Friday, October 31, 2008

Christopher Hitchens Finds God

Have you noticed how many self-proclaimed atheists are having a religious experience when they hear Barack Obama?

Often they do not support his policies or defend his candidacy on the basis of experience and accomplishments. Yet, they find themselves carried away, in ecstasy or rapture, over the thought that he is going to redeem the nation and save our souls.

If you ask them why they are supporting Obama, they will often reply that they despise Sarah Palin for belonging to an extremist religious cult.

In some case this support looks like an all-out conversion experiences. Take Christopher Hitchens, a writer who has led the culture war against Islamic fascism, but who also, as a full-throated defender of atheism, hates all things holy.

Perhaps Hitchens conversion does not rate with the moment when St. Paul was struck blind on the road to Damascus, but it must have taken every ounce of his intellectual fortitude to throw his inconsiderable support behind Barack Obama, a candidate whose supporters have often taken the other side of the war on terror, and whose appeal is based on the trinity of faith, hope, and charity.

Among the intelligentsia Hitchens has counted as one of the staunchest defenders of the war in Iraq. The man who was most responsible for the policy change that has brought us to the verge of a positive outcome in Iraq was John McCain. Were it not for John McCain, Hitchens' intellectual reputation would have gone down to ignominious defeat in the Iraqi quagmire.

And what honor does John McCain receive for having stood up to the masses of people calling for withdrawal from Iraq? In his column supporting Obama, Hitchens portrays McCain as a doddering, wheezing fool, a man without character or substance, a tired old lion breathing his last pathetic breath on the public stage.

Not too long ago John McCain was practically the only public figure who insisted on victory in Iraq. Does this show a lack of character? Why would it take less character for McCain to promote the surge than it did for Obama to vote to cut off funding for the troops?

Does Hitchens know what character is or has he been blinded by the light emanating from the One? One can only hope and pray that his recent spa treatments did not turn his brain into New Age mush.

If character is the issue, then how do you defend a man who pledged to accept public financing of his campaign and then went back on his word because he could get away with it? Is a man who does not keep his word trustworthy? Does he evince integrity and honor?

And how do you maintain your atheist bona fides when you are supporting a candidate who says that he has a "righteous wind" at his back.

As many have already noted, how do you defend a candidate who worshipped at the Church of Jeremiah, marched to Washington behind Lewis Farrakhan, and is supported by Hamas, Hugo Chavez, and the Iranian theocrats?

Hitchens explains it all in his own inimitable way. The reason he is going to align himself with Jeremiah Wright's parishioner is simple: John McCain is an old fool and Sarah Palin once attended a Pentacostal church.

I would not call Hitchens a pious hypocrite. I would not even call him an impious hypocrite. I will not suggest that he is being opportunistic or that he has simply tired of being the lone intellectual voice arguing for the fight against Islamic fascism. I would not even say that he has been swept away on the great emotional tide of Obama-ism.

No, I would never accuse so fine and productive a writer of crass, undignified motives. After all, that would suggest that he was a man without character.

I prefer to think that he has undergone a religious conversion. He has joined those non-Christians who have been drawn to a master of messianic Christianity, a man whose appeal is based on faith that he will not do what he says, on hope that it will all work out for the best, and on charity for 40% of the American people.

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