America’s leading atheist is dying. Christopher Hitchens, a prominent public intellectual, has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. The deadly disease has spread to his lungs and lymph nodes.
In a recent column for Vanity Fair, Mr. Hitchens movingly describes his war with that awful affliction. As someone whose mother died of pancreatic cancer after a protracted, painful struggle, I deeply sympathize with Mr. Hitchens‘ plight. I wish this dreaded illness on no one - even my worst enemy. I hope and I pray that his treatment will enable him to live many more years.
Yet it is astonishing how even when starkly confronted with his mortality, Mr. Hitchens is unable to restrain his anti-Catholic bigotry. The specter of death cannot wrench him of his hatred for religion - especially the Catholic Church.
As he describes the pain and gradual degradation that cancer inflicts upon its victim, Mr. Hitchens reminisces about possible regrets in his life. Besides not seeing his children getting married, he is stricken by the prospect that he will never read or write the obituary of “elderly villains,” such as the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Mr. Hitchens‘ bile toward Pope Benedict XVI knows no bounds. Typical of many bigots, he clings to his burning hate unto the final hour - it is all that is left to warm his dark, desiccated soul.
Like all atheists, Mr. Hitchens is a hypocrite. He denounces the existence of God while simultaneously living off the ethical norms established by the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, in his column, he lauds the “selfless” doctors who are treating him, describing their commitment to the dignity of the individual. The sacred nature of human life - and why the West distinctly cherishes it - is a direct result of our Christian heritage: It is the social application of the imperative to love one’s neighbor as oneself.
Mr. Hitchens also confesses to taking comfort from all the prayer groups at his treatment center. He is receiving emotional sustenance from people and practices he has spent a lifetime mocking.
In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Mr. Hitchens assures his atheist followers that he will never embrace religion. In fact, he states that should he - at the end of his life - make some kind of deathbed conversion, it will either be a lie propagated by religious fanatics or the result of the cancer having driven him mad.
“The entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that such an entity wouldn’t make such a ridiculous remark, but no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a remark.”
That Mr. Hitchens remains a militant atheist should come as no surprise. He is an unadulterated Bolshevik. Throughout his public career, Mr. Hitchens has consistently championed revolutionary Marxism. During the Cold War, he openly called for the defeat of America in its struggle against the Soviet Union.
He opposed every attempt to contain and roll back Soviet power. Vietnam, President Reagan’s military buildup, the invasion of Grenada, installing cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe, arming the Contras - Mr. Hitchens vilified every one of these moves. He supported the Marxist Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua. He admitted that his primary desire was “socialist renewal in the Soviet Union.”
In the 1980s, he referred to Reagan as a “criminal” and “militarist fascist” who was bent on overthrowing democracy at home and suppressing “workers” revolutions abroad. Upon Reagan’s death, Mr. Hitchens referred to him as a “cruel and stupid lizard.”
His venom toward Reagan stems from his radical leftism. Mr. Hitchens thinks Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, was a “great man.” Yet, Mr. Hitchens‘ hero is the philosopher most admired by many socialists in the West: Leon Trotsky. In 2004, Mr. Hitchens wrote a fawning essay in the Atlantic calling Trotsky a “prophetic moralist.”
Trotsky - along with Lenin - erected a genocidal totalitarian regime that systematically murdered tens of millions. In particular, Trotsky ordered the mass execution of thousands of Orthodox Christian priests and nuns. This was done to break the stranglehold that, the Bolshevik revolutionary said, “clericalism” held over the “superstitious peasants” - atrocities Mr. Hitchens praised in the drive toward establishing “secular socialist ideals.”
Hence, in Mr. Hitchens‘ eyes, Reagan committed the greatest sin of all: He brought down the evil empire (or, for Hitch, the “Glorious Motherland”). Reagan destroyed the Trotskyite vision of “permanent revolution” on behalf of the Soviet Union. Mr. Hitchens has never forgiven Reagan for shattering those illusions.
Mr. Hitchens is a God hater. He argues that belief in a creator is not only wrong but the source of all evil. For him, religious fanaticism is the root cause of war, imperialism and racism. He thinks that if society “banished religion,” a mild utopia would be possible.View Entire Story
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