Roman Catholics freak out when man takes Eucharist “hostage.”

I’m often chastised by some folks when I use the word delusional to describe many Christians, but the evidence is often overwhelming even among what could be considered mainstream denominations. Take the Roman Catholics for example. Usually they demonstrate their delusional state by seeing piss-poor images of Jesus Christ or his mother in random inanimate objects, but you could write that off as just them being quirky in a (mostly) harmless way. Every now and then, however, they’ll do something that reveals just how nuts they really are.

Things such as freaking out when someone doesn’t participate in the cannibalistic ritual communion the way they’re supposed to like this guy:

“When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

“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.

Webster Cook is a UCF Student Senator down in Florida and he has caused quite a ruckus because he didn’t eat Jesus’ flesh. That’s what this is all about after all: Transubstantiation—that the cracker they give you during communion literally becomes the body of Christ after the priest blesses it. Which, as I said before, when you think about it makes this a cannibalistic ritual which is kinda scary in its own right.

Had this incident ended here then I’d probably write it off as just a minor confrontation between mildly crazy people and move along to the next news item, but it doesn’t end there. No, the Catholic church has to take the lunacy up a couple of notches:

“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.”

A hate crime? Are they fucking serious? You bet your sweet Jesus cake they are:

“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.

Look out! He’s kidnapped our cracker! Quick! Call in the Eat Your Damned Jesus Nuns to make sure this never happens again!

This is, in two words, fucking insane. It doesn’t just stop with the church officials either. Reports are that Catholics “worldwide” were outraged and bombarded Cook with hate mail, death threats, and other abuse prompting him to finally return the cracker and end the hostage crisis:

Cook said he just wanted to show the Eucharist to a friend he brought with questions about Catholicism before consuming it. But outraged Catholics across the globe didn’t believe him and suspected he intended all along to steal the Eucharist and bloggers sent out e-mail messages damning him to Hell.

“I am returning the Eucharist to you in response to the e-mails I have received from Catholics in the UCF community,” Cook wrote in a letter to the church. “I still want the community to understand that the use physical force is wrong, especially when based on assumptions. However, I feel it is unnecessary to cause pain for those who are not at fault in this situation.”

Cook said some threatened to break into his dorm room to rescue the Eucharist. Brinati said the Diocese of Orlando didn’t condone those threats, but was happy Cook had a change of heart and returned it.

“We’ve been praying about that,” she said.

And I’m sure those prayers made all the difference as opposed to, say, the death threats. Cook could still end up being suspended by his university over the incident and he’s filed his own complaint against the Church over the use of physical force. Both complaints are still pending.

Finally, I found this last bit rather humorous:

“I want to thank the individuals who explained the emotional and spiritual pain my possession of the Eucharist caused them to experience,” he wrote. “They have demonstrated that the use [of] reason is more effective than the use of force.”

The last thing anyone involved in this episode has been using is reason. They’re going ape shit insane over a fucking cracker that they literally believe becomes the flesh of Christ. There’s no reason involved in that kind of thinking. That’s pure delusion plain and simple. That’s the crazy talking. If this had been a Hostess Cupcake they’d be locked up and drenched in Thorazine.

102 thoughts on “Roman Catholics freak out when man takes Eucharist “hostage.”

  1. I would have took the crackers just to prove how crazy religion can be. This would definately prove my point. Any time I went to church I always refused communion because how crazy I thought it was. I never would have thought that taking a cracker is the same as kidnapping. Your right, these people are insane. Wonder what a non-religious psychologist would think of all this.

    Death threats? Their as bad as the Muslim extremists. Catholic extremists they should be called.

  2. Hey! A religion based upon eating cupcakes, I see the next Pink Unicorn or Spaggetti monster style cult. With cupcakes though, this could take off as a mainstream religion sometime soon!

  3. Yeah.  Catholics take their Eucharist very, very, very seriously.  That said, Cook probably had grounds for assault charges from being manhandled that way.  Needless to say any sort of threats of violence or burglary aren’t very in keeping with what the Church purports to be about.

