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Christopher Hitchens Is a Cutie (or something like that)

October 13, 2011

     A lot of Christians I know read “Uber-atheist” Christopher Hitchens with some regularity; I do too. If he reviews a book in the New York Times, I read his review whether I care about the book or not. His latest and possibly last book, Arguably, sits on my must read list. His bio of Thomas Jefferson marks a good, pithy starting point to read about one of our finest presidents. Not only is it a good read but it’s knowledgable about the Jefferson canon. I sadly was embarrassed for Christopher to see his name on “God Is Not Good”. Even in his attack, Christopher didn’t bring his “A” game; he’s smarter and sharper than he showed there. But in a Reader’s Digest article, Christopher showed up as all that with a side of guacamole, a real cutie (intellectually speaking, of course). He said,”The right of others to free expression is part of my own. If someone’s voice is silenced, then I am deprived to hear.”

     Of all he’s written, Christopher received the nastiest, most hateful, even threatening, responses when he publicly defended the right of holocaust deniers to air their views. Christopher believes in free speech for literally everybody. That includes views that disagree with or openly attack my most cherished beliefs. I’m right there with him and so is my good friend (whom I’ve never met) at the Harvard Crimson, Derek Bekebrede. His article points out that recent pro life poster campaigns at Harvard met with pretty serious resistance, most of them being torn down as they have for decades. If any other group at Harvard (or pick a school) experienced this squelching of their voice, they would scream about harassment and rights and rightly so. And there would be action. A gift bucket of beef jerky and Ramen noodles to pro lifers at Harvard who stayed with it all that time without whining.

     It’s like hockey. Honest. I love it and have a fantasy of being a Stanley Cup winning goalie for the Montreal Canadians. It’ll never happen for me because I can’t skate. On ice, I’m Frankenstein on amphetamines. I think I’m drawn by those cool airbrushed goalie masks. Anyway, hockey players skate very well. They also do something else very well while they skate; they carry, pass and shoot a hard rubber disc around with great precision. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Other players wearing sweaters of a different color skate on the ice at the same time, players wearing pads designed for hitting and carrying long sticks. They crash each other into the wall and whack each other with the sticks. Skaters concentrate through this mayhem on one thing – bury the puck in the goal.

     Life in space and time rarely has been hospitable to those who drink the grace of God (John 16:33 for starters). In Band of Brothers (one of the great devotional films ever made), the captain of Easy Company walks down the road toward the town of Bastogne. A soldier from another unit says, “Anyone who goes down there will be surrounded and cut off.” The captain grins and replies, “We’re paratroopers. We’re always surrounded.” When the cultural ice is open, when Christopher Hitchens (that intellectual cutie) and Derek Bekebrede have our backs, then skate hard. But don’t expect it. They threw Paul out of the synagogue; he didn’t cry about it. He just went next door (Acts 18:1-6). Next door might have been only five or six feet away. I hear people moan wondering how long it will be before Christian groups get banned from campuses. No big deal. We’ll just go across the street. In this world, Christians will always be surrounded.

      No matter how much we’re maligned, whacked on or treated unfairly, we bury the puck. We live to make our Lord appear large. Paul did (II Tim 4:6-8). And when the campus paper, student senate or dean of students might not be in our corner, Someone else is (John 16:33 for closers).

     By the way, when they tear down our signs, it’s because the message is really getting through.

     Please return your seats to the upright position, turn your night vision goggles in to the attendant and exit to the rear. See you at the next post at

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One Comment
  1. Daniel Friesen permalink

    Great note Dave – how long do you think it would be before anyone caught on to the significance of the Tyrannean Lecture Hall next door?


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