Responding to Christian Homophobes

Recently, a group of Christian fundamentalists were protesting outside a gay club in Tampa, FL, telling everyone entering the building that “they were going to die and burn in hell.”

How do you respond in this situation?

If you’re Jeremy Gloff, you come up with a hilarious solution:

Hehe :)


[tags]homophobia, Rick Astley[/tags]

  • http://amiable-atheist.blogspot.com amiable

    i love it!

    so they basically danced the bigots away?

    i bet they were horrified.

    they should have brought the entire club outside as well.

  • http://themousesnest.blogspot.com Mouse

    I love that the people with signs basically refused to acknowledge his existence, but also were doing their best to stay away from him–you know, in case they might catch a case of the gays.

  • Ron in Houston

    I think that’s a great response to people like that. I loved the Youtube video where the Australian guy starts talking to one of the men of the Phelps clan about what a nice ass he has.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Homophobes RICKROLLED!

    Nice.

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    I got a case of the gays once but one course of antibiotics later and I was back in action again. Although I’m still fascinated with day-glo shorts and mesh-fabric cutoff shirts, damn you, George Michael.

  • Siamang

    I hope he isn’t mocking their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/relatedtohumans Amber

    I was in a really, really bad mood. And this video just made my day. Thanks, Hemant.

    ..I love America.

  • Rose

    Rickrolled in the Real World! Fantastic!

  • Brian E

    Genius, and hilarious.

    I cannot understand the mentality of christian protesters, even when I was a christian. Do they really think any gays were going to look out the window and say ‘Holy $%^&, they’re right! I better quit being gay before I go to hell!’

    I remember as a teenager (and at the time I’d consider myself christian) leaving an Iron Maiden concert and coming across these idiots with their 15 foot cross in the parking lot. Every single person leaving the concert, myself included, told them to go f&*k themselves. They accomplished absolutely nothing, other than making themselves feel good that they were ‘doing the lords work’.

    I think it high time that atheists get together and protest a catholic church with signs reading ‘Stop molesting our children’ and ‘Quit protecting pedophiles’ and see how they like it.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Brilliant.

    Shouldn’t someone point out to the big guy that his sign is upside down though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03859405216390259275 Rose

    Aw, too bad its no longer available. :(

  • Jason

    You know those big laughs where you just open your mouth really wide, open your eyes wide, and the laughs push air out, but no noise is made?

    I just had one of those kinds of a laughs.

  • Beowulff

    Absolutely fabulous :)

    I love it how he’s provoking the Christians, disturbing their assembly quite effectively. He’s really splendidly obnoxious and juvenile. Perfect example how a non-violent provocation can work, thanks for that :)

    Really, I think it is a funny video, which I heartily support, and I’m glad you posted it, but I can’t help but add a critical note: you could also argue that he’s interfering with the Christians’ right to protest in peace, if you really wanted. Seems to be no less valid as stating that palming a wafer means you are interfering with people’s right to worship in peace. Of course, bigotry at gays is far more harmful than any idolizing of wafers could ever be, and the belief that homosexuality is sinful is usually less sacred than the Eucharist could ever be to the Christians in question. So I suppose this case doesn’t really deserve the same amount of protection on the grounds of religious tolerance as provocations involving wafers.

    Right?

  • Adrian

    This is insane. Can’t you see that this is just trying to piss off the Christians? It’s insensitive stunts like this that will make it impossible for homosexuals and Christians to get along. Since this homosexual targeted these Christians and tried to disrupt their lawful meeting, I think this is a hate crime!

    ;)

  • Darryl

    You go boy!

  • Gabriel

    Loved it. This is so much more effective that theartening a helpless cracker. It makes the bigots look even more stupid and weak than normal. This is how we need to aproach all of these fools. Make their bigotry and stupidity very apparent. Hold them up to ridicule and laughter and they will run and hide. Laughter and ridicule were a major weapon against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1930′s according to the book Freakanomics. This is why I think Bill Maher’s upcoming movie will do more good than harm. By showing the religious in their natural habitat they will be shown to fools and they will be laughed at.

