Do all these people who found the the idea of the Satanic Mass so repugnant (to use Cardinal O'Malley's term) and abhorrent and reprehensible and so on, and demanded that Harvard censor it (even though it involved no desecration of actually sacred objects, only some theatrical mockery), think Putin was right to jail the Pussy Riot for desecrating an actual sacred place?
The right to offend IS the right to free speech, since nobody needs any rights to be inoffensive. So I count today as a loss for free speech, since giving in to the bullies inevitably empowers other bullies who push a little further the line of what they claim to find so offensive and repugnant that other people should not be allowed to listen to it.
Yes, I know, officially the student group pulled its support of the theatrical, but given the sequence of events, it amounts to a pullout under pressure.
Personally, I always found repugnant the idea that I was eating the body of Christ. Sorry, friends, but it's true, and no amount of metaphysics about transubstantiation, and I read a lot of it once, made it seem a less barbaric practice. (Two! Four! Six! Eight! Time to transubstantiate! Could Tom Lehrer have sung that today?)
As if that wasn't bad enough, the admirable Christine Lagarde has followed Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Condoleeza Rice as women that American college students find too offensive to listen to on their graduation day. (Ruth Simmons has replaced Lagarde.) This is idiotic. It's not the same thing as the theatricals, because the university chooses speakers, but not the performances student groups put on. But having three pull out in the same month is a terrible trend. What the hell is so terrible about listening to Christine Lagarde, -- or deciding not to if you prefer? She isn't exactly the Shah of Iran, who was my commencement speaker.
Of course the Satanic Mass production was a dumb idea. The problem is giving some authority the power to say which ideas are dumb, because the authorities will inevitably push the line in their favor. Remember, King George did that, which is how we wound up with the First Amendment. I am sure he thought Common Sense was repugnant and abhorrent and made a mockery of the monarchy!