An organization of the Catholic leadership has now condemned my actions. This is sad news: it’s clear that at least this tier of the Catholic hierarchy is as deranged as the wackaloons flooding my mailbox.
We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.
Hmmm. Who is the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy to decide the limits of freedom? Flagrant irreverence towards a cracker ought to be fair game, I should think…and that’s all this action was: irreverence. You cannot demand that all members of a pluralist society be reverent towards any random humdrum article that a guy in a dress declares holy.
The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few.
Man, that is a tired old argument — usually you see that fine-grained parsing of the words of the bill of rights from right-wing sources, trying to distort the meaning. Do they really think a bunch of high-minded Enlightenment dudes dedicated to the principle of liberty were thinking, “We need a clause here that could be used to compel people to be a member of a church—we’ll just give them the freedom to choose which church they’ll be forced to join”? That’s insane. I am free of religion. I am free to make that choice, just as everyone is free to choose to be Catholic.
And my personal choice not to believe in the silliness of religion is not an infringement on the rights of any religion.
The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.
This is the funniest statement in the whole declaration.
Freedom of speech means I do have the right to malign and make fun of any religion I want. I can’t interfere with your right to practice your religion, but that hasn’t happened — all I’ve done is laugh at you.
That last clause, though…do they seriously believe that only Catholics are allowed to criticize Catholics, and that this restriction is enshrined in the constitution? That’s a fine catch, that catch-22. So only Catholics can malign the faith, but if they do, then they can be kicked out of the faith, which means they can’t criticize it anymore. That sounds like a ripe piece of theological logic to me.
The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor. One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.
Ummm, I don’t discuss religion in the classroom. I teach biology. My ‘desecration’ was performed at home, on my own time. There’s nothing ironic about the fact that I’m a biologist, nor did I claim my profession gave me special qualifications to see through the foolishness of faith. Go ahead, any of you can do it — you don’t need to be a theologian to see that it is just a cracker.
A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.
Wait, what? This is another attempt to shield a ridiculous religion, by declaring that members of certain professions are not allowed to criticize — that only Catholic theologians are permitted to rebuke the absurdities in their faith.
As for the idea that I’m supposed to be teaching biology 24-7…what, I can’t have a hobby? I can tell you that when I try to tell my wife late evening on Wednesday night that I can’t take out the trash because I’m too busy teaching biology, well, that excuse won’t fly very far.
I am not contrite, I will not repent, and I’m certainly not going to apologize for tossing a cracker in the garbage. All the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy will get from me is laughter.