In Facebook, a friend of mine posted a link to video of a debate that happened between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens back in November 2010.  You can watch the video here:

The debate was in regards to the following resolution: “be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world.

I was already well aware of how Christopher Hitchens’s strict anti-religion stance had expressed itself in books  – but thought it was interesting that the debate was with Tony Blair, who obviously (seems to me) is more of a political figure than a religious leader.  So, bracing myself a little for the rhetoric of an unabashed atheist, and having something else to do, I  started the video and had it in the background for listening while working on a different project.

Sometime during the process I was realizing that I wasn’t getting all that much out of the discussion – my attention and focus weren’t really all there – but I left it on just the same.  Then about 24:57 into the discussion I heard Christopher Hitchens use the word “Mormons” and my ears perked up. I then heard him say the following:

“I’d rather have no Mormons and no missionaries, honestly.  And no Joseph Smith.”

I backed up the video a little bit so I could get more of a sense of the context of his remarks. Hitchens is quite a talented debater and made some interesting points leading up to this – but I felt he brought us (Mormons) into the dialogue at that point because we are a more convenient target for wishing an entire group out of existence. I don’t doubt he would like to say that about any religious group – but by inserting “Mormons” into that space instead of say Catholics, Jews or Muslims, he can avoid some of the howls, controversy and consequences that might arise otherwise.