid of Orleans” and “The Human Stain”.

    They will, of course, ignore them. It’s what college administrators are best at doing.

  137. #139 Ron in Houston
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J

    To the extent that you attempt to make assumptions about atheists from PZ Myers you are as guilty of stereotypical bigotry as if you said “all Asians like rice.”

    PZ is just PZ. He’s got a weird charm about him as well as an annoying juvenile streak. However, to say PZ represents anyone other than PZ is just not fair.

  138. #140 SEF
    July 26, 2008

    no real priest would ever have time for such activities

    He could have bought the title over the internet via distance “learning”. It’s hardly unknown for people on this blog to have such a title “legitimately” (though the main person of whom I’m thinking might not be around much any more). Even Richard Dawkins is apparently a reverend of some sort for some reason or other. More to the point, since all religions are bogus anyway, there is no genuine standard for being a “real” priest – just many conflicting brands and flavours of making up nonsense and trying to force-feed it to other people.

  139. #141 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    My mother, when she was dying in a hospital, couldn’t eat anything, not even a wafer, because she couldn’t keep any food down. A priest, who was going to give her a wafer, reassured her she received the sacrament anyway. Fr. J would have called the police and demanded that my dying mother be arrested.

  140. #142 scooter
    July 26, 2008

    Oh man, I took a nap and MISSED THE TROLL.
    And I have a whole box of Bits and Bytes for Trolls

    They’re wholesome and delicious. They fight bad troll-breath and keep gums healthy.

  141. #143 scooter
    July 26, 2008

    #82

    Those commas I have in #80 are dubious and I apologize for them.

    Just don’t try to sneak out of here with any of them, or there will be trouble..

  142. #144 Mena
    July 26, 2008

    #134:
    Mena, get a reaction? Isn’t that what Myers was trying to do?
    So you aren’t really a priest?

  143. #145 horse-pheathers
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J –

    If you were met with hostility from your first post here, I can guarantee you your chosen title had nothing to do with it; you’ve gotten no better than your intellectual dishonesty and blatant anti-atheist bias has deserved.

    Seriously — Hitler was an atheist? Right. The recent suggestion we “get rid of” you (i.e., consign you to Pharyngula’s dungeon as the troll you are?) a death threat? Right. The radio station guy obviously an atheist instead of the mentally ill Christian he actually was? Sure. Dismissing the death threats against Cook and Myers as nothing? Lovely. Try to recast criticisms of the church’s coverup of the pedophile-priest scandal as bigoted attempts to paint all priests as pederasts? Yeah, you’ve done that too.

    You have comported yourself as a prime example of so many of the things that make unbelievers critical of religion that you’d’ve received the exact same welcome here even if you’d never laid claim to the title of “Father”.

    And even when spelled out for you like this, you’re still going to remain blind to it and try to cast what I’ve said as “just more anti-Catholic bigotry”.

    Anything to avoid looking at the plank in your own eye, I guess….

  144. #146 NanuNanu
    July 26, 2008

    Nicely summarized, horse-pheathers.

  145. #147 JoJo
    July 26, 2008

    AJ, the insults began as soon as I posted. My title instantly made me a target of bigotry. Obviously that doesn’t bother you.

    In reality you weren’t insulted as soon as you posted. Your first post had a statement to the effect that whenever you had a discussion with an atheist you were insulted within a couple of minutes. I replied to that claim with the comment that in your post you were extremely patronizing and quite likely the reason you were insulted was that atheists objected to your condescension. You came back with the claim that you were sweetness and light and not in the least bit patronizing. You also whined that I had insulted you. At that point I realized two things about you: (1) You are not in the least bit introspective; and (2) You are quite thin skinned.

    I fully agree that you’ve been insulted. I’ve even done some of the insulting. But you cannot pretend that you haven’t invited it. You demanded respect because of your claims to be a priest, to have several degrees, and to have a high IQ. However, you made it clear from the beginning that you didn’t respect us, regardless of our professions, education or intelligence. As evidence, you sneered at me for having been a senior naval officer, as well as sneering at naval officers in general. Sorry, “Father,” but respect is earned, and you haven’t shown us anything that deserves respect.

