PZ Myers was in town today to put in an appearance on the Atheists Talk radio show, along with C.L. Hanson. So a bunch of the local free-thinking crowd got together for brunch afterwards. Must have been 40 of us at Q. Cumbers. That's been one of my favorite restaurants for years, a buffet deal focused on salad and soup reminding me of places I really liked in California like Souplantation. It has seen some publicity lately as some local evangelical types have called for a boycott because at least one of the owners is an atheist. All the more reason to do business with the place, if you ask me.
Myers has been getting a lot of attention from Catholic fundamentalist types like Bill Donohue, the attention-whoring head of the Catholic League. A student at the University of Central Florida has been harassed, threatened with death and various academic punishments (presumably not both...) and generally vilified for not swallowing a communion host he received but taking it out of the service with him. Myers expressed his outrage in a blog post entitled It's a Frackin' Cracker and offered to demonstrate his distaste for the lunacy:
I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There's no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I'm sure — but 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.
Well, this set off Donohue and his ilk, earning Myers massive amounts of abuse and threats against both him and his children. Nice Christian behavior being modeled there... His abusers frequently took antisemitic shots at him (erroneously) and urged him to desecrate the Qu'ran instead, showing just how respectful they are of other people's beliefs.
After much hubbub, he got his cracker and desecrated it by disposing of it in a rather symbolic fashion, as depicted in this blog post. Typically, he made his point a broad one, showing equal disrespect for the physical representations of the Qu'ran and his good friend Richard Dawkin's book, The God Delusion. His point: Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything.
The furor continues, so it seemed appropriate to show support for him by a large public event like this brunch. As I said, 40 people showed up. But I got to talk with him a little bit. He really is a mild-mannered academic type. Hardly the incarnation of evil Donohue would have the world believe. But then, that's how Donohue makes his living, stirring up attention and donations.