IT'S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!

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

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

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

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

Catholics worldwide became furious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

More like this

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

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

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

So that's what the flesh of Jesus looks like...

I always wondered...

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

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

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

Wowbagger @#4 - BRILLIANT!

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

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

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

mmmmm ... Christ Crispies.

Catholics
We're crackers for Jesus!

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

@Doug (#2)

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

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

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

The physical properties all remain the same, but the wafer's essence (it's "substance") changes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By CanadianChick (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By defectiverobot (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By Bob Russell (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Bob Russell #19,

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

It's even been documented.

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

BREED MORE GNATS!

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Uh ... this brings whole new meaning to 'biological ejaculations from a godless liberal'

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

Yep, that's librul academia for ya.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

If you make it a hobby to disrepect people you will get hurt -- and the people that hurt you don't have to be religious fanatics. They just have to be "human".

"Everything is good, when it sits on a Ritz."

Hey, jebus...get off of my appetizer.

By BobbyEarle (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeph #32 wrote:

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

Props on the Pink Floyd The Wall reference - if that's what it is. Though if it's not it's still funny...

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

So:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy #40,

Yeah, cause it's the same. bleh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow, God keeps getting lamer and lamer...

By Robert Thille (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

I think I've read something about the idea of making a sacrilege a crime ... something about "no law" and religion ...

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. You still just look like total twats.

Zeno, #53, wrote:

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

Are you still talking about wafers?

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

I like the way this guy describes it:

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

Oh no! The indignity!

Two observations:

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

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

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

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

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

Wowbagger@#4,

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Holy crap.

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

All your ritz are belong to us

By R. Tilern Smurtz (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Zeno, #53, wrote:

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

Are you still talking about wafers?

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

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

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

#66,

Mmmmmmm, that's some goooooood Jesus!

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

By Bob Spencer (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

By S. Rivlin (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

alec #49 wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truth Machine:

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

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

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

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

By BeccaTheCyborg (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By Fernando Magyar (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

So, if the consecrated wafer becomes the flesh of christ - does that mean that vegetarians shouldn't take communion? Just wondering...

By hubris hurts (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

deichmans #93 wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wooooooooooo.

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

So, if the consecrated wafer becomes the flesh of christ - does that mean that vegetarians shouldn't take communion? Just wondering...

Jesus is good with fava beans and chianti.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step two: Attend Catholic Mass.

Step three: Wake up in time to receive communion.

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

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

It's not just a cracker.

Soylent Jesus is PEOPLE. It's PEEEEPOOOOLLL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*B raises his*

What an overreaction.

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

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

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

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Dustin's in ur… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

alec #109 wrote:

That's kind of what subjecting religion to a 'marketplace' gets you - horribly corrupt and dishonest horseshit.

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

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

A lot of someones, maybe. A few times.

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

#6

So that's what the flesh of Jesus looks like...

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

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

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

-steve

"IT'S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!" + Florida = me thinking yea? it IS Florida stupid.

By The Pale Scot (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Doug@#2 -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

Just sayin'.

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Don't forget the Cheez-whiz.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow, I had a messed up childhood.

Craig, #134, wrote:

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

By SuperGeek (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Just sayin'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What next? Anti-aircraft missiles ringing the Vatican?

Sheesh! Talk about spleeny.

By Crudely Wrott (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

It's not a "host", it's a fucking cracker

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

... no one has any obligation to honor idiotic superstitions.

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

In conclusion, eat me.

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thread over.

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

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

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

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

/there will be blood>

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

@32

I love 'The Wall' Pink Floyd reference.

By Dragonfire (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Posted by: deichmans

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion, eat me.

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

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

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

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

By Evan Henke (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

@ Sophist, # 151:

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

I am left needing a drink and some toothpaste.

Nevertheless, go well.

By Crudely Wrott (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink
I think one should indeed have respect for those who believe in transubstantiation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

Sastra -

someone, somewhere, needs to stand up and shout "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, FOLKS -- IT'S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!!!! GET A GRIP!!!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Webster, you cannot hide from God.

Websta gonna bust yo head (weak)

Websta gonna bust yo head, irregardless (strong)

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

NonyNony @ 172 Excommunication: Banishment from fantasyland.

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

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

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

By Brain Hertz (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

It's not just a cracker... It's a Triscuit!
..
.

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Suggestions?

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

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

Oh, wait.

[Zappa]Catholic girls...[/Zappa]

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

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

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

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

But that's just historiography.

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

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

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

Polish Trafficking in contraband Wafers

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

How do they get them?

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

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

I had some myself, utterly tasteless.

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

Man, your logic is sooo impeccable.

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

"In conclusion, eat me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sir Jebbington (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Anyone got a gene sequence on the Trinity?

alec #138 wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carry on...

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a good reason, imbecile.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, BTW,

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Damn that's good.

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

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

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ridicule

ridicule - the act of deriding or treating with contempt

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By mayhempix (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Captain Jesus Crunch.

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

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

etc etc etc etc

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink
Anyone up for printing some bumper stickers patterned after those annoying "It's a child, not a choice" ones? Something along the lines of, "It's a cracker, not a corpse."

Damn that's good.

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

Somebody asked "They can't possibly really believe in this, can they?"

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

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

The Resurrection.

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

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

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

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ridicule

ridicule - the act of deriding or treating with contempt

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

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

, I never actually called you a dick.

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

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

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

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

Best. Post. EVER!

By Chris (in Columbus) (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

This is ridiculous.

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

then I turned twelve.

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Oh crud.

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

We're going into hiding. Immediately.

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

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

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

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

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

What an incredibly stupid and intellectually dishonest statement.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By bigjohn756 (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By Bubba Sixpack (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Its like my parish priest always told me when I was an Altar Soy "Jesus WANTS you to swallow..."

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

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

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

I think lots of people are calling "bullshit" right here.

DAMMIT!! That should have been "Altar BOY"!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pfft, fuck that noise.

Man, your logic is sooo impeccable.

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Ooo, piece of Jesus!

Ooo, piece of Jesus!

Ooo, piece of Jesus!

Ooo, piece of Jesus!

Ooo, piece of Jesus!

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

What an incredibly stupid and intellectually dishonest statement.

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

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

Good thing I gave up on irony meters ages ago.

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

I just hope that Catholics don't read this.

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

And

I accept your concession.

being loud isn't a proper substitute for being reasonable

Idiot strawman and false dichotomy.

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

you are in the vein tonight!

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

I'm kind of baffled

Admitting your faults is a good beginning.

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

You're baffled by your own strawman construction.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

I think lots of people are calling "bullshit" right here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

Hail Eris!!

By IasonOuabache (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Idiot strawman and false dichotomy.

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

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

Good thing I gave up on irony meters ages ago.

[Hi, Ken!]

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

I guess the cretin needs to look up "substitute".

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By Brain Hertz (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Ah, see, here you're a pathetic and transparent liar ... just after writing "What is this, a fucking forensics round?"

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

++++

Since PZ posted the Chapman funeral clip recently..

"Albatross!"

"Do you get [communion] wafers with it"

"Of course you don't get fucking wafers with it! Its a bleeding seabird mate! ALBATROSS!"

Now that I'd like to see in church...

By steve murohy (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Get these fuckers out of my country.

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

By Melinda Dillon (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

The stupid burns.

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

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

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

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

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

By BetentacledBrad (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Gotta love the contradiction:

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

...

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

A thought occurs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It approaches zero for minor heroism, cretin.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

I guess the cretin needs to look up "substitute".

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

They don't have institutional coverups.

One of the comments from the creativeminorityreport site:

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

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

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

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

I think this falls under Dennett's notion of "believing in belief".

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

when their leaders rape their children

That's to be expected, doncha know?

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Which includes the concern trolls here.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

Dawkins help us!

I am officially freaked out.

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

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

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

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

I'll wait.

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mooser, Bummertown (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

Sure?

Yes:

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

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

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

So is Ken Miller. I did say "minor".

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

By Mooser, Bummertown (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

lol @ #33 and #60, too funny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

Again, yuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By lurker_above (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

#180:

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

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

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

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

Adrienne, #330

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

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

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Did anyone call Poe's?

If so,+1

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

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

By tim Rowledge (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

I just skimmed this thread, it being pretty hysterical.

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

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

Hey PZ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's fucking depressing, but most things are.

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

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

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

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

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it wasn't.

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

By Dr Strangelove (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Get over it.

ahhh hA! Lookie what I found!

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

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

By Hessenroots (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

ahhh hA! Lookie what I found!

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

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

By Hessenroots (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

And we're agreed. Was that so hard?

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Just Wandering Thru

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By Anonymous (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

so what's the big deal?

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

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

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

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

You're a pathetic ass. Nothing Cook did warranted being called "stupid, classless, mean-spirited".

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

so what's the big deal?

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

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

LOL @ this entire thread......

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

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

Sigh.

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

By themadlolscientist (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Shane wrote, #369

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

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

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

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

Incredible story. Just unbelievable.

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

Not just any church. Notre bloody Dame in Paris.

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

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

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

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

You're a pathetic ass. Nothing Cook did warranted being called "stupid, classless, mean-spirited".

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

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

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

This is fucked up.

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

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

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Soylent Wafers are Messiahs!!!

By Dr Strangelove (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

By silentsanta (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

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

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

By themadlolscientist (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

tim Rowledge (#343)

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

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

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

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

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

They're all crackers if you ask me.

