Christopher Hitchens, who has in light of his cancer has had sagesse thrust upon him, did a decidedly unwise thing for his latest Vanity Fair column: he looked up what people were saying about him on the internet.
If you’ve been following the Christopher Hitchens cancer coverage you’ll know that a major element of it has involved the question “is it appropriate to pray for Hitch, an avowed atheist?” Hitchens’ VF column addresses this, beginning with a nasty Christian commenter who thinks it’s appropriate that God has struck the writers with cancer of the “throat,” because he has profligated atheism with it.
Hitchens’ offers a litany of reasons why it’s not at all appropriate, including “The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer that my age and former “lifestyle” would suggest that I got” and “my so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed.”
He then goes on to say it’s all right for people to pray for him to survive, but that praying for some kind of conversion is pointless because he’d inevitably be letting someone down. “If I were to join either of [the] Protestant evangelical groups [praying for me], the followers of Rome would not think my soul was much safer than it is now,” he reasons.
He also notes that his support from the Muslim community has been somewhat lacking. Well, obviously.