  • Daktar

    An excellent way to drive off these bigots. Nothing does greater harm to prejudice than laughter.

    Beowulff said,

    you could also argue that he’s interfering with the Christians’ right to protest in peace

    But gay people have the right to have un and o where they want in peace. The Christians may have the right to protest, but with that comes the responsibility to not interfere with the lives of others and to not promote hatred and bigotry.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Oooh -

    I’d like to see more Rickrolling of the protesters – but with larger groups! Wouldn’t it be great if he brought 50 or 100 fabulously dressed guys to come dance at them!

  • Dannielle

    XD

    Awesome spirit that guy has. I would have joined in!

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    Not very effective; my guess is that the sign holders actually enjoyed the show. My guess is that they will come back hoping it will happen again.

    I would be like me showing up at a women’s beach volleyball tournament to, ahem, “protest” their lack of modesty. :)

  • Pingback: Just a quick question « blueollie

  • http://joniruhs.wordpress.com Joni

    I’m appalled at Jeremy’s behavior. How could he possibly dance to Rick Astley. Was there no other groove available? I’m disappointed that no protesters danced with him as a sign of truly treating him like a person. And you know, I don’t think I’d have a problem with Brian E’s protest. Someone needs to intervene.

  • http://www.webolutionary.com Sean Robertson

    I’d imagine that’s at least a little bit risky. Some of these homophobes are just unhinged enough to lash out physically. The video is pretty damned funny case, though.

  • Ron in Houston

    Beowulff said:

    but I can’t help but add a critical note: you could also argue that he’s interfering with the Christians’ right to protest in peace, if you really wanted.

    You can argue that but you’ll look inane. People have an absolute right to stage counter protests so long as they don’t violate the law. He didn’t interfere with their right to protest. They could have stood their ground and continued their protest.

    If you can’t understand the difference between counter-protest and trespass, well, just never mind.

  • Adrian

    If you can’t understand the difference between counter-protest and trespass, well, just never mind.

    This from the guy who can’t understand the difference between displeasing your host and trespass, and between protest and a hate crime.

  • Ron in Houston

    Daktar said:

    The Christians may have the right to protest, but with that comes the responsibility to not interfere with the lives of others and to not promote hatred and bigotry.

    Protests by their very nature do tend to often interfere with the lives of others. That’s why even though they are acts of free speech society reserves the right to regulate them

    Unfortunately the hateful and bigoted have a much right to protest as anyone else. It’s an unfortunate part of living in a free society.

  • Ron in Houston

    Adrian

    I’ve been a lawyer for over 23 years, I can understand the difference. It’s you my friend that can’t and frankly I’m not going to educate you.

  • Richard Wade

    Excellent response. He just came out of the club and overwhelmed them with joy. They weren’t expecting that. The protester’s negativism feeds on negativism, and Jeremy kept to the positive, showing that his love of life will not be diminished by their addiction to hate. I heard no threats, no vulgarities yet the protesters were clearly in retreat. They shrank away from Jeremy’s happiness like Dracula fleeing from the sun. Their right to protest was not impinged, they just couldn’t stand the sound and sight of all that indomitable gaiety. (in the original definition)

    Atheists should take a lesson from this. The high road leads to the high ground.

  • Siamang

    Atheists should take a lesson from this. The high road leads to the high ground.

    Just don’t write a blog post suggesting that your readers do this inside a church.

    That blog post may well garner you death threats and an organized movement to have you fired from your job.

  • Ron in Houston

    Siamang said:

    Just don’t write a blog post suggesting that your readers do this inside a church.

    That blog post may well garner you death threats and an organized movement to have you fired from your job.

    Well, if you act stupid you ARE going to tend to attract stupid people.