    Of course, Cook was a bit of an ass about this, too.  It’s not clear in the story, but … taking the host back to the pew to show it to a friend?  If he’s actually Catholic, that’s highly inappropriate based on the tenets of the religion; if he’s not Catholic, he’s behaving disrespectfully If someone invites you to their house and shows off their Holy Cupcake in its Cupcake Shrine, it’s more than a bit rude to carry it over to a friend out on the patio to show it them, even if you think your host is cuckoo.  That doesn’t justify your host assaulting you to get the cupcake back, of course.

    It’s also clear that Cook has an axe to grind against the college religious center or the ministry involved or something for being funded at least in part by student fees.  Which make sme wonder if there’s more here than meets the immediate eye.

  4. Would there be ice cream with the holy cupcake?  ‘Cause that could be a deal-maker.

    Cook was being kind of obnoxious about it, no question.  But nothing in the imaginary realm justifies assault or death threats.

  5. I think I can shed a little light on this strange ( and highly blown-out-of-proportian ) reaction on the part of the religius folk involved.

    I was telling a relative about this who had studies religion in their education and acording to them, stealing the Eucharist is often an activity of satanists (who are just as fucked up as the people in this incident).

    I have no reason to doubt my relative and acording to them the satanists like to take the Eucharist home, defile it using bodily waste and then offer it up to Satan. Like I said, just as nuts as their counterparts.

    Perhaps said congregation has a paranoia that satanists are among them? It would certinaly fit in with their behavior.

  6. Dave: Respect has to be earned and religion hasn’t earned that respect. I’m glad Cook did what he did. It proves how fucking crazy religion really is. Sorry but cannibalistic rituals aren’t my thing.

  7. I don’t disagree that Cook was, at a minimum, being rude, but even if we discount his claims of assault and death threats as him having an axe to grind there’s still the fact that the priest compared this to a kidnapping and the Catholic spokesperson declared it a hate crime. That’s just fucking nuts.

    Gelta, the beliefs about supposed Satanists are most likely based on as many facts as beliefs in God. Remember back in the late 80’s/early 90’s when everyone was freaking out about all the supposed Satanists kidnapping children and ritually murdering them? Yeah, turns out that never actually happened, but that doesn’t stop the True Believers™ from talking about it as if it were commonplace even today.

  8. Dave: Respect has to be earned and religion hasn’t earned that respect. I’m glad Cook did what he did. It proves how fucking crazy religion really is. Sorry but cannibalistic rituals aren’t my thing.

    I’m not suggesting respecting “religion,” but people and their feelings—religious or not—are due at least some measure of respect on the level of courtesy.  Especially when you are on their turf.

    I was telling a relative about this who had studies religion in their education and acording to them, stealing the Eucharist is often an activity of satanists (who are just as fucked up as the people in this incident).

    I suspect there aren’t enough Satanists out there to make this particular concern all that real (nor, as far as that goes, if I were to consider the consecrated Host to be the actual transubstantiated Body of Christ, would I really be worried that there’s anything they could metaphysically do to it, but maybe I work with a different magic system than they do).

    [T]he priest compared this to a kidnapping and the Catholic spokesperson declared it a hate crime. That’s just fucking nuts.

    I certainly agree it’s not kidnapping.  And calling it a hate crime is trivializing other “real” hate crimes out there. 

    On the other hand, I know people who go ballistic when the DM touches their dice in a D&D;game.  I know people (most, actually) who would be infuriated to find someone pissing on their mother’s grave.  And I’d be seriously pissed off if someone were to insult my wife or child, even if they weren’t there to be hurt by it.

    The closest case I can think of to this is flag burning, which plenty of people who *don’t* support a law against it still consider to be a deeply insulting and angering act, an insult to those who have died, etc., etc.  On one level, it’s just a piece of cloth.  On another, people invest it with meaning beyond what it is on the surface.  I may not agree with that meaning, and I may certainly disagree with what they do about it, but I certainly realize I have enough things of my own that I consider precious to me that an outsider would consider meaningless that I shouldn’t just call someone crazy per se for their valuing of it.

    Again, that doesn’t justify threats of (let alone actual) violence.  But while it’s easy to urge folks to be rational about their emotional attachments and take a few deep breaths, it’s not always helpful (or unhypicritical) to do so.

