Friday, July 30, 2010

Anne Rice leaves her church

"For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always 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."

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." - Famed novelist Anne Rice, from her Facebook page.  Anne Rice's Facebook fan page

Anne Rice published the above on her Facebook fan page this past Wednesday, July 28, 2010.  My first reaction was "good for her."  I'm all for people, especially public figures, coming out against hatred and ignorance.  I'm especially happy when they do it in the name of Christ.

My enjoyment faded pretty quickly to sadness, though.  Look at that list anti's in her church.  Among other things anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-secular humanism.  What does it say when a large, mainstream Christian church endorses -- even enforces -- that long list of anti's?  What's worse, I think, is that this perception extends to all Christian churches in the United States.  I submit that if you polled most people in the United States about Christianity, they'd describe our faith in this manner.  Either they'd reject the worship of Christ because of these perceptions or they'd actually welcome a church that countenances these attitudes!

How did we get here?  Certainly, there have always been churches that endorse these anti's, but how did the face of all Christianity come to be associated with narrow mindedness?  First, I think, we saw the rise of churches that grew huge and rich and decided to acquire political power.  Second, some politicians decided to exploit these churches and their members for their own political ends.  Third, our news media have become lazy enough not to look past the surface into the reality of Christianity in the United States -- the reality being that there is no one Christian church in this country and no one televangelist is the sole spokesperson for God.

At least, Ms. Rice notes farther down on her page that the Lutheran church has publicly stated that they welcome non-celibate gays as clergy.  I imagine she's aware of the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy in the Episcopal church, too.  In fact, I wanted to post that she should consider her local Episcopal church, where she'll find LGBT members, feminists, and even secular-humanists welcome.  I may still.  Unfortunately, that isn't true of all Episcopal parishes, and that makes me saddest of all.

We all have a lot more work to do.  With God's help, we'll do it.


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