  • TXatheist

    Way to go Jeremy Gloff

  • Miko

    you could also argue that he’s interfering with the Christians’ right to protest in peace, if you really wanted.

    Interestingly enough, that right doesn’t exist. Right to protest without being attacked, certainly. Right to protest nonviolently without having the police break it up, certainly (in theory, but too often violated in practice). But right to protest without someone else playing music? Nope.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    Miko, next you’ll be trying to tell us that there is no right to protest without someone dancing in a very gay way around you. Tish and pish, that may be the letter of the law but is it in the spirit of the law?

  • Beowulff

    Ron said:

    You can argue that but you’ll look inane. People have an absolute right to stage counter protests so long as they don’t violate the law. He didn’t interfere with their right to protest. They could have stood their ground and continued their protest.

    Never said it was a valid argument, did I?

    You can’t argue that from the Christian’s point of view, Jeremy Gloff was being obnoxious and probably juvenile – behavior you chided PZ Myers for, but think is just funny here (and funny it is). The Christians didn’t think it was funny. They even tried to move away, and he followed them around, so clearly, Gloff’s going out of his way to annoy. This sort of following around could even be misunderstood as threatening behavior. Mind you, I don’t think so, and I fully support these actions of Jeremy Gloff, but then again, I also fully support PZ Myers going out of his way to be annoying, so I’m not the one with the double standard here.

    If you can’t understand the difference between counter-protest and trespass, well, just never mind.

    If you can’t see the similarity between annoying someone in their face and annoying someone from a blog, well, just never mind. And quietly attending a mass open to the public is trespassing now? Huh?

    At everybody else: I’m just slightly puzzled why Jeremy Gloff gets cheered at, and PZ gets jeered at, for what is essentially both obnoxious behavior meant as a protest. Oh, I’m well aware, as I indicated before, that homophobia is a more important social issue than the belief in literal transubstantiation, or that the beliefs about the Eucharist might be more sacred to Christians than their beliefs about homosexuality, but those are all a differences in gradation, not in principle. Neither Gloff nor PZ did anything illegal. They both protested injustices performed in the name of religion. They both used provocation to protest. Yet PZ gets flack, and Gloff gets praise. What’s the difference? Is Gloff doing a silly dance simply funnier than PZ? Or is it something else? Sorry for the long post. I’ve been reluctant to restart this stupid discussion again, but this difference just confused me, so I hope someone here can help make some sense out of it.

  • Ron in Houston

    Beowulff

    Let me attempt to answer the question you posed. I’m old enough to know that the way I perceive the world is not the way that others or even the majority perceives the world.

    To me, the difference between Jeremy Gloff and PZ Myers is a difference between what I’d call active and passive. In the Jeremy Gloff incident, he went out and staged a passive protest to the active protest of the anti-gay homophobes. He didn’t go out and argue with them or even try to dispute them. All he did was just go out and play music and dance. However, this passive act was the ultimate parody of their protest.

    PZ defended a guy who went into a Catholic church. The Catholics weren’t out in society advocating transubstantiation all they were doing is just doing their rituals in their space. In his post, in my opinion, PZ started advocating an active protest against the Catholics. He, in my opinion, encouraged people to enter their space and try to “score” a consecrated wafer.

    It’s one thing to encourage people to go out and eat crackers in front of a Catholic church. It’s a whole other thing, whether through satire or not, to (at least to me) appear to encourage them to enter Catholic churches.

    It’s not enough to just compare act to act. In the law, it is the question of intent. Webster Cook may have just been stupid and didn’t intent to invade a Catholic church (recent events lead me to believe otherwise). However, when you go into the church with the intent of disrupting or even passively subverting their right to practice their religion, you’re crossing a line.

    I don’t defend Catholic lunatics. Then again, I won’t defend atheist lunatics. If you encourage people to go into a Catholic church to score a consecrated wafer, then you’re a lunatic and worth of derision and scorn.

  • Spork

    Let me see if I’ve got this (pun not intended) straight.

