I am going to piss off some people I respect here, but I think PZ's conduct is reprehensible.
Ok, set the scene if you haven't heard the story already. A student, Webster Cook, at the University of Central Florida, objecting to the use of public funds at that state university to support chaplaincies or other religious student groups, attended Mass recently, received Communion in the hand but did not initially put it in his mouth.
A point of clarification for non-Catholic readers. Roman Catholics believe that the Communion - the bread and wine - constitutes the Real Presence of Christ in substance. With extremely few and narrow exceptions, only Roman Catholics may receive Communion at a Catholic Mass and only when in a state of grace, i.e. free of major unconfessed/unabsolved sin. It is an extremely big deal to Roman Catholics.
Back to the story. Parishioners accosted cook when he did not consume the wafer, so he put it in his mouth, but then shortly thereafter removed it from his mouth to show it to a friend. Hilarity ensued, with other parishioners urging him to consume the wafer and further grabbing him by the arm. Now Webster Cook is holding the wafer "hostage," despite alleged death threats.
Introit noted science blogger, professor and atheist PZ Myers, who then called not for the young man to return the Communion to the local parish, but for others to send him (Myers) Communion wafers for him to desecrate in an unspecified manner.
Introit wingnut media assassin Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, understandibly unable to refrain from smacking this slow, low-hanging curveball of a media opportunity out of the park. Donohue has called for the ouster of Myers from his faculty position at the University of Minnesota. It should be noted that while U of M is, like UCF, a public institution, the post calling for the wafers was at Pharyngula, part of the scienceblogs.com media group and not affiliated with the University.
Now the predictable hilarity continues.
I am unapologetically secular, but I hope that Myers gets fired. It disgusts me to agree even for a split second with the likes of wingnut Bill Donohue, but I agree with him. Myers is calling for people to take a religious artifact from a church under not only false pretenses but with intent to degrade that artifact's rightful owner. It is fraudulent and larcenous to present oneself to a priest or a bishop as a Catholic in good standing in s perceived state of grace (as defined by the Church) and to receive the Church's sacrament with intent of defiling it.
Let's say you go to McDonald's, ask for a Big Mac, they bring it to you and you walk out the door without paying. Even if you don't explicitly promise to pay when you ask for the Big Mac, you are making a representation of your intent to pay for food when you stand in line as a licensed restaurant. If you take the Big Mac without intent to pay and without paying, you are both a liar and a thief. If the McDonald's manager knew that you intended not to pay, i.e. saw through your con, he would not hand you the burger.
In the same way, when Catholic priests or lay Eucharistic ministers helping the priests recognize a known non-Catholic or married-and-remarried Catholic or excommunicated Catholic in the communion line, they don't offer Communion. Of course they don't make you run an ID check at the altar or chalice, you don't have to clear Catholic Homeland Security, but if they catch it, they will deny Communion. One occasionally sees this happen at a Catholic Mass. Other liturgical Christian churches (e.g. the Orthodox Church) have similar rules. But priests are not generally trying to defend their sacrament from intentional desecration by sneak, which is what Myers is calling for.
Myers is calling for us atheists to lie, to steal and to participate in a massive act of collective disrespect of our religious neighbors. It is outrageous. Even if the people who accosted Cook should be punished (debatable - there is some moral/legal leeway for some physical contact to stop the theft or destruction of property of others), no other Catholic community should be so punished. It is an outrage and constitutes, I would argue, the sort of moral turpitude that justifies firing a tenured employee. Count me as an atheist who wants the Catholic Church's (and all religions') liturgical acts respected by law.
What's most frustrating for me is that I actually have a lot of sympathy for the idea that public funds should not go to chaplaincies or the like in public universities, both morally and legally. This asshole Cook set us back and he should not be rewarded. Neither should Myers escape responsibility for the larceny and fraud that he has called others to perform. THAT'S more of an invasion of other people's property than some campus funding for some student groups and some religious services. Myers has called for a conspiracy to defeat the free exercise of religion by Catholics, and should face the consequences for doing so.