Comments: PZ Myers: Save Me From Their Freedom of Speech

What is Mr. Myers religion?

Is this yet another bald attack on a Christian faith by Jews who otherwise think themselves tolerant above all?

Posted by Smarty at July 11, 2008 09:58 AM

Myers is a well known atheist I believe. Similar to Richard Dawkins

Posted by Luthien at July 11, 2008 10:14 AM

He may declaim as an atheist, but I'd say he's more akin to a member of The Church of the Heartaching Gobsmack: aka "anti-Christianists."

I seem to be unable to find any reference to this guy similarly going after the faith that might, you know, earn him an 'honest to Allah' fatwa.

But angry e-mails? THAT'S OPPRESSION!

Posted by TC@LeatherPenguin at July 11, 2008 10:33 AM

I'm continually amazed that some people think their free speech rights mean no one is allowed to respond, or that their rights mean no one may launch counter-arguments, or counter-demonstrations.

Notice, the point of this little exercise was to PROVOKE a reaction from the Catholic Church by desecrating what we hold most sacred. That the Church will not react violently is a given. Not being the bloodshed and jihad types, this reduces our reaction to calling for some other form of penalty for incivility and bigotry.

Termination of employment seems to be the norm for other people who exercise their free speech rights in ways offensive to other groups of people...so how is this reaction surprising to liberals? Don't they routinely call for the firing of people who use racial slurs? Was Don Imus' firing opposed by these groups now defending the professor? If not, then they're hypocrites.

But furthermore, almost all Universities have codes as to what can be said with impunity and this certainly smacks of a person in authority creating "a hostile environment" for students who may happen to be Catholic Christians. By their own liberal rules and regulations, this professor ought to be terminated.

Posted by John at July 11, 2008 10:38 AM

So death threats are protected speech?
News to me!

Posted by Ralph Kramden at July 11, 2008 11:00 AM

TC makes a good point. Does anybody seriously think this buffoon would desecrate a Koran? Of course not; I mean, he may be an atheist but he he isn't suicidal. This kind of highly selective, low-cost, bogus "bravery" is almost as offensive to me, as a Catholic, as the proposed act of desecration itself.

Posted by Paco at July 11, 2008 11:44 AM

I suspect that's UofM MORRIS, not Norris.

Posted by Norseman at July 11, 2008 11:50 AM

As usual, the non-violent faith(s) are attacked by a flaming liberal. He may end up extremely surprised when he finds out we have no more cheeks to turn.

Posted by Mark at July 11, 2008 12:00 PM

PZ Myers: Living proof that ownership of a Ph.D. guarantees neither wisdom nor intelligence in it's holder.

Dr. Myers still hasn't figured out that the First Amendment guarantees, within certain limits, free speech. However, it doesn't guarantee that he won't act and sound like a damn fool.

Posted by MarkJ at July 11, 2008 12:05 PM

In the old days professors were supposed to..uhh..teach rather than make political statements. Shocking, I know.

Welcome to the brave new world where castoff professors (UofM Norris is a backwater, I know, I attended there) make a name for themselves by chattering on the rooftop.

Posted by Hank C. at July 11, 2008 12:15 PM

Jesus Christ, CY! I never thought I'd see you condoning death threats, no matter how idiotic the provocation (and yes, the provocation is idiotic).

Posted by Cernig at July 11, 2008 01:07 PM

I in no way condone or will condone, any death threats, and resent the false implication that I do or will.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 11, 2008 01:10 PM

The beautiful thing about this country is that this man has the right to do this out in the open. Death threats are way over the line, but refusing of donations, not sending your kids to this school and not purchasing any products liscensed or even remotely dealing with this college are very appropriate.

I agree that this guy is a coward plane and simple. Throw in a Koran, a Torah and any other wholy book you can think of and I will have the utmost respect for him, I still wouldn't agree with him, but you would have to respect his bravery. But just a "Jeezit", that's like defying DC's gun ban with a pee shooter..

