Christopher Hitchens Will Not Be Participating in ‘Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day’

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Today is the day that, according to an online movement, we should all pray for Christopher Hitchens, the writer and rapscallion who is currently struggling with esophageal cancer. Hitchens is grateful that people are thinking of him today (well, the people that are thinking of him and hoping that he survives), but he's still sticking to atheism, thank you. "I say it's fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself," he says, noting that the prayers have not made him feel much better. "Well, not any more than very large numbers of very kind, thoughtful letters from nonbelievers, some of whom know me, some of whom don't, asking me to know that they are on my side," he told the AP. "I'm perfectly sure that there is nothing to be gained from it in point of my health, but perhaps I shouldn't even say that. If it would do something for my morale possibly it would do something for my health. We all know that morale is an element in recovery." Still, he said, "Incantations, I don't think, have any effect on the material world."

Atheist Hitchens Skipping Prayer Day in His Honor [NYT]