Under the Black Flag

Sympathy for the Devil

His writing these last 40 years amounts to little more than a succession of malicious ad hominem attacks on people he disagrees with.  His appeal is to those with a dirty mind, who want society to be as dirty as he is, and who are glad to erode barriers of decency.  There is a coy prurience about him, and his work is a blend of boastful assertions and contrived self-debasements—all meant to please those he deems powerful and useful.  He is, of course, Christopher Hitchens, scourge of Mother Teresa, religion, and the Almighty Himself, and he recently and dramatically announced that he was cutting short a book tour in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus.

As a Christian who very much believes in God, I should be wallowing in pity for Hitchens and writing how much I hope he beats the dreaded disease.  But in his case I shall remain neutral.  Let the Almighty decide what to do with him; I am neither enjoying his discomfort nor praying that he beats the beast.  As my friend the writer Mark Brennan said of Hitchens, “There is something awful about a man who hates God, cheerleading for sending those who love God, our troops, overseas, to die for the pagan god that is Israel and Big Oil.”

 

I have known and clashed with Hitchens since I first laid eyes on him at a Southampton party over 30 years ago.  I shoulder-charged him, knocked...

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