Posted by Cincinnatus at July 11, 2008 01:18 PM

Just another strong argument for abolishing the "tenure" scam--no more and no less important (or memorable) that the guy (don't remember its name) that did the Crucifix-in-urine thing.

Posted by Larry Sheldon at July 11, 2008 01:22 PM

CY, I'm glad to hear it. But you did gloss over them. In your post you mentioned threats, not death threats (4 just today, apparently) and quickly passed to other subjects without further comment. Were we meant to infer your stance from that?

Posted by Cernig at July 11, 2008 01:25 PM

Cernig,

I long ago learned that people will infer what they want to infer about what I write, and are often willing to twist even the most straightforward comments, or even lack of comments, into something else entirely.

My post was in response to (1) Myer's quite purposeful intention of trying to infuriate Catholics and Christians, and (2) his apparent surprise that the might have to defend himself with a letter-writing campaign to save his job in response to asinine behavior he thought would cause others anguish at no cost to himself.

Death threats over speech issues are offensive to the super-majority us on the right and left to the point I regard it as self-evident.

Perhaps I've overestimated.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 11, 2008 01:36 PM

Myers is doing this because he wants attention. Don't give him any.

Posted by Pat at July 11, 2008 02:11 PM

Would his claims and promises mentioned not be covered under the "fighting words" doctrine?

He is in fact doing this to enrage and invoke a response in a populace.

Posted by Matt at July 11, 2008 04:31 PM

Cernig, while Myers has claimed to have received death threats via e-mail, I've noticed he has not posted any of them, to publicly out the alleged malefactors.

I know that if I was in his supposed situation, I'd be blasting that crap all over the place.

Posted by TC@LeatherPenguin at July 11, 2008 04:34 PM

... and I'd be including every bit of routing data, because I'd be threatening lawsuits against the originating ISP.

But that's just me.

Posted by TC@LeatherPenguin at July 11, 2008 04:35 PM

Cernig, you've mentioned death threats twice now, yet I don't see any condemnation of those threats or those who made them from YOU, either. This is, of course, the exact same accusation you're leveling against CY.

Et tu, Brute?

By the way, and for the record, I deplore any real death threats and support the apprehension and punishment of those who make them.

Posted by C-C-G at July 11, 2008 05:38 PM

Catholicism is a pseudo-Christian cult of virgin worship and thinly-disguised paganism grafted to ancient Aramaic-Jewish ritual. Catholicism is not Christianity. They can keep their crackers. And PJ should be free to do whatever he wishes with their crackers. The guy does not deserve death threats; he deserves a promotion, a raise, and the resources to seek revenge on those who threaten him.

Posted by James Limbaugh at July 11, 2008 05:58 PM

I'm disappointed in the CY crowd that the first commenter in this thread is some kind of Jew hating crank and nobody called him out.

Actually, if you want to know the history of so-called "desecration of the host", it was just one of many medieval libels that led to the murder of Jews. Jews were alleged to have stolen communion artifacts and then supposedly "recrucified" Jesus by abusing the wafers. The idiocy of this particular lie is that it presupposes that Jews believe in the concept of transubstantiation, which of course they don't.

The simple fact is that a professor at a public university should have the religious freedom to be sacrilegious. I'm quite sure that had he defaced a Koran, the posters here would be defending him.

It might be offensive for a professor to desecrate a Torah scroll, a Quran or the communion wafers, but not believing in someone else's sacred objects should not be a firing offense in America.

Posted by Bozoer Rebbe at July 11, 2008 06:26 PM

[Posted by James Limbaugh at July 11, 2008 05:58 PM]

Merely your opinion, but I'll defend to the death your right to show by your remarks that you are ignorant and uncivil.

Actually, the Church might have good ground on which to pursue in civil court the breaking of an implicit contract, if Myers were to desecrate an Eucharist he received at a Mass during Communion.

Posted by Dusty at July 11, 2008 07:21 PM

"I'm disappointed in the CY crowd that the first commenter in this thread is some kind of Jew hating crank and nobody called him out."

