Ah, if anything was going to belie my statement that the odious Hutton only posts a couple of times a month, it would be the death of a well-known atheist.
Not, I have to say, that Bob Crow fits the usual meaning of "well known atheist." "Well known trades-union leader who happened to have mentioned that he was an atheist," would be closer.
Personally, on the whole I think Crow seemed a decent enough sort. He certainly did a good job of representing the members of his union; and he was spot on when he observed that New Labour had sold the labour they were supposed to represent down the line. On the other hand, some of his politics weren't exactly to my taste. (I only veer from socialism toward Marxism/communism when I'm feeling particularly grouchy.)
Still an' all, and whatever my, or anyone's, views on him, Bob Crow has died, and at the mournfully early age of fifty-two. He will be missed by many. And, like most people, he has family and friends who will deeply miss him. My thoughts, for whatever they are worth, are with them.
Which kinda brings me back to my main point, and it's not just aimed at Hutton, though his history of gloating over Famous People Who Are Being Tortured By Satan (he once, for instance, informed me that those who are saved will "have the last laugh") does stand out somewhat from the crowd.
There is, Gentle Reader, a time and a place. In this internet age, there seems to be a feeling that you can disassociate yourself from the harm your words may cause, under the assumption that the people being harmed will probably never happen across your tiny contribution to the whole. Everybody has a voice, and everybody claims the right of free speech to use that voice; and that, on the whole, is a good thing. But: time and place.
I'm not one, in general, for "not speaking ill of the dead." They are not magically transformed into morally pure beings whose every deed and word should be held up as exemplars of perfection. I do, however, think that those who are in very-recent mourning deserve to be able to turn on their televisions, or look at their computer-screens, without seeing their still-warm loved-one vilified wherever they look, and their name appropriated for use in childish religious and/or political point-scoring wank-fests.
It's a concept I call "politeness" and, without it, free speech is nothing but a pack of monkeys lobbing shit at each other. It doesn't mean "not swearing," and nor does it mean "not making a fuss." It means having some fucking consideration for other people's feelings.
So yeah, all those times your mum told you not to say summat if you couldn't say summat nice? There are times—and when someone has very recently lost a loved-one, Bob, is one of those times—when it turns out your mum was absolutely right.
Hutton's Added the following edit to his article:
P.S. Since I posted this article online I have been accused by atheists of "gloating" over someone else's death. My reply to such allegations is two-fold; firstly, I am not gloating at all, simply pointing out that we must all give account to God, and atheists are in for a shock; and secondly, I seem to remember that, when Maggie Thatcher died, atheist, lefty types were openly gloating over her death and even holding up banners proclaiming that "the witch is dead|". The words pot….kettle….black come to mind.
To which I've left the following reply, though only time will tell if it makes it through his "moderation" (i.e. "that looks a bit complicated; I think I'll just pretend it was never sent" process.)
"P.S. Since I posted this article online I have been accused by atheists…"
Bob. For the record:
I am not "atheists." I am "an atheist." I do not—and do not claim to—speak for anyone but myself on this matter, which is not related to my lack of belief in God, but to my holding of a belief in politeness.
Nor, if you look, will you find that I took part in any public denigration anywhere, of Margaret Thatcher during the weeks following her death. Your pot–kettle analogy, therefore, does not pertain.
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