Just use a Ritz Cracker. Everything goes good with a Ritz, including religious hysteria. :-)

By Quiet Desperation (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Seeing all those people get their panties in a twist over teh waferz pretty much blew up my irony meter right there. See, I'm one of those ex-Caths, too, any yes, I, too, dicked around with teh waferz when I was still attending mass. In fact, a lot of Cath people I know did that. I'd wager that 1 in 5 Catholics have, at some point in their life, used teh waferz for their personal amusement, be it by swiping it and experimenting with it at home, or by sticking it to the roof of your mouth just right just so you can make really disgusting sounds for the next 10 minutes (those buggers are really sticky).

So remember your own pranks and chill out on the kid, dear Catholics. You holier-than-thou, zomg I'm having the vapors!!! attitude is fooling no one.

By Darwin's Minion (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

...instead of fucking eating him! What? Maybe he was trying to set the baby jeebus/cracker free so he/it wouldn't get eaten. Someone call PETA. (disclaimer: raised a catholic, scarred for life).
I'm sure Ian Paisley could chime in with some nice balanced commentary...

I have a suggestion. How about nailing 99 saltines to the door of your local parish?

Catholics like their Body of Christ in their bread wafers, which is pretty bloody insane, but don't they at least accept evolution? Apparently not all of them do. I just found this blog that belongs to a Catholic. He has an article called "Evolution: The Great Fairy Tale".

Maybe some biologist here would like to explain to this Catholic why evolution is not a great fairy tale. Here's his blog: http://tinyurl.com/5jenra

Me and my classmates (all boy Catholic primary school) used to this. In fact, we had massive food fights with half eaten "hosties," as these things are called in Dutch. The trick is to take a little bite while concealing the whole of the cracker with your hand. Then put the rest of it in your pocket. Be careful, because these things are a little fragile.

If the pastor is old enough to start getting a little demented, after you've collected your first cookie, just get back in line and get more food fight ammo.

For best results, chew the cracker into two little balls, salivate heavily and use a straw as a launch mechanism.

hey PZ, yuo can get them here: http://www.churchpartner.com/store/customer/cat-490.html
Item# Item List
Price 1-4 5+ Quantity
CP7-118WH Small 1-1/8" (1000/box) $17.95 $9.99 $8.99
CP7-138WH Small 1-3/8" (1000/box) $24.58 $13.79 $12.79
CP7-234WH Large 2¾" (50/box) $5.25 $3.39 $3.39
ART-RW70 1-1/8" Artistic Wafers (250/container) $6.50 $5.25 $5.00
CP7-9WH Large 9" wafers (25/box) $45.95 $33.15 $33.15

"(disclaimer: raised a catholic, scarred for life)"

Me too. What a horrible waste of the first 18 years of my life.

Would you accept consecrated wafers from the lutheran church. I can try to have that arranged.

I love taking communion. And I love those crackers. The body of Christ is YUM-O!

(Doesn't mean that I believe any of that bullshit. I just like communion. Sue me.)

Still, the response of the WHACKO conservative right-wing ASSHOLES is a bit extreme. They can get their own damn crackers and they can do whatever they want with them.

A-duh!

Problem solved ... unless your problem is that you have run out of wedge issues.

Catholics are jerks, aholes, and pathetic, guilt-ridden dipshits. Catholicism is rabid. PERIOD. Its veneer of rationalism fools no one. It is a dangerous religion. And the worst offenders are the most reasonable Catholics, who by their labeling themselves Catholics are giving respectability to insane beliefs.

PZ, if you do wind up having a few extra crackers, send some to Damien Hirst, and he can squirt a dollop of shit on them and preserve them in formaldehyde.

Imagine that! PZ MYERS accusing peopole of being hateful!

POT...KETTLE...BLACK...

Yeah, it's pretty hypocritical of him, considering how often he's called for someone to be expelled, beaten or murdered for being a bit of a jerk.

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

And the worst offenders are the most reasonable Catholics, who by their labeling themselves Catholics are giving respectability to insane beliefs.

Really? What about the ones who enable rape and sexual abuse, or tell their flock in Africa that condoms don't work at all and are actually dangerous to their health?

Because I'd be inclined to put them a bit higher up the list.

By Sophist FCD (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

You know, the cracker is just a cracker if you just get some and break it.

To make this thing hard and make people mad, you actually have to get priest to bless the cracker and then you abuse it.

It has to have something to do with part of the jesus getting trapped in cracker and if you don't eat it, that part doesn't return back via His image or shit.

Really? What about the ones who enable rape and sexual abuse, or tell their flock in Africa that condoms don't work at all and are actually dangerous to their health?

Well, obviously, they're lower on the list - after all, it's bound to lead to fewer Catholics in the world.

