Yes, they are. And some of the active ranters are treating the publicizing of death threats to be a triumph. See, gang, the media are taking us seriously, they crow.
So take a look at how Business Insider sees the story.
Behold, the handsomest man in New Hampshire! No, greater — the Eastern US…the Western Hemisphere…never mind, I cannot imagine a more gorgeous human being on the planet. It’s the flowing locks, the noble brow, the shell-like ears, that nose — so graceful, so aristocratic — and those full lips. The chin so strong, and the swan-like neck. I include a large image of the man, in case you want to print it out, frame it, and hang it by your bedside, so you can blow New Hampshire Representative Steve Vaillancourt a kiss as you slip off to sleep.
Alas, he has to be trading on his glorious good looks to get elected, because lurking behind that proud forehead is the brain of a sewer toad. He has weighed in on another race in his state, between Republican Marilinda Garcia and Democrat Annie Kuster.
When I argue that atheists ought to aspire to be better people, I always get this weird counter-argument, along these lines:
Ayn Rand was an atheist, and she pretty much opposed every single thing you lousy Social Justice Warriors stand for. Are you saying she wasn’t an atheist? No. I’m saying she was a rather crappy person, and that maybe atheists ought to aim a little higher, and not insist on reducing every atheist to the same feeble common denominator. That the general term encompasses some awful people does not mean we’ve been given a pass to be awful ourselves. If the atheist movement were synonymous with the objectivist movement, I wouldn’t be proud to call myself one.
Here’s another perspective:
It’s a big day tomorrow! First, Jamie Kilstein’s and Allison Kilkenny’s book, NEWSFAIL, comes out. I’ve pre-ordered it for my Kindle, so I’m kind of hoping my iPad will go beep at 12:01 am tonight. You can read an interview with the two of them on Skepchick right now (I’m not big enough to score an interview with them, or to appear on Citizen Radio, even though Jamie was once the opening act for a lecture I did in DC <drinks whole bottle of bourbon, wades into the ocean, drowns, weeping>).
It’s very strange, but lately I find myself paying less attention to atheist white men on Islam, and more to ex-Muslims like Heina, Maryam, Tauriq, Taslima, and Marwa (have you noticed how deep the talent pool is here at FtB?), and those are leading me to other ex-Muslim authors like Kunwar Khuldune Shahid and the other writers at Ex-Muslim blogs, and I’m finding my view of Islam is become a lot messier and more complicated. I’m simultaneously less sympathetic to the religion and more interested in the people.
I consider increasing complexity to be a good thing. Diminishing the influence of the uninformed is also a good thing.
We have a major Catholic sex abuse case going on in Minnesota, and it’s slowly coming to an end. Right now, it’s like a game of “good news, bad news,” though.
Those claims were bolstered by an MPR News investigation last fall that showed top church officials continued to protect priests accused of abuse. One priest, the Rev. Clarence Vavra, had privately admitted to sexually abusing a child on an Indian reservation in South Dakota in the 1970s. MPR News found him living half a block from a school. In another case, Harry Walsh, a former priest who was accused of abusing two children, had been hired by Wright County to teach sex ed to at-risk teenagers.
Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Archbishop Harry Flynn did not notify police or the public about the allegations against Vavra and Walsh and kept other clerics in ministry despite allegations of sexual misconduct, according to documents obtained by MPR News. Flynn and Nienstedt also gave special monthly payments to priests who had admitted to sexually assaulting children.