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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Anti-Catholic Hate Crime (Funded By The Public Dime)?

Doug writes: During a June 29th Mass held on the University of Central Florida campus, Webster Cook, a student “Senator”, whatever that is, received the Communion Host in his hand and tried to walk away before being stopped by an unidentified person, who told Cook to put the Host in his mouth. Cook did so, returned to his pew, and took the Host back out of his mouth to supposedly show a curious friend. Cook was also supposedly protesting UCF’s alleged practice of charging fees for campus religious services. Someone then tried to physically remove the Host from Cook’s hand. After a brief struggle, Cook left the Mass with the Eucharist and allegedly kept the Communion Host in a plastic bag for a few days pending an apology and explanation from the bishop or his staff regarding the diocese’s use of force policy. Cook has since returned the Eucharist and supposedly apologized.
Fast Forward to the University of Minnesota Morris, where Science Professor Paul Zachary Myers took umbrage to reporting of the UCF incident by the Catholic League, a Catholic Civil Rights organization, and linked his blog to his faculty page at the University’s web site. This sordid saga is far more than a freedom of speech issue. I have read Myers’s ugly rant, in which he requests readers to also kidnap Communion Hosts from Masses and mail them to him so that he can display images of desecration to them on his blog. Myers’s ugly and vitriolic tirade included his use of numerous obscenities and anti-Catholic hate speech, including referring to the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ, as a “cracker.” He also ridiculed nuns, Jesuits, and made a comment suggesting that Catholic League President Bill Donohue kick the Pope in his genitalia, and no “genitalia” was not the actual word Myers used.
The University of Minnesota has since deleted the link leading to Myers’s blog from its web site. That’s not enough. Myers needs to be fired and possibly even arrested. According to the Catholic League, the university’s policy on use of its computers says, “Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with the University of Minnesota’s policies, local, state, and federal laws.” One such policy under the school’s “Code of Conduct” states that, “When dealing with others, faculty, et al, must be respectful, civil and fair.” That obvious violation aside, Myers, as a UMM professor is presumably a state employee. For what he did and how he did it, any other public sector employee anywhere else would be terminated for such actions forthwith. Also, as Myers is actively attempting to procure the Communion Hosts for his admitted desire of desecration (and sadly, already with several cyber responses, pledging compliance), an act not intended for the Hosts, which when distributed at Mass after the Transfiguration are the consecrated Eucharist, a police investigation should be conducted to determine whether or not Myers violated any applicable Minnesota state law, and/or possibly even any applicable federal law, considering that he used the Internet for his expressed endeavor, which seems to bear a slight resemblance to what is now commonly dubbed a “hate crime.” (Depending upon the category of the victim, of course!)
UCF now supposedly has armed police guarding its on-campus Masses. Kudos to the university for taking that action, but that isn’t enough, either. For whatever Cook’s motivation was, he still either knowingly or unknowingly mishandled the Eucharist, a grave sin. He also disrupted the Mass in doing so. The Catholic League is calling for UCF to take strict action against Cook, including possibly expulsion. I believe, given the severity of the offense, that Cook should be suspended, but not expelled. Despite the gravity of his actions, he still returned the Eucharist. In all fairness, Cook’s errant and corrective actions should both be taken into account. Professor Myers on the other hand, who has and continues to willfully and significantly exacerbate this already tragic incident, has shown no semblance of any such remorse or repentance whatsoever from what I have been able to find so far. For its role in this matter, UCF thus far supposedly has no plans to pursue the matter any further unless someone specifically lodges a formal complaint against Cook. On UCF’s home web page, a link entitled “About UCF” gives a synopsis of the institution and specifically states, “UCF promotes a diverse and inclusive environment.” Nonsense! If such were the case, then the school would not be charging fees for religious services, if that allegation is even true, and it would itself take decisive punitive action against Cook for disrupting the Mass and defiling the Eucharist. Just more shallow, baseless diversity drivel, full of feel-good fluff and devoid of any true substance. The UCF spineless, hypocritical brass may legitimately consider themselves to be as religiously abhorrent to Catholics as they are politically correct to the secular segment of society that they are so obviously pandering to.
As Catholics, we must all unify and aggressively, but civilly fight back against the all too rapidly growing trend of Catholic bashing, especially on the very public dime we ourselves also pay. Let us not forget the horrid and depraved displays of so-called “art” a few years back in New York City’s publicly funded Brooklyn Museum of Art, which depicted a crucifix in a jar of urine and a portrait of the Blessed Mother covered in elephant dung. Other faiths are far better protected by the usual purveying connivers of political correctness because other faiths fight back when attacked. That does not mean however, that we must become one of the gators once we enter the swamp for battle. Both Webster Cook and Bill Donohue are now receiving hate mail, and more specifically for Cook, even death threats. I first tend to doubt that true practicing Catholics are actually sending death threats. Anybody can claim to be anything in a letter. But even if those threats are coming from Catholics, obviously that behavior is reprehensible and hypocritical to our faith, based in the love of God through His Commandments and through the words and actions of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Last but not least, such utter stupidity also detracts all credibility from our argument. We need to loudly and consistently fight back against this chic, new, ugly sport of Catholic persecution, but we must do so within the parameters of the law, true Christian love, common decency and common sense.
With public institutions rightly comes public trust. Our Declaration of Independence cites our God-given right that all men (and women) are created equal. The public’s trust at the University of Central Florida and the University of Minnesota has not only been violated, but also trampled. The integrity of these publicly funded institutions and the security of our religious rights articulated in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution must be restored, preserved and protected. That has not happened yet. Change in policy and action must occur, zealously and expeditiously. Cook needs to be disciplined, Myers needs to be at the very least, fired, and maybe a few other feckless and inept UCF and UMM elitist educrats need to also have their precious sinecures severed and follow his lead out the door.

Contact University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt via email at:

Contact University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks via email at:

Keep the heat on, but remember, keep it civil. And last, but not least, pray!

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