Friday, December 16, 2011
The Passing of a Hero
A hero passed today. Many in my community will only know him as the guy who wrote that awful anti-Christian/Jewish/Muslim book, "God Is Not Great", but he was so much more than that. The book actually represents his greatest strength: Not fearing to speak his mind.
Christopher Hitchins was just as likely to offend the Left as he was the Right. I first discovered him in the early years after 9/11 when he was harping on the dangers of Islamic Fascism. I'm all for being against Islamic Fascism, so I found a friend in Christopher. But I quickly found out that he was no Conservative. I was intrigued. So I read his book, "Letters to a Young Contrarian." In that book he revealed himself to be more complicated and nuanced than almost anyone else is willing to be. He's certainly a champion of the Left, but he was ready at the drop of a hat to condemn his Leftist compatriots if he felt they had gone off the rails.
Hitchins was passionately atheistic, and God bless him for being so open and insistent about it. He sincerely felt that belief in God was a detriment to the world. It's a common sentiment that goes unexpressed in a world where the overwhelming majority of its citizens believe in a higher power. Others are content to talk sports and the weather, rather than get to the heart of what we hold dear and makes us tick.
It's not easy making friends if you're willing to be as openly honest as Christopher Hitchins was. Of course I didn't always agree with him--but I knew he wasn't putting anyone on--he called them as he saw them.
For some reason most of us avoid that kind of behavior.