[Posted by Bozoer Rebbe at July 11, 2008 06:26 PM]

Deciding on whether one should feed the trolls or starve them is always a tough one.

Posted by Dusty at July 11, 2008 07:32 PM
Deciding on whether one should feed the trolls or starve them is always a tough one.

Since what they're after is attention, I generally starve them... but once in a while one makes a good cat toy, in which case I play with them for a while before starving them.

Posted by C-C-G at July 11, 2008 09:13 PM

At my local bookstore I've seen a book of police photographs form the turn of the 20th century. One of those photos is from upstate New York. It is of a man- a white man- who had been branded with the initials "KKK" on his chest and forehead... because he woudn't renounce his Catholicism. In the North, you see, the Ku Klux Klan considered it its mission to keep the Catholics down.

Catholics were lynched and beaten for their faith, right here in America, by "good Americans". I'd like to thank "James Limbaugh" troll, above, for reminding us that violent amd ignorant hatred of Catholics still happens in America.

Posted by DaveP. at July 11, 2008 09:14 PM

So, what if I was to desecrate a Quran with the Host...while interleaved with a Torah, with pieces of Chairman Mao's little red book and Gadafi's little green book. And do it in a Church of England building with a Lutheran's Mauser?

Anything else? Can we come up with a way to offend the Yezdis, the Parsees, and the Hindu at the same time?

Posted by Don Meaker at July 11, 2008 09:30 PM

[Posted by C-C-G at July 11, 2008 09:13 PM]

LOL. I know of what you speak.

Posted by Dusty at July 11, 2008 09:32 PM

Trolls are interesting on occasion. I wonder if any of the current variety would be so defensive of this idiot PHD's right to be an idiot if was THEIR most sacred object/item/belief being threatened desecrated in an equivalent manner.

I'm out of cheeks and wouldn't mind slapping a few of theirs.

Posted by Mark at July 11, 2008 09:49 PM

"Catholicism is a pseudo-Christian cult of virgin worship and thinly-disguised paganism grafted to ancient Aramaic-Jewish ritual."

It is clear that you never studied nor attempted to understand the religion. Because you are wrong on all accounts.

Posted by Matt at July 11, 2008 10:52 PM
Jesus Christ, CY! I never thought I'd see you condoning death threats, no matter how idiotic the provocation (and yes, the provocation is idiotic).

I thought I'd reproduce that in full just to have another opportunity to savor the blazing stupidity in that comment. Way to go, Cernig. You know, I never thought I'd see you wearing a tutu with a wedding veil and walking down the aisle with a giraffe, but I guess life is full of little surprises.

Posted by Pablo at July 12, 2008 09:18 AM

Shows the difference between somme college professors and many working professionals. The rest of us know that what we do outside of work can and sometimes does affect our careers.

Spare me the "First Amendment" diatribes. That protects stupid speech from the government, not from irate employers. As an professional engineer, then later as a manager, and now as an executive, I represent my firm / organization / employer to at least some degree. If I embarass them, I expect consequences. If I go too far, I expect termination.

If I post an anonymous blog entry, I can reasonably divorce my online persona from my professional identity. But I would never use my real title in anything that might be considered offensive or uncivil, or if I did, I would expect consequences.

This staggering pile of human stupidity identifies himself as a professor and NAMES HIS EMPLOYER on the VERY SAME web page that is extraordinarily offensive to a significant segment of the population. It's not like those irate readers even SEARCHED for his employers in an attempt to "get him," Captain Stupid put it right there on the page.

In an educational setting, I'd consider what he wrote perfectly analogous to writing racial epithets (religion and race are BOTH OCR items, thank you very much). There is, and should no protection for this idiot under the circumstances.

Would you defend his railing against a racial group while simultaneously proclaiming his employer ? Or attacking women ?

Fire his sorry butt. Not just for being offensive, but for being too stupid to ever teach others. . .

Posted by 1charlie2 at July 12, 2008 10:40 AM

This is akin to me showing up in uniform to a political rally and laying claim to supporting a certain political party as a member of the Armed Services.

