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Penn Jillette's death threats over atheist rants

6/17/2014

Magician Penn Jillette has been bombarded with death threats over his outspoken atheist views. The Penn & Teller star is unafraid to discuss his anti-religion beliefs, and he is adamant more atheists felt compelled to speak out in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. in 2001. However, the illusionist's opinions infuriated crazed zealots, and he was subjected to a string of terrifying death threats - along with South Park creator Trey Parker. Penn tells British magazine Seven, "I think that 9/11 made a lot of atheists more vocal. A lot of us... just took that as a sign of how dangerous it was to be quiet at all. I don't think anybody became atheist because of that event. But a lot of people who were atheist decided to shut up less about it. But I've been an outspoken atheist for 40 years. I've never held back... "Yeah, I've got hate mail. I've got hate mail where the police have been called in... There's the macho thing that I used to do with (British writer) Richard Dawkins and Trey Parker - we'd pull out out death threats and compare them. (We would say) 'Look at these people that want to kill me!'... "Once in a while the police are called on someone who's written something that crosses a line, and that's sad - and that person could just as easily be an atheist, or anything. You can talk all you want about the violent imagery of religion - but it's not the violent imagery of religion that's making people send out death threats. It's a mental illness."

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