Christopher Hitchens made a rare public appearance in Houston over the weekend. The master provocateur and public intellectual provided a reading list to an eight-year-old girl and praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his religious forthrightness.
Hitchens, who has been prevented from keeping his usual schedule of public debates and speeches by his battle with esophageal cancer, was in Houston for cancer treatment and to accept the Richard Dawkins Freethinker of the Year award from the Texas Freethought Convention.
When asked at the convention by an eight-year-old girl in the audience what books she should read, Hitchens requested that the girl and her mother meet him after his speech. According the Houston Chronicle, Hitchens spent fifteen minutes with the girl recommending books. His recommendations included the “Magic of Reality” by Richard Dawkins, Greek and Roman Myths, especially those complied by Robert Graves, and “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. He also commended the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Ayyan Hirsi Ali, David Hume and PG Wodehouse.
Hitchens, a noted atheist and anti-theist, also praised GOP presidential aspirant Rick Perry during his remarks for having the courage of his convictions and saying that those who do not believe in Jesus will be “condemned to hellfire.” (RELATED: In the crosshairs: Animal rights activists target Perry)
“Shame on the soft-shelled, soft-centered Christians that don’t have the guts to say that is what their belief really is,” Hitchens said.
A native of Britain but a longtime resident of the United States, Hitchens was prompted to become a U.S. citizen after the Sept. 11 attacks. Since the attacks, he has been amongst the most eloquent and ardent defenders of the fight against Islamist radicalism, alienating many of his friends (or former friends) on the political left. He is the author of numerous books on a variety of subjects, including the recently released “Arguably,” a collection of his essays.