How low does one have to stoop (or indeed, how lacking in basic empathic and human awareness need one be) in order to resort to scoring party political points on the back of the deceased? It says very little for the strength of an ideology, if it requires the manufacture of endorsement or participation from those who are not in a position to set the record straight, for example on account of being a child, being a third world citizen with more pressing concerns, or being dead.
Matthew d’Ancona’s article in The Guardian yesterday is absolutely on point: in the venerable tradition of the “hitchslap”, he both respects Hitchens’ memory, and exposes Taunton’s reprehensible attempt to appropriate something that not only is not his to appropriate, but that he has spectacularly and singularly failed to understand.
I’ve now read most of Larry Alex Taunton’s odious book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Famous Atheist, and I stand by my judgment that Taunton is a vulture, profiting from picking at the corpse of a man who can’t respond. As you surely know, Taunton’s book was written to suggest that, at the end of his life, Christopher Hitchens was flirting with becoming a Christian, or at least adopting a belief in God. Those who knew Hitchens—his friends, associates, colleagues, and relatives—have universally decried this thesis. Hitchens, they say as one, was a diehard nonbeliever, who was simply interested in learning about religion. He didn’t know Taunton well, or for long, and the book’s thesis rests of a couple of long road trips and discussions Taunton had with the cancer-stricken Hitchens. Taunton has clearly misinterpreted Hitchens’s interest in religion, and in his traveling companion…
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