Saturday, May 7

Chris Hitchens gets one right!

I've never been a fan of Chris Hitchens, but sometimes even he gets one right. This one happens to be about North Korea: Hitchens visited the Slave Kingdom, and here's his take on things. (h/t Desert Rat, via Belmont Club) http://politics.slate.msn.com/id/2117846/

I thought Hitchens criticizing a communist government surely meant the world was about to end. But just as I was leaving for my island refuge Hitch returned to his regular form with this typically clueless piece, in Opinion Journal (http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006649). (I've edited his piece to concentrate the goofy parts.)

Why I'm Rooting Against the Religious Right
--Save the Republic from shallow, demagogic sectarians.

I hope and believe that, by identifying itself with "faith" in general and the Ten Commandments in particular, a runaway element in the Republican leadership has made a career-ending mistake. In support of this, let me quote [an] authorit[y]:

"Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother."

And he said, "All these have I kept from my youth up."

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."
I am neither a Republican nor a Christian, and I don't propose that there is any congruence between Sen. Goldwater's annoyance [quote omitted] and the alleged words (which occur in similar form in all four gospels) of the possibly mythical Nazarene. Yet two things are obvious. The first is that many conservatives appreciate the value of a secular republic, and do not make the idiotic confusion between "secular" and "atheist" that is so common nowadays.

The second is that no "Moral Majority" type has yet proposed that the most important commandment, the one underlined by Jesus himself, be displayed in courtrooms or schoolrooms. It turns out that the Eleventh Commandment is...a demand for the most extreme kind of leveling and redistribution.

I have never understood why conservative entrepreneurs are so...pious and Bible-thumping, let alone why so many of them claim Jesus as their best friend and personal savior.

This is hugely revealing, and explains a great deal about the Left's confusion: Hitch admits "I have never understood why...so many [conservative entrepreneurs] claim Jesus as their personal savior."

The Old Testament is bad enough: The commandments forbid us...to envy or covet our neighbor's goods, and thus condemn the very spirit of emulation and ambition that makes enterprise possible. But the New Testament is worse: It tells us to forget thrift and saving, to take no thought for the morrow, and to throw away our hard-earned wealth on the shiftless and the losers.

At least two important conservative thinkers, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, were...nonbelievers and...contemptuous of Christianity. ...[I]s the Republican Party really prepared to disown such modern intellectuals as it can claim, in favor of a shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity?

Perhaps one could phrase the same question in two further ways. At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percent. Does it propose to welcome these new [GOP voters] by...demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself? If so, it will deserve the punishment for hubris that is already coming its way. (The punishment, in other words, that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson believed had struck America on Sept. 11, 2001.

How can it be that such grotesque characters, calling down divine revenge on the workers in the World Trade Center, are allowed a respectful hearing...among patriotic Republicans?

So, Chris, did you call Ward Churchill "grotesque" for claiming the workers killed in the attack on the WTC were "little Eichmans" and deserved to die? If you didn't, aren't you being a hypocrite here?

Then again, hundreds of thousands of young Americans are now patrolling and guarding hazardous frontiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is there a single thinking person who does not hope that secular forces arise in both countries, and who does not realize that the success of our cause depends on a wall of separation, in Islamic society, between church and state? How can we maintain this cause abroad [i.e. advocate separation of church and state] and subvert it at home?

Well, Chris, for one thing the religion whose adherents we're fighting advocates the killing of those who won't convert to it. Do you see even a *tiny* bit of difference between this and the principles of Christianity? Second, the religion whose followers we're fighting advocates flogging or stoning women who are so bold as to appear in pubic sans veil, or without a male relative as an escort. See any difference yet, Chris? Certainly a lot of your Lefty friends don't!

It's hardly too much to say that the servicemen and -women, of all faiths and of none, who fight so bravely against jihad, are being **stabbed in the back by the sunshine soldiers of the "crusading" right.** What is one to feel but rage and contempt when one reads of Arabic-language translators, and even Purple Heart-winning frontline fighters, being dismissed from the service because their homosexuality is accounted a sin?

It takes a *lot* of experience to be able to get that many slurs into just two sentences! Clearly Hitchens must be a "professional journalist".

The need of the hour is for some senior members of the party of Lincoln to disown and condemn the creeping and creepy movement to impose orthodoxy on a free and pluralist and secular Republic.

Hitchens' article clearly shows that Hitch and others on the Left almost totally misunderstand Christianity. Not that this is any great surprise.

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