Decent weather today, so I did some work in the garden. While trudging across, I accidentally stepped on a snail. Horrible.
Because a symbol can represent an idea, and those who hold the idea sometimes cannot or will not argue for it rationally, it might be required to manipulate symbols to get a point across.
According to someone I don't know who calls himself the "Friendly Atheist":
A communion wafer is not actually the body of Christ, regardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a symbol. And symbols only possess whatever meaning you give them. My friend seemed to agree here. He’s a Christian after all. He thinks the wafer is a symbol, too (as opposed to the actual body of Christ)
According to someone I do know who genuinely is a friendly atheist, from beginning with I:
To give an object that much importance - isn’t that idolatry? ... Yes, symbolic acts can be hurtful, and are usually intended to be. If you were ever teased as a child, you know how much “mere” words can hurt. But we should all be grown up enough to realize that what idiots say about us (or our beliefs and symbols) really doesn’t matter.
For a bit of context, the Fourth Lateran Council assembled by the infallible Pope Innocent III in 1215 directly guided Catholic behaviour. The first canon makes clear there is no salvation outside the Church and affirms "the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist". The last says that Jews must wear special clothes and must not be given public offices. Cue a long history of intimidation, persecution and holocaust.
That sort of attitude does need its symbols punctured. But I did not mean to step on that snail today.