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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Religion for Consumers

A group of religious people is outraged that their church isn’t offering a gluten-free version of the Eucharist. These are folks who are supposed to believe that Christ died for them. Yet they are not ready to set aside their consumerism for God even for 20 seconds.

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17 thoughts on “Religion for Consumers

  1. Robert L Bell on said:

    The Catholic Church has 1.3 billion adherents.

    The world prevalence of Celiac Disease is 0.5-1.0% — which suggests that somewhere between 6.5 and 13 million adherents are unable to receive Communion because of this restriction.

    One suspects that you are simply sneering at the people who refuse to eat wheat because they are silly – their numbers indeed are legion – but you are cruel (and perhaps thoughtless) to dismiss the entire matter as simple consumerist nonsense.


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    • Communion wafers are small and paper thin. It’s not like snarfing down a bowl of spaghetti or a loaf of bread (especially in fellowship with the sufferings of Christ which were a bit more signficant if you’re catholic).

      And lots of people fake celiac, it’s a very fashionable condition (illnesses are just as prone to fashion trends as any other sphere of life).

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      • Pen on said:

        For the people who actually do have gluten intolerance, allergies, and related issues, even that small wafer is a huge deal. Saying that it’s not a big deal because it’s so small is like saying a person allergic to milk should be able to eat a small candy that contains milk because it’s really just a negligible amount of milk, right? No. That is not how intolerance and allergies work. Some people with mild intolerance may be able to handle it. Different people have different limits, though. I’m lactose intolerant and can eat regular ice cream. My mom’s allergic to milk and cannot have any milk or dairy products. We have different limits as to what we can handle. The same goes for gluten-related problems.

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        • We are very lucky that Jesus wasn’t a fussy eater or there’d be no Christianity to discuss right now. 😁

          This is a religion where spirit triumphs over flesh, especially over fussy little things paleo diets and Co. The Eucharist is the moment when your soul meets God . One doesn’t have to believe it but once you decide tyat you do, it doesn’t make sense to ask if they have a crown of thorns in a more fashionable color.

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          • Shakti on said:

            It’s also a religion which changes finer doctrinal points to suit and integrates local holidays into the pantheon by recasting them.
            Rest assured, if Jesus distributed cow’s milk at the last supper, the Vatican would have found a way to say drinking milk is not spiritually necessary to Communion (because they don’t want to exclude the lactose intolerant adults, iow, high numbers of Asians and Africans).

            Religions get enormously practical about matters which will cost them large number of members, especially new ones. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence the Mormon church received a revelation that black men could hold the priesthood when Bob Jones University was fighting the IRS over its tax exemption and they wanted to send missionaries to Brazil.

            Now, since there aren’t that many people who genuinely can’t tolerate gluten perhaps that’s why the Pope felt comfortable in making that statement that wheat is necessary.

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            • Oh yes, religious leaders today totally relinquish all principles and pander to consumers. It looks pathetic and serves no purpose because consumers still renounce religion, which they see as limiting their consumption, in droves. Religion is a fallen bastion of resistance to consumerism.

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          • Pen on said:

            It’s not about being fussy. It’s about allergies. My mom isn’t being fussy when she goes to a restaurant and has to talk to the manager so they can make the accommodations she needs to eat. I’m so sick of people thinking that allergies and intolerance is just pickiness. For the people who actually have these issues, it’s a challenge to find foods that don’t make them ill. An illness like celiacs used to dramatically alter life expectancy, and it’s not easily treated with anything but diet. It’s a chronic disease that often requires extensive and expensive testing to diagnose. It causes a lot of gastric pain and other issues, and without diagnosis can and does kill. Add to that the fact that gluten free food is often difficult to find and insanely expensive, and no, I’m not buying your fussy eating explanation. Is it possible that not all the protesters have issues with gluten? Yes. But who says they’re just speaking on behalf of themselves?

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            • If it makes you sick then don’t eat the frickin’ cookie!

              Get in the communion line touch the host to the lips and place it in the communion paten. Recently in church in Poland (I’m not a believer but I occasionally go for various reasons) I saw a woman gesture to put the host in her hand and the priest did. The protocols for dealing with this can easily be worked out unless the entire reason is to dramatize one’s existence.

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              • The whole procedure is not about eating at all. It’s about having an experience that is not in the material realm.

                This reminded me of a woman from the FSU who witnessed communion for the first time and rushed to join the line exclaiming, “Hey, they are giving out free food!”

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        • So, just don’t eat it!

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          • It’s the kind of religion where suffering bodily discomfort is a,way to come closer to God. As I said, one doesn’t have to believe it but if you say you do, you don’t ask for it in pink.

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      • Yeah. . . Pick up your cross, put on your crown of thorns, but demand the gluten-free option because flesh is more important than the spirit.

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    • \ The world prevalence of Celiac Disease is 0.5-1.0% — which suggests that somewhere between 6.5 and 13 million adherents are unable to receive Communion because of this restriction.

      I truly began to wonder what happened in the Middle Ages or even in the 1950ies.

      Didn’t they receive Communion because of being unable to eat bread?

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  2. Shakti on said:

    Apparently transubstantiation does not affect the gluten content of communion wafers any more than it renders communion wine non-alcoholic. Taking communion is a sacrament. To be unable to take communion because of gluten intolerance is like being in the same group as people who commit mortal sins. Nobody serious fakes a gluten intolerance because gluten free goods are expensive, hard to find, and taste funny. They also have tons of sugar.

    Look, the “religion as consumerist expression” ship sailed a long time ago. I worked with people who were OUTRAGED that Good Friday wasn’t a paid holiday at the company. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a paid holiday to put toward that day, or that there was any chance they’d be denied that time off in the slightest. These requests were always granted — automatically. No, they were offended because they had to ask. Such inconvenience!

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