  9. The catholic church has swindled the poor, the ignorant, and the gullible for almost 2000 years.  It is hard for me to get upset about them losing a cracker.  It is just a damn cracker.  With the tax breaks the churches get, I am certain the damn cracker was already paid for anyway.

  10. Les, point taken, yours too Dave, although I still think that people who would think of a cracker as a hostage would be capable of beliving such rumors about so-called satanists, wether it be about killing children or defiling low-calory snacks.

  11. They gave him the fucking cracker, he didn’t steal it.  I don’t see how it could be any more rude to not eat the communiuon cracker than to not eat a little cookie that you are given on some airplane flights.

  12. OK, that almost made me spew my drink all over my monitor.

    Almost. I managed to contain the giggles it prompted.

  13. The catholic church has swindled the poor, the ignorant, and the gullible for almost 2000 years.  It is hard for me to get upset about them losing a cracker.

    Of course, this isn’t about “them” as a soulless, faceless, evil institution, at least in the initial reaction.  This is about individual people.

    White people like me have been stealing from darker-skinned types around the world for centuries.  Do I get no sympathy if someone steals my wife’s wedding ring?

    They gave him the fucking cracker, he didn’t steal it.  I don’t see how it could be any more rude to not eat the communiuon cracker than to not eat a little cookie that you are given on some airplane flights.

    It’s sort of like an all-you-can-eat place—they kind of frown on your loading up a doggy bag.  Or it’s metaphysical DRM, and you’re only really licensing the eucharist, not buying it.  Or it’s like taking the damask napkin that your dinner host put at your spot at the table and taking it home with you.

    Again, they way they took out their reaction was extreme, even wrong—but that they had the reaction was not, by their lights (or by anyone who’s spent any time in a Catholic Church) not out of left field.

  14. Did anyone try and reason with the guy first? If they did, and explained why they were upset, then the guys an arsehole.  If they went nuclear straight away then human nature is to kick back.

  15. You had better be careful Les, the crazy followers of Bill Donohue are after PZ Myers because he said it was silly to get so worked up over a cracker.

    And remember, a good Christain always makes death threats.

  16. Raised a Catholic, all the time I thought the Eucharist deal was a symbolic thing.  I never realized I was part of a cannibalistic cult.

    I’m ALWAYS the last one to get the news.

    -EdK

    “Gimme my cookie back.  It’s actually my left nut.”
    – God

  17. I can’t wait so see the blogger who films himself taking one and then pissing or doing something else raunchy to it.

    It will make my day.

  18. I’m ALWAYS the last one to get the news.

    Which reminds me of …

    Step into that long 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!

    —Tom Lehrer, “The Vatican Rag”

    To which I was first exposed by my good Catholic parents, who’ve always been able to take a joke, too.

    Looking to the post that DOF pointed to:

    1. Bill Donohue is a jerk.  But, then, I’m not much into hate speech rules (whether laws or school regulations).  The best way to deal with “hate speech” is either social ostracism or pointing and laughing at the jerk.

    2.  The Catholics involved lose points in my book by painting it all as either an insult toward Catholicism or an insult to God.  The point is that it was an insult to the people who were there, and in whose community he was ostensibly worshiping.

    3.  That Cook is a Catholic (as his father claims) means that he’s particularly clueless, or pointedly insulting, since he *should* know exactly how people would react to his actions.

    4.  It occurs to me that, for the people there, what was being done was tantamount to doing what I suggested in an earlier comment, pissing on someone’s grave (whether it was meant to make a point, because of physical need, or to satisfy someone else’s curiosity).  One the one hand, arguably doing such a thing does no lasting harm to anyone (“It’s just a grave.  The person’s dead.  The grass will recover.”) 

    On the other hand, if the family of the deceased was standing by, most people would understand if some attempts were made to physically restrain him from doing such a thing, even though, rationally, it’s not doing anyone any direct harm.

    That doesn’t mean it’s okay to threaten him with death, or to threaten to break a few teeth, etc. And one could certainly argue that Christ’s suggestion to “turn the other cheek” should have applied here.  But to dismiss the crowd’s sentiments as silly, delusional, and wholly unwarranted is probably not the right reaction, either.

