After memoir, Hitchens to tangle once more with God

Tue Jun 8, 2010 12:30pm EDT
 
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By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Already infamous for being the then-socialist who called Margaret Thatcher sexy and as the contrarian who loved George W. Bush's war in Iraq, Christopher Hitchens now wants to rewrite the Ten Commandments.

Hitchens clearly is not afraid of taking on the big topics and in his new memoir, "Hitch 22," the British-born journalist tackles everything from Iraq, the Middle East, Zimbabwe, wars and conflicts to his friendships with prominent authors such as Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Clive James.

When he is finished promoting the memoir, the avowed atheist plans to channel Moses and reinterpret the Ten Commandments. Call it a sort of sequel to his 2008 hit "God Is Not Great," where his infamy soared after he took a break from knocking politicians and writers and instead picked a fight directly with God.

"Religion is the gift that keeps on giving," Hitchens told Reuters in an interview, before rattling off a litany of failings of religious leaders.

Over a double-espresso and cigarette breakfast, Hitchens highlights his problem with the commandments, suggesting an omission from "Honor thy father and thy mother."

"There is nothing to prohibit child abuse or rape or genocide, partly because ... (they) are about to be recommended in the next chapter (of the bible) on a grand scale."

Warming up, he adds, "The first three commandments are all ... just about how to treat the boss with awe."

Coveting thy neighbor's wife? "It's terrible," he said. "It's a thought crime." Honoring the Sabbath? "Who cares about the Sabbath? That's not a moral issue."   Continued...

 
<p>Christopher Hitchens, journalist and author of his new memoir "Hitch 22," poses for a portrait outside his hotel in New York June 7, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>