The Body of Christ, Sweet Swimmer's Build, all Muscled-Up and Toned

You may or may not have heard the story of Webster Cook, a University of Central Florida student who decided to be funny, and smuggle the Eucharist out of a Catholic mass, rather than eat it.

Cook's plan, which seems about average in terms of wacky college schemes, triggered horrible cries of outrage and indignation, for his horrible desecration of the Body of Christ -- proving definitively that yes, all Christians are indeed cannibals. It also led to death threats against Cook, who returned the Eucharist one week later to the same church:
Though Cook returned the wafer one week after the theft, outraged Catholics were unforgiving, according to WFTV.com.

“We don’t know 100 percent what Mr. Cook's motivation was,” Susan Fani, a
spokeswoman with the local Catholic diocese, told myfoxorlando.com. “However, if
anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be
it.”
I'll leave aside the multiple layers of irony here, and simply mention that I find it interesting that a Church that covered up thousands of cases of sexual abuse is now horribly concerned at what could befall what can charitably be called a very tiny part of the Body of Christ, or for those of us who are non-Catholic, a cracker.

The fact that Cook was getting death threats for his transgression while being accused of hate crimes did not go ignored by the mad scientist P.Z. Myers. P. Zeddy, incensed at the insanity of threatening to kill someone over a cracker, launched into a jeremiad, or whatever the atheist equivalent would be, decrying the church's response, the odiousness of the vile Bill Donohue, and the insanity of a world in which anyone could seriously be upset about the fate of a wafer. And then he took it to the next level:
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.
So okay, a bit over-the-top, perhaps, and maybe not showing much respect to people of the Catholic faith, but by the same token, people of the Catholic faith believe P.Z. is going to be tortured eternally by a just and loving God, so I'm not sure who's showing less respect to whom.

The sane thing for everyone to do would be to back away and calm down. Will that happen? Of course not:
PZ Myers did something politically and religiously incorrect. In angrily responding to death threats against a man who didn't accord the Eucharist proper respect, he ran afoul of William Donohue's delicate religious sensiblilty. And now Donohue, who as head of the Catholic League presumes to speak for all Catholics, has decided to go after PZ's job. PZ discusses it here and on earlier blog posts.

[...]

Death threats, for those of you who have never received a serious one, are not to be taken lightly. Real people do, in fact, die real deaths at the hands of lunatics claiming to be acting in defense of God's honor. So let's put this in perspective. There is nothing PZ Myers could say that is half as awful as a death threat. Since Donohue decided to target PZ, he has already received four. Has Donohue called upon anyone to desist in making murderous threats? Does anyone expect him to?
Well, of course not. Donohue described Cook's waylaying of the wafer as "beyond hate speech," but he can't be bothered to worry about death threats against either Cook or Myers -- after all, that's just Catholics defending themselves against the hijacking of the Host. If Myers doesn't die, next thing you know, Methodists will be having their bread loaves stolen and the Unitarians will find their herbal tea missing and the Wiccans won't be able to find tofu at reasonable prices and the whole world will be in trouble.

Look, Myers may have gone over the line. Cook sounds like a typical stupid college student. But to react to either by calling for their deaths, or indeed by standing by while followers do it for you, is far more hateful than the most vile desecration of the Eucharist could possibly be. Myers doesn't deserve to lose his job (feel free to contact the good folks at Minnesota-Morris to underline that), and he definitely doesn't deserve to lose his life.

Jesus Christ preached infinite forgiveness. Were the Jesus of the Bible here today, looking at these events, I can't help but think he'd quote himself: "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." But it's not much fun to turn the other cheek, or to forgive; much easier to attack, and be hateful.

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