David Frum wrote a pretty good piece defending the right to blaspheme, but he got one part wrong.
In 1989, the AIDS activist group ACT UP disrupted services in St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. One protester grabbed a consecrated communion wafer, broke it, and tossed it to the floor. He and some 100 others were arrested. A few of the protesters were sentenced to community service. None went to prison. Needless to say, none was burned at the stake.
From a Catholic perspective, defiling a consecrated communion wafer does violence to the body of God. It would be hard to imagine a more brutal affront to the most cherished beliefs of faithful Catholics.
Hmm. Is that really what it is? Do they think of it as like taking a machete to God’s arm?
I wouldn’t think so. I don’t think even from a Catholic perspective it’s like doing violence to anyone’s body. How can you do any kind of violence to a god anyway? It doesn’t bleed or feel pain or lose the use of the body part. I think it’s the sacrilege that burns, not an idea of doing violence to a body.
Anyway. Everyone was shocked and went tut, no one said it was blasphemy and a police matter.
The right to blaspheme is not a right most of us make much use of these days, and for excellent reason. In modern Western free societies, we take it absolutely for granted that nobody can enforce religious dogma on anybody else.
Ohhhhhhhh no we don’t – at least not if we’re paying attention we don’t. Hobby Lobby anyone?
No, we don’t take that for granted at all, because we can’t. If only we could. Nope; the USCCB enforces religious dogma on anyone who uses a Catholic hospital, emphatically including non-Catholics. Religious phrases and symbols are forced on all of us all over the place – on the money, in “the pledge,” in and around many public buildings, in airports, and on and on.
Expect more blasphemy over the coming years.