Christopher Hitchens passes away at 62 – AFP

Christopher Hitchens

British writer Christopher Hitchens, passed away on Thursday at the age of 62. Athiest Hitchens aggressively campaigned against Mother Teresa.

The iconoclastic Christopher Hitchens, who enjoyed great success as a columnist, was among the strongest critics of Roman Catholic saint-in-waiting Mother Teresa, calling her “a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud”.

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and PracticeIn his 1995 book The Missionary Position and a 1994 documentary called Hell’s Angel, Hitchens accused the nun of being a political opportunist who struck friendships with dictators and corrupt financiers in exchange for donations to her order.

He also accused her of contributing to the misery of the poor with her strident opposition to contraception and abortion.

The Albanian-born nun began her missionary work with the poor in Kolkata in West Bengal in 1948, and was known as the “Saint of the Gutters” for her work with the city’s sick and dying. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and was beatified in 2003, six years after her death in September 1997.

In his 2007 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens took on major religions with his trenchant atheism. He argued that religion was the source of all tyranny and that many of the world’s evils have been done in the name of religion.

The son of a British naval officer, Hitchens studied at Oxford University and worked as literary critic for the New Statesman magazine in London before moving to New York to work as a journalist in 1981. He settled in Washington the following year, initially as correspondent for the left-wing magazine The Nation. He retained his British citizenship when he became an American citizen in 2007. – AFP, Paris, 15 Dec. 2011

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