  19. Call me conflicted.

    I’m in favor of awarding religion all due respect—none. Playing pranks with a cracker and a ceremony of ritual cannibalism is therefore fair game. I’m not with ***Dave as far as it crossing the line between insulting religious beliefs and insulting people is concerned, but True Catholics™ will see that differently. At the same time, it’s poor form. Isn’t it bad enough that Catholics are supposed to believe this transsubstantiation nonsense? Then there’s the personal safety concern—people who feel strongly enough not to barf the cracker right up are bound to be provoked into muscular Catholicism.

    The tie-breaker is Bill Donahue. If it gets him all huffy and puffy, then it must be all good.

    I’m willing to bet that this isn’t even close to the first time that the cracker has been kidnapped and predictably, there are already out-of-the-closet copycats:

    The Atheist Blogger: I kidnapped Jesus

  20. Playing the role of fly in the ointment for a moment here…

    If the young man had held the chip aloft and said; “I’m taking this and leaving!” it would be tantamount to pissing on the grave with the family present.  But it seems his taking was not that overt. From all reports he was not attempting to give offense at the time.  Someone noticed and made an issue, and he got his back up about it, and here we all are.

    But…

    Deliberate offense (to use an example considerably further down the continuum of offensive things) like picketing a funeral practically guarantees sympathy for physical intervention.  The problem is that the continuum is printed on rubber; it stretches.  Some people have a thick skin, while others are terribly offended by things you or I might shrug off.

    See what I just did?  I used an example practically everyone agrees is offensive to make my point.  But what makes it offensive?  The fact that people were offended.  By an act.  A symbolic act.  Which is to say, symbolic expression.  Which is a form of speech.

    Jesus spoke of internal acts as being equal to external ones in the eyes of God.  The church is full of people reverently accepting the body of Christ having prepared their hearts for the act.  But it also has its share of people who take the Eucharist while thinking of dinner, or of their need for a drink, or of some other nonspiritual distraction.  Or unbelieving altogether but unwilling to confront their family’s questions about why they didn’t take communion. But we can’t see that offense, only God can.  Yet it is equal to the symbolic act we can see, the young man sneaking away a wafer.

    If I understand Christian doctrine correctly, the church should have taken it as a teachable moment in practice, and many fewer Catholics should have taken communion at that church the following week. Instead many stepped forward as defenders of Jesus.  As if He needed defending.

    My comments were deleted at the link above, but the author said; “…the Eucharist IS our God…” to which I replied “That is painfully obvious”.

    (Les, I’m still having to fix anchor tags by post-edits)

  21. For me, part of the tiebreaker is the setting.  If Catholics march along on the sidewalk and wave a consecrated host at you and tell you that you’re going to hell for whatever it is you believe and that’s why they’re marching to shut down XYZ or whatever—it’s perfectly appropriate (IMO) to take the wafer out of their hand and do something with it that causes them to keel over in apoplexy.  Their belief doesn’t trump your disbelief in terms of the public forum.

    This was the case of a worship ceremony in private, in which circumstance Cook either behaved with incredible cluelessness (and defensiveness over same) or with deliberate insult to make a point.  *He* invaded *their* space to do this, and that’s as unjustifiable (regardless of whether the theology and symbolism of the Eucharist is goofy to you or not) as your crashing a party at my house and slipping a kiddie porn disc into the DVD player.

    Regardless of how one feels about the Catholic Church as an organization, as a theology, or as an egregious example of the balminess of those whacky theists, two wrongs don’t make a right, and being provocatively rude cedes the moral high ground, whether it’s Cook or Bill Donohue.

    (I find it vaguely disturbing to apparently be the defender of the Catholic Church, which denomination I no longer belong to, and which hierarchy I find reprehensible on a number of issues.  I actually see myself more as a defender of civility in this instance than any particular organization.  If the Catholics want to perform ceremonial cannibalism in their personal ceremonies, so be it.  If they want to impose their will on the body politic, I’ll fight them tooth and claw.)

  22. Playing the role of fly in the ointment for a moment here…

    As usual, DOF is a font of disturbing wisdom.  Sort of like (once you strip away all the irksome Pauline and Constantinian dross) Jesus. 

