Hitchens has been attacking Obama's choice of Rick Warren. I agree with a lot of what Hitchens has to say, but I want to once again reinforce that having someone as obviously unfair and dishonest as Hitchens as a spokesman for any movement is probably a bad idea. I'll use one small example. Hitchens writes:
It is a fact that Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute not long ago and was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise. Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved.
Reverend Rick Warren was speaking at the 2005 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival. I had taken the afternoon off to finish the preparations on our annual dinner, which hosts the event's speakers, when my husband suddenly burst into the room, exclaiming something I had long suspected. "You know, you're not going to heaven," Stewart informed me, as shocked as if he'd just heard it announced on MSNBC.
"Yeah, I know, but how did you finally figure it out?" I asked. Stewart went on to explain that Warren had just stated that unless I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, I wouldn't be welcome across the threshold of the Pearly Gates "Who cares?" I threw up my hands, then added, with the assumption that my husband and I would end up in the same eternal destination, "Where we'll be, we'll be eating Chinese food, wearing Indian silks, and doing the hora."
She didn't publicly ask him about it, her husband overheard him say that anyone not born again will be denied entry into Heaven. Hitchens version of the story makes it sound like Resnick is some crusading hero against the forces of Christian bigotry. She's not. The article she wrote that this quote appears in is a spirited defense of Rick Warren's role in the inaugural. The incident both Resnick and Hitchens are talking about was in 2005, the article for the HuffPo was written this month, so it's not like Resnick neglected to mention a conversation that already happened. It, as far as I can tell, didn't happen. But now that Hitchens has put it in his column, people will repeat it as if it had.
I have just missed the chance to debate on CBS with one of Warren's leading allies and defenders, the Dallas preacherman who calls himself Dr. Robert Jeffress. In the opinion of this learned fellow, even though Mitt Romney "talks about Jesus as his lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity."