Anne Rice is done with Christianity. “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out,” the bestselling author posted on her Facebook page.
It’s not her faith in God, however, that she’s renouncing. It’s church organization.
“I remain committed to Christ as always”, she explained further on Facebook, “but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
This does not mean that Rice is making a go of atheism. On the contrary, as the Examiner reports:
“My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
…quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen”
Amen indeed. Apparently one of the straws that broke Rice’s moral back was a statement made by a self-righteous moron named Bradlee Dean, the front man for a politically conservative Fundamentalist Christian group called “You Can Run” ( I guess they’re telling SOMEONE that they can’t hide – that’s certainly Good News):
Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America…This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination. If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that. That is what you are seeing in America.
With what we have been seeing in America recently – the Christian controversy about the governor’s race in South Carolina, the upcoming International Burn a Koran Day, the emotional rhetoric over the proposed Mosque at Ground Zero, the antics of Westboro Baptist Church and people like Ruben Israel all peppered by idiotic remarks from self-avowed Christians like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter – I think that Rice is on to something here.
My mother always told me that no matter how pure of heart you think you might be, you are judged by the company you keep. You are guilty by association. It’s ironic that so many of those who claim to be followers of Christ -Christians – are the types of self-righteous, intolerant and condemning religious people who Jesus tended not to associate with. So it looks as if Rice has decided to follow her conscience and that has her following Christ, something that few Christians seem to be doing. Good for her.
I know that there are some very well-reasoned arguments for not doing what Ann Rice has just done. My old parish priest used to tell me when I’d be fed up with the latest Vatican absurdity: ”Just because you didn’t vote for the President and don’t like the government doesn’t make you any less of an American.” And that’s true - we need to work for change from inside the organizations we cherish. There is a point, though, when this no longer works. Otherwise there would have been no Protestant Reformation nor an American Revolution.
When an organization is so fractured, so disjointed and so contentious as today’s Church, then at what point will Christians finally have the vision (and the nerve) to stand up and say that the Empire has no spiritual clothes – that it is a sham, and a dangerous one at that. Only 12 years after her ’re-conversion’ from atheism to Christianity, Anne Rice reached that point. I don’t think I have that much patience. How about you?