Hitchens point is that religion in general (and thus Mormonism in particular) plays a negative role in society. In fact, one of the sections of his book is even called: Mormonism: A Racket becomes a Religion. More specifically, Hitchens is the one who, in the debate with Sharpton, first mentions Mitt Romney (a Mormon) and his candidacy for President, along wth the fact that until quite recently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints officially supported a number of clearly racist doctrines.
So is Hitchens in trouble for his scathing barbs against Mormonism? Not as far as I can tell. Instead people seem to be all over Al Sharpton for making a relatively mild and light-hearted political swipe at Mitt Romney ("As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways") What kind of sense does that make? It is ok to dismiss an entire belief system as a racist poison, but it is unforgivable bigotry for a former Democratic Presidential candidate to suggest that a current Republican candidate won't win?
To be honest, I think that at least two things are going on. First, folks like to salivate over anything which even smells like hypocrisy. So especially in the wake of Al Sharpton's role in the recent Don Imus controversy, the white public will definitely derive a special satisfaction from the idea that Sharpton himself could be caught making insensitive comments.
Secondly, as a Presidential contender, it is probably in Romney's political interests to win points and publicity by positioning himself against a controversial figure like Sharpton. But ironies abound. The religiously conservative Romney attacks the clergyman but leaves alone the blatantly anti-religious, anti-Mormon intellectual.
If you would like to view Sharpton's (and Hitchens') comments in their original context you can check out Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens at FORA.tv.