    Hey … maybe DOF is actually … naaaaaaah …

  23. “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.”

    Which is one of the reasons I find hate crime legislation so godawful.

    First off—and, to me, ultimately—a hate crime is a *crime* that is motivated by *hate*.  Or, more particularly (since arguably most crimes are motivated by hate, or by apathy—and which really, is worse?) crime that is motivated by hatred of a particularly defined and protected group.

    There is, so far as I know, no statute in any state or jurisdiction regarding “theft” of a conscrated host.  Thus there is no crime involved.  It’s certainly an insult (whether oblivious or intentional), but insult is not a hate crime, it’s only an insult (the same as a racial epithet). 

    If Cook had spray painted “No student money for religious organizations” on the walls of the building, that would be different (a *crime* would be involved, that of vandalism).  Since (as has been noted) Cook was handed the Eucharist, barring any specific law to the contrary he was free to do what he wanted with it.  No crime, no hate crime.  Provocative rudeness, perhaps, even infliction of emotional distress—but those are civil charges, not criminal ones.

  24. ***Dave writes…

    If the Catholics want to perform ceremonial cannibalism in their personal ceremonies, so be it.  If they want to impose their will on the body politic, I’ll fight them tooth and claw.

    I’m actually with you there, ***Dave. I have no real problems with the Catholic’s pretend cannibalism other than it’s mildly creepy, but I still think the fact that they believe in literal transubstantiation of the Eucharist is good evidence that they are delusional. I’m also of the opinion that if Mr. Cook was causing a disruption that the Catholics involved weren’t necessarily being unreasonable with regards to the physical altercation that took place in the church. What I’m having a hard time with is that these people are seriously trying to call it a hate crime, kidnapping, and the death threats. All of which I feel is further evidence of their delusional state.

    When you consider the fact that the Catholic church, as a whole organization, is responsible for covering up after pedophile priests and allowing them to prey upon kids for, literally in many cases, decades, well, it makes all the outrage over a Jesus cracker seem stunningly hypocritical at best and seriously fucked up priority-wise at worst.

  25. the fact that they believe in literal transubstantiation of the Eucharist is good evidence that they are delusional

    The doctrine of transubstantiation isn’t easily explainable (that I don’t believe in it myself may make it easier or harder to explain).  Obviously Catholics don’t actually *see* a little disk of flesh and a cup full of blood. They believe that the metaphysical reality behind those objects becomes Christ’s body and blood—call it, perhaps, uber-symbolism, or the medium becoming the message, or something that I’m sure has some hoity-toity literary equivalent. It still has all the appearances of bread (loosely speaking) and wine, but the underlying nature of it is Christ being present to be consumed, just as he offered up the sacrifice of his body at the Last Supper preparatory to the Crucifixion.

    Wikipedia perhaps does a better job explaining it.

    I’m certainly not asserting you have to believe the doctrine (or the religion, or the history) is correct, but there’s more to it than “aliens are beaming mind control rays into my brain!” delusion.

    What I’m having a hard time with is that these people are seriously trying to call it a hate crime, kidnapping, and the death threats.

    I agree.  (1) It’s not a crime, so it’s not a hate crime (the loosy-goosey way that “hate crime” is bandied about makes me mistrust the term coming from almost anyone); (2) It’s a symbolic kidnapping at most—but, then, if its underlying reality is that of God, it’s not like it can actually be harmed, one would think; (3) Death threats are, to my mind, inconsistent with the teachings of the very One they claim to be so concerned about.

    Rather than it being a sign of delusion, I’d say it’s a sign of how wrapped up emotionally they are in something.  That can lead to irrational behavior (as anyone who’s ever been in love, or been provoked to furious anger, well knows), which may be considered delusional in its own way.  That doesn’t make it right, just perhaps more understandable.

    As to the pedophilia scandal and where their individual and institutional priorities should be, I’d concur, save that one is immediately in their attention (and highly emotion-laden) while the other is (even if the folks involved from the ministry center are addressing it in a diligent and sincere fashion) an ongoing effort in the background.  Not only are the two efforts not overlapping in what they are doing, but they are of very different natures.  To use an analogy off the top of my head, if there were some sort of huge emotional disaster in my life, it might interfere for a time with the (objectively and rationally) more important efforts on my part to put food on the table.