    Pointing out that a communion wafer is just a silly fucking cracker is unforgivably rude.

    Forcibly ejecting a cable repairman from one’s home after said repairman attempts to proselytize to you…in your own home is unforgivably rude.

    Dancing and prancing like a dumb jackass to taunt and harass and ridicule christians exercising their legal rights of assembly and protest is just fine and dandy?

    While I think it actually is perfectly fine and dandy, and hilarious (the video is still available Rose), I’m perplexed by the double standard.

    By the way, if you were to make a left at the corner to which he danced, right across from the building with the red doors, then make a right, there’s the greatest sports bar in the world. Two for one drafts all day, every day, and the Guinness is on a nitrous tap. Helluva chili dog, too.

  • Daktar

    Ron in Houston said,

    Protests by their very nature do tend to often interfere with the lives of others. That’s why even though they are acts of free speech society reserves the right to regulate them

    Unfortunately the hateful and bigoted have a much right to protest as anyone else. It’s an unfortunate part of living in a free society.

    True enough, but this means that the bloke has every right to protest against the protesters, which seems fair enough. If they complain about what he does, then he can complain about what they do (albeit in a much more entertaining manner than the po-faced sign wavers).

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    He just came out of the club and overwhelmed them with joy. They weren’t expecting that. The protester’s negativism feeds on negativism, and Jeremy kept to the positive, showing that his love of life will not be diminished by their addiction to hate.

    Which is the big difference between what he did and PZ did.

  • http://img213.imageshack.us/my.php?image=motivator6159571fh5.jpg sam

    Ghettoblaster

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Great job with the video. Antagonizing people who make use of their free time by antagonizing people. Delicious irony in all its glory.

    No, I’m not being sarcastic. It wasn’t that funny, but I appreciate the spirit :)

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Beautiful! I love how he ran them off without anger, threats or violence. Absolutely fabulous.

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    I have to agree with Ron in Houston on this one… unless this is that Ron from Dallas character in disguise, I hate that guy. Either way he calls it active vs. passive. Whatever he calls it I call it the “they started it rule”.

    The fundies who got rickrolled “started it”. PZ “started it” not by pointing out that transubstantiation is stupid, which it is, but that he actively promoted the idea of invading the cathaholics rituals. It’s really apples and oranges folks.

  • Maria

    LOL, I love it!

  • Ron in Houston

    Skeptigator

    If only you could appreciate the division between Houstonians and Dallasites.

    I’ve lived in Houston 36 years. Accusing me of being a Dallasite is a high form of insult.

  • Adrian

    Skeptigator,

    The death threats, armed guard and campaign to have a student expelled had nothing to do with PZ. He most definitely did not start or instigate anything. PZ highlighted the buffonery of Donahue and the Catholics in Orlando but only after their intimidation campaign forced Cook to use armed guards for his safety.

    The guy in the video here is making fun of the protesters and trying to provoke them, but unlike PZ, he’s actively getting in their faces when PZ just wrote a blog post. For whatever reason (possibly because of sympathies with the Catholics and not with the homophobes) you and Ron seem to be busily rewriting the past or at least drafting a double standard for those causes you support and those you don’t.

  • Ron in Houston

    Adrian

    As I said in my commentary to PZ’s cracker post, if you come into my house and shit on my carpet, I’m probably going to ask the police to be there to make sure you don’t come back.

    As to the death threats, there a lunatics everywhere. I’ll bet you that I can go on to PZ’s site and piss somebody off enough to get a death threat. I’d actually be willing to bet that the emails that PZ has posted on his site have been responded to by something akin to a death threat. It’s just the nature of humanity that people tend to go to extremes.

    Here’s what PZ said:

    So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address

    in other words, I can’t trespass in their churches because they might recognize me. So you guys do it and we’ll all do a stupid fraternity prank. Yuk. Yuk.

    Really high mined rational ideals there.