Just like the military, a university is not a political setting, and as such, you can not claim support or act as a representative of something while acting within your profession.

Could I go in civies and back someone? Yes, but by doing that I would be doing it as an individual, not as a member.

That is something that people often forget.

Posted by Matt at July 12, 2008 02:25 PM

CY-
I noticed the lack of publishing of these supposed threats, and a lack of police support.

This is the same ass who tried to gate crash a movie after announcing he'd try to disrupt any showing of it--then whined when he got booted.

Posted by Foxfier at July 12, 2008 06:12 PM

"My own response to Mr. Myers would be that while he does have the freedom of speech, he is not free from responsibility for his speech."

He's getting death threats dude.

Posted by yos at July 12, 2008 06:15 PM

yos, a minor clarification:

He says he is getting death threats. He hasn't released any of them to the public yet, so we cannot be sure if he is or not.

And, before you start bloviating that no one would make a false claim like that, let me remind you of the student who faked having swastikas drawn on her door.

So we know that people will make false claims of crimes for publicity, which might just be what this is.

NOTE: I am not saying that Mr. Myers is faking this, only that until the death threats are confirmed either by him publishing them or the police stating that they are real, the possibility of a hoax is still open. So don't go accusing me of something I am not saying, cause it'll go over about as well as Mondale's promise to raise taxes.

Posted by C-C-G at July 12, 2008 07:46 PM

In an educational setting, I'd consider what he wrote perfectly analogous to writing racial epithets (religion and race are BOTH OCR items, thank you very much). There is, and should no protection for this idiot under the circumstances.

People are protected under EEOC rules and laws, not religions or ritual items.

What part of not accepting another religion's sacraments is "perfectly analogous" to racial epithets? Some people think Jews not eating cheeseburgers is silly. Others think that symbolic deiphagy and believing that crackers become the body of a dead Jew is silly. Neither thought is akin to denigrating a human being.

Would you defend his railing against a racial group while simultaneously proclaiming his employer ? Or attacking women ?

He never attacked any people, just made fun of a cracker. Let the wafer file a claim under Title VII if it can. Unlike, let's say, scheduling exams on Yom Kippur, nothing the professor has done discriminates against members of a faith.

As was pointed out, in light of the truly vile history of the "desecration of the host", when Jews were killed after being falsely accused of not treating your crackers with sufficient reverence, your hysterical reaction gives one pause. Would you kill someone over mistreating your church's crackers?

I'd be saddened if someone defaced a Torah scroll, but it's within Americans' rights to do exactly that, even if it may hurt my feelings.

Religious freedom is the right to be sacrilegious. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the founding fathers. If a professor must abide by others' religious sentiments he or she has no academic freedom.

I'm quite sure that had the professor said disparaging things about Muslim artifacts you'd be defending his right to do so.

Posted by Johan Amedeus Metesky at July 12, 2008 08:37 PM

Fire his sorry butt. Not just for being offensive, but for being too stupid to ever teach others. . .

Posted by 1charlie2 at July 12, 2008 10:40 AM

Well said.

Posted by Dusty at July 12, 2008 09:48 PM

"He's getting death threats dude."

Please. I got death threats when I organized my first open carry dinner. If he received them then he should deal with them the same way any other honest man deals with them. But this is not exactly about the death threats. This is about his whining about people calling for his job.

"He never attacked any people, just made fun of a cracker."

Dunce... His intent is the same as an attack against them. Now he is free to do as he wishes to that cracker, and he can say whatever he feels about a religion, but to call for others to stop voicing their opinions on his statements is just as bad as someone taping his mouth shut.

Posted by Matt at July 12, 2008 10:15 PM

Johan,

In reverse order, you couldn't be more wrong: Yes, I would still be every bit as concerned if, in a blog identifying himself as an assoc. prof. at a college, he was offering to defaming Muslim rituals or religious objects.

The exact religion is less important than that he is embarassing his employer by simultaneously identifying himself as a member of the college or university and working so hard to be offensive to a religious group.

