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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (RNS) Roman Catholics in North America and Britain are calling for a series of YouTube videos showing a Canadian teenager destroying Communion hosts to be removed from the Internet.
The Quebec teenager named Dominique, who tags himself “fsmdude,” has posted more than 40 videos featuring him desecrating the host, the small circular wafer that Catholics ingest during Eucharist service.
Dominique’s videos, many seen by more than 20,000 viewers, show the wafers being burned, hammered, placed in a blender, fed to animals and flushed down a toilet.
“If they want blasphemy, we’ll give them blasphemy,” Dominique says in one video.
The Toronto-based Catholic Civil Rights League claims the videos are “hate speech.” The organization and thousands of its supporters have petitioned YouTube officials to remove what they claim are sacrilegious videos.
The short clips were shut down for a few hours in early October, but soon returned.
Now YouTube, which is owned by Google, has “age-gated” Dominique’s videos. The videos have been marked as not appropriate for everyone, and restricted, ostensibly, to viewers over age 18.
To convict someone of hate speech, Canadian prosecutors not only have to prove someone is expressing contempt or hatred for an identifiable group based on their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion, but that he or she is also inciting others to discriminate against members of that group.
Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League, insists the Quebec teenager’s videos violate YouTube’s “community standards,” which do not permit hate speech.
“In August, YouTube took down a video of a teenager who urinated on the Holocaust memorial in Rhodes, Greece. That was not only the right moral choice, it was consistent with its own strictures. Catholics deserve the same sensitivity,” Donohue said in a public statement.
Dominique, in response to a series of videos that Catholics have put on YouTube to counter his videos, said he’s not attacking the religion, but satirizing the concept of transubstantiation — the Catholic belief that the wafer and wine at Communion become the literal body and blood of Christ.
“I’m attacking the belief that this thing, this cracker, is someone that can feel pain,” he said, calling the host “just an object you can eat.”
By Douglas Todd
Religion News Service
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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