I am not going to provide an extensive response to P. Z. Myers' recent desecration of the Eucharist, along with pages from the Qur'an.
I will simply say that he must be fired.
Although he carried out his action. in his words, to support the idea that "Nothing must be held sacred" (also trashing a few pages of The God Delusion, a book with which he is in sympathy), he did not merely tell people that nothing must be held sacred. Nor did he argue for it. Claiming that nothing must be held sacred or proposing arguments for this proposition are a subject that can be discussed in a civil, respectful manner.
Instead, P. Z. Myers surreptitiously obtained and then desecrated something that is held most sacred by numerous individuals. He went out of his way to offend, to provoke the most deeply held sentiments of others, and he did so in full knowledge of what he was doing, as witnessed by the fact that he complains repeatedly on his blog about all of the outraged complaints he has been receiving from Catholics via e-mail.
In desecrating what Catholics hold most sacred--and what Muslims hold sacred as well--P. Z. Myers has fundamentally compromised himself as an educator.
He has made himself unsuitable for employment as an educator.
In particular, he has made himself unsuitable for employment as an educator at a state-run school, such as the University of Minnesota Morris.
It would be one thing if an employee of a private school--say, Bob Jones University--had desecrated the Eucharist. But state schools have a special responsibility to the citizens of the state to employ educators who will be respectful in their conduct towards the students, parents, alumni, and citizens of the state--including the Catholic and Muslim ones.
P. Z. Myers has demonstrated that he will go out of his way to offend the sensibilities of anybody who holds anything sacred, to treat whatever they hold sacred with public contempt. The problem thus is not limited to Catholics and Muslims. Since, in Myers own words, "Nothing must be held sacred," and since he is willing to desecrate anything that others do hold sacred, the university must conclude that Myers is willing not only to outrage Catholic and Muslim students, parents, alumni, and citizens but members of any other group as well.
Myers is thus incapable of effectively carrying out his mission as an educator and his position must be terminated.
He also is in violation of the University of Minnesota Code of Conduct, which holds that faculty members "must be committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct" (II:2) and that "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).
It also stresses that faculty members 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."
P. Z. Myers has done none of these things. He is in fundamental breach of the University of Minnesota's Code of Conduct and must be discharged.
To voice your opinion on this subject, contact the offices of the president and the chancellor:
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: email@example.com
Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson
309 Behmler Hall
600 East 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267