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


American Christian Right Leaders in Rome
The remarkable and growing alliance between conservative Catholicism and protestant evangelicalism was on prominent display at a recent event at the Vatican. My colleague......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Religious Supremacism on the Rise Against Marriage Equality
This is a crosspost of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation.  -- FC Christian right undermines marriage equality with religious supremacism FREDERICK......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Houston's I Stand Sunday
In response to Houston's gay mayor's solicitation of church sermons, on Nov. 2, 2014, Houston Texas will host an I Stand Sunday.  The event,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)

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 (2 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 (4 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 (2 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 (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 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.