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Brothers square off over God, politics and culture

Posted on March 20, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens, both journalists and authors, couldn’t be more different and are bitterly divided. A friend to both said, “one is a conservative, traditionalist, church-going Anglican; the other a liberal, louche, drinking-and-smoking atheist.” The brothers, throughout a long estrangement and recent reconciliation, have clashed in print on many issues.

Christopher, who works in Washington, D.C., has written 20 books including scathing critiques of Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa. Most recently, he wrote a book on atheism, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Younger brother Peter works in England as a columnist for the Mail on Sunday. He is author of The Abolition of Britain and The Abolition of Liberty.

Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will bring the two together on a stage for the first time to debate numerous issues, from religion to Iraq.

“Come watch the intellectual firepower of these two brothers once they start to mix it up,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. “We are bringing them together on the same stage for the first time ever in the U.S. Seeing these two in action should prod us to re-examine our positions on U.S. foreign policy, the Bush administration, and the influence of religious institutions on public life.”

Hitchens vs. Hitchens: On God, War, Politics, and Culture will take place Thursday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. SE in Grand Rapids. Tickets are $15.

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. A reporter for the Daily Express for most of his career, he left the paper in 2001 and currently writes for the Mail on Sunday. He is the younger brother of Christopher Hitchens.

Peter was educated at The Leys School, Oxford College of Further Education, and the University of York. Although raised as an Anglican, Peter learned that his mother, who had committed suicide when he was in his twenties, was of partly Jewish ancestry. Peter is a confirmed and communicant member of the Church of England.

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, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Christopher is also a political activist, whose best-selling books have made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits.

He is known for his ardent admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton.

Christopher is an outspoken atheist and describes himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason. God Is Not Great is his recent best-selling book.

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