I had the privilege of hearing Christopher Hitchens speak last spring about his new autobiography Hitch-22. He seemed a little more worn-out than I expected, though still fascinating. He was very funny and very erudite. Just a few days later we all learned that he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
Apparently today is officially (whatever that means) “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day.” He talks about all of this and more in his October Vanity Fair article.
There is not much that I can add to what Hitchens himself has to say. I get the impression that the “Everybody Pray” declaration for today was done in the spirit of caring. I can’t imagine someone like Rabbi David Wolpe having anything but good intentions.
Yet I can’t help but wonder why religious people always have to insert even their well-intentioned beliefs into the affairs of others. If they really respected Hitchens they’d wish him a full recovery in the spirit of his own beliefs. They would not make a public statement that is so clearly aimed at challenging his world view.
I share his world view, at least when it comes to beliefs in the supernatural. So I will merely wish him well and hope sincerely for his recovery. He has a wife and children who will be devastated by his loss. Selfishly I would add that he has been an inspiration to people like me. There are a great many people who would mourn his untimely loss. We’re with you, Hitch. We hope you get well soon.