Author Quits Christianity Over Anti-Gay Sentiments

Best-selling writer Anne Rice, author of such novels as "Interview With the Vampire," has cited anti-gay sentiments from Christians as one of her reasons for leaving the faith.

"I 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," Rice wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

Rice, who was previously a Roman Catholic, added that she's been trying for ten years to "belong" to the Christian faith but her conscience has not allowed her to stay as a part of this "quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group."

Notably, Rice made two previous postings on her Facebook page linked to news pieces highlighting remarks from radically anti-gay Christians, including the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.

The Westboro report, done by ABC News, focused on church members Steve and Luci Drain's 7 and 3-year-old children, who were shown making statements such as "gays, fags and hundreds…of Jews" are going to hell, and singing songs with the lyrics "God hates the world."

Rice called the piece "chilling."

"I wish I could say this is inexplicable. But it's not. That's the horror. Given the history of Christianity, this is not inexplicable at all," she said.

The other news piece was about Minnesota Christian hard rock band You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, whose front man Bradlee Dean recently said that Muslim countries who condone executing homosexuals are "more moral than even the American Christians."

"Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America," Dean said in May, according to the Minnesota Independent. "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."

Rice commented on the piece saying, "No wonder people despise us, Christians, and think we are an ignorant and violent lot. I don't blame them."

"This kind of thing makes me weep. Maybe commitment to Christ means not being a Christian," she added.

Meanwhile, the United Church of Christ (UCC) has wasted no time in inviting Rice to their church, posting their own Facebook page called "You'd like the UCC, Anne Rice."

On the page, the church describes itself as pro-gay, pro-environment, and accepting of Rice's long list of qualms with her previous church

The church's top minister the Rev. Geoffrey Black notes: "I am certain that Anne Rice's public repudiation of Christianity has been a difficult, but seemingly necessary step for her to live authentically as a person of faith and reason. "

"Too often we have confused following Christ with defending the institutional church, and we have unnecessarily insisted that we must be of one mind, instead of one heart," he continued. "Hopefully, declarations such as Anne's will challenge and alter our definitions of Christian discipleship and, in the process, change the church itself."

Catholic blogger Elizabeth Scalia has also reached out to Rice saying that the author is "neither the first nor the last to feel that way," but adding that Rice's misgivings with the church incorrectly represent its teachings.

"She refuses to be 'anti-gay,' but the church teaches that indeed we must not be anti-gay, that homosexual inclinations are not sinful in themselves, but that all are called to chastity, whether gay or straight," Scalia writes. "So, what she is refusing is not so much church teaching, which she incorrectly represents, but the worldly distortion of church teaching both as it is misunderstood and too-often practiced."

"Anne Rice wants to do the Life-in-Christ on her own, while saying 'Yes' to the worldly world and its values," Scalia continues. "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."

Rice has yet to respond to Scalia or the UCC but has affirmed that Christ remains "central" to her life, and that God is the reason for her changing 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."

Rice also said that she has received a lot of e-mail since making her announcement, a mix of positive and negative, although one thing has been clear to her: "people care passionately about belief."

"They care about living lives of meaning and significance. And that is a beautiful and reassuring thing," she said.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News