See, this is what I meant about the Death Cookie-grade pabulum. You wanna call me a concern troll for considering a standard-issue Anglo-American hatred mainly aimed at immigrants repugnant, knock yourself out. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not willing to leave your stupid bigotries behind when you leave the loving embrace of Christianity, don't bother bringing them into the big tent of humanism - we don't need any more fucking baggage, thank you.

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect." - James Madison

Sheesh, these people are a lot more uptight than the Catholics in Quebec. Or so I hear. I'm neither a Catholic nor Quebecois. However, we had a great art exhibit at our university a few years ago. An artist from Quebec had made an installation piece out of hundreds of communion wafers. I had the opportunity to ask her about it, and she told me that in Quebec the nuns and priests used to sell, (or give out, I'm not sure which, but I'm leaning toward sell because, well, this is the church we're talking about), leftover bits of the Eucharist after services. And apparently the idea took off and they started selling bags of communion wafers in grocery stores!

Now, Catholics are supposed to believe that the Eucharist literally becomes flesh and blood, so the idea of mass-producing (no pun intended) and selling bits of the flesh of their God seems horrifying, even to me. But, I suppose that the wafers sold in stores are unconsecrated. Still... it's disturbing.

This artist told me that people usually smear peanut butter or cheese on their communion snacks. I always imagine people munching on them during Sunday night hockey games. Mind-boggling weirdness.

I just Googled for a picture or something to prove this anecdote has some truth to it and found this one. I'm not sure where it's from, so I can't verify the authenticity. http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1114/527226230_4e1b3950b1.jpg

Oh, excellent - here's an article on it: http://www.dailygrail.com/node/2453

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

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

And with thtat, Wowbagger won the thread 4 comments in. Hats off.

By Stephen Ockham (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

If you air dry your tongue in the run-up to communion jesus doesn't get too damp or dissolve on contact.

My brother and I used to do this as children in our catholic church, the upshot is that you can take jesus out your mouth back in the pew and nibble slowly. it gets you through the boring bits until it's time to go home.

Religion, it's a cracker!

What are they worried about, as it is eating the body of Christ, in other words cannibalism, shouldn't it just be regarded as a take-away? :)

Perhaps McDonald's could start a trade in it for the credulous. Christ and chips please, with extra mayonnaise. Hold on the wine.

PZ speaks his mind. I think we should make him an honoury true blue dinky di Australian mate.

By ben dyball (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

'Body Of Christ' Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student

"She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand," Cook said, adding she wouldn't immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

"Regardless of the reason, the Diocese says its main concern is to get the Eucharist back so it can be taken care of properly and with respect."

Even though I was unfortunately in a Catholic grammar school kindergarten thru 8th grade, and didn't escape from that crazy religion until age 18, I had no idea how totally insane the Catholics are. Do they really need to retrieve the worthless tasteless piece of bread? It seems like they're proud of their insanity. They're so insane they don't even realize they have become a laughing-stock.

@ No 404,Clarissa wrote:

//Yeah, people are stupid.

But PZ also says they are petty and hateful!

Imagine that! PZ MYERS accusing peopole of being hateful!

POT...KETTLE...BLACK...//

I had a vague memory that you had written decent comments in here in the past,if so,then this one wasnt one of them.

As to the laughable outcry over a harmless student prank by some of the commenters here,not quiet sure what is wrong with those people,I read those comparisons to the Constitution and artworks and all,and that this is sooo not funny because the poor catholics actually believe in this crap and will rightly be offended if you muck around with their sacred rituals,but hey,guys*BUZZZ*,I have news for all you concern trolls,it is a medieval rite that requires a large amount of magical thinking and denial and cognitive dissonance to actually take seriously in the 21st century,and it's only really taken on this dimension because the catholic wackos reckon that this dude somehow took their bossman hostage by taking a cracker outside a church,and by the then to be expected outrage and spilling of rants,hate and calls for physical violence towards this student,oh,yeah,and of course his Uni isnt exactly helping him either,because they look to their funding and donations.

So noone here should pretend to be shocked or offended if we call this what it is,an utterly ridiculous show of publicly funded and supported insanity,by an archaic death cult institution that gets away with pretty much everything from child rape to genocide by proxy because of its standing in our society,and its about time we start calling it what it is !

I just ordered 1000 of the little bastards. I'm going to send them to P.Z. right after I consecrate them myself.

What? I just as qualified as the next dude!

P.Z., their on the way. You'll get the entire 1000 and do with them what you please. Maybe some spray-cheese and a little chablis?

By joeyess@mac.com (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Alec @ #305 asked:

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

That would be everyone's favorite ginger, bespectacled, pareidolia loving astronomer Phil Plait.

The body of Christ compels you to get a little bit of brie.
And of course you'll have heard about the new low-fat communion wafers: "I Can't Believe It's Not Jesus®!".

