Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

Final Thoughts on Wafergate

Rook Hawkins has taken me to task on calling for PZ Myers to get fired or to resign his position over desecration of the Eucharist.  Before I offer some much prayed-over changes to my position, I will clarify one thing: I have no intention of continuing the blog debate that I started.  The reason being that I’m out of my depth with historical data and Rook will continue to make me look foolish.  I’ll let the real (or amateur) historians take him on regarding a historical Christ.  I’m confident in a historical Christ based on what I’ve read, and that’s all that I need to say on the subject.

Now, let’s get back to PZ Myers.  I have not adjusted my position that he is a bad representative of the university for desecrating a wafer.  To millions of Catholics, that is the literal body of Jesus Christ.  I think that, as an educator, he should be respectful of his students’ beliefs, whether he agrees with them or not.  However, I’m not so sure that what he did was as a representative of the university; I think it was completely personal, as a private citizen of these United States.  As much as Bill Donahue is going to disagree with me, as much as I may offend Catholic readers (Dave Armstrong: admit, you still read my blog just like I still read yours), I’m going to have to say that what he did is free speech.

What I did was overreact.  I did exactly what Myers wanted me to do–I gave him publicity for something that I should have let slip quietly under the rug where it belongs.  Myers is, first and foremost, an attention whore.  I spoke where I should have been silent.  Calling for his resignation or termination was unwarranted.

I should note that there is a significance to the Lord’s Supper, and that I believe in Real Presence, though not the way that Catholics do.  I believe that the bread is a symbol of the body; the wine a symbol of the blood, and that we eat and drink it in memory of him, just as commanded in the Bible.  However, my brother-in-law Nate pointed out to me that a symbol ceases to represent anything when it is used in another way.  Just like a swastika used to represent good luck, but now represents a terrible regime that never should have happened, symbols change their meaning based on the context of their use.  In this case, when the host is desecrated in that fashion, it ceases to represent Christ’s body and becomes just what it is–a wafer.

In effect, Myers desecrated nothing.  I should have recognized this from the outset and kept my mouth shut.