  26. As usual, DOF is a font of disturbing wisdom.

    Well, I did pay attention back in my preachin’ days.  That comment was an adapted short version of a sermon about communion that I gave at a church in North Carolina in 1980. But you know what Darth Vader said about lack of faith…  long face

    On a lighter note, Russell’s Teapot has a good comic about Bill Donohue – And his trusty sidekick, Altar-Boy

  27. Maybe the church should come up with a transubstantiation reversal.  The cracker goes Jesus only in the church, and reverts back to cracker outside the door. 

    Satanists stealing the crackers to defile them?  You’d think digesting it and shitting it out would kinda be the same.  Something I read (sci-fi, I think) that mentioned cannibalism of one’s enemies as the ultimate defeat: you win the battle, eat your enemy, and reduce him to a pile of dung. 

    I’d much rather the FSM Eucharist.  I’m down with transubstantiation of the cupcake into pasta.  Better yet, be on the safe side:  pasta dish followed by ice cream and cupcake.  At least you can get the kids to go to church easier. smile

  28. I think the catholics are over-reacting, however the fact that this stunt was pulled on their turf does give some credence to their complaints.

    I agree that they havn’t earned any respect, but in this case I feel that they have a reasonable expectation of respect in their own church, during their own service.

  29. Being rude does not mean being immoral. I can’t even put a moral value on this. Communion is such a ridulious cerimony that I can not in good conscience take it seriously. Maybe what he did was rude but he doesn’t deserve the death threats or being suspended for it. The Catholics and the university are way over the line on this. I would have did it to prove how stupid religion is and why I’m against it.

  30. Communion is such a ridulious cerimony that I can not in good conscience take it seriously.

    It may be ridiculous to you, but it isn’t to the catholics. They are entitled to do ridiculous things in the privacy of their own services. Going into thier ceremony and behaving like a jerk is just un-acceptable.Not a hate crime, no, but it was quite insensitive.

    These people gather together with their own kind to enjoy their ceremony. They arn’t holding mass in the middle of the street or something. If Cook was so interested in the communion wafer, he could have gone to a priest and got an un-blessed one.

    I agree that religion does not automatically merit respect, but going into their mass and disrespecting the eucharist is as bad as a gaggle of priests coming into your house and forcing you to respect said eucharist.

    Defending Cook’s action by saying that the eucharist is worthless is the equivalent of forcing our values on them. And that makes us better than them how?

    God, I cant believe I’m defending catholics.

  31. Disrupting the service or chugging the wine would have been rude; simply not eating a cracker that was given to him was not rude.

  32. “They are entitled to do ridiculous things in the privacy of their own services. Going into thier ceremony and behaving like a jerk is just un-acceptable.Not a hate crime, no, but it was quite insensitive. “

    I will might start agreeing with you as soon as they stop harassing and interfering with the affairs of gays.  The Catholic church deserves NO respect until they start respecting gay marriage.

  33. Disrupting the service or chugging the wine would have been rude; simply not eating a cracker that was given to him was not rude.

    *You* don’t find it rude.  Clearly they feel differently.

    “They are entitled to do ridiculous things in the privacy of their own services. Going into thier ceremony and behaving like a jerk is just un-acceptable.Not a hate crime, no, but it was quite insensitive. “

    I will might start agreeing with you as soon as they stop harassing and interfering with the affairs of gays.  The Catholic church deserves NO respect until they start respecting gay marriage.

    There is certainly some irony in Catholics demanding respect for what they do amongst themselves and what they consider sacred, yet being unwilling to extend that respect to what gays do amongst themselves and what what they consider expressions of love.

    On the other hand, “an eye for an eye just makes everybody blind.”

  34. Disrupting the service or chugging the wine would have been rude; simply not eating a cracker that was given to him was not rude.

    I dont know how it works n the US, but here, you actually need to leave your place and go to the front of the church to recieve communion. And it’s pretty much understood that it isn’t for non-catholics or children who haven’t received their first communion.

