Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rice ditches Christianity

Novelist Anne Rice ditches Christianity for Christ

Rice says she's quit being a Christian but she's hanging on to Christ.
She's just fed up with his followers.

The author, whose vampire books (i.e. Interview with a Vampire) were huge sellers long before Twilight and whose return to her childhood Catholicism dominated her more recent works, posted a series of comments on Facebook (confirmed by her publisher as authentic, according to Associated Press).

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.

The mother of novelist Christopher Rice, who is gay, goes on to say:

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.

In a USA TODAY profile of Anne and Christopher, Rice talked about growing up Catholic, drifting away as a teen and marrying an atheist. After the death of a young daughter, she began writing her vampire books,

...about lost souls looking for answers, so in a sense I was always on this journey back. I do get people saying, "How can you be such a fool to believe in God?" I sense many are young Goth kids who feel abandoned. I just say, look, you're looking for the same things that I was, transcendence and redemption. I found what my characters were looking for.

Even now, as she tosses off organized religion, Rice posts that she's still

... an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God ... Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.


Reaction from religion commentators is all over the blogosphere since Rice's Facebook blast at Catholicism. Here's just a sampling:

The United Church of Christ rushed up with a Facebook page of its own, telling Rice all the ways "You'd like the UCC." The Rev. Geoffrey Black, the UCC's general minister and president, says,

Many in the United Church of Christ can understand and appreciate her insistence that she must follow a God of love, justice and inclusion.

And Elizabeth Scalia, blogging as The Anchoress at the Catholic journal First Things, does a point by point post refuting Rice's jabs at the Catholicism. Scalia writes:

Anne Rice wants to do the Life-in-Christ on her own, while saying "Yes" to the worldly world and its values. She seems not to realize that far from being an Institution of No, the church is a giant and eternal urging toward "Yes," that being a "yes" toward God -- whose ways are not our ways, and who draws all to Himself, in the fullness of time -- rather than a "yes" to ourselves.

Can you reject religion and hang on to God?

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