Are we living in a cartoon world? This whole thing just keeps getting more and more ridiculous every time I look up. As a former Catholic, I do understand why people are offended. They feel that one of the most vital aspects of their faith has been attacked. Fair enough. What I don’t understand is how the Catholic league can make the following statement:
“As a result of the hysteria that Myers’ ilk have promoted, at least one public official is taking it seriously. Thomas E. Foley is chairman of Virginia’s First Congressional District Republican Committee, a delegate to the Republican National Convention and one of two Republican at large nominees for Virginia’s Electoral College. His concern is for the safety of Catholics attending this year’s Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Myers’ backyard. Accordingly, Foley has asked the top GOP brass to provide additional security while in the Twin Cities so that Catholics can worship without fear of violence. Given the vitriol we have experienced for simply exercising our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, we support Foley’s request.”
Last time I checked, PZ was the one getting death threats. What do they think he is, anyway, a fire-breathing, hate-mongering, warlord who can call up a heathen army with the snap of a tentacle? He might exude some vitriol from time to time (ok…pretty regularly) on his blog, but anyone who’s ever met the man in person knows that he’s quite polite and respectful, and maybe even a bit shy. And with all the bloggy anger, he has never called for any action beyond the occasional poll crash.
I’d be curious to find out what offended Catholics thought about that whole Danish cartoons of Mohammed scandal a few years ago. The reaction to PZ’s statements about the Eucharist is exactly the same thing, as far as I can tell.
Here’s the thing, Catholics. Under the first amendment, you have the right to worship freely and openly in whatever way you choose (so long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others). You do not have the right to dictate to others how they should view your chosen faith. To the 76% of Americans who are not Catholic, the communion wafer is nothing more than a cracker, and you can’t tell them that they have to believe it is the body of Christ. By threatening Webster Cook, and now PZ, the Catholic League and those who claim to represent it have shown that they do not respect the rights of others to not believe in the transubstantiation of the host.
The story that shook up this can of bees seems impossible to parse at this point. If Cook did go into the service with the intention of “kidnapping” a host, as the church claims, well, that’s rude and disrespectful, but I don’t think any sane person would argue that it warrants death threats. I think it’s clear that PZ was attempting to put the whole thing into perspective. Did he take it too far? Maybe, but the so-called Catholics threatening Cook with violence and death certainly went there first.
I think there’s a lesson here somewhere about how we do business in a free country. Or something.
People need to realize that they don’t have the right not to be offended. Yes, we should all try to live peacefully together and treat each other with respect, but when someone does something distasteful or offensive, that doesn’t mean those that were offended get to inflict pain or death on the offender. This isn’t the dark ages. We don’t burn heretics.
Mostly what I’m saying is that we all need to grow thicker skins. And Catholics, I would hope that your eternally merciful god will understand that when some idiot college kid comes into your church and steals a host for nefarious purposes, it’s really not your fault and he shouldn’t damn you to hell for your oversight. If you really think he would do that, I’m not sure what that says about you.