    In your posts you’ve used several logical fallacies, such as strawman, No True Scotsman, appeals to authority, and argumentum ad populum (appeal to popularity). In spite of what you may believe, several of us here are educated and intelligent enough to recognize these fallacies.

    BTW, have I mentioned that you’re a patronizing, pompous prig?

  146. #148 mwb
    July 26, 2008

    “This weekend I plan to talk to my congregation about Myers and atheism.”

    This weekend I plan to speak to the inhabitants of my galactic empire about anonymous Internet warriors and their delusions of grandeur. Make no mistake, my entire galactic empire will know the threat these passive-aggressive wankers pose.

    Even in your fantasies you imagine nothing greater for yourself than being a drain on society and a purveyor of lies. Talk about having low aspirations.

  147. #149 El Herring
    July 26, 2008

    Damian, I haven’t see one logical argument from an atheist anywhere on these threads.

    Thus spake Fr. J.

    J – I gave you one in another thread which you never responded to.

    Here it is again, very carefully worded and linked to the BBC News report in question where there is also a video link to the whole Panorama TV programme, so there’s absolutely no wriggle room. Ready?

    Any organisation that protects child molesters within its ranks as a matter of documented policy deserves absolutely no respect regardless of anyone’s faith, and furthermore should be brought crashing down and destroyed by any means possible, and the perpetrators and protectors of these crimes should be brought to justice with all the weight of international law.

    I would like your response to that please. Note that I have not insulted you in any way. I want to see you attempt to refute my post above.

    And if you try to wish it away by claiming that there are no pedophile priests, or that there are such people in other organisations and so what blah blah blah, I will simply ask you to re-read that italicised post again very carefully. And I also suggest that if you can’t refute it and provide proof for your refutation, then shut up and stop posting here.

  148. #150 Hal in Howell MI (not far from Hell, MI)
    July 26, 2008

    Whether or not Fr.J is or is not a priest is irrelevant. Either way this person is surely leading a shallow, narrow existence. It is sad and frightening and certainly enlightening to see what religion can do to a person.

  149. #151 JimC
    July 26, 2008

    Thanks Myers, very helpful of you to be so upfront about hating a whole group of over a billion people that you don’t even know

    This billion thing has been debunked again and again. Only if you count every man, woman, and child and then ignore the defections and non attendees can you even come closeto this number. In reality it’s supposed to be 1/3 to 1/2 the claimed.

  150. #152 mandydax
    July 26, 2008

    My typing is off today, so it took forever to write, but I’ve sent in my request for this persecution to end.

  151. #153 LisaJ
    July 26, 2008

    I’ve had just about enough of Fr. J. He is a despicable human being, and frankly makes me sick. He continually rehashes the same crap, and he’s just a waste of our time.

    Grab a life, Fr. J. You really are leading quite the sad life.

  152. #154 Rey Fox
    July 26, 2008

    “Whether or not Fr.J is or is not a priest is irrelevant.”

    Responding to him is equally irrelevant. He has shown time and time again that he reads our comments only to detect the tone, and completely misses the substance. He knows not one thing about atheists, or our objections to religion, and he’s determined not to learn. He has his persecution fantasy, it keeps him warm. Just more shallow thinking from a religious tribalist. Set phasers to “ignore”.

    [Predicted response: "Rey just threatened me with a weapon!"]

  153. #155 El Herring
    July 26, 2008

    I think I’ve scared him off. He can’t answer my post and I dare him to ignore it.

  154. #156 Mandy
    July 26, 2008

    Would you want to send your kids to a university that is willing to cave in to blustering Bill Donohue and subject them to an ecclesiastically motivated witch hunt?

    From the linked story…

    But the impeachement is not based on Cook’s taking the wafer. It’s based on allegations that he represented himself as a student government official at the service.

    So, “Bill Donahue” was so effective, he managed to get 33 of 35 student Senators to join in this witch hunt?

    I wonder how many of these “Senators” are Catholic- and how many just think Cook’s a “lying childish asshole” who deserves everything he gets?

    After all, if I walked through the Weinland Park neighborhood in Columbus, calling every black person I saw “my n—-r”, would I deserve the “beat-down” and/or “murder” that would quite likely occur?