    There’s the public record – now accuse me of rewriting the past.

  • stephanie

    Rickrolling, FTW!
    A big, big hug to Jeremy for his creativity and verve!

    And another sad head-shake as to why these comments always turn bitter and back-biting to each other. I realize we don’t all agree, but just about every long string of comments on this site seems to have at least two or three people out to attack another’s position with some degree of malice. Why is that? Aren’t there enough people out there finding fault with us because we are Atheists? Do we always have to find reasons to tear each other down as well?

  • Adrian

    Ron,

    I think you have a clear double-standard, as we can see by your passive/active redefinition. Blaring music is “passive”, writing a satiric blog post is “active”. Physically getting in people’s face is “passive”, sitting behind a computer is “active”.

    We’ve already heard your expert legal opinion that accepting an invitation to a Catholic church but failing to obey every Catholic doctrine is trespass and a hate crime even if you never interrupt the service, yet when you believe in the cause, actively disrupt a gathering becomes laudable.

    That stinks of double standards to me. Quote Myers all you like, doesn’t change the fact that he’s just a writer and the closest you can find to “inciting” anyone to “trespass” was tongue firmly in cheek. If “stakes prepared” for him and “armed guards” over communion ceremonies doesn’t ring any bells, you’ve sacrificed your sense of humour as well as your standards in your bloody-minded attempt to attack PZ.

    Nothing wrong with saying you don’t like him or disagree with him, but this attempt to pillory him by exaggerations and wildly inflated implications of criminal mischief is delusional.

  • Beowulff

    Adrian, small correction: the armed guards weren’t hired to protect Cook, but to protect the Eucharist. Not kidding. But I otherwise agree with your refutation of the “they started it” argument.

    And Ron, your active/passive explanation breaks down for another reason as well. The Christians in the video tried their best to avoid Gloff, but he followed them around instead. Seems like here Gloff was the active party and the Christians the passive ones. PZ Myers, on the other hand, simply posted something on his own blog and left it there, he didn’t follow Catholics around and post it to their blogs and forums, did he? Donahue and his minions, however, did not try to avoid anyone: someone had to consciously decide to go to PZ Myers’ blog to read what he wrote. It’s pretty clear who is looking for the confrontation here. Or, since you seem to like lame living room analogies, it’s pretty clear who invaded whose living room.

    It’s also pretty clear who’s going out of his way to apply a double standard.

    Also, you seem hellbent to take the most negative explanation for everything PZ writes. Hasn’t it occurred to you that maybe PZ doesn’t want to go to a Catholic church himself because he knows that would cause a scene and interrupt someone’s service, and he doesn’t want that? Whereas a former Catholic or even a Catholic who agrees it’s just a cracker (yes they exist, true Scotsmen) and thinks the outrage is ridiculous, may very well want to help PZ out without disrupting anyone’s service.

    And don’t give me that “it’s stealing the cracker”. Nowhere did PZ suggest people do anything other than quietly follow all the right rituals, for which they will be freely given a cracker by the priest in return. You can’t really call that a crime. First, that would make criminals out of a good portion of church visitors, the people who don’t really believe anymore, but don’t want to be separated from their community. The church doesn’t really mind. It fills their church and as long as they keep coming, they may regain their belief yet.

    Second, the person obtaining the wafer runs the risk of being converted (or having their faith restored). For all we know, he’ll get in line, and he’ll actually witness a minor miracle, converting him on the spot. Since the church really believes this, it’s even in their best interest to give him the wafer, since this is exactly what they hope for.

    I really see no reason to regard the wafer as anything but a freely given gift.

    And if you want to argue again (like you have) that you’re “breaking the deal” by not eating it on the spot, well, you can just as easily argue that the priest broke the deal first by not giving you an actual piece of Jezus, but an ordinary wafer. With which we’re back at the heart of the matter.

    But why am I even arguing with you? You’ve already admitted your beliefs can’t be changed.

