I have been a fan of author Anne Rice for years. I read her books — the vampire books, the Witching Hour series — over and over. And one of the personal highlights of my 28 years as a journalist was getting the opportunity to interview some years ago.
Then I found out that her son, Christopher Rice — a successful author in his own right — was gay, and that she supported him completely. And I loved her even more.
Then a few years ago, I heard that Anne Rice, who had been an atheist, had found God and become a Christian convert. I couldn’t help but wonder: How would her conversion affect her relationship with her son? Would she continue to support and love him as always? Would she take the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach? Would she insist he be “cured” of homosexuality? Would she turn her back on him completely.
I also wondered how her conversion would affect her stance on LGBT rights overall and if we were losing an ally.
Well, as it turned out, Anne Rice didn’t think converting to Christianity meant becoming anti-gay. Unfortunately, “Christianity” didn’t agree.
So this week, on Wednesday, July 28, Anne Rice posted a notice on her Facebook page declaring she has “quit Christianity.”
Here’s what she said: “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.”
And there was more. She also said, “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.”
So, I knew there was a reason I am an Anne Rice fan! I don’t think I have ever heard anyone give a better explanation of the difference between following Christ and being “a Christian.”
Read Karen Ocamb’s blog about Ann Rice’s announcement here. It includes a statement from Christoper Rice as well. Here’s what he had to say:
“For ten years I watched my mother bravely attempt to engage the hostile fundamentalist forces that dominate the leadership of almost every popular Christian denomination. She was met, in most instances with an iron wall of derision and scorn. Her departure from organized religion is a testament to the moral rot that exists at the politcized core of most church leadership. Throughout it all, her love and support of me as a gay man has never wavered and I love her just as much today as I did when she considered herself a member of the Catholic church.”
Oh, and here is the link to Christopher Rice’s Facebook page, just for good measure.