    After all, I’m not really a bigot, I would just be protesting the irrational attitude that there are “racial distinctions” on an “appropriate” vocabulary one may use in “polite” society.

    Or, would I just be another “asshole” who deserves whatever informal punishment the “offendee” chooses? (see also “fighting words”)

  155. #157 JeffreyD
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J is Fr. J, he will not change. I doubt he is a priest, doubt pretty much everything he has said. I doubt I would accept his word that it was daytime without looking out of my window. I find him fun to read to see what new half-truth or outright lie he can find, but am seldom able to read more than two of his comments. He is not that bright in many ways, he Googles for stories without realizing we can all do the same. He is what he is, you cannot polish a turd.

    Ciao

  156. #158 Kobra
    July 26, 2008

    Email sent. It doesn’t make any sense that these Catholic cock-suckers are trying to push charges onto Benjamin Collard.

  157. #159 Che-Taylor
    July 26, 2008

    Just as an aside from above is PZ going before the board due to this crackergate thing and when? I appear to have missed this news.

    Mandy- you are ignorant, really.

    calling every black person I saw “my n—-r”, would I deserve the “beat-down” and/or “murder” that would quite likely occur?

    No one did any of this, a cracker was taken….period. No names,nothing, just a cracker.

  158. #160 Rayven Alandria
    July 26, 2008

    Don’t forget Fr. J misspelled “altar”. That was a bit of an odd slip for a priest to make.

    I could care less about spelling and grammar. I don’t jump on people because of their bad grammar and spelling. In my opinion it does not reveal a lack or an abundance of intelligence, the thought behind the words do. The reason I bring up his odd spelling of “altar” is the psychological ramifications of that slip. A priest would not misspell that word. I didn’t think he was a real priest before that point, but that was the clincher.

    If I am wrong, I hope he directs his flock this direction and request they read everything related to the cracker.
    I hope they read every single post. Putting aside the really stupid posts, (on both sides), and focusing on the more adult ones, reading about this episode may make a few of his parishioners think twice about religion. I refuse to believe that all catholics are as vile as the ones we have met during this escapade. Seeing their *good father’s* mind in action may be all it takes to creep them out so badly they bolt from the cult. I’m sure some will be as vile as he is, but I believe some will be repulsed by his behavior.

    Hmmm…so here is my thought. A dare for the Father.

    Fr. J, please do mention us to your flock and please, please insist they come read every word posted about the cracker incident.

  159. #161 Malcolm
    July 26, 2008

    To me, the saddest thing about this whole mess is that Webster Cook appears to have succeeded in his initial goal. He has shown his friend, Benjamin Collard, what the Catholic church is all about.

  160. #162 Ryan Cunningham
    July 26, 2008

    Here is my letter:

    “I am a alumnus of the University of Central Florida, and I am currently working on my PhD in Computer Science at the University of Illinois. I’m up here making a good name for my school at a top university. My opinion of UCF was high when I graduated. Though I was frequently annoyed by one radical group or another walking around campus, I admired that my school respected students enough to support their free speech rights.

    The recent disgraceful treatment of Webster Cook and Benjamin Collard at the hands of my alma mater have completely reversed this opinion. Now I’m embarrassed by my school. No matter how offensive their actions, these young men did not harm or threaten anyone. They did not break the law. There is no reason they should have difficulty registering for courses.

    The message seems to be that UCF students should not challenge the status quo. Are Catholic students so fragile that you have to shelter them from critical views using the full weight of the university’s authority? If a university is not a place for students to learn to confront challenging ideas, they’re really nothing more than a trade school. Are you so terrified of controversy you’re willing to abandon the basic principles of academic freedom altogether?

    Please, have some courage. Stand up for these students.

    Ryan Cunningham”

  161. #163 Chris Neufeld
    July 26, 2008

    Email sent.

    Once people have the right to believe, they always seem to think that this includes the right to have their belief enforced.

  162. #164 El Herring
    July 26, 2008

    Doesn’t look like he’s coming back to this thread at least. That’s twice he’s run from my post without answering it.

  163. #165 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    Chris, one can receive the Eucharist under one or both species, so someone who cannot receive the Host can receive the Precious Blood from the chalice. Either way is perfectly fine according to our faith.

