Within the past weeks, America has seen an assault on the Christian right from all sides. Populating the news lately have come stories about beloved vampire writer Anne Rice bashing the right-leaning members of the church and then leaving it, and back in the news is the story that won’t ever end: Prop 8. The assaults on mainstream Christianity might seem like nothing new, but they’re taking a new form, not just mocking the faith of those who choose to follow Christ, but instead mocking the political beliefs of the Christian right. Simply put, the secular and religious left are beginning to join forces to attack the Christian right in hopes that they quiet down and stay home this November.
Recently, Anne Rice wrote on her Facebook, “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. […] 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.”
Let’s forget for a second that the church is as varied politically as it is theologically, but for the writer of the adult world’s version of Twilight, Rice appears to be attacking the Christian right and not the church. With numerous protestant liberal ministers including Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and even her Catholic Church and its social justice campaign, she appears really to be attacking the anti-Democratic Party wing, as opposed to theological aspects of the church. Rice’s comments are not an attack on Christianity, but instead on Christians who do not share her political beliefs. Rice’s comments should be viewed not as the work of a woman wrestling with God, but as a woman wrestling with the GOP.
It seems to me that Rice was looking for a way out, and she found it in blaming people for being less than tactful within the context of expressing their faithful beliefs in everyday life. I won’t defend mean-spirited hate speech from the religious right. I can’t; but it is hard to read the Bible and not come to the conclusion that certain lifestyle choices are referred to as sins. Regardless of one’s final interpretation, there are plenty of Christian denominations like the Presbyterians and Episcopalians who are willing to bypass traditional doctrines so as to be more politically correct in the 21st century. Rice could have quietly changed denominations, but instead decided to demonize all involved.
Then there is the Prop. 8 ruling. When one judge overruled the will of the people, we conservatives smelt a whiff of arrogance coming from the judicial bench. Obviously, Prop. 8 was inspired by Christian groups, but it was passed by a majority vote in the 2008 election. Yet this one judge has decided he knows better. He knows better how the political cycle should work. He knows better than the religious right. He knows better than the state of California. In fact, he knows better than the history of popular philosophical thought. He knows better than every society that has ever been at the center of the world. Because even in Greece’s heyday, when men had male lovers, never did they suggest that marriage’s definition be redefined. Thank God the 21st century has a judge more enlightened than all who ever came before him.
The Christian right has a few bruises to mend, no doubt, and this is coming right before a crucial November election.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I truly believe that Rice’s comments, the Prop. 8 decision, and even the timing of the New York mosque building all play into an agenda from many on the left to discourage Christians from voting this fall out of frustration with the process. But if the Christian right throws up its hands and retreats, then that would be the biggest sin of all.