Christopher Hitchens

If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.

Christopher Hitchens is a British-American author, journalist and literary critic. Currently living in Washington, D.C., he has been a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry, and a variety of other media outlets. He is visiting Professor of Liberal Studies at the New School in New York and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at the University of Stanford, California. Hitchens is also a political activist, whose best-selling books, flamboyance and erudition have made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits.

Hitchens is noted for his acerbic wit and his noisy departure from the Anglo-American political left. Formerly a Trotskyist and a fixture in the left wing publications of both the United Kingdom and United States, Hitchens departed from the consensus of the political left in 1989 after what he called the "tepid reaction" of the European left following Ayatollah Khomeini's issue of a fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The September 11, 2001 attacks strengthened his embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he calls "fascism with an Islamic face."

He is known for his ardent admiration of George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson, and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, and Bill Clinton. Always a polemicist, Hitchens has long been the object of both lavish praise and vehement denunciation.

An outspoken atheist and antitheist, Hitchens describes himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason. His 2007 book God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything suggests that organized religion is "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children."