    JoJo, hold on. I was insulted and told I was stupid dozens of times. Finally…finally…I decided to inform the insulters of my IQ and degrees. NOW you blast me for daring to mention them. That is a load of garbage. You can’t play this both ways. Don’t blame me for answering the criticism. This is typical atheist doublespeak. I am afraid not one of you has earned my respect either. So we are at an impasse. Have I mentioned that you typify the worst I saw in arrogant squid officers?

    horse, I am here because of ATHEIST hate and bias. I didn’t destroy something that you value. Oh that’s right, nothing is sacred. Until I dare to disagree. You obviously treasure your own opinions as sacred.

    El, I heard about the BBC program. It was protested for being not only biased, but erroneous. They obviously did not understand the nature of the documents in question. No wonder atheists liked it. In fact if only priests abused children you would have a point, but we all know that isn’t the case. You don’t give a damn about the children. You only use them to attack us out of hate. You know it has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of our doctrines. But hey, nothing is sacred to you-not children or the truth. Your are not alone, the BBC isn’t interested in the truth either.

    Hal, take a look at the other posts if you want to see what atheism does to people. Very sad.

    rayven, someone else has posted as Fr. J, so I may not have wrote that post. But if I did make a typo so what? I guess you couldn’t deal with what I said, so it’s easier to deal with a typo. That gets you an F in the real world of debate.

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a great atheist, was murdered by another atheist who is currently in prison. She is one of your hero’s. Her son, a convert to Christianity said:

    “My mother was an evil person… Not for removing prayer from America’s schools… No, she was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company.”

    Your hero Christopher Hitchens isn’t much better. How does this behavior strike you?

    “At the end of the event as he staggered, sweating and red faced, out of the room, he [Hitchens] advanced on Father Rutler in a threatening and physical manner, screaming that this beloved pastor and brilliant scholar whom he had never met was `a child molester and a lazy layabout who never did a day’s work in his life’. His behavior was so frightening that a bodyguard put himself between Hitchens and Father Rutler to protect him. Several of the event organizers then escorted Hitchens to the men’s room and when he emerged he continued his psychotic rant, repeating the same calumnious and baseless screed as before.”

    Face it, you hate me because I am a Catholic and a priest. You hate all of us. It has nothing to do with anything that I have said or done in my life. You hate me for what I am. That is bigotry folks. I have tried to explain this, but you just don’t get it. While I am tempted to say it is because you are “dumb” I won’t. I think it is simply because you are blinded by hatred. I hope you get better soon. Pax

  164. #166 Tony
    July 26, 2008

    What a mess.
    Who’d’ve thunk P.Z. could send the Catholics into a frenzy, comlpete with frothing-at-the-mouth demands for war.

    It’s a piece of bread (that tastes like ice cream cone).
    Certainly this is not the Catholisicsm that ran the elementary/junior high school I attended.
    Not that I ever was Catholic (raised in United Church of Canada, now an atheist), that was my father.

    By the way, Myers:
    I think you missed an opportunity. You should have desecrated a copy of Origin of Species”, just to let the creationist nutters know that evolution is not something you hold sacred. And a Bible (KJV, of course), to piss them off.

    Keep rocking, and ignore the nutters.

    ..Now to find out if there’s any way to support Mr. Cross…

  165. #167 Fr. J
    July 26, 2008

    This will, truly, be my final post on this site. I have concluded that none of you seem to be open minded free thinkers. You all sound the same and say the same things. It is a waste of time.

    My homily went well this evening. People were profoundly shocked and horrified. The next time they see an atheist on TV or meet one they will know the hate that you harbor for us. All I had to do is tell them what Myers did and how atheists responded. God brings good out of evil. As I said before, you have already lost.

    If you are interested in Catholicism you can visit http://www.catholic.com and learn the truth. I wish you all the best in life. I leave you a little phrase to meditate upon: Asinus asinum fricat.

    Pax

  166. #168 El Herring
    July 26, 2008

    Can I be the first to say GOOD RIDDANCE?

  167. #169 JeffreyD
    July 26, 2008

    J, you are of course lying. You are not a priest, did not have a homily, and are still a turd, no matter how you are polished. This will not be your last post. You will find a way to return, either as the fake padre “compelled by christ to respond to another atheist lie” or under another name.

