Does it matter that Anne Rice is leaving “Christianity”?

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In related news, Anne Rice’s “leaving” of “Christianity” didn’t cause any earthquakes, mountains to crumble, oceans to drain, stars to fall, or souls in Heaven to renounce their citizenship and empty their mansions there and take up residence in Berkeley, California.  The sun will rise tomorrow.

But, in a celebrity-saturated world, people actually cite stuff like this as proof that “Christianity” (as Rice calls it) seems to be in a process of deep decline and erosion.

Thank goodness, there’s some good news in this.  Like she states of herself, my faith is also in Jesus more than the religious brand, Christianity.  Like her, following HIM is “central to my life.”  But, as she cynically points out, “following Christ doesn’t mean following His followers.”

In no uncertain terms, I agree:

If you follow Jesus, please do not follow her.

Her religious-profiling of all of us being “quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous” adding that we are all “anti-gay, anti-feminist (someone tell her we’re not in 1968 anymore), anti-science, and anti-Democrat” is nothing less than obnoxious.  She’s talking for shock value, political shots at a few right-wingers she’s no doubt seen on some religious TV channel late at night, or just to incite interest in something else (probably her celebrity).

So, why do you care, John?  If you are cynical of her motivations and cynical of her cynicism, why bother even paying attention?

Because CHRISTIANS DON’T FIT HER DESCRIPTION.  They’re not perfect, by any means.  (I’ve met some pretty crummy ones.  On second thought, I’ve been a pretty crummy one from time to time.)  But, her broad brush doesn’t jive with an everyday person who doesn’t need to use shock sound bytes to sell books.

Christians are good.  Let me tweak that.  Jesus-followers are good.  “Christians” make up about 88% of America currently.  You’re going to find some real hum-dingers in 88% of our nation.  9 out of 10 is plum near all of us.  So, it may be more accurate to say  she despises “Americans” for being anti-everything she said and cantankerous-on-all-counts instead of people who identify with the term “Christian.”   For the most part, I agree with her that the term “Christianity” and “Christendom” have probably out-lived their usefulness.  In the West, the terms “Christian” and “Christianity” have become attached (because of no small effort on the part of the cultural deluge of media, movies, books, magazines, talk boxes and people like Rice who regurgitate the same stereotype) with right-wing politics and fire-breathing dragons.  Now, depending on the region of the country or the particular Christian tribe you’re talking about, it’s down-right doltish to lump one loony fundamentalist in a desert compound in his Wranglers waving his trusty 12-gauge in the air with the whole lot of us.  If we associated people in that kind of sloppy and irresponsibly broad-swath way (the way cultural portrayal of us seems to happen as a, now, cliche and well-telegraphed punch-line on Awards Show stages, on talk shows, and in TV programs), what would happen to us if we used the same tactics in our characterization of all people of the Islamic faith, NFL players, or NASCAR fans?

(Well, OK.  You’re right.  All stereotypes of NASCAR fans are true.)  But, I am making a larger point here, people.

Does it matter that Anne Rice decides to broadcast a press release that she’s leaving the entirety of ornery, bigoted, two-headed, hypocritical, pointy-nosed, Pharisaical, Republican, Fox News-watching, gun-toting “Christianity”… for or to whatever else?  Maybe it matters to the three of them who are like that.

Anne Rice, for the rest of us who love to be named with the wonderful name of Jesus, paint us with that brush.  This is my press release.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an appointment to go be cantankerously hostile and anti-science somewhere else.

3 thoughts on “Does it matter that Anne Rice is leaving “Christianity”?

  1. It’s interesting how when celebrities “stand up” against Christianity and their “charlatans,” it’s viewed as heroic. But when Christ-followers say something about how charlatans outside the Faith use Straw-Man Christianity as a means to garner attention, we get called “organized religion” and hypocritical and judgmental. I believe that Truth is a two-way street.

    Do you think it’s possible for Christians to be able to speak to an issue and NOT be viewed as judgmental? (i.e. when Christians in the days before the Civil War, if they spoke out against the immorality of slavery, it would not have been judgmentalism, but–instead–a well-founded morality that says there are some things that are wrong.

    It’s possible to speak about the culture in ways that say some things COULD BE BETTER, right? Do I think that Anne Rice is a charlatan using a Straw-Man Christianity to garner attention? Absolutely. Do I think she’s a hero for pointing out what CHRISTIANS are pointing out already about the shortcomings within our historic movement? I’ll answer it like this:

    I wonder if Anne Rice has ever visited a hospital funded by “organized religion.” I wonder if Anne Rice has ever considered how safe she is from personal harm in our nation. A nation whose very walls of justice have the Ten Commandments inscribed upon them. I wonder if Anne Rice ever considered how much greater response of compassion and help to Katrina victims and the trouble in Haiti “organized” Christianity gave than “Organized Government” could ever give.

    As you can hear with my passion, there comes a point when someone who is trying to honestly follow Christ and happens to be in the Church that they grow weary of people who ascribe to them all the voracious labels: hypocrite, small-mindedness, close-mindedness, judgmental, etc.. It becomes tiresome to someone who, like me, who has spent a lifetime in the church, and know more people who are NOTHING LIKE THAT than those who are. On top of that, for those who are hypocritical, small-minded, closed-off, and judgmental, can you imagine a better place than church to help them wrestle with those demons?

    Now, if I gather from your email address, you are an atheist who happens to be a preacher’s wife, I don’t know what your experience has been–if your church experience has chased you off. If it has, I ask your forgiveness for all of us. There are some really stupid “Christians” (and i put it in quotes for a reason). But, then again, there are some really bone-headed, angry, hypocritical, and judgmental atheists in this world, too. I know. I read their stuff and I’m around them a lot.

    No one is perfect. No one. That’s where Christianity begins. Humility. Without that, it isn’t Christianity. If you’ve seen an un-humble Christianity, I’m sorry. But, keep looking deeper, because there are some of us here who don’t hate everybody, want to judge everybody, and sit on high horses or in ivory towers.

  2. Celebrities have a very public life. I wonder what anyone would have said regarding this if she would have told only a few people and it managed to leak to the press. That, by definition, would be a scandal. And, yes, Christians in my humble opinion DO fit her description. Being empathetic to her situation, I would especially speak out if I had a son or daughter that would be ostracized by the church for being gay. Good for her for standing up to charlatans and crooks within organized religion!

  3. I read the article and can see that she obviously makes some huge generalizations regarding Christianity. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s an uncommon tactic for celebrities (not excluding people outside of Hollywood like authors, poets etc) and non-celebrities (like you and I) to denounce their religion, church, synagogue, goddess, god etc. at some point in their lives; however, if you look at the ones who return near the inevitable “end” it is clear that it was either a tactic after all or some sort of ridiculous rebellion against social institutions (social institutions=social concepts and practices) . I think that many people believe social institutions, specifically spiritually based, were established to maintain peace, promote love, encourage fellowship etc.; however, they are often seen creating war, being anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-anything you are passionate about, this being the paradox that many find offensive regarding Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and organized religion as a whole (unfortunately). Perhaps when Anne finds her perfect fit or reaches her inevitable “end” she will return to Christianity. Nonetheless, I believe that this is a silly promotional tactic and that she really wants people to buy her book. I wonder if her religious based novel will sell as many copies as her Sleeping Beauty erotic trilogy, which outsold her vampire series.

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