2008 sacred wafer scandal

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About

The 2008 sacred wafer scandal was an incident in which the apparent misuse of a mass-produced replica of a sacred icon sparked mass religious outrage, sharp condemnation from religious leaders, and attempts to harshly punish the perpetrator and those who defended him.

Nomenclature

Also known as: Crackergate, Wafergate, Wafer Madness

Conclusions

The original perpetrator did not actually do anything wrong.

The Catholic Church, by its failure in this matter to rebuke those behaving poorly in its name or in its defense – especially those who claimed that Cook's act was "worse than a hate crime" – has merely sealed the coffin of its moral authority, already decimated by its indefensible stances on assisted suicide, contraception, and other issues. --Woozle 14:43, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Links

Filed

version 3

  • 2008-07-15 [L..T] Much ado about transubstantiation "In the previous post, I suggested that the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which asserts that when the priest during the communion service consecrates the bread and wine, the bread becomes the actual body of Jesus and the wine becomes his actual blood, was a fairly bizarre thing to believe in this day and age and raised the possibility that perhaps even Catholics did not really believe in it but were just humoring the church by going along with a doctrine that came into being a long time ago."
  • 2008-07-11 [L..T] HYSTERIA MARKS MYERS AND HIS ILK "Yesterday, Catholic League president Bill Donohue issued a news release calling attention to the plea that Paul Zachary Myers made on his blog: he solicited the Communion Host for the express purpose of desecrating it. Donohue now responds to the reaction he has received from the University of Minnesota Morris professor, as well as others:"
  • 2008-07-06 [L..T] Student Holds Eucharist Hostage “Webster Cook is a student at the University of Central Florida. He is also a top notch jerk.”

