The Contrarian Delusion: How Hitchens Poisons Everything
Max Blumenthal printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 04:25:45 PM EST
Christopher Hitchens has made a career out of offending polite society. Among his greatest hits are his observation that women aren't funny, his pooh-poohing of the Haditha massacre, and his defense of the jailed Holocaust denier David Irving, who he hailed as a "great historian." More recently, Hitchens has volunteered himself as the licker of Wolfowitz's comb, claiming that the corrupt World Bank president "did nothing wrong."

Hitchens has cast these seemingly untenable positions as "contrarian," lending himself not only an air of intellectual bravado, but a veneer of integrity as well. Despite his myriad personal flaws and political contradictions, Hitchens has managed to appear principled by trafficking in opinions that consistently outrage conservatives and liberals alike. He poses as a maverick, an intellectually macho literary gun-slinger who loves nothing more than provoking the indignant howls of the madding crowd. For Hitchens, everything is sacred, and therefore, everything is fair game.

Those who have followed the trajectory of Hitchens' career knew it was only a matter of time before he set his sights on religion. What better way to piss off (and on) the masses than to unleash a full-frontal assault on God himself?

So to great fanfare and perhaps nobody's surprise, Hitchens has produced "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," an atheist manifesto intended to supplement Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion," and (New Age torture fanatic) Sam Harris' "The End of Faith."

Hitchens spares no sacred cows in his latest work. He blasts religion as a form of child abuse, claims Jesus Christ never lived, and declares that those who give their children bar mitzvahs are "planning your and my destruction and the destruction of all hard-won human attainments." The requisite attacks on Islam, so satisfying to his newfound neocon pals, are also featured at length.

Hitchens' book might be mean-spirited and even bigoted; little more than a barely legible screed larded with predictable arguments and a scattershot of pretentious literary references, but who can say its author is unprincipled? This is contrarianism, right?

Please.

"God Is Not Great" represents little more than the disingenous posturings of a certified fraudmeister who has openly cavorted with the most reactionary elements of the Christian right. If Hitchens had any principles at all -- if he truly feared the cultural and political consequences of the encroachment of religion into public life -- he would have used his still-considerable influence to support organizations and causes that shore up the wall between church and state and which defend the rights of non-believers. Instead, Hitchens has done exactly the opposite.

In the Fall of 2005, Hitchens gladly accepted the invitation of the Family Research Council to speak before its Witherspoon Fellows. Hitchens subsequently regaled an audience of young Christian right cadres with excerpts from his book, "Thomas Jefferson: Author of America." For attending Hitchens' lecture and participating in several similar events, the FRC's Witherspoon Fellows received academic credit for study at Pat Robertson's Regent University, a school that has placed 150 of its graduates in Bush administration posts.

Presumably Hitchens was aware of the mission of the James Dobson-founded Family Research Council. How could such an intellectual giant be unaware of the FRC's charge to "promote[] the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society?" How could Hitchens have missed the FRC's many "Justice Sunday" rallies staged at mega-churches and telecast across America to advance the confirmation of George W. Bush's most theocracy-minded judicial picks? (To my knowledge, these rallies occured well after happy hour). And how could Hitchens have been ignorant to the FRC's vitriolic crusade to ban abortion and undermine gay rights?

Regarding FRC President Tony Perkins' ties to white supremacists, I would like to paraphrase Scripture and say, forgive Hitchens for he knows not what the hell he is doing. My well-publicized report detailing how Perkins once purchased the phone bank list of former Klan leader David Duke for the price of $82,500 and how he headlined a 2001 fundraiser for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens had only been out for a few months. Maybe Hitchens was too busy dancing with Wolfowitz to read it.

But there is no excuse for Hitchens' hypocrisy. With the release of "God Is Not Great," Hitchens owes his readers an explanation for his appearance at the Family Research Council, the nerve center of a theocratic movement determined to weaken the foundations of constitutional democracy. Hitchens must explain why he accepted the FRC's invitation to speak and whether he was paid for his appearance.

While awaiting Hitchens' response, I will pray that in the future his version of the Straight Talk Express designates a driver.




