Friday, July 11, 2008

READER ALERT: Stop this hate attack

With this READER ALERT, I've added a new category to my list of topics; this is the first time I've ever posted a news article like this.

Please be aware beforehand that there is strong language in the following article, which I have modified by the use of asterisks.

I nearly fell off my chair when I read this article today at the Catholic League's website:


July 10, 2008

Paul Zachary Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, has pledged to desecrate the Eucharist. He is responding to what happened recently at the University of Central Florida when a student walked out of Mass with the Host, holding it hostage for several days. Myers was angry at the Catholic League for criticizing the student. His post can be accessed from his faculty page on the university’s website.

Here is an excerpt of his July 8 post, “It’s a Frackin’ Cracker!”:

“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers continued by saying, “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 b*lls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a g*dd*mn*d cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

Contact President Robert Bruininks at


Regardless of whether this buffoon thinks the consecrated Host is the Body of Christ, a fancy cracker or a pleasant snack to stave off hunger pangs during a long Mass, he has absolutely no right (according to UMM's Code of Conduct, as well as state and federal laws) to indulge himself in such religious hatefulness and bigotry.

Advanced degrees -- and tenure, no doubt -- are awarded to the strangest, most unworthy people nowadays. The idea of people losing their jobs usually fills my heart with dread, but I would be positively jubilant to read a few days hence that the Perfesser here had been given the bum's rush out of the University of Minnesota Morris and was home in his pajamas, stewing in his own choler.

I know from SiteMeter that there are some Minnesota readers who stop by this blog on a regular basis. It would be so great if you could contact your Minnesota legislature and let your opinion be known about what's going on in this state-funded university.

This link will take you to the Contact Us page of the Minnesota State Legislature's website.

The email contact for UMM President Robert Bruininks can be found above at the end of the article.

I'll keep an eye on the Catholic League website and try to update this reader alert as things progress.

*Copyright © 1997-2008 by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Copied to this website with permission.


Benjamin Franklin said...

I'm confused. Exactly what law has Myers broken?

He posted on his personal blog about the death threats that the UCF student received for taking the wafer.

Myers himself had received death threats now about his post.

Myers has comitted what would be regarded by some as blasphemy, and sacrilige, but those are not crimes.

Again, what crime did he commit?

Shelley said...

Well, maybe the word "crime" wasn't well thought out. I was typing quickly since I had to get down to the driving school to pick up Mee, so I just let my fingers fly.

I will say, though, according to UMM's Code of Conduct, he is definitely in violation of their policy of being "respectful, fair and civil." Although that couldn't be classified as a crime, I still hope it's enough to get him fired.

I'm sorry there are some who feel so strongly that they've issued death threats. That is ridiculous and falls under the "two wrongs don't make a right" chestnut that your mom told you about.

I'll be happy to take the word "crime" out of the title and subsitute the word "attack" instead. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Benjamin Franklin said...


I would say that if Myers was not "respectful, fair and civil" in his capacity as professor in his classrooms, or on a U of M website, you would be right, and would deserve censure. He is a tenured professor, so it would be highly unlikely for him to be fired over such an action.

But his post was not connected with UM. It was on his personal blog, and while you disagree with what he said, he committed no crime.

If you look at his original post, what he was really attacking was the fact that Donohue was calling for the expulsion of the UCF student, and the fact that the UCF student's actions had been answered with death threats.

Look into this a little deeper, and I think you will find that your calls for his dismissal are unjustified.

Shelley said...

Well, I don't want to be disagreeable, but I still think that such an outrageous display of bigotry should come under some sort of harsh censure, although I agree it is difficult to fire a tenured professor.

It did finally happen to Ward Churchill, though. He's the ethnic studies professor formerly from the University of Colorado who was fired for remarking that the bond traders who died in the 9/11 attacks were "little Eichmanns" who deserved to die. Nice. Very nice.

Paul Zachary Myers' blog, Pharyngula (, was accessible from the UMM website, although the link has since been removed. Thanks to Google Cache, however, there is proof that on July 8, 2008, Paul Myers' blog was linked to his bio on the UMM Biology Faculty page.

Here's that Google Cache URL:

(Thanks to William and Denyse from Uncommon Descent for that resource.)

So technically, his post was connected with UMM, although there are obviously some frantic CYA measures taking place. Either Myers is working to save his job and/or professional reputation, or the university is working to distance itself from him. He advertised his personal blog on his professional bio and in doing so, he created a monster for himself whose name is Code of Conduct Agreement.

I couldn't be more pleased.

It's immaterial to me what his initial post was about. There's no excuse for such bigotry. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR SUCH BIGOTRY. You may notice, if you use that URL and copy-and-paste your way over to Pharyngula, that he has continued with the hate speech and is escalating this entire matter to the point where he's sounding a bit unhinged. It's not just the death-threat people who have issuuuuuuuuues in this whole thing.

And Ben, you seem like a nice person and I appreciate your mild manner in debating, but can I ask you a question?

Why are we debating this?

I've already completely agreed with you that the word "crime" was too strong for my post, so why are you defending this man?

Bigotry is bigotry, whether it is racially, culturally, ethnically or religiously motivated. There is no excuse for such bigotry. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR SUCH BIGOTRY.

In my opinion, Myers has greater accountability because of his status as a professor, especially as a professor from a state-funded university.

Why are you trying to defend what is so obviously indefensible? Are there levels of bigotry that are acceptable to you?

Shelley said...

And here's another thought, Ben -

I don't have to be a bond trader to know that being called a Nazi by some wing-nut liberal college professor is bigotry.

I don't have to be a black person to recognize racial intolerance.

And you don't have to be a Catholic to know that calling a consecrated Host a "frackin' cracker" and saying that you could hardly wait to get your hands on one so that you could desecrate it is wrong.

It's wrong, Ben. All of it is wrong. Wherever bigotry against someone's race or religion comes up, it's wrong.