April 29, 2014

Christopher Hitchens - The "some Christians" excuse

In 2009 Christopher Hitchens & Stephen Fry stood in an Intelligence Squared Debate with the motion, the Catholic church is a force for good in the world. Christopher Hitchens tackle the classic Christian evasion and excuse for cruelty, prejudice and discrimination, that's just "some Christians." He said at 4 minutes:
"The same euphemism comes, in the term "some Christians". That is used in all the apologies about the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the anti-Semitic pogroms and all the rest of it. They say "some Christians" fell into error. "Some Christians" allowed themselves to be deceived in this way and to act against the gospel. Well, anti-Semitism was preached as an official doctrine of the Church until 1964. Do you think that might have something to do with public opinion in Austria, and Bavaria, and Poland, and Lithuania? That the Jewish people were accused collectively, as a people, of deicide. The crime of the murder of god, in the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. That anathema on them was not lifted until 1964, well after the perpetrators of the Holocaust had stood trial in secular courts and been rightly punished for their actions. How can this Church say it has any moral superiority? It has difficulty catching up to what ordinary people regard as common moral and ethical sense and it still can't make itself apologise properly."
He then criticised Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Nigeria for his Church's stance on homosexuality:
"He should show some shame. For condemning my friend Stephen Fry for his nature, for saying you couldn’t be a member of our church, you’re born in sin. He’s not being condemned for what he does, he’s being condemned for what he is. You’re a child made in the image of God – oh no, you’re not, you’re a faggot, and you can’t join our church and you can’t go to heaven. This is disgraceful, it’s inhuman, it’s obscene, and it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins, who’ve already betrayed their charge in the children of their own church. For shame! For shame!"
He then said, with a throw of humour:
"When my children were young, I’d have been proud to have Stephen Fry as their babysitter, and I would’ve told them they were lucky, and if anyone came to my door as a babysitter wearing holy orders, I’d call first a cab and then the police." 
Lastly, on homosexuality, Hitchens said:
"I say that homosexuality is not just a form of sex, it’s a form of love, and it deserves our respect for that reason."

My previous posts on Hitchens on Northern Ireland here, on segregated schools here and on the "parasitic class" here. On Albert Camus and "the rats" here. On Northern Ireland's "barbaric, sectarian leaders" here. His comment that anti-semites are "mentally and morally unwell" here. On Vaclav Havel here. On the US First Amendment here, on the US as an empire and class-based society here, and on how to succeed here. On women and poverty here. On the US Declaration of Independence here. Christopher Hitchens explained that he left the UK in part because of the libel laws, see here. Christopher Hitchens spoke here about the authority of bloggers and online writers (7m30s) (original video in full here). Hitchens on "being bored" as the worst sin here. On why Hitchens is such a compelling writer here. On cliché here. On socialism here. On Iran's "Baby Boomerang", here. On the need to defend the principles of the Enlightenment here. On thought crimes here. On the "encouraging signs of polarisation" here. On feeling "envious of someone who is young and active and starting out" here. Christopher Hitchens on the anti-Columbus movement. On opinion polls here. On the term "political spectrum" here. On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize here. Hitchens on how writing is hard, here. Hitchens on how a writer can never really stop, here. Hitchens explains why he is no longer a socialist, here.
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