❝ Only a particular species of creep could persuade me to write to the son of a friend and ask him to describe the death agonies of his beloved father. I typed that he must say “I would rather not talk about it” if he wished, then sent an email to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.
I sat back, feeling dirty and not expecting a reply. I would not have troubled Alexander had not journalists at the nominally serious Times and BBC promoted the claim of a strange, spiteful book that Christopher Hitchens was “teetering on the edge of belief” as he lay dying from cancer of the oesophagus.
❝ The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist is the work of a true fanatic, who has never learned when to seize a golden opportunity to hold his tongue. Recounting a memorial for Hitchens in New York, for instance, Larry Alex Taunton has to say how much he hates the event and the mourners. “The funeral, like the man himself, was largely a celebration of misanthropy, vanity and excess of every kind,” he intones…
❝ I put the book aside last week. There seemed no need to write about Taunton, as Matthew d’Ancona and Padraig Reidy had already taken him to pieces with admirable vigour. But then Alexander Hitchens wrote back about that “bloody book”.
On the deathbed conversion – I spent my father’s final weeks and days at his bedside and watched him draw his final breath and die, and can assure you that there was no hint of any sort of conversion (as I’m sure you have already guessed). In fact, we barely spoke about religion at all except for joint expressions of frustration at the god botherers who made the rounds in the ICU and other units where dying people could be preyed upon by vulturous Christians…
❝ I am delighted to say that Taunton’s sole achievement is to show us that, in death, Hitchens provided a further reason for militant rejection of religion: its creepiness.
I second that emotion. I thank Nick Cohen for his article. RTFA for more details though I imagine any of you who have studied men and women of letters and their lives knew what to expect from Hitchens. And, sadly, desperately, what to expect of a demagogue – unable to challenge Hitchens successfully in life – who trotted out a book of lies after his death.