Anne Rice, who Bill McGarvey interviewed extensively for BustedHalo.com® awhile back abruptly “quit Christianity. Yesterday, on her facebook page she wrote:

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.

Sounds like a preference for the “vertical” relationship between God and self without the “horizontal” relationship where one also relates to God in relationship with others.

Which is understandable, after all, lots of people have this preference and Ms. Rice exhibits a clear dissatisfaction with organized religion–however, I think the real misgiving here is to assume that we can horde our relationship with God for ourselves. There’s an assumption that religion and relationships with God and others aren’t messy and that we don’t have to talk and be in dialogue with those who we disagree with.

And that’s not easy. Not by a longshot. But I believe that to do otherwise is simply a cop-out. I wrote about my own reasons for staying Catholic awhile back. To add to that post I’ll offer this bit:

To give up entirely on Christianity is to give up on one another, in my opinion. It’s to give up on peace and justice for all. It’s to say that we know better than everyone else and perhaps that we know better than God–that we can’t be led to God by someone else and that God won’t send those people to us (and us to others) in the hope that our hearts might be changed.

We have that choice. That choice to get off the bench and get in the game. The choice to live for others and not just for ourselves. The choice to refuse to let those who we think are unjust go unchecked. The choice to bring Jesus to others and to let others bring Christ into our lives, even when we think we have it all figured out. I know I’m grateful to be in dialogue with people who might not agree with me all of the time, even if it might be frustrating at times.

I am sorry that Ms. Rice, who I really like, has decided to stay home. I wonder what the straw that broke the Catholic’s back was?

She adds a bit more on Facebook here:

As I said below, 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.

Anne, know that you are always welcome in any church I belong to. I hope you reconsider. We need you and will miss you and all those who decide to “go it alone.”

But for now, I hope you can “go in peace.”

Thanks to Thom at Ad Dominum for pointing me here.

0 thoughts on “Anne Rice Quits Christianity”
  1. Her statement is an insult to many disciples of Jesus (read: Christians) who are feminist, inclusive, Democratic or independent. I don’t get it.

  2. Via Facebook:

    From: Fran Rossi Szpylczyn:

    I think that Anne Rice is either going mad or this is a marketing ploy. Frankly I don’t care what religion she is, if any, but what is this about? And the presumption that being “Christian” makes you all the things she says. What the??? Thanks to Mike Hayes at Googling God for this.

  3. Via Facebook:

    Fran Rossi Szpylczyn commented on her link:

    “Like I said, I could care less. But her “switch” back to Catholicism was so sudden and intense and she wrote those books. (I read the first one, it was ok.) Now this? And that whole I am not “anti-gay or anti-choice” as if that were the same for all Christians. What the hell?”

  4. Via Facebook:

    From Tim Wolfe:

    Something’s up. But her withdrawal from what sounds like a backwater church erases the value in her gesture. None of the attitudes she cites mirrors my church. I like Mike’s analysis; she’s always been infamously non-collaborative and wishy-washy. Deserting the community makes sense.

  5. @Diane–well that’s just it. People think they have no obligation to be in community. It’s God without the drama of having to deal with others. The ancient Israelites would laugh at this attitude.

    @ Paul: Thanks! She claimed Catholicism most recently.

  6. @ Mimi: See, that’s not what I think is going on. Read some of McGarvey’s interviews with her–or watch the vids–she’s really read a lot of progressive Christians: NT Wright especially. So she’s smart and I think she understand that difference—something had to happen.

  7. Via Facebook

    From Pj DeGenaro:

    From what I know of her she had a deep, almost-mystical Roman Catholic upbringing, which has certainly informed her books. Maybe she got tired of getting hate mail from certain quarters. Or maybe… she’s just a dramatic nutjob!

  8. Via Facebook

    From Mimi Peizer Michalski:

    Mike, afraid I am not as up on her beliefs as I should be; it’s a shame if she’s “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” I wonder what has spurred this change of mind?

  9. Via Facebook

    From Linda McMillan:

    Oh, sometimes I feel like saying that I’m not a Christian either. I don’t want to be identified with most of what’s out there in the mainstream. And sometimes I tell people that I love Jesus and his mother, but that I am not a Christian. But, I think that in most Christian circles, I’d be considered a Christian. It’s just a label. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t.

  10. You can be in a rich and diverse community while eschewing what merely passes for community in most churches. Just constantly disagreeing doesn’t constitute community. I don’t buy that false dichotomy where people are either unhealthily enmeshed in petty squabbling or they are “going it alone…” without any community or accountability, just totally vertical. That’s BS. It’s not an either/or proposition. I hope Anne Rice is able to find meaningful Christian community outside the so-called church. I imagine that she’ll have better luck there than inside it.

