My reaction to the way he demonstrated that opinion is in two posts:
- "Quran, Eucharist, Atheist Book Nailed by Equal-Opportunity Desecrator"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (August 4, 2008)
- "Sacrilege Down the Road: A Very Serious Post"
Through One Dad's Eye (August 4, 2008)
I'm also disturbed that so little attention has been paid to associate professor Myers' treatment of the Quran (Qur'an, in this Latinization). I don't understand just what the Quran means to a follower of Islam, but have gotten the impression that it is regarded as more than "just paper." (Paul Myers explained that "... I didn't want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur'an and The God Delusion. They are just paper....")
Repeating a request from yesterday's post, I would appreciate it if a Muslim would explain (briefly, if possible) what significance the Quran has to Muslims, whether or not associate professor Myers' acts are acceptable: and why.
Academic Freedom and Our Tax Dollars at WorkAssociate Professor Myers' blog is not connected with the University of Minnesota, Morris. In fact, the U. of M., Morris, removed a link to his blog from their website.
The chancellor of the U. of M., Morris, has termed associate professor Myers' statements and actions "reprehensible." ("I believe that behaviors that discriminate against or harass individuals or groups on the basis of their religious beliefs are reprehensible," as quoted in yesterday's post.)
The chancellor also wrote that the university's policy on academic freedom and responsibility "affirms the freedom of a faculty member to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional discipline or restraint, and the responsibility to make clear that he or she is not speaking for the institution in matters of public interest."
So, associate professor Paul Myers is off the hook. Academic freedom, at least in Minnesota, means that he can insult two world religions, and the 'stupid' people who follow them, and desecrate what about a billion people believe to be sacred.
And, along with other Minnesotans, I get to have part of my tax money used to keep associate professor Myers employed.
I do have sympathy for the chancellor of the U. of M., Morris. As she's defending his right to insult and abuse my faith, he's informing the world that she's overseeing "a third-rate university." It can't be easy, being an administrator with someone like that on the staff. Particularly when the rules don't require the staff member to exercise the sort of mature responsibility that most of us must.
Fresh Eyes, a Questioning Mind, and Nailing the QuranI thought that these excerpts, from two different blogs on scienceblogs.com, would shed light on associate professor Myers' bit of performance art.
- "24 hours of silence"
Greg Laden's Blog (July 24, 2008)
- "This blog will now engage in twenty four hours of silence as a show of respect for the all those who have suffered at the hands religious zealots around the world and throughout history.
- "I say this out of inspiration from a post written on Pharyngula by biologist PZ Myers. PZ makes the link between medieval anti-Semitic church law and the original idea that the Eucharist is holy. You must read his post, the best written and most meaningful thing on the internet this day...."
- [following an enlargement of part of associate professor Myers' photo] "...Jesus' Tits, Margaret! If that ain't a picture of Jesus himself them I'm a monkey's nephew. And I AM a monkey's nephew!!!!
- "It is almost like the rusty nail is pointing right at the Image Of Christ! I can see the thorns in his forehead and everything. Won't Richard Dawkins be surprised!!!!
- "Well, clearly, the 24 hours of silence is off... "
- "The Great Desecration"
Pharyngula (July 24, 2008)
- "It is finished.
- ""I wonder how many of our Catholic friends have heard of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215? This is the event where many of their important dogmas were codified, including the ideas of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, that the Eucharist was the sacrament that only properly ordained priests of the Catholic church could give, and that the Jews were a pariah people, who could hold no public office, had to pay a special Jew tax for their right to exist, and were required to wear special clothing to distinguish them from Christians. The yellow badge marking the Juden was not an invention of the Nazis, but a decree by faithful Catholics in the Middle Ages. That's an interesting juxtaposition, that a symbol of Christian exceptionalism was formalized at the same time that they formally decreed the Jews to be inferior, and a target of hatred.
- "That combination was useful, too. Declare something cheap, disposable, and common to be imbued with magic by the words of a priest, and the trivial becomes a powerful token to inflame the mob — why, all you have to do is declare a bit of bread to be the most powerful and desirable object in the world, and even if it isn't, you can pretend that the evil other is scheming to deprive the faithful of it. Now you could invent stories of Jews and witches taking the communion host to torture, to make Jesus suffer even more, and good Catholics would of course rise in horror to defend their salvation. None of the stories were true, of course — Jews and infidels see no power at all in those little crackers, and the idea that they were obsessing over obtaining a non-sacred, powerless, pointless relic is ludicrous — but heck, it's a cheap excuse to make accusations illustrated by cheesy woodcuts of hook-nosed Jews hammering nails into communion wafers and lurid tales of blood-spurting crackers and hosts that pulsed like and beating heart, and thereby providing a pretext to encourage massacres....."
- "...OK, time for the anticlimax. I know some of you have proposed intricate plans for how to do horrible things to these crackers, but I repeat…it's just a cracker. I wasn't going to make any major investment of time, money, or effort in treating these dabs of unpleasantness as they deserve, because all they deserve is casual disposal. However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus's tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel. My apologies to those who hoped for more, but the worst I can do is show my unconcerned contempt.
(from PZ Myers, Pharyngula (July 24, 2008), used w/o permission)
- "By the way, I didn't want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur'an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity's knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind."
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.