Paul Z. Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota urged young people to steal hosts and to send them to him for desecration. This week he posted a photograph on his blog of the consecrated host nailed to a Koran with a banana peel and coffee grinds thrown into the mix. He said that afterwards he threw it all into the garbage.
Myers refers to the Eucharist as “the cracker” and defines it as “this silly symbol of superstition”. In response to those good people who pleaded with him not to defile the Eucharist, he was blunt and brutal, “Your personal sense of the sacred in a piece of bread dough is absurd to me and imposes on me no sense of obligation.” Speaking about the situation he writes: “Catholicism has been actively poisoning the minds of its practitioners with the most amazing bulls%*t for years, and until recently, I had no idea that a significant number of people actually believed this nonsense, or that the hatred was still simmering there, waiting for an opportunity to rise up in misplaced defense of absurdity.” He is the one using hatred, atheistic or not, as the engine for his campaign against the Church.
The school’s chancellor, Jacqueline Johnson, said that the active link between the university webpage and his blog had been deactivated. She admitted that his views “do not reflect those of the University of Minnesota, Morris, or the University of Minnesota system.” He is in clear violation of their policy and a faculty member was dismissed in 2001 for violating it: “Section 10.21 (b) of UMN’s Tenure Code — A tenured faculty member can be terminated or suspended for ‘unprofessional conduct which severely impairs a faculty member’s fitness in a professional capacity.'”
How can Myers continue to carry out his mission as an educator? Good Catholic families and other decent people, Christian, Jewish, Moslem, or with no religion, will want nothing to do with him. Parents will take their children out of the school. Alumni will take their donations and support elsewhere. He has forfeited any respect that a student must have for his teacher. Thus, there is no answer I can imagine but termination. Myers did this to himself. He only has himself to blame.
The code of Conduct for the University of Minnesota is clear. The school faculty are REQUIRED to be respectful and “must be committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct” (II:2). That conduct is spelled out: “Ethical conduct is a fundamental expectation for every community member. In practicing and modeling ethical conduct, community members are expected to: act according to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct [and] be personally accountable for individual actions” (III:1). We are told that teachers must BE FAIR AND RESPECTFUL TO OTHERS: “The University is committed to tolerance, diversity, and respect for differences. When dealing with others, community members are expected to: be respectful, fair, and civil . . . avoid all forms of harassment . . . [and] threats . . . [and] promote conflict resolution.” (borrowed from Jimmy Akin)
However, the chancellor added that while she believes “behaviors that discriminate against or harass individuals or groups on the basis of their religious beliefs are reprehensible,” that they had to affirm “the freedom of a faculty member to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional discipline or restraint.”
This means that as far as she is concerned he can say or do anything without concern about his position or punishment. Here we find typical anti-Catholic prejudice and propaganda, with a side-order of disrespect to our Islamic brothers and sisters.
The Catholic League noted that the university had violated it’s own policy on expressions of bias that require discipline. Bill Donohue astutely remarked, “Just as African Americans would not tolerate the burning of a cross, and Jews would not tolerate the display of swastikas, Catholics will not tolerate desecration of the Eucharist.” He has lodged a formal complaint:
Expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, harassment or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion…can be forms of discrimination. Expressions vary, and can be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others…even when presented as a joke.
The University must now take action and apply the appropriate sanction. We are contacting the president, Board of Regents and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the school, as well as Minnesota’s governor and both houses of the state legislature; the Catholic community in Minnesota is also being contacted. Moreover, we are also contacting Muslim groups nationwide.
Hate Crimes by University of Minnesota faculty cannot be tolerated. Contact them and let them know. Unless an unforeseen miracle happens, it seems that Professor P. Z. Myers has to go.
President Robert H. Bruininks
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Via phone: 612-626-1616
Via fax: 612-625-3875
Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson
309 Behmler Hall
600 East 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267