Last summer, a student named Webster Cook took a consecrated wafer, a Eucharist, from a Catholic service on property of the University of Central Florida. The Catholic public was outraged by this, and some Catholics, most especially Bill Donahue of The Catholic League, began calling for punishment for young Mr. Cook.
Outraged that people would ruin a young man's life over a cracker, PZ Myers, noted atheist blogger and biology professor from the University of Minnesota-Morris, offered to desecrate a Eucharist if someone would provide one. When he received over three hundred wafers, PZ made good his promise. He placed the wafer in a trash can, stuck a rusty nail through it and threw in some coffee grounds, a banana peel and pages from the Koran, and for good measure, pages from The God Delusion, a book by famous biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins.
PZ's post accompanying the photograph of the desecrated Eucharist was brilliant. He began by recounting the history of persecution and death brought on by worship of the cracker, including the Jews who were killed because they were accused of driving a rusty nail through the cracker, His piece is a tribute to freedom of expression and freedom from religious oppression.
The response from some of the religious community was, to say the least, vitriolic. PZ has received death threats and threats against his family.
PZ will speak at the scene of the crime, the University of Central Florida on December 5, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. He will speak again on December 6, at Rollins College.
We salute his courage, and the freedoms that he champions.