Like most of the many people who know him—our acquaintance is not intimate but of twenty years’ standing—I was shocked and dismayed to learn over the summer that Christopher Hitchens was suffering from esophagal cancer and that, as is so often the case with this particular cancer, it had metastasized to other parts of his body before it was detected. Last year, the same cancer killed Ron Silver, another 9/11-era apostate of the left whom I knew slightly. I was equally shocked, if not surprised, to hear Mr. Hitchens in a cnn interview with Anderson Cooper offer, under the shadow of death, an iron-clad assurance that he would never be a deathbed convert to belief in God or religion. Of course, since his bestselling book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything was published in 2007, atheism has become so much a part of the booming Hitchens brand ...

 

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