Could Christopher Hitchens be any happier with the Jeremiah Wright affair? With that as his springboard, our favorite atheist gets to devote a whole column to describing how repellent and divisive all religion is, with Wright just being the latest, most prominent example.
A blind squirrel will find an acorn every once in a while, and Hitchens is certainly dead-on concerning Rev. Wright:
Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement. … But is it “inflammatory” to say that AIDS and drugs are wrecking the black community because the white power structure wishes it? No. Nor is it “controversial.” It is wicked and stupid and false to say such a thing. And it not unimportantly negates everything that Obama says he stands for by way of advocating dignity and responsibility over the sick cults of paranoia and victimhood.
But, like me with a bag of Golden Flake Sweet Heat BBQ chips, Hitchens can’t stop himself with just one:
Now, by way of which vent or orifice is this venom creeping back into our national bloodstream? Where is hatred and tribalism and ignorance most commonly incubated, and from which platform is it most commonly yelled? If you answered “the churches” and “the pulpits,” you got both answers right.
Ah, Hitch, do you have a macro on your computer so you can type all that with one keystroke? I bet you do.
…bigotry of all sorts is freely available, and openly inculcated into children, by any otherwise unemployable dirtbag who can perform the easy feat of putting Reverend in front of his name. And this clerical vileness has now reached the point of disfiguring the campaigns of both leading candidates for our presidency.
Both? You mean McCain has been a twenty-year member of a church based on crackpot racial separatism too?
…the Republican nominee adorns himself with two further reverends:
Ah, he “adorns himself.” Good word choice there–implying some kind of intimate connection with a phrase that is still technically true even if there is no such connection. That’s why Hitch gets the big bucks, people.
one named John Hagee, who thinks that the pope is the Antichrist, and another named Rod Parsley, who has declared that the United States has a mission to obliterate Islam. Is it conceivable that such repellent dolts would be allowed into public life if they were not in tax-free clerical garb? How true it is that religion poisons everything.
Hitchens is a very good professional writer, but he’s still like many of us: When we’re on a roll about some pet peeve that we think everyone shares (or should share), the logic kind of breaks down.
Because see, religion poisons everything, but it’s bad to say that the pope is bad, unless you’re also saying all religion is bad, I guess. Or maybe it’s just bad if you use the world “Antichrist,” or if it’s another religious person who’s saying it. (But if you’re an atheist and you want to write a whole book about how terrible Mother Teresa is,knock yourself out.)
And see, religion poisons everything, but someone who thinks that we should obliterate Islam is bad because… why exactly? Because he’s religious too? Because he said it in a mean way?
I’m not going to be in the business of defending Hagee or Parsley; all I know about them is that they appear on the highly craptacular and suspiciously well-funded Trinity Broadcasting Network (warning: before clicking on that link, make sure your monitor’s “gaudy” setting is turned all the way down). But it’s hard to follow Hitchens, a man who despises all religions, when he criticizes some other guys who just despise particular religions. Instead of ripping the TV evangelists, you’d think he’d want to buy them a drink for at least getting it partly right.
It’s just Hitch’s Achilles heel. An astute political commentator, he’s completely right about the pernicious influence of Obama’s pastor. But the more he lingers on the subject of religion, the more he goes completely off his bean.