Christopher Hitchens was a controversial man. I suppose most prominent people are, but I think he was especially controversial. When he died the other day, not everyone observed the custom of refusing to speak ill of the dead.
Of course, it is not a matter of morality, but rather a matter of etiquette that we refrain for a brief period from speaking ill of those who have recently died. And etiquette commands no legion of bayonets: Nothing forces us to obey it unless we respond as cowards to our aunt's raised eyebrow.
Consequently, you can sometimes discover a lot about someone by observing how well and in what manner they follow the common etiquette. One man, named only "Keith", appears to be a whiner with a vicious streak. Soon after Hitchens' death, he felt it was necessary to tweet: "Atheists are disgusting human beings. They can't let us have our faith in peace. They need to shove their indoctrination down our throats."
Not all of the off the wall responses to Hitchens' death were vicious. Some were merely self-serving. The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, could not refrain even for a few hours from attempting to exploit Hitchens' death in order to sell his services as an ordained salvation-slinger.
He began a series of tweets by saying Hitchens' death "is an excruciating reminder of the consequences of unbelief. We can only pray others will believe.”
Mohler immediately added, “Few things are so valued in this life as brilliance & eloquence. Neither will matter in the world to come.”
“The point about Christopher Hitchens is not that he died of unbelief,” he concluded, “but that his unbelief is all that matters now. Unspeakably sad.”
Then there was Lane Bowman. Bowman, who appears to be a young man studying for the ministry, was smug in his declaration that, "Hitchens will be forgotten. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth."
I think if Bowman ever flunks out of the seminary, he can always get a job as a stand up comic.