Chris Hedges, author or “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America” reviews Christopher Hitchen’s God is Not Great for the Philidelphia Inquirer!
“…Unencumbered by serious theological or biblical knowledge, Hitchens taunts religion with the same bigotry and ignorance that fundamentalists use to delegitimize those who do not submit to their rigid belief system.
What he and the other writers of the new atheist manifestos, such as Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins, attack is not religion, but the ossified forms of religious orthodoxy that have been misused for centuries to instill fear and obedience. The charlatans and demagogues who today dominate Christian radio and television stations, the James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons, continue a long and sordid tradition of claiming divine sanction to justify personal enrichment and empowerment. Piety, like blind patriotism, is an effective cover for the corrupt and the venal.
There is a case, of course, to be made against institutional religion. But there are great theologians from Paul Tillich to Ernst Kasemann to William Stringfellow who skewer institutional religion, indeed brand it as a dangerous form of idolatry. They write with a deftness, nuance and erudition that shame the tired cliches that pad out this book.
…Hitchens, as a secular fundamentalist, endorses the myopic and disastrous imperial agenda beloved by the Christian Right. He does so because he imbibes the same toxic mix of self-aggrandizement and intolerance. He supports the war in Iraq and the waterboarding and torture of Muslim detainees.
Hitchens’ blind embrace of American imperialism and disregard for the rule of law makes him no better than the apologists for radical Islam and Christianity he seeks to discredit. His moral certitude and arrogance are no different. The consequences are as dangerous.”