Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Prejudice That's Still OK

Picture this: a young man goes into a synagogue and attempts to walk out with the scrolls of the Torah in the middle of the service; a controversy ensues, an spokeswoman for the rabbis decry the hate crime; then a Methodist minister pops up to say that's ridiculous, he knows hate crime and these silly Jews don't know what they're are talking about.

Didn't read about it anywhere? Of course not. There would be outrage everywhere.

The real story is that a University of Central Florida student at a campus Mass went up to receive communion then took the consecrated host home. He was asked to ingest it, but he put it in his mouth, then spit it out so he could take it home. The local diocesan spokeswoman called the event a "hate crime" and the local bishop asked for the host back.

That's not all.

Then came a "cool" Methodist preacher, one Rev. Jeremy Smith, who blogged all about it to say that it's not a hate crime. He completely dismissed the Catholics' complaints. So I pointed out that he really missed the sensibilities of Catholics and the history of host stealing because of his Protestant biases. Yet, so far, the guy has attempted to completely brush it off.

That's what 500 years of anti-Catholic propaganda in the English-speaking world will do. Even "cool," techie, hip ministers feel free to take a swipe when Catholics -- whose theological point of view I do not share -- feel something they regard as sacred has been disrespected, intentionally so.

But, hey, after all, they're just silly Catholics. You know: fish-eaters, wafer-chewers, minions to the head of the whore of Rome, inquisitors, crusaders, horrible deluded people -- not enlightened Protestants. It seems that Methodist ministers can still publicly vent prejudices about Catholics in the United States without social consequences.
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