Christopher Hitchens, the outspoken atheist columnist and author who took delight in ridiculing the Christian faith and its adherents, but who also shared a handful of the convictions many of them embraced, died December 15 of cancer at the age of 62. His death was announced by Vanity Fair, the magazine for which he had written since 1992.

English-born and Oxford-educated, Hitchens was, said the New York Times in its glowing obituary, “a British Trotskyite who had lost faith in the Socialist movement, spent much of his life wandering the globe and reporting on the world’s trouble spots for The Nation magazine, the British newsmagazine The New Statesman and other publications.”

 

In writing this piece, I’m reminded of a little exchange between the late William F. Buckley and friend and fellow National Review writer Florence King. Buckley had just penned some less-than-flattering words about a recently deceased person of prominence whose name escapes me, and King chided him, saying something to the effect that he had broken ground in journalism: the “attack-obit.” Buckley’s response was, “Wait till you see the obituary I have planned for you!”

And in writing this critical article about bon vivant Christopher Hitchens in the wake of his death this past Thursday, I expect some ridicule as well. Yet I don’t think Hitchens would demand to be spared the acidic ink he used to eviscerate others — or that he would have any credibility doing so. Remember that this was the man who, before the gentle Jerry Falwell’s body was even cold, said things such as “If he [Falwell] had been given an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox” and “I wish there was a Hell for Falwell.”

For my part, I wouldn’t wish eternal damnation on Hitchens; I truly hope he rests in peace. But I can’t say the same for his legacy. And when I see the obligatory exaltation of his life’s work — with secular icons, the deader they get, the better they were — I think that legacy needs a little damnation.

The New American has been reporting on the controversy surrounding the Christmas season, particularly when Christians attempt to display the Nativity scene or assert the holiness behind the Christmas holiday in any way. These reports would seem to indicate that Christmas brings out the worst in people; however, it's salutary to note that it also brings out the best. A prime example of the latter can be found in reports from Kmarts across the nation that anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts in the spirit of the holiday.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for example, an employee at the Kmart confirmed that an anonymous donor sent a $500 gift card to pay $100 on five different layaways. Store manager Barb Winowiecki then randomly selected which accounts to fund through the gift card.

“Those with layaways are in for a happy surprise when they come in to pay on their account,” Winowiecki observed. “We’re not informing them ahead of time, so they can have a happy surprise.”

“Unlike giving to organizations," she added, "people who anonymously donate this way know exactly where their money is going. It seems to be contagious. A local resident paid on another person’s layaway.”

Use this "Agenda" issue to set goals for yourself and to explain the JBS to others.

JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for December 19-25, 2011.

A week after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s approval of giving minors access to the Plan B abortion pill, a federal judge is preparng to hear arguments in a suit, filed over a year ago, that may trump the decision of Sebelius.

As reported by LifeNews.com, “Judge Edward Korman, a federal judge based in New York City, says he will hear arguments in a case filed by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights over whether the FDA should have ultimately allowed teens to buy the Plan B drug without a doctor’s order. The pro-abortion group says such drugs are being held to a different standard than other drugs and that decisions are not based on science, but on politics.”

As reported by The New American, FDA head Margaret Hamburg was poised to approve sales of Plan B, which is currently available over the counter without a prescription only to women over 17, and by prescription to minors under 17. But in an unprecedented move, Sebelius overruled the FDA, explaining her reasoning to Hamburg in a published memo: “It is commonly understood that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age, which I believe are relevant to making this determination as to non-prescription availability of this product for all ages.”

Faculty and administrators at a Georgia university are attempting to derail the dream of one of its graduate students to become a school counselor. The reason: Her Christian beliefs on homosexuality don’t square with the politically correct doctrines embraced by the school.

In 2010, reported the Baptist Press News, Augusta State University placed counseling student Jennifer Keeton on probation after it was discovered that she disagreed with the view that homosexuality was an acceptable lifestyle. According to school administrators, related BP News, “Keeton said it would be hard for her to counsel gay clients, a stance they said violated ethical standards for licensed counselors, as put forth by the American Counseling Association.”

In addition, school officials said they were concerned with Keeton’s desire to use “conversion therapy” to help individuals leave the homosexual lifestyle, citing their fear that Keeton might harm students she would be working with during internships she would be required to serve as part of her degree plan.

After placing her on probation, the school required Keeton to enter a remediation program, during which she was supposed to go through sensitivity training, attend “gay pride” events, and demonstrate that her attitude toward homosexuality was changing and that she could be trusted to toe the proper line on the issue.
 

For a number of Americans, the Christmas season is a time for joy and love, but for others, it’s an opportunity to stage a war against Christianity. The latest battle entails a blasphemous nativity scene from a group of atheists, which they have defended as a response to counteract the Christian “War on the Constitution.”

Wisconsin is once again at the center of a major dispute, this time because Governor Scott Walker made the mistake of referring to the “holiday” spruce as a “Christmas tree.” That prompted the Freedom from Religion Foundation to call Walker “a Teabagger governor wearing religion on his sleeves.”

 

I’m not sure why ex-Senator and current Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee keeps getting elected, but I’m quite sure he offends me. I truly can’t stand seeing his face, and you don’t have to ask why. You see, that’s the way offensiveness is: It’s completely subjective and not constrained by rhyme or reason.

Along with a lot of other people, however, I now certainly have one very logical reason to chafe at Chafee: His decision to call the 17-foot-tall blue spruce Christmas tree in his state capitol’s rotunda a “holiday tree” despite opposition from residents and lawmakers. This, mind you, is something even the Obama administration doesn’t dare; all its trees are called what they are. 

Of course, the funny thing about all these “holiday” trees is that they always seem to appear at Christmastime. But perhaps Chafee will erect a couple on Memorial Day and Labor Day.

One reason he won’t — at this time — is because what we’re witnessing are half-measures by people who don’t yet dare try to wipe Christianity away completely. It’s as how some now want to replace the chronological designations B.C. and A.D. with B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. If they could cut to the chase, they might just take a leaf out of Maximilien Robespierre’s and the other French revolutionaries’ book and change the calendar (in the French Republic, 1789 became “year 1 of Liberty”) and maybe even the days of the week so as to eliminate Sundays. For now, however, they’ll still have to tolerate our remaining remnants of Christendom.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation — with B&H Publishing (a division of Lifeway Resources) — has published a theme Bible for cancer awareness. One dollar from the purchase of each Bible — entitled “Here’s Hope, Breast Cancer Awareness Bible” and paperbacked in Komen’s signature pink — will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the most widely known breast cancer organization in the United States. The Bible was released in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.



 

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