Anne Rice has left Christianity.
“In the name of Christ,” says Rice, she can no longer, “belong to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”
Rice went 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.”
That her very statement itself is quarrelsome and hostile, that her list of refusals is patently disputatious, and that she herself is infamous for promoting a dark and cynical view of humanity in her early vampire novels, places these remarks so far past irony that they border wanton hypocrisy.
They bring to mind a parable about logs and eyes that one assumes Ms. Rice, “in the name of Christ,” has likely heard.
Of course, Progressive Christians like Kirsten Powers, and Christianity-haters like Perez Hilton – two groups almost universally aligned on every issue – were quick to defend and praise Ms. Rice. According to Jonathan Merritt, author of Green Like God – Unlocking the Divine Plan for our Planet, Anne Rice feels that “Christianity has been hijacked.”
The hijackers, one presumes, are the quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, infamous, anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-birth control, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science, anti-life religious folk that Ms. Rice takes issue with in her own statements, but of course, those people are not new to the church. If anything, the church (in this case the Catholic Church) has only gotten more progressive in the decades since Ms. Rice originally walked away from her faith, or even in the decade since she returned.
But Progressive Christians like Mr. Merritt always feel the need to defend a person hostile to Christianity with inane clichés, regardless of context, because it affords them a place, if barely, at the cool kids’ table.
Of course, most people in America have had a bad experience at some point or another with Christianity or Christians.
As science has proven (or maybe I just made it up) half of all people are jerks, and the other half are jerks half of the time. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of all American at least claim to be Christians, and it’s just simple math that people will have been rubbed the wrong way by one of them.
And of course the very reality of the fact that Christianity believes something, ensures it will run afoul of free people with independent beliefs from time to time.
Any ideology is divisive, regardless of how well meaning its adherents, because it defines a set of views exclusive from all others. Even those whose ideology is decidedly inclusive are exclusive of those whose ideologies are not inclusive, as expressed so aptly in this – the best video in the history of the world:
[youtube qySx8tSs8BQ nolink]
But the main reason Progressive Christians and Christ-haters are so often aligned is not because of their individual bad experiences with Christians. They have as many or more bad experiences with each other because that’s the company they keep.
The main reason Christianity gets a bad rap is that Christianity gets a bad rap.
Christianity takes the blame in the culture because shapers of the culture are so openly hostile to Christianity.
Most people in the average day encounter Christians – probably a lot of them – and most of their experiences are at a minimum innocuous, and maybe even good. They don’t know that the people they deal with are Christians, because so far, Christians don’t have to where patches on their clothes and hunker in ghettos in this country.
But when they turn on their televisions, or listen to the radio, the Christians are clearly defined, not as the good-natured majority, but as the fanatical minority.
They wear uniforms – drab clothing on the men, head scarves and no make-up for the women – and are always the characters abusing their children, hiding horrifying sexual secrets, or covering up theft and murder in the name of God.
This is a storytelling technique known in the arts as – FICTION. But since it is the only view of Christianity ever portrayed in the arts, people over time begin to identify with it.
They begin to re-imagine their own personal bad experiences with believers, which represent the exception in almost every case to their own broader personal interactions with Christians, as the norm.
They begin noticing people who look like the Christians on TV – strange, hateful people – who certainly exist at the outer edge of the church, but don’t represent a majority of believers, and allowing their very existence to validate the falsely premised view of the glowing box in their subconscious.
Then they have the leftist narcissists like Anne Rice confirm the whole idea and suddenly the reality that almost everyone they meet is a Christian, and therefore Christianity is the very definition of normal, is lost.
But in truth, it is the culture shapers themselves who are the minority.
Anne Rice, Dick Wolf, Rosie O’Donnell, and all of the actors and writers and musicians that so malign Christians are part of a tiny sliver of people who live at the peak of human decadence. They are utterly insulated from dissenting opinions.
They hate the church because it does not embrace their own self-gratifying lifestyles. It is the only place left where they encounter a no. So they rebel against it like the frightened children that they are and try to both destroy it and gain its love.
That this group of ego-driven bigots has so much influence over the perceptions of millions of people they openly despise is the real story, not whether or not one of them goes to mass.
There are problems with Christianity as an institution (however loosely threaded), make no mistake. Like any family, it has difficult personalities, internal disagreements, and projects its own sometimes-embarrassing idiosyncrasies. It is not above reproach. My own list of criticisms for the state of the church is long and detailed, but this view of Christianity as the home of intolerance and selfishness just doesn’t fit the facts.
That place is progressivism, a church Ms. Rice still approves of, and that still approves of her.