Friday, July 25, 2008

PZ's Great Desecration

One of the great discoveries I've been fortunate to make as a result of the science and religion project is the science blog Pharyngula by a biologist in Minnesota named PZ Myers. I find Myers to be bright, funny and exceedingly fair-minded.

Well, he got himself into a mess of trouble. It started with his reaction to what I thought was an amusing news story.

The outcry stemming from Myers's comments was amazing. The Catholic League - a very disagreeable sort - called for Myers to be fired. Others emailed/posted with everything from death threats to unsolicited prayer requests, and from whiny pleas in the "can't we all just get along?" vein to anti-Semitic name-calling.

After some buildup, Myers concluded the matter in a most appropriate way. The Catholic League could only muster a sad, little press release:

July 24, 2008

University of Minnesota professor Paul Z. Myers made good on his pledge to desecrate the Eucharist today. According to his statement on the subject, “I pierced it [the Host] with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash.”

Saying he did not want to “single out just the cracker,” Myers also tore pages from the Koran along with a few pages from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and nailed them to the Host. He then said, “They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. (His emphasis.) Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“A formal complaint against Myers has already been made. What he did—in both word and deed—constitutes a bias incident, as defined by the University of Minnesota. The policy says that ‘Expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, harassment or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion…can be forms of discrimination. Expressions vary, and can be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others…even when presented as a joke.’

“The University must now take action and apply the appropriate sanction. We are contacting the president, Board of Regents and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the school, as well as Minnesota’s governor and both houses of the state legislature; the Catholic community in Minnesota is also being contacted. Moreover, we are also contacting Muslim groups nationwide.

“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.”

Contact Myers at
Contact President Robert Bruininks at
I say, "Bravo, Myers."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment if you have something substantial and substantiated to say.