Christopher Hitchens

Atheist Christopher Hitchens, author of the new book, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last night he wishes there were a Hell just for Jerry Falwell.

Asked if he thought Falwell were in heaven, Hitches, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, replied: “No. And I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to.”

In answer to the question of what stirred such vitriol in his heart, Hitches said: “The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing, that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September the 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification?”

“People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup,” Hitchens continued. “The whole consideration of this – of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality, and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we’re – we’re not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven, where I’m glad to see he skipped the rapture, just found on the floor of his office, while the rest of us go to hell.”

Hitchens continued the tirade, claiming Falwell pumped “anti-Semitic innuendoes into American politics, along with his friends [Pat] Robertson and [Billy] Graham.” He said Falwell, noted as a friend of Israel, encouraged “the most extreme theocratic fanatics and maniacs on the West Bank and in Gaza not to give an inch of what he thought of was holy land to the people who already live there, undercutting and ruining every democratic and secularist in the Jewish state in the name of God.”

Hitchens even questioned whether Falwell believed anything he said and preached.

“He woke up every morning, as I say, pinching his chubby little flanks and thinking, I have got away with it again,” he said.

“You think he was a complete fraud, really?” asked Cooper.

“Yes,” said Hitchens. “I think he was a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud. And I think, if he read the Bible at all – and I would doubt that he could actually read any long book of – at all – that he did so only in the most hucksterish, as we say, Bible-pounding way.

Hitchens concluded: “Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man, and because of the absurd way that we credit anyone who can say they’re a person of faith.”

Related stories:

Falwell honored as giant figure in ‘culture war’

Venom flows on anti-Falwell blogs

Falwell leaves legacy for 21st century

Rev. Jerry Falwell dead at 73

Previous stories:

Falwell: Jerusalem Post ‘fabricated’ story on me

L.A. Times admits false claim about Falwell

IRS, FEC dismiss Falwell complaints

Muslims press criminal case against Falwell

Falwell: Intent not to attack Muhammad

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.