Uh, guys. It’s a cracker.

You may or may not have seen this already.  It’s been several days since this particular outrage hit the net, but I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it until now.

Recently, a student by the name of Webster Cook at the University of Central Florida attended a Catholic mass on campus.  The man was evidently not a Catholic himself, and attended to see what his tuition money was paying for (as the university was allocating $40,000 a year to this on-campus church).

In either case, when given the Eucharist, which is a small yeast-free cracker that the priest is supposedly capable of “transsubstantiating” into the body and blood of Christ (yes, the blood too, even though the wine is also supposed to be the blood), simply by casting some sort of magic spell over it at the altar.  Webster did not swallow the cracker, but instead took it out of his mouth and kept it, as a keepsake I suppose.

This then caused an uproar in the Catholic community the likes of which no sane person is capable.

He was physically assaulted by the parishioners who attempted to force him to return the cracker, as apparently “abusing” a Eucharist after it’s been magically transformed into Leg of Christ is apparently mortal sin.  Death threats have been pouring in, and the national media started hounding him (especially the more religiously oriented outlets, e.g. Fox, who suggested right on their story that people complain to the university), to the point where he has returned the Eucharist out of fear for his life.

Leaving aside all the accusations of hate crimes against Catholics for someone daring to not swallow the hunk of Christ-meat, if a small yeast-free cracker could be correctly classified as such a thing, I really need to know why the entire religious ritual is so morbid, drinking the blood and eating the flesh of some guy who may or may not have been nailed to a cross for saying “why don’t we be nice to one another for a change?”  How exactly is cannibalizing this guy’s body a tribute to his message?  And how exactly is physically assaulting a guy who just wanted a cracker (that his own tuition money had paid for), justified in Jesus’s teachings?  And besides, has nobody thought even for a second that perhaps it’s way more abusive to Christ’s flesh to eat it, digest it, and reduce it to feces, which will then go on to bless your septic tank?

PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, is way more eloquent than me.  And he swears much more, too.  I’m sure you’ll find his take on the situation vastly more entertaining.

By the way, a long time ago, I was a Roman Catholic, not by choice mind you, but because I was basically sent to Sunday School and had my communion and confirmation before I had the presence of mind to be able to say “hey, this is all crap, leave me out of it”.  I was too busy trying to rush through whatever those weird adults wanted me to do so I could go back to playing Megaman.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that those crackers tasted like boiled and then dried cardboard.  That Catholics have survived all these years eating that stuff is beyond me.  (And if you stare at that picture long enough, you can almost make out, way off on the lefthand side, the intolerance toward all other religions that this particular faith has!)

I hope my “Religion” category icon gives you folks a good thrill.  And you know what?  For good measure, I’m adding this post to the Food category as well.

Uh, guys. It’s a cracker.
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14 thoughts on “Uh, guys. It’s a cracker.

  1. 1

    Also lost in all of this, is the following:

    Why are they bothering to go through all the trouble wanting to kill the guy if he’s commited a mortal sin? Wouldn’t, I dunno, GOD sort that out and take care of him in his own mysterious ways?

    This is the first I’ve heard of this. It has amused me greatly.

  2. 2

    umm, while I whole heartedly agree that death threats, abuse and the physical assult to get the thing back is unbelieable, I do agree that Catholics were allowed to get angry. Not just because it’s a basic right and belief in our culture that you are permitted to believe, feel whatever you like, but because it is their belief, it is part of something most Catholics believe quite whole-heartedly in and to insult someone elses believes like that is quite rude. Now, i’m sure he didn’t really understand what he was doing and I think simply returning the Eucharist should have been sufficient to end the it all. Basically, just because you don’t believe isn’t a reason to kick dirt in the face of someone elses beliefs. Every religon has there individual practices that they feel are sacred, just because you don’t feel the same way is no reason to stomp on them. There are many things in many religions I don’t agree with or even fully understand, but who’s it hurting if Catholics want to eat the “Body and Blood of Christ”, no one.

    That being said, the people who beat the guy and sent him death threats need to get a life, being able to belive what you want doesn’t give you the right to persecute others for not believing.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most of the people who call themselves Christians, aren’t.

    That’s my rant for the day 🙂

  3. 3

    Sacred rituals or not, his money paid for those crackers, and he has every right to have one if he wants one, and as far as I’m concerned, he has as much right to eat it as he does to hold onto it for a keepsake. If anyone’s getting sand kicked in their face it’s Mr. Cook, as far as I’m concerned. He was trying to be unobtrusive, save for not putting it in his mouth until people started bugging him about it, then he put it in his mouth and removed it later when he thought he could get away with it. It’s the other parishioners who made the scene, not him.

    Catholics have every right to think that they’re turning a cracker into someone’s flesh when they cast their magic spell if they want, I just think it’s a particularly icky bit of symbolism.

  4. 5

    I’m tempted to figure out how to draw a picture of muhammad using only /’s, ‘s @’s ~’s, *’s and &’s, just to stir it up a little more.