    I will might start agreeing with you as soon as they stop harassing and interfering with the affairs of gays.  The Catholic church deserves NO respect until they start respecting gay marriage.

    I will agree with that statement when they start coming into gay people’s houses and berating them. Or when they start disrupting gay marriages.

    Calling it a hate-crime is more than a little ridiculous, but I kinda understand why they’re so upset.

  35. Or when they start disrupting gay marriages.

    What would you call putting pressure on legislators to keep gay marriage illegal?  Or supporting a constitutional amendment to “define” marriage in line with their religious tradition?  There has been a Catholic component to both, alongside the Protestant.  It seems to be common ground.

  36. The Catholic church deserves NO respect until they start respecting gay marriage.

    My, you’re setting a low bar.

    I went back to reading the original article and there are a few oddities.

    A University of Central Florida student, upset religious groups hold church services on public campuses, is holding hostage the Eucharist, an object so sacred to Catholics they call it the Body of Christ.

    Cook claims he planned to consume it, but first wanted to show it to a fellow student senator he brought to Mass who was curious about the Catholic faith.

    “When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    So what is it? Did he set out to raise a stink in protest or did he want to show off a magical wafer and things got out of hand?

    As far as the physical altercation is concerned, the report is an example of “he said, they said”. From what I can glean on Catholic forums, though, Cook’s account doesn’t appear out of character and the subsequent hubbub seems to bear that out, too. Christianity, the other religion of peace…

    This whole “affair” is a testament to the absurdity resulting from religious delusions.

  37. Or when they start disrupting gay marriages.

    Church related Catholic groups have disrupted pro-gay marriage rallies. 

    The Vatican states in so many words that it doesn’t respect gay marriage:

    The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions.

    In a 2003 Ratzinger wrote a document meant to help bishops defeat same-sex marriage and civil union laws that said:

    Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

  38. The Catholic church deserves ZERO respect and I applaud anybody who creatively disrupts the church.

  39. Julian- 
    The church using it’s far-reaching influence to curtail the rights of gays and women goes WAY beyond anything that has been done to themselves.  Saying that they have to come into someone’s house and berate them personally to be on par with the “cookie crime” is just plain old fashioned bullshit.  Equal circumstances doesn’t necessarily mean equal damage or moral weight. 

      The church spends amounts of time and money that no one else in the world has at their disposal to demonize gays and keep them from receiving basic rights.  Ditto for women’s rights.  Ditto for non-believers.  While it is perfectly legal for them to do this, it is orders of magnitude more “disrespectful” to their victims than interrupting a single service, no matter how rude the interruption.  Where did Mr. Cook say that Catholics should have less rights, or were going to burn in hell for all eternity, which some Catholics say regularly about gays?  When did he try to de-humanize these people?  These assholes are calling “hate crime” for a possibly accidental disturbance, born out of curiousity, while happily letting their collective influence be used to deny basic rights to millions of people, spread disease and poverty, and protect child rapists.  Of course when you’re a believer, nothing short of burning crosses and lynchings is called a “hate crime.” 

      This church belongs to an organization that has sheilded thousands of child rapists, supports discrimination against gays, women, and non-believers, lies about birth control and std’s, and regularly abuses their tax-exempt status by interfering in politics.  If people finally got fed up, invaded every Catholic church in America on Sunday, maced the entire congregation and then burned the fucking thing to the ground, it would barely even be on par with what the church supports as sound social policy.
    These worthless, crybaby douchebags can go fuck themselves with a splintery broom handle.

    Even if I agreed that what he did was wrong(and I don’t) I won’t play the equivalency game.  No, Catholics don’t come into my house and disturb my tea parties.  They respect my property rights, so long as the law forces them to.(Wait, there are noise and parking laws that I can’t break without punishment, but that they can break every week!  It turns out that they don’t even respect my rights at all, but get a free pass anyway!  What a surprise!)  But they have nothing but hate and destruction in store for millions of people.  Is it wrong to willfully disturb a ritual that people take seriously, and upset their emotions?  Sure.  But every good catholic gives good money to do things that are a million times worse.

