It is finished.
Remember PZ Myers? He’s the biology professor and big-time internet scienceblogger I talked about a while ago. You know, the dastardly, God-hating atheist. The one so appallingly, unspeakably evil that he
kicks puppies steals people’s ice cream regularly abuses children and uses his hugely influential global institution to cover it up and escape prosecution dared to suggest that death threats might be a bit of an overreaction to some kid not eating a small piece of bread when he was supposed to. But in spite of this atrocious wrong-doing, the many Catholics who perceived themselves the injured party forgave him with typical Christian kindness took reasonable steps to address the issue offered some sort of reasonable resolution acceptable to all parties sent further death threats, by the hundreds, to PZ and his family. But this act of loving charity, of which Jesus would no doubt be proud, was not enough to soften his cruel heart, and earlier this week he went ahead with his abominable hate-crime against another equally precious and valuable small piece of bread.
Okay, I’m all sarcasm-ed out, so I’m just going to segue clunkily into lecture mode. In the end, all he did was stick a nail through it (inspired by this image of a similar blasphemy by those insidious Jews) and chuck it in the bin, along with some other generic rubbish. By strict Catholic doctrine, this is probably a Very Bad Thing to do. Even outside of Catholic doctrine, this could still be quite a dick move, if meant as nothing more than an offensive and deliberately provocative gesture of contempt to something that means something to some people.
But that’s not what it was, and this is where so many people are missing the point. Myers wasn’t simply saying “Ha, this is what I think of your sacred cracker,” and spitting metaphorically on something precious to many people. This wasn’t an attack on Christianity, or an assertion of hate or disrespect to all those who practise it. I can’t speak for PZ, but it seems clear that he was trying to highlight the triviality of the whole controversy, and of the one action that kicked it all off, and of the staggering lack of perspective exhibited by anyone who thinks their outrage gives them such moral superiority that they can start calling for people’s murder over a small piece of bread.
As he’s been saying all along, it’s a frackin’ cracker. “Desecrating” it means nothing. Zero material harm has been done here. You’re welcome to your unusual, unorthodox, or just plain wacky ideas about what any arbitrary object means to you, but you can’t expect anyone else to have even a modicum of respect for these ideas if they’re not founded in reality. This cracker – either one – was nobody else’s property, nobody else’s domain to decree what may or may not be done to it.
He also threw in a few pages of the Qur’an into there along with all the other trash. And a few torn-out leaves from Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, too. Because why the hell not? It means nothing. No ideas have been demeaned, no belief systems have been weakened, nobody’s moral centre will tumble down. I could totally rip up an entire Dawkins book and throw it out with the days-old lasagna I’ve got lying around. It’d just a symbolic gesture to demonstrate that, you know what, I can do this, and it changes nothing. And unless their ideology is dangerously running amuck, then so it should be with Catholics and their Jesus-wafer. When people are making death threats over a small piece of bread, this seems like a gesture worth making, if it can help remind ourselves of what actually matters. And if it takes a cursed heathen atheist to do the job and stand up to the dangerous ideology in some small way, then that’ll just have to do.
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