    I think you probably are pretty smart, but you do not seem to use your abilities. I do not hate you, I do not think about you enough to hate you. I do hold you in contempt for your lies, your hatred, your attempts to get others to believe your lies. Lots of people on this blog are nice and would never wish you harm. I am not that nice. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I have no intention of causing you harm, but would give up all other entertainment to attend you funeral. I know, you will see that as a death threat, right? Ask me if I care what you think. Just another case of your lies and distortion. If there is a god, which I do not believe, you will be hell, eighth circle, Bolgia 6, but you will get to spend some time in Bolgia 8 as well.

  168. #170 LisaJ
    July 26, 2008

    J-man, it DOES NOT matter if priests are the only ones abusing children, what matters is that some of them ARE doing it! I don’t understand why you think sexual abuse by priests is inconsequential because other people do it too. Give me a frigging break. How can you live with yourself when you are not outraged by a priest who abuses a child? Yes, other people are doing it too, and they are all sick! You are sick for trying to diminish this heinous problem.

  169. #171 Louis Irving
    July 26, 2008

    “But the impeachement is not based on Cook’s taking the wafer. It’s based on allegations that he represented himself as a student government official at the service.”

    These allegations are made by the same people who threatened him with physical violence. Not a good way to generate trust in ones integrity, methinks.

  170. #172 JoJo
    July 26, 2008

    What am I bet that the bombastic yet whiny “priest” finds his way back here?

  171. #173 yoyo
    July 26, 2008

    Please dont give the good “father” as second coming!I am so sick of wading through his lies and stupidity. If he really was in charge of the education and spiritual development of anyone except his mother’s cat I’d be very concerned.

  172. #174 Wolfhound
    July 26, 2008

    I graduated with my BSc from UCF. I am NOT amused by this crap and am going to tell them so. Join their stupid Alumni Association? I don’t fucking think so if they engage in this kind of crap. >:(

  173. #175 Jeremy
    July 26, 2008

    Fr. J. @167:

    “As I said before, you have already lost.”

    That’s a funny thing to say, given the rapidly dwindling numbers of both Catholics and Catholic clergy in the last few decades. Atheism has been growing rapidly during the same period.

    Who is it that’s losing this debate?

    Since the Renaissance, reason has slowly but steadily rescued innumerable minds from the clutches of ignorance and superstition. This has been the trend for hundreds of years. In the future religions will be little more than fringe cults of die-hard morons who are incapable of rational thought.

  174. #176 articulett
    July 26, 2008

    Boy, will things get nutty in Florida if the demands of the superstitious start extending to their public Universities. I hope the Muslims, Scientologists, Mormons, etc. demand similar respect for their insane beliefs and similar action from the university. I thought a secular nation meant that everyone was free from having anyone else’s beliefs inflicted upon them.

    I also hope the ACLU gets involved with this case as it smacks of a wrongful mingling of church and state along with tort assault, battery, and false imprisonment on Webster Cook. It would be an excellent case for young lawyers to learn from. Florida needs to step into the 21st century or forgive the world as it laughs and points at the “breathtaking inanity” of the pompous and proud.

    Why do religious people need “officials” to handle their complaints?–don’t they trust their omniscient and omnibenevolent deity to do the job? It’s time for the wackaloons to show they REALLY trust the magical guy they say they believe in. Fr J et. al– I think that means he can handle this without your rants. ;) Go to your closet and pray as your bible instructs.

  175. #177 BobC
    July 26, 2008

    That’s a funny thing to say, given the rapidly dwindling numbers of both Catholics and Catholic clergy in the last few decades. Atheism has been growing rapidly during the same period.

    I bet 500 years from now, or sooner, nobody will be praying to Jebus. The Catholic religion will be found only in museums. Insane ideas always die out eventually, and nothing could be more idiotic than the belief in Catholic Magic.

  176. #178 Catholic
    July 27, 2008

    what makes you think our Country (US) is a secular nation? We were founded on Judeo Christian Values. We are a Republic, not a Democracy. This means we are governed by the rule of law, not mob rule. If you knew your history, you would understand this.

