Who Can Blaspheme?

Today is International Blasphemy Rights Day, spearheaded by the Center for Inquiry.  It's pretty much Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, but with a broader focus.  I fully back CFI's fight against blasphemy laws (remember, just in the past few months, Alexander Aan and that girl in Pakistan).  I'm a little more dubious about the practical use of having people in the U.S. and other relatively free nations blaspheme as a way of drawing attention/funds to the fight against blasphemy laws.  But neither of … [Read more...]

Blasphemy on Campus?

Apparently someone set up a cross on a courtyard at school and replaced the letters INRI (Jesus of Nazerene, King of the Jews in Latin) with ROFL.  I don't have many details; all the reporting is happening on the op-ed page, and there are no pictures or other context.  I'm going to run down the op-eds that have been written before I give my thoughts. "An insulting prank and hypocritical response" -- Jordon Walker Walker broke the story and rebuked the campus for not treating anti-Christian d … [Read more...]

Play it Again: Desecration as Discourse

The giant comment thread at "Is it so hard not to desecrate a Eucharist" has been heating up again over the last few days, and I want to do a recap of why I think P.Z. Myers's stunt was bad instrumentally for atheism and bad ethically for any individual atheist.  Here's the rundown:There's no way to get your hands on a consecrated wafer for the purpose of desecration ethicallyThis is a pretty prosaic point and was the focus of the original post, but it keeps coming up, so I'll go through … [Read more...]

Time for a Few Facts

Ok.  I've been reading through the swiftly growing comment threads about Catholic doctrine relating to the Eucharist (part of this series on P.Z. Myers and sacrilege) and plenty of points have been settled to my satisfaction.  It's been clear that plenty of atheists don't understand the theology of transubstantiation in detail (understandable, since it's not that relevant to our lives), but I think anyone who advocates sacrilege should do a little due diligence on the ideas they're blaspheming.   … [Read more...]

Debunking a Debunking

Ok.  There's been a controversy brewing on the "Is it so hard not to desecrate the Eucharist" post (part of the ongoing discussion of when, if ever, sacrilege is an appropriate form of protest).  March Hare has been making the case that P.Z. Myers's desecration of a consecrated wafer was meant to debunk the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.March Hare wrote: Should Catholics not be called out on the fact their faith decrees that a cracker becomes human flesh by a priest saying magic wo … [Read more...]

Defining Atheism, Defining Sacrilege (Series Index)

Prompted by a post by atheist blogger and agent provocateur P.Z. Myers, I started a conversation on this blog about the appropriate definition of atheism.  Since the conversation had started with P.Z. Myers, sooner or later it wound around to his public desecration of a consecrated wafer in 2008.I still think his actions were immoral and highly inappropriate, but many of the atheist commenters here disagreed.  You can read through all posts on this topic below, and be sure to pay special a … [Read more...]

Is it so hard not to desecrate a Eucharist?

More responses to my claim that atheists ought not desecrate the Eucharist a la P.Z. Myers,  Let's start with  one quick clarification:  NFQ took issue with me analogizing P.Z. Myer's destruction of a consecrated wafer to the desecration of cremated ashes saying: I think there's a tricky aspect about your analogy to cremated remains. You can just buy a package of communion wafers. They mass-produce them in factories. I think it would certainly be rude to break into a church, steal their stash of … [Read more...]