Christopher Hitchens

Penn and Teller

Christopher Hitchens was invited to appear on an episode of Penn and Teller: Bullshit!, a TV show by comedy duo Penn and Teller, which was titled "Holier Than Thou." The subjects of this video included Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, which is the primary reason as to why Hitchens was invited on the show. Hitchens stated "I would describe Mother Teresa as a fraud, a fanatic and a fundamentalist." When describing the stark and relentless admiration people the world over have for Mother Teresa, Hitchens says "Everything everybody thinks they know about her is false; not just most of the things, all of the things. It must be the most single successful con job of the 20th century. She was corrupt, nasty, cynical and cruel."

Hitchens took offense with the idea that Mother Teresa took money from a rather evil Haitian dictatorship ran by Jean-Claude Duvalier in an attempt to give that money to the poor. Hitchens believed that this excuse was simply excuse-making for theft and deceit and that it was softness on crime displayed through her actions and seeming support of the dictatorship in question. When talking about the work that Mother Teresa did abroad and within her hospices in Calcutta, India, Hitchens stated "I would say it was a certainty that millions of people died because of her work and millions more were made poorer, stupider, more sick, more diseased, more fearful and more ignorant."

When taking a look at the reason as to why Mother Teresa became so popular and why the Catholic church was so willing to revere the woman as a saint, Hitchens said "One way of keeping the faithful together is the old-time religion, the good old-fashioned stuff. Let's find a real saint and one who even the non-Catholics love." This was said to imply that the Catholic church revered Mother Teresa because she was someone that the whole world loved and someone that could keep church-goers interested in the Catholic church even when all of the other scandals were ongoing. While this episode of Penn and Teller included a wealth of interviews and claims about Mahatma Gandhi as well, Hitchens was only involved in the Mother Teresa portion of the show.