    That all being said, over 85% of Americans identify themselves with a religion. 70% are Christians. You Liberals make me laugh

  177. #179 Steve_C
    July 27, 2008

    Because it was written into the constitution dumbass.

    FREEDOM FROM RELIGION. Did you skip that part?

  178. #180 Former UCF Student
    July 27, 2008

    I had the misfortune of attending UCF for my first year before transferring to an actual institution of higher learning. I can’t say I’m surprised the administration is acting this way. UCF’s SGA is a joke. It’s run entirely by the fraternities and rarely has an issue more serious to discuss than whether to book Ludacris or P Diddy for Homecoming. For a college, UCF is surprisingly conservative and Christian. There are a large number of college religious groups that receive funding from the student activities fee, the the campus is crawling with evangelists like the “God Hates You” guy.

  179. #181 articulett
    July 27, 2008

    So the Catholics are going to try to rewrite US history along with the biblical history? Who knows, with 5 of the nutters on the Supreme Court and enough people made stupid by faith– they just might succeed. Who need facts when you have faith, eh?

    But I think truth will win out– It looks so grand compare to the inane and insane rants of the faithful. (Do you Catholics realize that you sound as crazy as the Scientolgists to the non believers??)

    Rock on PZ and all those who speak the truth. It’s time for the dark ages to retract their long reaching claws from teh 21st century.

  180. #182 Jeremy
    July 27, 2008

    Catholic@178:

    Show me “God” in the US Constitution. The US has no basis on “Christianity”.

    I win. You lose. Go away.

  181. #183 Steve_C
    July 27, 2008

    The framers of the constitution were meticulous in keeping god and religion out of the constitution. They expressly wanted the government to have nothing to do with religion whatsoever, including endorsing it. Almost all were christians of various flavors and commitment, so it speaks volumes, that they with deliberate care chose not to involve religion in our federal government.

  182. #184 swangeese
    July 27, 2008

    The response to the BBC show from the Catholic.com posters is quite telling.

    In one thread about the show they:

    -blame the media or more specifically the head of the BBC who is alleged to be a lesbian.

    -claim that the documents are erroneous.

    -claim that the documents are reflective of the attitude towards sex abuse in 1962. Because that makes it okay.

    -blame the culture of homosexuality in the clergy for child sex abuse.

    Or in other words it’s excuse after excuse as to why the Vatican is innocent when in fact they actively protected sexual predators and obstructed investigations.

    And this gem I couldn’t pass up:

    Even if 99.9% of Catholic Clergy were corrupt… What excuse will I have on the day of judgement to give to Christ for having left his church?

    Elvis didn’t do no drugs!!

    The only people making excuses for pedophile priests are Catholics, not atheists.

    Anyway I’ll fire off an e-mail tomorrow. This whole thing is ridiculous. All this ado over a cracker god.

  183. #185 intelekshual
    July 27, 2008

    Every time I think this situation can’t get any more ridiculous…

    Email sent. I have to say I’m disappointed to see that this, of all the cracker threads, seems to be getting a pretty low response. I am hopeful that more people will join in sending messages, as this is a pretty vile and contemptible action on the part of the university.

  184. #186 Malcolm
    July 27, 2008

    Fr.J dribbled,

    This will, truly, be my final post on this site.

    Why do I get the feeling he’s just gone to change sock?

  185. #187 JoeB
    July 27, 2008

    Am I imagining things, or did I not read, a day ago, Fr. J admit that he was the same as Bishop Something-or-other, and then provide a coded link to his own site, that of one Charlie Wagner?
    To the dungeon with him.

  186. #188 horse-pheathers
    July 27, 2008

    And……Fr. J responds almost exactly as predicted. *sigh*

    As for changing sock, maybe someone mentioned to him that impersonating a priest was grounds for excommunication?

    – Pheathers

  187. #189 SEF
    July 27, 2008

    I think it’s also tellingly bad that the obvious charge of common assault (or whatever the US equivalent might be to that UK crime designation) by the catholics against Webster Cook was never properly investigated but just dropped due to lack of support. I suspect a lot of catholics in that service lied about events and they should all have been questioned under oath (on one of their bibles) and using a lie-detector (more for the intimidation factor than any reliability!) to see if any of them would then admit that Cook was merely peacefully heading towards his seat when he was accosted by the person who really disrupted the service.