Sweet jesus on cracker, thank you. I haven't laughed that hard in a month.

What an evil man! You know, I bet he deliberately opens his boiled eggs at the inconvenient end!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

We know how to take them out now. Spread the word.

*crazy morse code tapping*

Seriously though, we now have a decent response to any catholic tomfoolery. Push some crazy anti-science crap in schools, or try to get church and state united, and we'll kidnap your damn crackers.

WHO HAS THE UPPER HAND NOW, EH?! MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

Perhaps this is the right time to tell this story...

In first grade, I was in Catholic school, with a nun for a teacher. (A pretty bad teacher, but that's not the point.) One day, it somehow came up that I made my own fake communion wafers, by stamping out pieces of bread into circles with a small cup, and flattening them. Then, that somehow morphed into me serving as a fake priest, celebrating a fake mass for the class. (I wish I could remember exactly how that happened, but hey, I was six.) The ironic thing was, on the day, I didn't quite have my wafers ready in time, so instead I ended up using these random small chunks of bread brought in by someone else.

I call it a "fake" mass, but I said all the magic words, though of course I wasn't ordained. Afterwards, kids from older grades were coming up to me and calling me "Father". It was weird.

Years later, I became an altar boy. Nothing weird ever happened with the "host" then, but I remember another boy chugging the sacramental wine.

I think I'm going to have to instruct my browser not to accept any sacred cookies.

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

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

I think the Catholic hierarchy were probably terrified he'd start torturing the cracker (see Colugo@38) - forcing it to confess that it did indeed have kids with Mary Magdelene!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

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

Surely silentsanta would readily agree to be tortured under these circumstances - "We're gonna carry on waterboarding him until you return the cracker, punk!"

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 08 Jul 2008 #permalink

Seriously though, we now have a decent response to any catholic tomfoolery. Push some crazy anti-science crap in schools, or try to get church and state united, and we'll kidnap your damn crackers.

That, actually is not a terrible idea. It highlights lunacy, and they loose if they take it seriously, and they loose if they don't.

As a start, students at the university in question should stage a mass cracker kidnap as a show of solidarity. Either the church backs down, or the crackers get it.

Let's test Bill Donahue's faith. Lace a eucharist with cyanide, and see if he'll eat it.

Much better to pour an ounce of pure capsaicin into the altar wine.

The dishes were always rinsed with holy water, which was clearly more safe than soap. Also, any extra bits were washed into a special sink which ran straight into the earth, rather than the sewer system which would taint the "Body of Christ."

Nah - that's all to make sure zombie Jesus is properly interred in sacred ground so he can't reconstitute somewhere else from the various pieces and come back to get the cannibalistic sheeple. Don't forget, they're very afraid of their god(s). They don't really believe in the niceness as much as they believe in the nastiness.

Quite happy to score some wafer. However, what are the magic incantations to say when I go up for it during a Mass?

I've not hada chance to go through all 426 comments, but will review them later, so if it's been posted, could someone direct me to it please?

Ta.

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

Haven't read any of Luther's rants against reason lately?

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Heck, not only have I on multiple occasions not eaten the eucharist when it was given to me, but... I think that I even once feed it to my dog. - Diagoras

Well, aren't you going to feel silly when you're down in hell, and your dog, as a bona fido Catholic, is looking down at you from heaven?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

And how does this differ from the Islam extremists or "terrorists", and I am not talking about the USA government, then of course maybe I am. They both think they are right and every one is an infidel.

Religion is for the weak minded and needs to die of is own afflictions soon.

Its not ok to take a cracker, but violating a small boy is ok.
Think about it, here is the catholic church in a nutshell.
A Nazi can rape your son, but a student can't take their cracker. What kind of moronic and useless god do they prey to. There can be only one answer, the almighty himself, the dollar.

When will humans realize that religion is not hear for their well being. Religion is hear for control and that is the only reason.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

By Johnathan (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

I recall reading a memoir (Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) where the author recalls the eucharist. Holding the cracker in his mouth as long as possible, imagining it IS cheeses in there, slowly melting.

Whhaddaya expect from a bunch of brain-eaten cannibals.

Well, aren't you going to feel silly when you're down in hell, and your dog, as a bona fido Catholic, is looking down at you from heaven?

I'm vaguely reminded of the woman who, apparently perfectly honestly, said she'd abandoned Christianity because her preacher said her dog (possibly cat, I forget) wasn't going to go to heaven.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Have these people never thought that the cracker being the body of christ just *may* be a metaphor and not something literal?

Of course not! Because religion and fundamentalism breeds a literal belief in a book written thousands of years ago which is not really relevant anymore.

By Pandora Neurospora (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Ahh, this is the sort of thing I love about religion -- they're so crazy.

