I've been following this story, in utter disbelief, for a few days now. I can't describe it any better than PZ Myers (which sounds like the name of a circus or ice cream mogul), so I give you a short clipping of his post.
There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.
Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn't eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.
This isn't the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!
Grab your jaw so it doesn't hit the floor too hard and read this:
"We don't know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was," said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. "However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it."
Yes. She's referring to not eating a cracker...as a hate crime! I highly encourage you to read the rest of this wonderfully written Monty Python sketch actual blog post here.
For exercising his free speech, PZ Myers has received death threats and his boss has received numerous requests demands for his dismissal. As a result, Dr. Myers has requested that those of us that agree with him send a very polite, rational email to President Robert Bruininks, presumably Myers' boss, to show our support.
So I wrote him.
Dear Prof. Bruininks,
I have been following this story with Webster Cook and the cracker theft via PZ Myers' blog. It very deeply saddens me to see such religious superstition in the 21st century. We live in a time of immense prosperity from the scientific achievements that our species has made over the past hundred years. Heck, I'm writing to you from another country and no paper is involved and delivery is instantaneous! That's what science, testing and rejecting incorrect hypotheses, and critical thinking have given us.
If I hadn't been so amazed, I think I would have wept when I learned that people were getting outraged over a man taking a cracker because it was thought to have magically transformed into the flesh of a man that died 2000 years ago. How can that happen? Maybe if it happened 500 years ago, I could believe it, but today? In our most sophisticated society in the richest, most educated country on the planet? Very disturbing.
I hope that you and your organization continue to support PZ Myers and his very reasonable outcry at what is happening in Florida.
Very sincerely, Erik Rasmussen
Darn! I just realized I forgot to sign it with MHNATY! Oh well.