  188. #190 Dr Doctor
    July 27, 2008

    There are a number of things that look bad:

    1. It looks to me as if the University itself has had a hand in encouraging complaints against Webster Cook.

    2. The offense of assault (which normally results in expulsion from campus) was not investigated properly.

    3. The statements of the University President suggest bias.

    4. They went after the only witness that was not compromised by being a Catholic.

    5. Richard Dawkins made an interesting point about Collard on his own site that I won’t repeat here.

    This is, yet again, another example of the skewed reality that these people live in. So much for the value of their absolute moral code (are you listening Peter Hitchins?).

    Suffice to say, I am becoming convinced that Collard is being put in the frame for a purpose, that purpose might be with the collusion of University officials IF it excludes or damages the credibility of his testimony AND/OR the other reason that has been pointed out.

    The whole thing stinks, and I am surprised that students union groups are not voiciferously protesting.

    Welcome to the modern world. Theocracies to the left of them, theocracies to the right of them.

  189. #191 Lilly de Lure
    July 27, 2008

    That’s my message sent too – I just hope all of our letters do some good!

  190. #192 SEF
    July 27, 2008

    The whole thing stinks, and I am surprised that students union groups are not voiciferously protesting.

    It’s rather odd – and in these internet communication days one might reasonably expect to hear more were anything happening. Is it a university completely devoid of would-be lawyers; or is it simply that they are all already on the evil side with nary an idealistic, moral one among them?

  191. #193 Patricia
    July 27, 2008

    #91 – OctoberMermaid – Thanks! There went my morning coffee all over the screen. ;)
    #98 – Copernic – Thanks for the link to the FFRF interview with Cook.
    Can someone explain to me just what the big deal is about Cook saying he was a student officer of some sort? I don’t understand what the problem with that is.
    I don’t believe Father J is a priest anymore than I am. He’s a fraud.

  192. #194 Susan
    July 27, 2008

    Sent. I hope Mr. Hitt is forced to deal with an overflowing email box to the same extent you were. (And I’ll bet HE doesn’t receive any death threats.) Thanks for the call to action, PZ.

  193. #195 Nick Gotts
    July 27, 2008

    Message in support of Cook and Collard sent.

  194. #196 RobertP
    July 27, 2008

    Message sent. This is ridiculous.

  195. #197 Dr Doctor
    July 28, 2008

    #192

    “It’s rather odd – and in these internet communication days one might reasonably expect to hear more were anything happening. Is it a university completely devoid of would-be lawyers; or is it simply that they are all already on the evil side with nary an idealistic, moral one among them?”

    Which is the evil side? What is evil?

    I suggest there is either much more to this story than has leaked out or there is a conflict of interest at work. Do they even have students unions in the USA?

  196. #198 Roger
    July 28, 2008

    As an agnostic cognitive scientist who studies epistemology and science education, I’d like to apologize for Dr. Myers’ flagrant acts of intolerance.

    Dr. Myers is a prime example of the small minority of arrogant and sophomoric science professors, who in his juvenile ranting makes teaching evolution much harder in this country.

    I’m inclined to believe that this jackass is a shill for some creationist organization seeking to discredit science education as being openly hostile and primarily an attack on religious faith.

    To Dr. Myers, please begin therapy to treat your histrionics and do the world a favor – shut the hell up before you set back science education another decade.

  197. #199 PZ Myers
    July 28, 2008

    Right, Roger — throwing a cracker in the trash is an act of intolerance.

    It’s just a cracker. Get over yourself.

  198. #200 negentropyeater
    July 28, 2008

    And apparently according to Roger there were several acts of intolerance…

    I guess every time PZ writes a post attacking a particular religious myth or another religious wackaloon, Roger considers it an act of intolerance.

    But on another hand, the irony is that he doesn’t consider his suggestion that PZ should begin therapy and shut the hell up an act of intolerance…

  199. #201 Sean D.
    July 28, 2008

    Posted by: Roger | July 28, 2008 10:54 AM

    Fuck off Captain Concernpants.

  200. #202 Sean D.
    July 28, 2008

    Posted by: Fr. J | July 26, 2008 8:10 PM

    You are a lying shitsucker, you’ll be back because your psychosis DEMANDS it.