Display:
I've been blinded by his magnificence.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 04:36:46 PM EST



by NancyP on Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 04:44:26 PM EST
Please don't blame my friends Mr. Beam, Mr. Daniels, and Ms. Crown Royal for Hitchens. He lost his moral compass without their help.

by Carnacki on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:24:12 PM EST
Parent

Shake well, serve over ice or straight up in a well chilled glass.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 05:39:57 PM EST
Parent


Yes, our man Hitchens is a first class political Svengali. Writing in the September/October 2000 online edition of Mother Jones, in a scathing article on the Clinton-Gore Administration,  the contrarian soothsayer pointed out and then predicted,

"I'm sure that there are people reading this and saying to themselves: "Yeah, but what about the Supreme Court and the Christian Coalition? What about a woman's right to choose?" Those were exactly the things that had liberals waving their arms in panic when Ronald Reagan won in 1980, except that back then they expressed concern about matters like poverty and racism and the arms race and human rights as well. If you look back and think about it, you may agree that neither Reagan nor Bush instituted a microsecond of school prayer or declared a single actual fetus to be a citizen, and that neither would Dole have, and most certainly will this junior Bush."

Well, let's see. We know that the Supreme Court made a mockery of the Constitution with their decision for Bush vs. Gore. Even Hitchens has since ceded that point.

Then, there is the Faith-based initiative plan which fudges the line of the separation of Church and State.

But most significant of all, however, is the Partial-birth Abortion Ban, passed by Congress in early 2002, signed into law by President Bush and upheld by an increasingly radical Supreme Court. At the 2000 Republican Convention then-candidate Bush openly promised that he would sign such a bill. I guess the Hitchster missed that little red-flag!

Additionally, there is the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. The House passed  it in 2001 (died in the Democratic controlled Senate) and again in 2002. The legislation's intention is to create separate legal rights for the fetus. If signed into law by President Bush, it would elevate the legal status of a fetus under federal law to that of a natural born person.

It seems as if liberals are a bit more clairvoyant than the usually unkempt Mr. Hitchens.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:24:11 AM EST


Wondering what Hitchens said there ....


by czrpb on Wed May 02, 2007 at 04:17:56 PM EST

Thanks FRC! Glad to see a sense of humor.

by czrpb on Thu May 03, 2007 at 11:42:28 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Christian Right Turns to Nullification to Counter Marriage Equality
Last year in The Public Eye magazine, Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli warned of the trend on the religious and political Right toward......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Historian Gerald Horne on Charleston, Church, & Slave Resistance
Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston notes the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was at the center of Black resistance to slavery......
By Chip Berlet (1 comment)
The Zealots Strike Back: Latest Religious Right Sputtering Over Marriage Equality Is More Weak Tea
I've been monitoring the Religious Right's response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality, and I'm not impressed.So far, the reaction of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Is Koch Brothers Money Fueling Criticism of Pope Francis on Climate Change?
In my last post I examined conservative criticism of Laudato Sii, ("Praised Be"), Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and poverty. Indeed, some of......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Politics in Theocratic Times
The matter of religious exemptions from civil rights and labor laws is at the cutting edge of the contemporary political strategy of the Christian......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Why Is the Christian Right Remaining Silent About the Dennis Hastert Affair?
In early June, the Associated Press' Mary Clare Jalonick reported that a Montana woman interviewed by the FBI claimed that "her brother was sexually......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Remembering James Dunn: Baptist Champion Of Religious Freedom
When I began working for Americans United in 1987, one thing confused me: Why were there so many Southern Baptists hanging around?Southern Baptists were......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Resistance Is Futile: Some County Clerks Say `I Won't' To Marriage Equality
One week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court extended marriage equality nationwide. So where are we now?To no one's surprise, leaders of the Religious Right......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Celebrating July 4th
A decade or so ago I was vacationing in Hot Springs,  Arkansas.  It was July 4th and I attended the First Baptist Church in......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Nine Mainline Protestant Christian Martyrs
This is a tricky time for the Christian Right. Immediately following the mass murder at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Top Southern Baptist Official Admits Churches Won't Be Forced To Marry Same-Sex Couples
For years now, Religious Right leaders have been whipping up hysteria by claiming that, should marriage equality become the law of the land, conservative......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
The Pope, Climate Change and the Catholic Right.
The conservative criticism of Laudato Sii, ("Praised Be"), Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and poverty that began even before its release, has now......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Simply Put -- LGBTQ rights are not a threat to religious freedom
I'd like to underscore the conclusion of this piece, which is crossposted from LGBTQ Nation.  The advance of civil rights for LGBTQ people is......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Pluck Of The Irish: Same-Sex Marriage Vote Shows Yearning For An End To Clerical Domination
A provocative headline from Reuters news service last week caught my eye. "Irish plunge stake through Catholic Church's heart," it read.The headline is perhaps......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (3 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.