By CrypticLife (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

I'm very disappointed in everybody here. Way back in the #40s somebody used the word "frell", now here we are in the 400s and nobody has yet said CRACKERS DON'T MATTER!

NickGotts @428

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

Surely silentsanta would readily agree to be tortured under these circumstances - "We're gonna carry on waterboarding him until you return the cracker, punk!"

Nick, you've totally mischaracterized my argument again. I propose that we offer to trade places with the cracker. The Catholic Church, which is obviously equivalent to collateral damage, can then interrogate us as to our knowledge of the UDHR, which, if given sincerely and honestly, could avert even the worst axioms of all ethical theories.

By silentsanta (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Myers, your yearning to desecrate isn't new. Read about The Terror during the French Revolution, Lenin's outrages, and Nazi assaults against the Catholic Church.

String and Quantum theory is just apologetics for not understanding how something works.

Belief is belief, respect it, you don't have to agree with it.

By Out of no where (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

It would be more interesting to get a sip of the Blood of Christ, spit it into a vial, and smuggle that out for alcohol level testing in a certified lab. If it comes out as something like 13 % then Jesus is hammered!

By Gilipollas Caraculo (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

"Belief is belief, respect it, you don't have to agree with it."

Don't be crackers!

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

Aren't there any ordained Roman Cannibal priests who have since seen the light of reason among us evil atheists? If there are, we could buy in bulk, consecrate in bulk, distribute, and hold God to ransom in thousands of places at once! Since every single one would be the body of Christ, we could bankrupt the Roman Cannibal Church within weeks! Even if not, if just a few consecrated hosts can be smuggled out (filmed with hidden cameras, so they can't say we haven't really kidnapped God), we can then pull the "I am Spartacus" stunt with bulk-buy wafers, and since they sincerely believe that some of the biscuits being held for ransom are God, they'll have to buy them all to liberate him. The more I think about this, the better it sounds - either they go bankrupt, or they admit they don't really believe this rubbish!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Given Catholics' belief in transubstantiation, this cannibalistic rite has always disturbed me.

So if Susan Fani, a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese, wants to call this a hate crime, then let's explore the idea. Is it more hateful to steal a bit of Jesus or eat a bit of Jesus?

How did they even know he had the cracker? Was he bragging about the cracker theft on his mobile and post the video on youtube? I didn't even realise cracker theft had bragging rights! This whole story is mental...

Seriously - Cook should have eaten it with a photodocumentary - somewhere nice, like at Hell Pizza in New Zealand.

What if you're allergic to flour, do they make a gluten-free Jesus?

Just would like to call the guard, there are two morons uttering "PZ Myers fails" sentiments over at Templeton dicovers mortality.
Just in case some of you are up for some good spanking :-)

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Have these people never thought that the cracker being the body of christ just *may* be a metaphor and not something literal?

The RCC has thought long and hard on this issue, and decided that it's indeed perfectly literal. This despite the fact that, unlike certain other strands of Xianity, they do not have a precommitment to literalism*. You can accuse them of being idiots, but not of being carelessly idiotic - they're very thoughtful and deliberate about it.

* Of course, those strands that do have a such commitment don't ever apply it consistently.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Oh, uau. This is the ultimate E-Bay product. Seriously, if people are making lots o money with cheese sandwiches, imagine with the "real" body of Christ. Gold!

1.) Steal consecrated cracker (aka Jesus-flesh)
2.) Post advertisement on eBay (aka ransom note)
3.) ??? (aka allow lunatics to exhibit confusion)
4.) Profit!!! (aka... well, aka profit!!!)

Oh, man, if it wasn't for my beloved 75-year-old Roman Catholic mother, I would so be on this!

What if you're allergic to flour, do they make a gluten-free Jesus?

Not for the traditional sects, and I remember a case of a little girl who had just that problem, and the priest would absolutely not allow her to use gluten-free wafers. Pretty heartbreaking, really; first they carefully taught the girl that she'd go to hell if she didn't do certain things, and then wouldn't allow her to do those things (or, rather, told her she ought to do them even though she would die for it).

Bizzare.

I know most folks who've eaten the lil crackers think they're vile, but I noticed they are perfect for certain lightly flavored dips since they barely have a flavor themselves. I order them in bulk from the same folks that supply the church near me. Really, one must try them with a strawberry and red grape dip. Quite delicious.

I'm still trying to work out Cook's motive. Seems a pointless waste of time for anybody. I already know the motive for the backlash: People take themselves far too seriously.

By GodlessHeathen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

In hope that I can get in before comments reach #500....

I took Communion (sp? is it derived from "communist"?) at a friend's wedding about 15 years ago as The Jesuit priest indicated that it was not unacceptable for me to do so. Why? Well, there were several of us in the wedding party and when it came time for this, one of the girls did not go to accept but none of the guys (apart from the groom) made a move - to keep the yin/yang balance I thought at least one of us had to so I stepped up. The priest knew I was not catholic and not even a believer but we had spoken the day before and he had told me "do whatever you feel is right on the day".