  • Ron in Houston

    Beowulff

    I don’t view it as being in an argument. I’m not going to change you nor are you going to change me.

    However, the reason to have the discussion is so that other people can read it and make up their own minds. I think you’ve added a lot to the discussion.

    I do think a lot of people need to ask if they are angry at religion. No, I’m not accusing you, but I get the sense that there are a number atheists who harbor a whole lot of animosity toward religion.

    I will have animosity toward religion at specific times for specific incidences. However, I just don’t harbor a general animosity toward religion.

  • Ron in Houston

    Adrian

    I have a suggestion. Go into a Catholic church and start shouting at the top of your lungs that “it’s only a freaking cracker.” See what happens.

    You can be a test case for free speech. However, I’d suggest that before you do that, you take with you some soap on a rope because those jail showers can be a bit brutal.

  • http://mattstone.blogs.com Matt Stone

    I’ve alway been puzzled by this sort of dynamic you get in America. I thought the protestors and the protestor against the protestor were both acting rather juvenile.

  • http://reasonableatheist.blogspot.com Bart Dorsey

    This reminds me of the “Hugs from Atheists” campaign one campus group was doing once. I think these sort of avenues should be explored in the Atheist community more often. I think it’s called “Killing them with Kindness”

  • Adrian

    Beowulf,

    Adrian, small correction: the armed guards weren’t hired to protect Cook, but to protect the Eucharist. Not kidding.

    Oh my. That’s surreal.

    Ron,

    Go into a Catholic church and start shouting at the top of your lungs that “it’s only a freaking cracker.” See what happens.

    You’ve been told over and over that no one had gone into a Catholic church and tried to disrupt their service and no one was planning to either. You can slash this strawman as much as you want but it’s got nothing to do with us.

    You can be a test case for free speech. However, I’d suggest that before you do that, you take with you some soap on a rope because those jail showers can be a bit brutal.

    Alright.

    Since you seem to be relishing the thought of using sexual assault to silence critics, I think the chance for rational conversation is drawing to a close.

  • Ron in Houston

    Adrian

    It was satire, can’t you see my tongue firmly in my cheek man?

    You obviously have no appreciation for satire, huh?

    Gee, where have I heard those arguments before?

  • Beowulff

    Ron,

    I don’t view it as being in an argument. I’m not going to change you nor are you going to change me.

    Speak for yourself: a good argument could persuade me to adjust my opinion. You, on the other hand, seem to reject the possibility you might be wrong. How skeptical of you.

    I do think a lot of people need to ask if they are angry at religion.

    Typical troll tactic: all your arguments are shot out of the water, so you ignore that and try to change the subject. Oh well, I guess it’s better than getting another rinse and repeat of your position.

    It was satire, can’t you see my tongue firmly in my cheek man?

    It’s not really good satire, if it sounds too much like the actual arguments you’ve been using, is it?

    I’ll have to agree with Adrian here, you do not appear to want a reasonable conversation. Your behavior on PZ Myers’ blog seems to confirm that impression, as you were called out for concern trolling multiple times by multiple people for using the same tactics as you’ve shown here. Therefore, I’m going to try and control my SIWOTI syndrome and just ignore you from now on. Goodbye.

  • Ron in Houston

    Beowulff

    If any shots are being fired they are you firing into your foot. You’ve stopped even trying to speak rationally and are now descending into name calling.

    I don’t want to try to discuss things with people who call people “concern trolls” whatever that means. I’m entitled to my opinion and no matter how much you shout and call names in the end it’s just that – my opinion.

    Feel free to have the last word because I’m done conversing with you.

  • Vincent

    I tried to think of what the average person walking by or driving by would think. First you’d hear the music, then you’d look and see signs. Then you’d most likely see the dancing guy since our eyes are more drawn to motion than to words. Then you might get around to reading the signs. But before you could read you’d have the happy sensation of a guy just out enjoying life. You want to be a part of that joy.

