"University of Colorado police are investigating a series of threatening messages and documents e-mailed to and slipped under the door of evolutionary biology labs on the Boulder campus."A religious-affiliated group (undisclosed by the police) identified itself in the messages. Police Commander Brad Wiesley summarized the notes as basically saying "Anybody who doesn't believe in our religious belief is wrong and should be taken care of."
"What's written on paper is what's written on paper," Wiesley said, voicing a belief I share with and attribute to Alonzo Fyfe that the proper response to words is words; to legislation is legislation; to action is action. In this situation, what has been exchanged is not only words, but threats. The phrase 'taken care of,' in this context, cannot be mistaken for anything but a threat - especially when the content of the messages was apparently strong enough to prompt a police investigation.
A threat is a suggestion of action. I believe a police investigation and, hopefully, punishment, is the proper response to these events.
This sort of action is deserving of a great deal of condemnation from both the religious and the secular community. It is unacceptable to threaten educators for teaching a widely accepted theory that does not cause any harm. It is the University of Colorado staff's right to teach in peace - and, I'd argue, responsibility to teach the theory of evolution.
In true rhetorical fashion, don't expect the organizations that decry, for instance, perceived bias against ID advocates in higher education, or that claim Christianity is persecuted in America, to make any mention of this event. The more responsible Christian groups that hear about this article will take the time to at least wag a finger at the group making the threats. I'll be interested to see what develops.
In other news, the Denver Post entertained me with a story of a 2-acre fire ignited by a flaming bird.