Hard to think of anything more vile

Clearly I haven’t been paying enough attention to Bill Donohue, another impressive candidate in the Bullying and Intimidation by Believers of People Who Fail to Respect and Defer to Their Particular Beliefs sweepstakes.

To protest student fees for religious services at the University of Central Florida (UCF), a student walked out of a campus Mass on June 29 with the Eucharist.

When he says ‘with the Eucharist’ he of course means with a communion wafer, that is to say, with one cracker of many many crackers. The student didn’t walk out with ‘the Eucharist’ such that nobody else could have any, he just walked out with one of a large number of mass-produced crackers. (Suddenly I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which George obsesses over whether the actor auditioning for the part of Kramer took the box of raisins that everyone had been snacking on.) The student walked out with something of an inherent value too small to calculate.

Now, that’s not the point, the point is that the cracker is supposed to have been transubstantiated into the body of Jesus. (Is it into the body? Or into a bit of the body? If it’s a bit, which bit? If it’s the whole thing – how does that work? You’re supposed to be eating all of Jesus each time? You and all the others? But if it’s a bit, which bit? Just some, like, flesh off the arm or a buttock or something? A small bit that wouldn’t be missed? These are deep theological waters, which I should not get into.) Okay, so the believers believe the cracker is [part of?] the body of Jesus. But so what? They also believe the whole thing is infinitely renewable, presumably – so what’s the problem? Really – that’s not entirely facetious. What is the problem? What do they think will happen? What do they think has happened? What kind of difference do they think it makes?

Do they think Jesus minds? Do they think the student will damage Jesus in some way by carrying off [a piece of?] his body? Surely not. Jesus is God, and God is omnipotent and invulnerable, so…what does it matter? God created the universe, so why would God be bothered that some erring human walked away with a cracker that is also [part of] an infinite god?

Who knows. But that’s probably not the issue, is it – the issue is much more likely to be the joy of having an occasion to Take Offense and then milk it. Better yet, there is the bliss of having an occasion to tell people what to do and tell them to hurry up about it besides.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered the following remarks today: “For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage—regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance—is beyond hate speech.”

The Body of Christ – so the cracker is supposed to be the whole thing then? (I know, it’s such a crude question, but I never have understood this, despite some efforts.) And it makes sense to say the removal of one cracker is taking it hostage? So this student was holding the Body of Christ hostage in just the same way that the Farc was holding Ingrid Betancourt hostage? But Bill Donohue doesn’t actually think Jesus was missing during the period the student still had the cracker, does he? Does he think God was missing too? (I don’t understand the Trinity either, I must admit.) If so why doesn’t he mention it? It’s all Christ Christ Christ with these people.

“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.”

Don’t be shy, Bill. Do your best to get some kid that you don’t know expelled from a university for doing something that you dislike. Don’t hesitate, don’t have any qualms, don’t worry about consequences or proportion, just get right in there and demand.

And then do your best to get PZ Myers fired too. PZ reacted to Donohue’s bullying of the Florida student by pointing out that the cracker was a cracker and then offering to desecrate some, and Donohue carried his Khomeini-imitation a few more steps farther:

[W]e are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature. It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.

Oh, I can think of lots of things more vile than to intentionally desecrate a cracker that is rather arbitrarily claimed to be ‘the Body of Christ’ – lots and lots and lots. Tormenting children in industrial schools for instance; telling people not to use condoms in the midst of an HIV pandemic; trying to get people expelled or fired for petty reasons.

22 Responses to “Hard to think of anything more vile”