version 2

  • 2009-07-01 [Talk|Index] I was wondering about that § “The focus of his ire? Crackergate. He regards destroying a sacred symbol to be inflammatory and obnoxious, completely ignoring the insanity it exposed. That insanity – and I am not using that word casually – is what Mooney thinks the spokespeople for science in our country ought to treat deferentially.”
  • 2008-07-30 [Talk|Index] The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy doesn't like me § [2]“Freedom of speech means I do have the right to malign and make fun of any religion I want. I can't interfere with your right to practice your religion, but that hasn't happened — all I've done is laugh at you. .. That last clause, though... do they seriously believe that only Catholics are allowed to criticize Catholics, and that this restriction is enshrined in the constitution? That's a fine catch, that catch-22. So only Catholics can malign the faith, but if they do, then they can be kicked out of the faith, which means they can't criticize it anymore. That sounds like a ripe piece of theological logic to me.” Note: /comment 216 is a moral argument (and video) from "the guy who provided PZ with the cracker that he used in the photo."
  • 2008-07-29 [Talk|Index] Catholic Clergy Call for Reparation in Response to Communion Desecration § [2]“The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy .. respond to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again. .. We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech. .. The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation's constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.” A very interesting interpretation of the constitution. Commentary: Pharyngula
  • 2008-07-26 [Talk|Index] He's Just a Frackin' Adolescent Ass § “There are dozens of reasons to criticize the behavior of that blogger, perhaps the most salient of which is that it's never OK to gratuitously attempt to hurt the feelings of large groups of people, with no other reasonable end but to hurt their feelings, but I think the most tragic consequence of said blogger's behavior is that it pretty much cuts off any discussion of the real issues, and diverts the attention to him.”
  • 2008-07-24 [Talk|Index] The Great Desecration § “I wonder how many of our Catholic friends have heard of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215? This is the event where many of their important dogmas were codified, including the ideas of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, that the Eucharist was the sacrament that only properly ordained priests of the Catholic church could give, and that the Jews were a pariah people, who could hold no public office, had to pay a special Jew tax for their right to exist, and were required to wear special clothing to distinguish them from Christians.”
  • 2008-07-24 [Talk|Index] P. Z. Myers Must Be Fired § [2]“Instead, P. Z. Myers surreptitiously obtained and then desecrated something that is held most sacred by numerous individuals. He went out of his way to offend, to provoke the most deeply held sentiments of others, and he did so in full knowledge of what he was doing, as witnessed by the fact that he complains repeatedly on his blog about all of the outraged complaints he has been receiving from Catholics via e-mail. .. In desecrating what Catholics hold most sacred--and what Muslims hold sacred as well--P. Z. Myers has fundamentally compromised himself as an educator. .. He has made himself unsuitable for employment as an educator.”
  • 2008-07-24 [Talk|Index] Myers Desecrates the Eucharist § “It is important for Catholics to know that the University of Minnesota will not tolerate the deliberate destruction of the Eucharist by one of its faculty. Just as African Americans would not tolerate the burning of a cross, and Jews would not tolerate the display of swastikas, Catholics will not tolerate the desecration of the Eucharist.”
  • 2008-07-24 [Talk|Index] August 2008 is Officially "Pray for PZ Myers Month" § “I will encourage you to make August a month of prayer for PZ Myers. But let's not just pray for his conversion. Let's be a little more daring. Let's pray that he will become our next St. Paul – not an the Apostle to the Gentiles, but an Apostle of the Eucharist.”
  • 2008-07-24 [Talk|Index] Anti-Catholicism Finds a Home at University of Minnesota § [2]“What does offend him is that a large number of people have emailed him to protest and denounce him. He also says he has been threatened physically. If so, shame on anyone who did so. Even threats of that sort are against Christian teaching, not to mention stupid and possibly illegal. .. However, I have been threatened for far, far less--just expressing dissenting views on evolution. .. Words physically weigh less than the consecrated Host. They are "nothing". And yet words that offend Myers and his fellow Darwinist apparatchiki can drive them to deeds of vigorous punishment. Restraint and scholarly good will are for other people. The mere words that Darwin doubters have raised in schoolrooms and lecture halls incite P. Z. Myers to call for punishments of flunking for students, expulsion for graduate students and firings for professors. .. So words apparently matter in those cases. What gets thrown in the trash then are normal rules of civilized discourse, followed by people's careers.” Wrong, but eloquent and persuasive. Where are all these evolutionist threats documented? What's wrong with "expelling" people for teaching bad science?
  • 2008-07-23 [Talk|Index] No action to be taken against professor who threatened to desecrate Eucharist, university says § [2]“In her statement, Chancellor Johnson said: “I deeply regret that the postings have been so upsetting to so many people and that this has, in turn, caused some individuals to question the values of civility, respect, academic inquiry and critical thought that are the hallmark of this institution.” ... “There’s been no official response from the Catholic Church and I would make a deal here, that I would return these wafers to the nearest Catholic church if the Church would come out and disavow the tactics of Bill Donohue and the people who have threatened my job and have threatened my life,” Myers said.”
  • 2008-07-23 [Talk|Index] Concerning Eucharistic Desecration § [2]“Myers then decided to blow away the last shreds of pretense that his blog Pharyngula was about science and give full vent to his demented hatred of Jesus Christ by urging his throng of equally demented followers to steal some hosts so he could desecrate them and put the whole thing on his blog. The Catholic League got involved (rightly, in my view), and Catholics, as is our custom, have been arguing about it ever since, pursuing a range of responses from complete pacifism to some rather over-the-top reactions including (you guessed it) death threats against Myers.” A rather inaccurate, emotionally-charged, and vituperative account of the situation (e.g. calling PZ "evil"). Also makes the same absurd comparison John Pieret did, i.e. desecrating a Eucharist cracker is like breaking into someone's house and stealing their children's artwork. Commentary: West Coast Catholic
  • 2008-07-17 [Talk|Index] MnIndy interview: Unrepentant science-heathen PZ Myers still intends to prove "this cracker is nothing" § [2]“The response has done nothing but confirm it: I have to do something. I'm not going to just let this disappear. It's just so darned weird that they're demanding that I offer this respect to a symbol that means nothing to me. Something will be done. It won't be gross. It won't be totally tasteless, but yeah, I'll do something that shows this cracker has no power. This cracker is nothing.”
  • 2008-07-16 [Talk|Index] AlQueerda Communique # 1 § [2]Man dressed up in Muslim-like white robes threatens to shoot Eucharist wafer unless the Catholic Church stops its support of laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. (In case anyone is wondering, this is satire, and it is not anti-gay.) This also incidentally raises the question: is it wrong for someone to claim they have a blessed wafer which is actually un-blessed? If they were to threaten the wafer, how would the Catholic Church tell the difference? If a real blessed wafer was tossed into a box with unblessed wafers and they were all mixed together, how would you tell which one was real? (like Horton Hears a Who, except the Sour Kangaroo would be right...)
  • 2008-07-15 [Talk|Index] Read what those caring, kind and loving Catholics want to do now! § [2]“...if the wafer really was suddenly transformed into the body of Christ, why doesn’t it bleed when you snap it in half, and why does communion wine usually taste like the dregs of a $2 cask of cheap sherry? Shouldn’t it taste like a well aged Jew with a firm body, a hint of wood shavings with a dusty after taste? And haven’t some Catholics come out of the woodwork and shown us all their true colours by not only wishing personal physical harm on PZ, but offering to speed his demise themselves? I thought the Christian faith took pride in its “Turn the other cheek” outlook and “Love thy fellow man” philosophy...” (with some punctuation help)
  • 2008-07-14 [Talk|Index] Sullivan on PZ's Sacrilege Threat § [2]“He's certainly right that atheists and agnostics can be bigots just like religious people, but I don't think mocking this absurd situation makes one a bigot at all. The mockery is perfectly justified by the absurd behavior of Bill Donohue and his cohorts, who are claiming that the student who did this engaged in kidnapping (!) and that he should be expelled from school. For taking a cracker. I'm sorry, if that isn't deserving of mockery, what is?”
  • 2008-07-13 [Talk|Index] UCF Catholic Group Faces Hazing Charges For Protecting 'Body Of Christ' § [2]“Student Government Senator Webster Cook filed the hazing charges with University of Central Florida administrators shortly after he admitted violating church rules by bringing the Eucharist home from Mass on June 29, then holding it hostage for one week in a plastic bag before returning it. .. Cook said his hazing complaint cited a UCF anti-hazing policy banning the forced consumption of any food in which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with a University of Central Florida organization may be directly or indirectly conditioned. .. The rule, presumably, was intended to prevent fraternities from force-feeding pledges disgusting food, but Cook said the rule is clear and applies to all UCF clubs, including the Catholic Campus Ministries religious group. He insists the group is guilty because members ordered him to consume the Eucharist to remain at Mass.”
  • 2008-07-11 [Talk|Index] Can this possibly get more insane? § “The Catholic League ... accuses me and my ilk (that's you, fair readers) of hysteria while making this hysterical declaration...” in which League president Bill Donohue asks for increased security at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis due to concerns stemming from the presence of the deranged, slobbering, cracker-desecrating PZ Myers a mere 150 miles away in Morris.
  • 2008-07-10 [Talk|Index] Letter to An Administrator § [2]“The action would set a precedent that would affect American higher education indefinitely into the future. No college professor, no college administrator, would be safe from such witch hunts by emboldened extremists, and universities might become testing grounds for the setting of fascistic benchmarks which educators would have to meet... in piety, in patriotism, in whatever field the screamers-of-the-day chose to set. .. I see all of this as the final harvest of the Bush White House years. The fools who swept him into office, and the fools who defended him and his anti-intellectual cohort, would win a significant victory that would complete the erosion of civil liberties in the United States – including, profoundly, the one about religious freedom.”
  • 2008-07-08 [Talk|Index] IT'S A FRACKIN' CRACKER! § “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?”
  • 2008-07-05 [Talk|Index] 'Body Of Christ' Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student § “A University of Central Florida student, upset [that] religious groups hold church services on public campuses” thereby violating separation of church and state, “is holding hostage the Eucharist, an object so sacred to Catholics [that] they call it the Body of Christ.”