  5. 6

    Hah, you’ve never seen me riled up! I just rarely use smilies so you have to figure everything I’m writing is at least half sarcastic, because it usually is. Also, I’m an opinionated asshole.

    Just post an image of Mohammed from the South Park episode where they showed him as a member of the Super Friends. Strangely they couldn’t show him in a later episode, they got censored by the Comedy Network.

  6. 7

    so hard to tell over the internet sometimes. I think this would make a really interesting debate (assuming whoever did the debating stayed civil :p)

  7. Me

    There are two sides to every coin. Not a statement but a fact. So also are their two sides to every story.

    As an aside here I’d like to state for the record that I have no use at all for any organized religion. All religion has been hijacked by those in charge for their own personal gain and the supposed teachings of religion have been skewed for personal and political reasons that have been lost to time. Most religions now are based more on myth then fact. Sadly I also must admit that I believe in god. Not in the common sense mind you but in the sense that i thing someone created things. That’s about as far as I take things and I try not to argue with anyone about religion as I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their beliefs. After all that is what the very definition of freedom of religion means, be they Christian, Muslim pagan or atheist. ( I toss in atheist just because I can).

    Sorry for the aside, back to the discussion at hand.

    This story has two sides and while I am disturbed by the angry rhetoric used by those professing to be Christian I would like to point out that anyone stepping into a church, synagogue or mosque is doing so of their own free will at least in the case of Webster. Should a person chose to do this, even if they do not subscribe to the beliefs of the religious building they are entering, then they need to respect the beliefs of the people in the building. He did not do so. While I do not agree with the beliefs of the Catholic Church I must at least respect them. At this point Webster did not give the church the full respect he could have. This is why I make it a point to never enter a religious building to even observe their ceremonies. I know that i will not agree with them so why place myself in a position of conflict with their beliefs and my conscience? Perhaps this is a viewpoint more should share. Yes I know that this is a free country. As such the school tells students that it is giving money to the church. At that point a student it free to accept that fact or find another school. Curiosity is normal and observing a religious ceremony is far different from partaking in it. If you chose to partake then perhaps you need to accept that those watching you will expect you to follow their customs. If you don’t want to do that then perhaps partaking is not for you.

    On the other side of the coin are the religious nuts who threaten death over a cracker. There is no justification for that and the priest should have stepped in an forgiven Webster and told his flock to step back and settle down.

    But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  8. 10

    One of these days I’m going to write down what I believe. Then you’ll all abandon me in droves. I’ll probably wait until I’m sick of you all first, though.

    I certainly make a point to not get involved with religious ceremonies of any kind, and I feel dirty when anyone makes any kind of religious solicitation or otherwise proffers their belief that I would be better off believing what they do. It’s just antithetical to my nature. So I wouldn’t ever attend a mass and certainly wouldn’t accept a host.

    I’m fairly certain I had no idea before setting foot onto campus that there was a chapel there, when I went to university. It seems to me that when I did realize, it surprised me, and bothered me a bit. Until I went looking for the information as to the breakdown of my tuition, I didn’t see it itemized anywhere in any of the documentation that I received. I have my doubts that I could have found a university that didn’t have an on-campus church of some sort, though, so I would imagine that voting with my dollars wouldn’t have done anything but deprived me of my university education. What I’d prefer is to see that so-vaunted-by-conservatives Free Market at work, and have the church survive on donations by its goers, to survive or fail on its own merits. Either that, or the right to go in and have a cracker a day, since everyone else seems to be getting them just for believing.

    The episode of South Park that featured Family Guy was called Cartoon Wars, and it ended with a censored bit of Mohammed that prompted the terrorists to retaliate by depicting Americans as enjoying being pooped on, followed by Jesus and Bush pooping on each other and everyone. There’s another episode I’m referring to, where they depicted Mohammed without being censored, and apparently without causing any kind of uproar.

  9. 11

    Sorry for the delay… righteous minister’s son checking in for duty…

    What really is absurd about this entire story is that they made the guy return the cracker after it had not only been placed in his mouth, but then in his nappy lint filled pocket. Are they really going to give a soggy, fuzzy Lord-part to the next lemming in line???

    As one who does believe in the importance of the sacrament, not in the cannibalistic since but in the memory of an individual who told the world to put aside the dogmatic teachings of those claiming to be morally superior, choosing instead to have each individual find their own way to salvation.

    That’s all I’ve got to say about that…

  10. 13

    Remembering his teachings is one thing, but telling you that eating a chunk of Jesus will keep him inside of you can’t possibly be part of his own teachings, can it? That HAD to be added afterward. And anyway, I thought Jesus was supposed to live in your heart, not your stomach.

    I have to apologize to those of you who believe in any religion (including both our resident Son of a Preacher Man, and our favorite Haligonian). If you’ve known me this long, you know that while I’m very scientifically minded, I try to not actively insult someone else’s beliefs. Unless they totally boggle my mind, I guess, as in the case with the cannibalistic overtones of the sacrament. Or anything to do with Scientology. That someone could worship a sci-fi writer’s approaching-senility ramblings is unfathomable. Then again, considering what philosophies that extremists of other stripes believe…

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