Posts Tagged ‘Eucharist’

Sunday Sermon: Wafer controversy revisited

religion_vs_scienceA few weeks ago, I touched on the controversy sparked by PZ Myers when he desecrated a communion wafer, and noted the double standard at work — apparently people who believe a cracker turns into the flesh of Jesus when you say a magic spell should be respected when they act on that belief, but people who believe it’s just a cracker don’t deserve the same respect.

But in reviewing that post, I can see that I went way too easy on the nutjobs. It’s not merely that there was a double standard in how they claimed the two camps should be treated, there were different standards in what the two camps had already done.

What PZ Myers did was, he obtained a communion wafer and desecrated it. He publicly ridiculed the beliefs of a group of people. What the other folks did was, they mounted a massive hate-mail campaign against him and tried to get him fired from his job. So let me amend my earlier post with an addendum.

Here’s the thing: No matter how people may criticize or even ridicule you for your views on Holy Communion, nobody is trying to interfere with your belief that a Communion wafer is the body of Christ, or your actions based on that belief.

Nobody is mounting a hate mail campaign against you because you consume the Holy Eucharist.

Nobody is taking to the airwaves to denounce you because you like to eat the body of Christ in church.

Nobody’s trying to get you fired from your job because you like to eat a piece of Jesus for Sunday brunch.

So lighten the (bleep) up.

(cartoon via Ruining the Internet)

Sunday Sermon: Holy Eucharist, Batman!

communionI’ve been talking a lot about “New Atheists” and “accommodationists” recently, so this might be a good time to take a look at a controversy from last year, when militant atheist PZ Myers deliberately desecrated a Catholic communion wafer and provoked a storm of controversy.

From the “atheist etiquette” POV, of course, it’s anything but polite to deliberately offend someone, and very few things are more offensive to Catholics than a deliberate desecration of what they believe to be the actual body of Jesus Christ.

But there’s an interesting double standard at work here. The assumption seems to be that if somebody views a wafer made of flour and water to be the body of Jesus, and treats it accordingly, we should respect that view, no matter how silly or misguided we believe it to be.

If that’s true, then what about the belief that a wafer made of flour and water is, well, just a cracker? What if someone believes that, and treats that wafer accordingly — that is to say, with no more respect than we’d give to any other inanimate object? Shouldn’t we respect that viewpoint, and that action, just as much as we respect the other view?

Last time I checked, the Golden Rule was one of the “biggies” in Christian doctrine. Why aren’t any of the outraged Catholics applying it? If they would have others respect their view that a communion wafer is more than “just a cracker,” shouldn’t they respect the view that it isn’t?

(Communion cartoon via St. James Westminster Anglican Church, London)