So I did.

My wife, lapsed from the Church at about the age of 8, would still say that what I did was wrong. (Don't remember the flavour of the flesh, but the blood was claret.)

By marc buhler (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Sorry, folks, eBay has a rule against selling the cult-consecrated crackers. Some other dude tried to sell a consecrated one once (consecrated by JPII even!), a similar outrage ensued, and eBay amended its rules to forbid the selling of such sacred religious artifacts.

I love this concept of taking Jesus hostage. I can't get rid of the mental image of Jesus wandering round heaven with his little finger missing and swearing at Cook.

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

I should add re: my eBay comment, "sacred" to whatever particular cult claims it is such. Maybe pastafarians should start raging against the selling of pasta on eBay?

PZ, 99.99% of the time I am with you 100%.
I have to back off of this one. I don't care what these idiots believe. They have a rite to bow to any god they want. As a practicing Pastafarian (may you be touched, caressed and massaged by his noodly appendage) I would be very offended if someone pocketed one of the ceremonial, holy meatballs and made off with it for reasons unknown.
It doesn't matter that we think the wafer is silly and the reaction is absurd, common courtesy and decency should prevent one from entering a house of worship (any house of worship) for the purpose of ridiculing their rights, rites and holy snacks.
As much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with the altar boy abusers on this one.
Now, we need to discuss proportional punishment.

@Zetetic: "...the idea of mass-producing (no pun intended) and selling bits of the flesh of their God..."

Zetetic, my rough estimate is that only 1 in 10 of "no pun intended" comments actually contains something fitting the definition of a pun, and only 1 in 10 of those is actually funny. The above was a nice 1 in 100. : )

shyster,No 466,

what exactly do you agree with the "altar boy abusers" on?
Oh,this,right :
//common courtesy and decency should prevent one from entering a house of worship (any house of worship) for the purpose of ridiculing their rights, rites and holy snacks.//
Ok,if there was irony here,I apologize,but if not,I disagree.

No,it should not prevent one from riduculing it,not if the house of worship is a means of brainwashing millions of gullible people and its robed rulers are a gang of ruthless pedophiles.Oh,and thats not even talking about the transmorphofixogression thing that turns a cracker into a bleeding zombie corpse if you hit it with a hammer.....

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

They can force you to swallow?

(Feel free to insert dirty joke here)

By Christophe Thill (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

So what was Yahweh, the God formerly known as El, doing whilst his son was being kidnapped?

Did he smite young Mr Cook for being naughty in His sight?

Noooo, just like before on the cross, Jesus is left to get all the horror of being killed by suffocation by bag!

I don't know about you but I think God and Jesus have some family issues they haven't ironed out yet! :)

I know most folks who've eaten the lil crackers think they're vile, but I noticed they are perfect for certain lightly flavored dips since they barely have a flavor themselves. I order them in bulk from the same folks that supply the church near me. Really, one must try them with a strawberry and red grape dip. Quite delicious.

Reminds me, does the RCC have a standard recipe for communion wafers? In the church I grew up in (Mission Covenant Church of Sweden), it'd vary from parish to parish and sometimes even from week to week.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Coming a bit late to the party (glad to see a lot of people are outraged about this) -- I posted a polite but firm comment over at Creative Minority Report (the site which was taking the Catholic Church's side), and it was deleted -- all evidence that I ever posted was removed -- and now they have closed comments.

Not so much "can't take criticism", I think, as "totally not interested in hearing anything negative about themselves".

I saved the comment here.

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

Are they indeed? Are they prepared to shoot someone for carrying off a cracker some dude gave them? This could get very interesting indeed.

OK then, if you, as a non-believer, eat the consecrated host, does it automatically convert you?I mean if you were a Methodist before, are you now a Catholic?

Anyway, this whole business would make a hilarious movie.

By itwasntme (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Christophe Thill
"They can force you to swallow?"

I was wondering on this when I saw the thread earlier.
Is one required to kneel when accepting *Jesus* into their mouth?
Does the priest say:
"Please kneel,open your mouth and it's imperative that you swallow that which you are about to receive"?

By Sauceress (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

//Anyway, this whole business would make a hilarious movie.//

A Monty Python sketch,rather.

uhg. Sadly UCF is my alma mater. Of course we've all known for years that Dr. Hitt is a douche. Also, if anyone thinks a hearing by his "peers" is going to be anything reasoned, think again. The student government at UCF is as incestuous of a group of greek losers that ever got power.