And second, I specifically mentioned OCR, rather than EEOC more broadly. There are admonishments under OCR against religious discrimination, although I acknowledge that the Dept. of Ed. lacks specific teeth to act solely on the basis of religion. As Deputy Sec. Marcus wrote several years ago,

"I hope that you will join me in reaffirming our commitment to the protection of basic civil rights and civil liberties, including the right of students of all faiths to be free from invidious discrimination"

No employer would want, nor long tolerate, employees operating counter to the spirit of that.
As an employer, I would seek to avoid any such publicity to begin with.

Again, it was not that this fellow wrote what he did, but that he would identify himself as a member of my organization and then engage in acts that could so easily be seen as promoting hostility that would be actionable on my part as his employer.

A university or college has a vested interest (and often legal requirements) to be seen as welcoming to a diverse student body, and this would be extraordinarily contrary to that mandate.

Had he NOT identified himself as a member of the university (or bank, or law firm, or what have you), then his actions would not reflect poorly the his employer, and his boss would not be in any position to take action (nor would there be any need to).

As an employer, I have no interest in stifling the expression of my employees unless they try to drag my firm into it. Write whatever you want in your blog, but don't put your firm's name on it.

As I said, this was not the case of some outraged citizen incensed and digging into professor Stupid's life to find his employer and try to get him fired. This was professor Stupid who put his employer out there and then proceeded to make comments that essentially had to be taken as exclusionary to a segment of the population. Had he made analogous remarks about Muslins, Mormons, Jews, or Ethiopian Zionkoptics, it would have been every bit as stupid and career-adverse.

Posted by 1charlie2 at July 13, 2008 07:14 PM
I'm quite sure that had the professor said disparaging things about Muslim artifacts you'd be defending his right to do so.

Incorrect. I am not Catholic, nor Muslim, and I view the disparagement of any person's faith the same.

Please put away the broad brush, Johan, it doesn't make you look like a reasonable person.

Posted by C-C-G at July 13, 2008 08:04 PM

Having been in the media for over 30 years, and a graduate of UMM, I have never heard of pz myers, so I have to conclude that he is a minute fish in a minute pond; and that apparently, is his problem. He wants his 15 minutes of fame so bad that he is willing to make an absolute fool of himself, over and over and over again, in an attempt to become known and recognized as ...well
...a fool.

The rest of us were born with brains; pz apparently was not. The rest of us received good Christian educations; pz apparently did not. The rest of us, as adults, were blessed with open minds; pz apparently was not.

I am not threatening pz, and I will not threaten him. Indeed, I sincerely hope that no one else does either. We should pity pz and pray for him; not get down and root around in the pig sty with him.

While I will not threaten pz, and have nothing but pity for him; I will encourage, urge and demand that the University unceremoniously kick him out. It is my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong), that the University has said nothing; has not repudiated his rantings and ravings and his threats to treat a Consecrated Catholic Communion Wafer (the Body of Christ) with "profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse".

Does pz have the right to free speech? Of course he does, and I respect that right. But, his hate-filled, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-American rhetoric, does certainly abuse the privilege.

Posted by Joel S. at July 15, 2008 03:40 PM

"CY-
I noticed the lack of publishing of these supposed threats, and a lack of police support.

This is the same ass who tried to gate crash a movie after announcing he'd try to disrupt any showing of it--then whined when he got booted."


Wrong on all counts. He has published some of the threats, although it is possible that he had not done so when you made your post.

Your description of his being denied entry to a screening of "Expelled" bears no resemblance to reality. He went online and put his (real) name on the guest list, just as everyone else did, and was denied admittance when he showed up, simply because they recognized him. He left peacably. Ironically, the producers of the movie did not recognize Richard Dawkins, who was standing in line with him, and allowed him to enter. The movie producers gave multiple, and contradictory, accounts of their actions.

It was a private screening, and so they could admit or refuse whoever they pleased, legally, but Myers was following the rules they themselves had established and not causing any sort of disruption: he was just standing in line when they demanded he leave.

Posted by MTS at July 17, 2008 01:29 PM