    The thing that struck me most was who in that procession seemed happy? Who is making a “joyful noise”? Jeremy. He’s the only one. If you want a fulfilling life, emulate him, not the sourpusses with the banners.

  • Vincent

    It’s one thing to encourage people to go out and eat crackers in front of a Catholic church. It’s a whole other thing, whether through satire or not, to (at least to me) appear to encourage them to enter Catholic churches.

    Great idea! Have a picnic lunch outside a Catholic church, and just call your food “the body of Jim” “the body of Emily” “the blood of Mike” etc.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I can’t believe people are still arguing about the differences between this and the Cook/Meyers/Donahue business.

    Cook was daft
    Meyers was out of line in encouraging people to steal hosts from inside a church so he could desecrate them.
    Donahue was his usual stupid self.

    It’s their house. Their rules. You go inside, you dance the Vatican Rag. That includes gobbling crackers, sipping wine from the communal cup, and getting grease smeared on your head twice yearly. You don’t have to believe it, nor take it seriously, but you do have to behave respectfully in their house.

    I cannot come to your house, take a picture of your grandma (it’s just some old lady), and rip that up for fun.

    From outside, you can do what you like.

    Which is where this video comes in. The protestors could have stayed where they were, exercising their democratic right to peaceful protest.

    They were “confronted” by a man dancing. Hell, I get worse from street mimes. There was no physical threat (unless you count music blaring at top volume–Manuel Noriega might have something to say about that tactic).

    Faced with music, liveliness, and good humour, they shoved off. They didn’t threaten, they didn’t bluster. They went away. Totally different behaviour on both sides.

    If the protestors had come into the club it would be different. They might have been expected to behave themselves and at least order a drink. Oh–and refrain from stealing the Cher CDs.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Derek already said it… Fundies got RickRolled…. Nice.

    Go Jeremy Gloff.

  • http://teenatheist.com/ Teen Atheist

    Brian E:

    I think it high time that atheists get together and protest a catholic church with signs reading ‘Stop molesting our children’ and ‘Quit protecting pedophiles’ and see how they like it.

    I LOVE that. Count me in!

  • Beowulff

    At Metro: Don’t forget that it’s not stealing when the wafer is given to you freely. At the very least it’s not such a clear-cut case that you should go around accusing people of stealing or inciting to steal wafers. And churches are not living rooms, the churches generally open their masses to the public, as long as you don’t disturb the mass. PZ never told people to disturb any masses, and none appear to have been disturbed last weekend; otherwise, I’m sure the CL would have let us know by now.

    I’ll agree that what Jeremy Gloff did was funnier than PZ’s response so far, and as I said before, I agree there’s a clear difference in the degree of provocation and sacredness between the two cases, and I can even somewhat understand the concern over “stealing wafers” and “invading churches”, even though I clearly think those concerns are overreactions and, for the most part, distractions.

    However, I still don’t get why arguments like “it’s juvenile” and (to a lesser degree) “you have to respect their beliefs” were made against PZ Myers, but not against Jeremy Gloff. I also didn’t see any calls here to “see it from the Christian point of view” or “why didn’t he just start a reasonable dialog”. Not that I think these would be valid arguments in Gloff’s case, mind you; I’m just puzzled why they were considered to be valid against PZ Myers. It just smells like a double standard to me, and I have yet to hear a plausible explanation of why it’s not a double standard. Anyone?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    For me it boils down to: Their house, their cracker, their rules.

    To encourage people, as PZ did, to deliberately enter a place of worship we’d normally avoid for the sole purpose of acquiring an object others consider sacred in order to desecrate it strikes me as exactly the sort of bigoted, unconscionable behaviour we accuse the believers of every day.

    Webster Cook took something he was given with a specific purpose and turned it to a totally different purpose. If it’d been a rental car he’d be paying some big bills.

