The Marquess of Queensbury

The Guardian apparently disapproves of Hitchens’s still-unapologetic atheism; at least it allows its reporter to misrepresent what he said.

If it had been a boxing match Hitchens would have been described as landing blow after blow, many of them decidedly low – especially those about circumcision or women’s rights. He described the aid work done by religious missions as “conscience money” to make up for the harm they have done. After all, why bother treating HIV-infected people in Africa while working against the use of condoms?

That’s not what he said, to put it mildly. This is what he said:

Furthermore, if you are going to grant this to Catholic charities, I would say, which I hope are doing a lot of work in Africa, if I was a member of a church that had preached that AIDS was not as bad as condoms, I would be putting some conscience money into Africa too, I must say. I’m not trying to be funny. If I was trying to be funny, you mistook me. It won’t bring back the millions of people who have died wretched deaths because of that teaching, that still goes on.

Absolutely nothing to do with “why bother,” you see? A million miles from “why bother.” Talk about a “low blow.”

And while we’re on the subject, why is it a low blow for Hitchens to cite genital mutilation (not circumcision – he mentioned a sharp rock and genitals, not circumcision) and women’s rights? I think it’s a much lower blow for Tony Blair to join a woman-hating church in late adulthood.

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