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Normally, when you hear about crackers and hate crimes, you’d be thinking something else – but this one isn’t quite as it seems…

There’s been a number of discussions on TDG lately (in blogs and comments) about the fundamentalist dichotomy of religion vs materialism/atheism, and how the debate between the sides offers little in the way of progress. Right on schedule, here comes the case study:

Controversy (somehow) erupted last week when a university student from Florida stole the body of Christ – and by that, I mean the Eucharist, aka ‘a cracker’. Megapopular atheist blogger P.Z. Myers took the opportunity to boggle at the craziness of the situation, in his usual unsubtle manner. (Although it’s hard not to be on his side in this particular case):

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.

Myers’ own little rant then got Bill Donohue and the Catholic League looking for *his* head as well:

Paul Zachary Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, has pledged to desecrate the Eucharist…

…Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

Personally, I can think of a lot more vile things than doing nasty things to a cracker. On the other hand, when you purposefully act to anger someone by stepping on their beliefs, you’ve got to expect some trouble in return. Although in this case, I think Myers’ post was a fair response to what is – quite simply – an over-the-top (some might say ‘crazy’) reaction to the original ‘crime’.