I still think the church and Catholics are overreacting.
Firstly, the church gave him the Eucharist willingly with the assumption that he would eat it… thus it no longer belonged to the church but rather to him and he could do whatever he wanted with it (including, if desired, not eat it).
Secondly, the use of force to attempt to recover the Eucharist from him could (and I feel, should) be charged as assault and attempted robbery.
Yes, I feel what he did was extremely disrespectful… but only to certain religious groups (Catholics… since people who don’t believe in the divinity of the Eucharist believe that he walked off with a cracker, which is not at all offensive) thus making it a religious issue.
The university should absolutely not be involved in this matter (in particular since the group receiving university funds means they must be open to all students regardless). There are no grounds for any disciplinary actions from the university. The fact that he’s receiving death threats is absolutely insane.
Look, not everyone shares your beliefs. It would be awesome if everyone would respect each others’ beliefs but that’s not always the case.
I often call myself Pastafarian. What if I was to host a spaghetti dinner in honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and claim that each plate actually became the body of god… what if this dinner was funded by student activities fees… and what if you came in (given that you have just as much right as everyone else) and walked out with a plate of spaghetti instead of eating it (given that it was being freely given out to eat).
Is that a hate crime? I seriously doubt anyone would call it that. What you did was disrespectful of my beliefs, yes, but I would certainly not classify it as theft or a crime. What if I attempted to pry your hands off the plate… is that assault? Almost certainly.
Religion does weird things to people. Things like this are what make me glad I’m not religious (and wish most of the world wasn’t either).
Also, completely unrelatedly, oh dear.
Edit: To clarify a bit…
I feel like what he did was wrong, but the church’s reaction was completely uncalled for, and that’s what I’m taking issue with here.
“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”
We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”
That is absolutely insane. WTF.
Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it.
That is completely reasonable.
For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage–regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance–is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.
That is also completely insane (moreso than the first quote).
People calling for procecution (jail time and fines) are completely insane.
People giving him death threats are insane.
People trying to inject their beliefs into the secular state to levy civil penalties against him in an obviously faith-based case are insane.
That’s the kind of overreaction I’m talking about, what what is really bothering me about this.