A priest writes:

A person in a free society is at liberty to burn his own Torah scrolls, to tear up his own copy of the New Testament, to plunge his own copy of the Koran in his own toilet, and to trample his own stock of communion wafers. That should be recognized as protected religious or anti-religious expression under the First Amendment.

However, no one is free to break into a synagogue, to take the Torah scrolls enshrined there, and to burn them. Or to do that with a Koran belonging to a mosque where he is visiting, or to take the Bible or the Blessed Sacrament from a church and desecrate them. If a particular religion gives its sacrament or sacred things only to its own members and someone deceives the adherents of that religion in order to desecrate their sacred rituals or objects, then that is a fraud and a violation of the religious liberty of others.

Religions are entitled to make rules for their own members and to demand that outsiders leave religious adherents in peace within their own sacred precincts. The Catholic Church clearly did NOT intend to give communion to someone like this fellow and did not invite him to receive. Non-adherents are entitled to criticize or oppose from outside but not to disrupt worship, to commit fraud against religious believers they dislike, or to take religious goods from religious institutions under false pretences.

For example, I regard Muhammad and Joseph Smith as false prophets and say so openly. I regard the Koran and the Book of Mormon as being of merely human origin. If I want to oppose Islam or Mormonism and even to burn their allegedly inspired writings, I am free to do so. But I am not free to go into Muslim or Mormon places of worship, deceive the worshipers there, and then desecrate what they regard as sacred.

It's not a matter of punishing blasphemy but of the civil and religious right to be left alone.

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