  201. #203 UCF person
    July 28, 2008

    Back in comment #27, “Bostonian” printed his letter to UCF Pres. John Hitt on the Crackergate affair. It included this sentence:
    “It is every Catholic’s right to believe that bread is their savior’s flesh, despite visual and olfactory clues to the contrary, just as it is every Muslim’s right to believe their prophet had a flying horse.”

    Oddly enough, the symbol of UCF IS a flying horse–a pegasus. And Pres. Hitt takes his symbolism so seriously that he had the center of the Student Union roped off so students wouldn’t step on the pegasus emblazoned on the floor.

  202. #204 DingoDave
    July 29, 2008

    Message sent.

    Dear sir,

    I would like to voice my concern about the harassment which two of your students, Webster Cook and Benjamin Collard, are currently receiving both from your university, and from certain religious enthusiasts, both from within your university and from outside of it. It appears that these young men are being targeted by certain vocal religious fundamentalist organisations for having been involved in the act of not eating a communion cracker during a recent church service which they attended on campus. Why Benjamin Collard is being dragged into this whole fiasco has me perplexed, because as I understand it, he wasn’t even the recipient of one of these crackers, and had no involvement in the incident, apart from being present at the time.
    If religious fanatics are permitted to damage these young people’s academic careers because of something so trivial, then it seems to me to be a dangerous precedent for any institution of higher learning to be setting.

    Freedom of expression, and freedom of association are vital principles to adhere to, if we wish to continue enjoying the standards of living which we currently enjoy in most secular, western democracies. If you allow the education of these students to be effected by this controversy, then you risk your institution becoming an international laughing stock, and a role model for other hard-core religious bigots to emulate.

    What of the young woman who physically accosted Webster Cook during the church service, as it seems that it is she who is primarily responsible for this whole kerfuffle. Is she facing censure for physically accosting Mr. Cook during the aforementioned church service? If not, why not? What is the university’s policy regarding physical assault and verbal abuse on campus? What is the university’s policy regarding the expressions of ill-will, and the threats of physical violence, which Mr. Cook has allegedly received from outraged religious enthusiasts since these events took place? What about the university’s policies regarding the conditions under which campus religious organisations may accept student funding, because it appears that at least a couple of these conditions were violated during the church service which sparked this whole controversy?

    I would like to offer Mr. Cook and Mr. Collard my full support in this matter, and hope that an ammicable resolution can be found for this whole ‘tempest in a teapot’.

    Please accept my best wishes for both you and your institution, both now and in the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    David Armstrong.

  203. #205 James
    July 29, 2008

    Just a lesson for College/University Students. Read the Student Handbook. UCF is in the right for what they are doing as the actions violated the Student Handbook, along with some State and Federal Hate Crime Laws. If Benjamin is innocent, then he has nothing to worry about, due process will clear him.

  204. #206 Chris Krolczyk
    July 29, 2008

    Message sent. This is no longer ,i>getting ridiculous; it’s driven past ridiculous straight into completely batshit crazy.

  205. #207 Ichthyic
    July 29, 2008

    along with some State and Federal Hate Crime Laws.

    *buzz*

    try again.

    there has to be A CRIME to begin with for hate statutes to apply.

    there was no crime (he was given the damn cracker, remember?).

    one might suggest you actually Read the State/Fed Statutes…

  206. #208 Ichthyic
    July 29, 2008

    …btw, what does it say in the student handbook about a public university funding a sectarian church?

  207. #209 Jim Lippard
    August 1, 2008

    Fr. J wrote: “Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a great atheist, was murdered by another atheist who is currently in prison. She is one of your hero’s.”

    No, she was a despicable anti-gay and racist bigot. She was not a hero.

    Why did you falsely claim that the guy who was planning to attack the Christian radio station was an atheist, even though he was a Christian? I haven’t seen you acknowledge your mistake. Did you also notice that Bruce Ivins, the man who was about to be prosecuted for the 2001 anthrax attacks, is a Catholic? I don’t think that reflects on all Catholics, so why do you think that Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her killer reflect on all atheists? That seems to me to be indicative of bigotry on your part.

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