    And in the end, I have to agree with some others here.  He was given the cracker.  Anybody touching him, clawing at him, or refusing to let him leave is guilty of assault, no matter what they believe.  Where are the charges?  Do I now get to detain people based on what I believe, or on how strongly I believe it?

    I get that these people were all emotional about the “host.”  I get it.  But why can’t they see past their own pettiness and realize that the guy probably meant no harm, and that the “victim,” the “son of god” would never hold a grudge over such tame hijinks? 
     
    And last-Most of the complainers aren’t even acting in good faith, as far as I can tell!  Just lashing out at a perceived slight like the immature little crybabies that they are, expecting automatic privilege, and expecting everybody to approve of a $50 punishment for a $.05 crime.  Not because of any real damage, but just because it involves their precious beliefs and potentially diminishes their unearned, illegal privilege.  No dice.

  40. The Catholic church deserves ZERO respect and I applaud anybody who creatively disrupts the church.

    This is very much a matter of personal style – and the crux of this argument in all the forums where I have seen it taking place.  There are a number of confusions which boil down to style with substance.  If I disrupt Catholicism by asking inconvenient questions of an adult Catholic, that might be considered Satan’s work by some.  Others might prefer to put itching powder in the robes, which would be assault but they might think it’s hilarious. Still others (think Ireland before things settled down a bit) might plant bombs and only a sociopath could think it is funny. 

    What is humour?  What is legitimate disruption?  I’m pretty much satisfied with saying that if my ideas can be called Satan’s work, then I can say what I wish about their ideas, and no one should cross the boundary of assaulting a living person whose existence can be proven in court.  But that which satisfies me won’t necessarily satisfy another.

  41. DOF, you won’t win a game of reciprocity with True Believers™ and not the least because the very existence of ideas that doesn’t conform to their Truth™ is offensive and disruptive to them.

    As far as disruptions go, I suppose it’s a question of objectives. Activism of some kind or other that targets Catholic services isn’t new. The Rainbow Sash movement comes to mind, which created a lot of hypertension among the Catholic homophobes. I’d say theirs is a legitimate form of protest, but I hope they’re not trying to achieve more than taking a stand.

  42. DOF, you won’t win a game of reciprocity with True Believers™ and not the least because the very existence of ideas that doesn’t conform to their Truth™ is offensive and disruptive to them.

    I didn’t know it was all about winning.  I kind of thought it was about being right.

  43. I’m with ***Dave with his defence of the Catholics.  No matter how silly we may find their beliefs, it is a deeply held one which they were carrying out in private, and forcing on no one.

    Because it is a religeon a number of regulars appear to be throwing out their priciples. 

    “Anything that upsets the Catholics”- So free speech and freedom of religeon doesn’t cut both ways.

    “…child molesters…” Yawn- crap insult. The Church and the religeon is very clear about this sort of behavior.  The fact the hierachy may have shielded the perpetrators doesn’t mean the religeon is corrupt- it means some individuals are corrupt.  Its like saying the executive of the US is corrupt, ergo all patriotic Americans are corrupt.

    This bloke carried out a highly insulting action, but because it was a religeon somehow thats ok?  So we are liberal, unless we disagree with you?  The kid is an arse.

  44. My criticism of their reaction doesn’t imply that I think Cook’s action was OK.  I would never do, nor advocate, what he did.

    Nevertheless he did it and I hope it causes a lot of Catholics to re-examine transubstantiation. Along with other things. 

    PZ Myers, perhaps trying to take some heat off Cook, or just grandstanding in his usual subtle fashion, has offered to desecrate a consecrated host.  I can’t advocate that either but he has the right to challenge others’ beliefs.  How to do that without giving offense is always difficult.

  45. I think I’m going to agree to disagree here. The catholic church is guilty of a great number of things – past, present and future too I’m sure. And yes, I do hate the church, but I dont hate individual catholics.

    However Cook (or PZ) acting like a jackass isn’t making a statement, isn’t opening any eyes, isn’t leading to reform and it certainly isn’t doing anything to actually weaken the church. It just makes them, and by extension us, look like intolerant jerks.

    Anyway I will say no more on this subject because defending the church makes me physically ill.

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