[refresh]

Timeline

Some of these links have been filed, but not all

  • 2008-07-08 IT'S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!: PZ asks for more samples of the Host upon which to commit sacrilege and thereby somehow threaten the Catholic faith with a fate worse than death; PZ shuts down the comments at #1007 in order to reduce load on the server, but posts "fresh crackers!" specifically for further comments.
  • 2008-07-10
    • Fight back against Bill Donohue!: The president of the Catholic League is putting pressure on both the UMM and the State of Minnesota to "do something" about this horrible desecration, regarding which it is apparently "hard to think of anything more vile". o.0 Comments are shut down at #1227, and "Internet getting full" is opened for further comments.
    • Fresh crackers!: 579 comments as of this writing
    • Commentary: It Gets Me! "So Bill Donohue, bumbling idiot, decides to go after my favorite blogger, all-around nice guy (except to religion!), and professor PZ Myers... ...For a cracker." Author admits to having abducted not one but two communion wafers without eating them.
    • Letters of support for PZ:
  • 2008-07-11
  • 2008-07-12
  • 2008-07-13: Mail dump: PZ posts a couple of insanely vile hate emails he recieved, along with full headers. The Pharyngulites go to work and are able to track down substantial identifying information on both of them.
  • 2008-07-14: Letter of support for PZ: En Tequila. Key point: people are more important than symbols.

Reference: Support PZ blog