    Furthermore, it’s not his. Communion is a Catholic sacrament not open to just anyone. He was given it as a member of the church, a member of “the body of Christ”. It’s community property, and a communal symbol. Instead, he behaved as someone who was not of that community. That’s fine, but in that case he had no business being in line for it in the first place. Open services are one thing. Queueing to snatch a wafer is another.

    Another metaphor: If he’d taken a kick board from the local pool he’d have been stopped and made to give it back.

    And as PZ said with regard to the threatening e-mail sent by his supporters to his detractors, we’re supposed to be better than that.

    In the Gloff case, these people came to a space generally considered gay-friendly territory. They didn’t enter it, they didn’t take anything. They just annoyed patrons passing by.

    Webster Cook could have stood outside that chapel all day with a signboard, and I’d regard it as entirely his right to do so.

    But he went into their house, participated in their ritual. And when he was asked to give the host back as he snuck out with it, he refused. Had he eaten and swallowed it, there would have been no problem.

    He could have written a scathing article blasting the silliness of transubstantiation, and I’ve have probably cheered him on.

    But he stole, or if you really can’t get behind that word, abused, a piece of community property. And here’s where it gets really weird for me:

    He has yet to explain why he kept it for a week before returning it. In fact, he’s never fully explained why he took it in the first place. I also don’t have any clear picture of either what his relationship to the church is, nor or how he communicated with them for the week he held the host “hostage” (news report word, not mine–but was it Cook’s?).

    So there you have it. One violates sacred space, or private church property if you prefer, to steal something he knows is sacred to that community.

    The other stands outside with annoying placards.

    No double standard. Simply different actions.

  • Adrian

    I’m astonished at how many of the anti-PZ crowd thinks that he’s encouraging anyone to steal a legitimately consecrated cracker instead of just getting any old communion wafer from a store. I thought it was only the catholics who thought that a sacred wafer is different but apparently not, in their haste to condemn PZ, otherwise intelligent atheists are willing to say that we need to go to mass to get a magic cracker.

    Well, here’s news for you: it’s just a fracking cracker!

    You can get any old cracker and just say it’s the body of Jesus! Catholics get driven insane by the clash of superstition and reality and no churches need to be invaded.

    Seriously. I can understand why Catholics buy into this whole affair, but what excuse do these atheists have?

  • Beowulff

    Metro said:

    In fact, he’s never fully explained why he took it in the first place.

    How about this:

    “When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

    Quoted from here, one of the very first links PZ posted on the topic. I’d almost think you are purposely trying to distort the story – you don’t happen to be a lawyer of 23 years too, I hope?

    So even if Cook did “violate private church property”, members of the church violated his private body, which I take far more seriously. Similarly, the threats towards Cook’s life are way out of proportion for a simple “invasion of sacred space”, and it should be quite clear that this is what PZ Myers is protesting at. So even if you were right that Cook did something fundamentally wrong, it wouldn’t change the fact that there is a serious issue there for PZ to protest.

    We can of course still disagree about whether PZ chose the best method to do so. He’s been called “juvenile” and accused to not “respect their beliefs” (and it’s perfectly fine with me if he were both). This is what the last part of my previous comment was about; Gloff clearly was acting juvenile and clearly didn’t respect the protesters beliefs either (which is perfectly fine with me as well), yet he didn’t get any of those reactions. That’s where the double standard is. You seem to have completely ignored that part. Any comments on this?

    And as to your arguments that the communion is only open to Catholics, all I want to say is: define “Catholic”.

    And as PZ said with regard to the threatening e-mail sent by his supporters to his detractors, we’re supposed to be better than that.

    And we are: PZ openly called his readers out for it. I have not yet heard Donahue call out against the threats to Cook’s and PZ’s careers or lives.

  • Joel

    New Rule: if you can’t figure out which way is up, you don’t get to hold a sign anymore.

  • http://www.kobrascorner.com Kobra

    Those bigods have been trolled! (New term: Bigod. It’s a portmanteau of bigot and god.)


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