You’d think nobody had ever abused a Communion wafer before:
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!
Catholics worldwide became furious.
Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker.
Death threats. Police protection for Communion wafers. Calls for this poor schmo to be expelled. I know it’s an important symbol, and I know some people think religion’s the most important thing humanity has. But for fuck’s sake – if it really is the body of Christ now, don’t you silly shits think God can take care of his own smiting?
That’s what really terrifies them, actually: the fact that it’s all just fiction. That’s why it’s taken so damned seriously. They know if they let one person get away with it (not like many people haven’t, and without much more than a brief snort of outrage), then their symbol, powerless in itself, will lose its power.
I’d just like to ask: what the fuck has a Communion wafer done for humanity that warrants police protection? And why can’t the Constitution get the same respect these days?
Our Congress is about to take another step along the road to making the basis of our government so much empty rhetoric. Pretty words on old paper. They’d be up in arms if someone walked out with the original document and burned it, but as for the real protections it enshrines, those are okay to destroy.
Symbols are important, but ultimately, they’re just symbols. It’s the actions, the philosophies, and the laws they stand for that are of true importance.
John Pieret responded to PZ’s call for blasphemy by pointing out how we’d feel if Ken Hovind got his hands on Darwin’s original notebooks, defaced and destroyed them. Fair enough. We’d be upset. But what would he have destroyed? Is Darwin’s great contribution those notebooks, or the ideas within them? The notebooks would be gone, and no doubt they’d be a loss. But the ideas within them can’t be destroyed so easily.
I’d argue the same for Communion wafers. One college kid walking out with one wafer isn’t going to destroy the entirety of the Catholic faith. So it was consecrated. So it was the body of Christ. How many millions of those are passed out every Mass? Is Catholicism really so weak that the loss of a single holy wafer can deal it a death blow?
I’d like to say this to all of the folks who’ve totally gone off the rails on this: think about what’s more important, the symbol or the faith? Haven’t you rather mistaken one for the other? Isn’t there something in the Bible about not taking the symbols to be more valuable than the thing itself?
And this is why the whole farce made me think of the vote that’s going to rip a giant hole right through the Fourth Amendment. This will be done by people who would not dream of harming the physical document. Ask them to take a pair of scissors in hand and cut out the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution from the original document, and they wouldn’t. Ask them to vote to destroy the protections it enshrines, and they shall do so with nary a twinge.
A few people in the House and Senate understand. They know that you could put the Constitution itself through a papershredder and then light the fragments on fire, and nothing would change. They know that what is really going to harm that document is voting its protections away.
They know better than to mistake the symbol, no matter how sacred, for the thing itself. It’s too bad so many others get it backwards.