Joined: Jan. 2006
Wait a second, this all seems totally cracked to me.
Firstly, regardless of the rights or wrongs of PZ's comments he hasn't actually done anything or incited anyone to do anything illegal.
Secondly, comparing PZ destroying (which he has yet to do btw, he's merely talked about it) a communion wafer to a KKK cross burning or the vandalising of a synagogue with Nazi symbols is hyperbolic drivel of the highest order. Those crimes are demonstrably of a racial, not religious, nature, a fact established in every civilised country on the planet. One of the key arguments in the "offence to religion"/race debates has always been that Jewish religion (for example) can almost exclusively be identified with a specific, and narrow, set of racial groups. The rights or wrongs of this categorisation are immaterial, at least in the UK these matters have fallen under racial discrimination laws, not (despite the best efforts of this misguided government) religious hatred laws.
Thirdly, communion wafers are a commercial product, they can be bought. PZ can perfectly legitimately get his hands on some. Even if someone snuck them out of a mass they have been freely given them by the priest, a reasonable transfer of ownership can be said to have taken place. No disclaimer signed, no contract entered into. To claim that the wafer would have to be stolen in order to acheive this "desecration" is to twist the definition of "stolen" so far that my wife could have me prosecuted for theft of her saliva after a prolonged kiss should she so desire. The sacrament is freely given to people professing that faith. Should that person miraculously change their mind 2 seconds after receiving it.....well how can you prove their lack of sincerity? Even demonstrable premeditation could fall foul of the protections that religious affiliations (and the ability to change them) have under the law.
Fourthly, blasphemy is only blasphemy to a believer, PZ isn't a believer. He can whack off on wafers, burn bibles, get a lady to queef on Qu'rans, tear up Torahs, grind his genitals on Guru Granth Sahibs and shit on sections of every sacred sheet in the world. Hell, I'll even join him. So what? Will this upset some people? Sure. Will it offend some people? Sure. Will it constitute blasphemy in the eyes of some people? Sure. But rather tellingly, such acts only have the significance they are attributed under various belief systems. They are tellingly very seperate from "Get to the back of the bus nigger" or "filthy kike" or "dirty paki" or cross burnings or Holocaust denial or "No Blacks, No Irish" signs, they don't involve discrimination against persons or people on the basis of an unchangeable facet of their birth, i.e. their race.
Threatening to kill someone is a crime. Threatening to kill someone because of their race or religion is a hate crime. Threatening to crumble a cracker in a (probably) comedy fashion, even if it pisses someone off, is not a crime (should said cracker be legally obtained). If it is then I get to play the exact same cards. I get to burn chuches because they "offend" me (they don't but hey, I can claim whatever beliefs I like right?), I get to call for the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury because his beard "offends" me (it doesn't but hey, when did reality enter into the equation). I get to beat up muslim people on the street because their presence "offends" me (it doesn't, but hey, why let a little thing like the facts get in the way of a good emotive load of shit?).
Guess what? PZ's comments (and maybe actions) WILL offend someone, it's possible that causing offence is quite deliberately intended. Causing offence=/=hate. Not even close. PZ is drawing attention to a demonstrably ludicrous idea and questioning it. He might be doing so in a way that I would not, or that I might tacticly disagree with, but what he is expressedly not doing is anything remotely resembling a hate crime.
To equate the two is to cheapen a) hate crimes and the suffering their victims have been through, and b) to miss the point of what PZ has said.
I suggest people grow up a bit. Given a choice between having my kids beaten up for the colour of their skin or having their most precious holy relic desecrated I know which I'd choose. And I know which is a hate crime and which isn't. I suggest that we stop pandering to the hysterical persecution complexes of people that are afraid to be disagreed with.