Sadly, his best bet for such a thing is a hearing with administrators, and hope he gets actual instructors instead of clerks who have been avoiding administrator-student contact as much as possible.

and in trying to work out the motive: my guess is that he's just a college kid doing something because he felt like it. In the university life kids here kinda pride themselves on actually being human beings despite the administrative culture (which would happily bar-code its students with their credit card numbers to speed up the process of paying for classes they don't need). Most of it is just kids wearing pajamas to class, playing elevator pranks, or gluing bat-a-rangs to the walls to break up the monotony. But of course there are people who go farther- or lesser in the case of 'stealing' a cracker.

Death threats? Now that doesn't sound very christian to me!

PS: Your crackers taste bad. At least add sprinkles on it.

Clinteas #468, No irony was intended.
The altar-boy abusers should get jail and civil judgments against the church and bishops sufficient to bankrupt the bastards and require the sale of every candlestick and stained-glass window.
It does not follow that you have the right to piss on the altar during mass. Besides being a trespass, it's just tacky and disgusting.
Touch the Holy Meatball for anything other than its intended Holy Refreshment and I will see you in court. The First Amendment has limits. It does not give you the right to yell, "Dinner is served." in a crowded sacristy.

PZ if someone does send you a cracker then don't abuse it, test it. The catholic church believes in transubstantiation (sorry can't be bothered to check if I spelt that right), that the cracker literally becomes the body of Christ when you eat it. Surely a biology professor could work out some kind of experiment to test that. I'm sure that proving scientifically that yet another of their deeply held beliefs is hogwash would be the worst possible thing you could do to the cracker...that or eat it with a nice bit of cheese and some branston pickle.

I have to back off of this one. I don't care what these idiots believe. They have a rite to bow to any god they want. As a practicing Pastafarian (may you be touched, caressed and massaged by his noodly appendage) I would be very offended if someone pocketed one of the ceremonial, holy meatballs and made off with it for reasons unknown.

Your taking offense would be stupid, too. If you hand out free meatballs, people can do what they want with them.

By windy, OM (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Christ on a cracker! Where's the outcry over Cardinal Law? Where's the outrage over the decades during which Law drove the getaway car for ordained child molesters and rapists? Where are the death threats over Law's "punishment" being his relocation to a cushy job at The Vatican?

I grew up in Winnipeg and attended a Ukrainian Catholic church (there are a lot of Ukrainians in Winnipeg). In that church they actually used real bread (in little cubes) and wine (just like Jesus said). None of those cheap fake RC styrofoam wafers for the Ukrainians. They get holy croutons and real wine! I always wondered why they never got in trouble for giving wine to minors.

@ shyster No 481:

//It does not follow that you have the right to piss on the altar during mass. Besides being a trespass, it's just tacky and disgusting.//

Hey mate,now seriously,the guy walked out with a cracker in his mouth that the priest shoved in there to start with,thats not the same as pissing on the altar exactly,is it? And it doesnt sound too tacky and disgusting to me either....

This is what fundamentalist fanatical religion is about! It would have been hilarious had it not been so utterly horrifying...

Wait, it's a cracker?

I always thought that it was round cardboard, at least that's what it tasted like over here in Australia when I last had that stuff.

Just FYI: When you take communion, don't ask them if they have any dark meat. They never seem to get that joke.

I can get one but it's from a Baptist church, does that count?

Of course, these are generally the folk most in favor of nuking brown-skinned Muslims because they see Islam as barbarism and its practitioners as deserving of death. Nuke their ass and take the gas, baby!

Oh my... I had no idea these people got that upset about it. Whenever I go to church with my family (easter, xmas, etc) I generally just kick it under the pew after pretending to eat it. The thing tastes like crusty glue... I didn't know people got that heated over a freaking cracker...

A better title for this thread might be "Ooky cookie," or perhaps "Soggy Biscuit."

Been there done that, got cracker, crushed it it and spat on it during church, of course where no one could see me.

By LordLeckie (not verified) on 09 Jul 2008 #permalink

Was in Minnesota last weekend, if you really wanted one I could have gotten it, although I would want to exchange it for a peanut butter Baker's Square pie. Come to think of it, I can still get one now if you accept crackers by mail, still would want a pie though in exchange.

I likes pie. :)

I'm still reading the comments, so someone may have raised this, but you can actually buy communion wafers in bulk from clerical supply houses, and I don't see what would stop you from asserting that one of them was consecrated. More interestingly, I don't see how the dingbats could prove that it *wasn't*.

Just watched a Boston Legal rerun,says Candice Bergen at the end of that episode on American television:

"God forbid the next court says its ok to ban evolution from the schools !"

There is hope....

Ohhhh,no,not 499........

It seems we're back to the dark ages days!
We have Mr Donoohue and Mr Gonzales from the inquisition asking for blood.
It's just a cracker! It's not the body of christ!
These people are drifting away from "the larger tapistry that I like to call...................REALITY!"