    1. I disagree. I think that simply calling it quits on a community in favor of a self-designed ghetto where you don’t have to talk to anyone who is outside of your own boxed in idea of what constitutes community is simply another example of treating the church as a commodity or a political club. When others don’t act the way I expect I can drop them. Short-sighted at best.

  11. I have to be honest. Most of what I have read about Rice in recent years made me question her mental stability. Her return to th Church seemed so dramatic and extreme. And her departure seems likewise.

    And there is no such thing as the solitary Christian. Sorry. For better or worse, we are in this this glorious mess together.

  12. I believe she was interviewed by one of the wire services shortly after she left her statement on her Facebook wall and she included the recent revelations about the extent of the sex abuse crisis in the Church and the Arizona/McBride/excommunication story as sort of the straws that broke the camel’s back to her already uncomfortable and frustrated relationship with Church teachings about homosexuality.

    Look, she’s a public person, and she’s merely saying what a lot of us, whether we ultimately leave the Church or choose to stay, feel from time to time.

    Only a mindless sheep doesn’t struggle with Church teachings, with the ugliness that has gone on in the Church, with the really awful witness so very many loud, vocal, pushy Catholics provide.

    A quick click-through the comboxes of the various bloggers discussing Rice’s statement reveal some truly nasty and juvenile (and decidedly un-Catholic,un-Christian) responses to Ms. Rice’s predicament.

    Well…what did those folks prove by getting their jollies being anonymously nasty to and about someone they don’t even know? They pretty much made a lot of people reading those comments think Ms. Rice is probably right.

    So…around and around and around it all goes, once again, and the truth is the only constant, the only good, the only real Truth, is God, and God is bigger than any blog, combox, Church, church, group, whatever.

    Maybe when the loud, proud sorts who are so quick to jump in with a sneer or a negative comment tone it down a whole heckuva lot, those of us like Anne, who really think about this stuff, and really struggle, won’t find it ultimately easier to satisfy our hunger for God outside the Church.

  13. I am surprised by this discussion. I realise she is a public figure in the US, but she seems to have copped so much ‘judgment’ in these comments. As a very fringe-almost not catholic I would say that I find the assumption that she has abandoned a ‘horizontal’ relationship with God with others to be completely unhelpful. There are lots of ‘communities’ out there that are supportive, loving ones, that are outside of church.
    One priest I know lives in a way that is non-judgmental of others. When I have contact with him, I feel like he sees the ways I am in touch with God, rather than judging me for not going to church. If I ever find my way back to church- it will be largely because he has listened to me, without judging.

  14. Margaret–

    I think what I’m hoping is that Anne Rice isn’t leaving “a community of faith” even if that is outside of the Catholic Church (as sad as I would be to see her leave that particular community of faith).

    If she’s suggesting that she doesn’t need people in her relationship with Jesus and that a “vertical” it’s just Jesus and me relationship is all she needs than I would really disagree with her decision and find it somewhat strange based on what I have heard about her conversion experience.

    I’m not judging here. Anne is free to do what she wants and I wish her well and I have kept the door open for her to return and wish to keep a conversation option open as well with anyone who leaves the church. I’m just hoping that she thinks she needs supportive community as much as we hope she needs to stay connected with one.

  15. I think she’s making a point. The “K Street I’m More Christian than You and By the Way I Hate You & Jesus Christ-Don’t Wear a Condom My God can Kick Your God’s Ass” Christians are screaming at the top of their lungs and defining what qualifies as Christian. She’s saying, “I can’t be those things so I’m not Christian anymore.” Or maybe she’s NOT a Christian anymore.

  16. She seems to want Christ without the Church or fellow followers. Seems rather high-handed, judgmental, dramatic…and uncharitable. “So many Christians disagree with my beliefs so I’m going to jettison the whole endeavor”?
    I have some sympathy. So much of what passes for “Christianity” in the US right now is a particular brand of Protestantism…and being a traditional Catholic I have to keep correcting people who want to use broad brushstrokes on ‘Christianity’ that a lot that’s associated with the term most certainly does not apply to the Catholic Church.
    That being said, Ms. Rice’s problem seems to suffer from more hubris than most. a la Martin Luther. Even the Catholic Church fails to be enlightened to her particular brand of (I assume) ‘liberal Christianity’…so nothing.
    She betrays herself to be a very small-minded kind of ‘Reformer’…remaking Christianity (and Christ) in her own image. It breaks my heart that she apparently never awakened to the brilliance and genius…and salvation…of submitting to the Body of Christ that is the Church.

  17. Hers is truly a dark night of the soul as John of the Cross would say. She is among good company, Mother Teresa had hers as have many others… myself included. But God is faithful and the grace of our Lord will be sufficient. Trust Christ and pray for her and for ourselves.

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