Anne Rice Quits Christianity and Endorses Bret McAtee

I feel somewhat responsible for Ms. Rice’s recent deconversion. At the risk of name dropping, let me explain. Back in 2007 during the Democratic primaries Rice wrote a very positive endorsement of my radically 2k book, A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State. In that same post at her blog, Rice also endorsed Hilary Clinton. Those worried about the 2k infection could plausibly conclude that Hart and Clinton are in the same ballpark of a liberal and secular version of the United States and of Christianity. Rice was, at the time, recently out of the closet about her recovery of her Roman Catholic upbringing.

In the summer of 2007 she wrote:

To my readers:
Some time ago, I made an effort to remove from this website all political statements made by me in the past. Many of these statements were incomplete statements, and many were dated. And a good many of the emails I received about these statements indicated that they were confusing to my newer Christian readers. I felt, when I removed the material, that I was doing what was best for my personal vocation — which is, to write books for Jesus Christ.

My vocation at this time remains unchanged. I am committed to writing books for the Lord, and those books right now, are books about His life on Earth as God and Man. I hope my books will reach all Christians, regardless of denomination or background. This has become my life.

However, I have come to feel that my Christian conscience requires of me a particular political statement at this time.

I hope you will read this statement in a soft voice. It is meant to be spoken in a soft voice.

Let me say first of all that I am devoutly committed to the separation of church and state in America. I believe that the separation of church and state has been good for all Christians in this country, and particularly good for Catholics who had a difficult time gaining acceptance as Americans before the presidential election of John F. Kennedy. The best book I can recommend right now on the separation of church and state is A SECULAR FAITH, Why Christianity Favors The Separation of Church and State, by Darryl Hart. However there are many other good books on the subject.

Believing as I do that church and state should remain separate, I also believe that when one enters the voting booth, church and state become one for the voter. The voter must vote her conscience. He or she must vote for the party and candidate who best reflect all that the voter deeply believes. Conscience requires the Christian to vote as a Christian. Commitment to Christ is by its very nature absolute.

My commitment and my vote, therefore, must reflect my deepest Christian convictions; and for me these convictions are based on the teachings of Christ in the Four Gospels. . . .

To summarize, I believe in voting, I believe in voting for one of the two major parties, and I believe my vote must reflect my Christian beliefs.

Bearing all this in mind, I want to say quietly that as of this date, I am a Democrat, and that I support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Though I deeply respect those who disagree with me, I believe, for a variety of reasons, that the Democratic Party best reflects the values I hold based on the Gospels. Those values are most intensely expressed for me in the Gospel of Matthew, but they are expressed in all the gospels. Those values involve feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving one’s neighbors and loving one’s enemies. A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I feel that this is enough.

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party. . . .

I repeat: I am a Christian; I am a Democrat. I support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

If I receive emails on this issue, I will do my best to answer them.

Anne Rice
August 10, 2007

I tend to think that Rice missed the point of A Secular Faith, that what is more important when entering the voting booth is U.S. law and policy, not which party best embodies the gospel. But when a popular author endorses your book, to object is to look ungrateful. (Plus, I don’t have Anne’s digits.)

Now she says that she is dropping her Christian identity:

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. . . .

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.

If Ms. Rice had been able to read Dave VanDrunen’s new book on two-kingdom theology she might have worked out better her commitment to the separation of church and state and belief in the Bible. I confess, I did not give her enough help in A Secular Faith.

But if Rice supported Hilary Clinton for Christian reasons, then her renunciation of the church must also mean a switch in politics. That raises the possibility of voting for Republicans and maybe even endorsing Bret McAtee if he decides to run for the Senate again. But that doesn’t make sense because Bret is anti-gay rights. I’m confused.

At least I have a political theology to help with the confusion – you look to the state for law and to the church for gospel; if you look the wrong way, you’re sure to get hit in the crossfire.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted August 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    It seems that reaching celebrity status makes it difficult to accept the fact that Christ is much more important than us and our often wrong-headed theological thinking and haphazard or inconsistent Christian behavior. Is not that why we look to a Savior and not to others for our hope about our Christian faith? Who hasn’t been injured, harmed or misunderstood by other Christians? It seems like it goes with the territory this side of paradise. If Anne does adhere to Christ he promises to not let her go- perhaps she just needs some time for reflection and to lick her wounds a bit.

  2. Posted August 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Finding a good institutional Church that truly teaches the Law and Gospel, administers the sacraments properly and handles disciplinary issues thoughtfully and properly would probably help a great deal. However, that would require a radical change of thinking in some of her public remarks about the institutional Church. You have to admit though that there are not many Churches that are really getting it and functioning the way they are supposed to.

  3. Mark Denning
    Posted August 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Here is the first more extended interview I’ve seen w/ Ms. Rice explaining what she meant.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/04/anne-rice-talks-about-quitting-christianity/

    And an interesting critique of her decision

    http://www.koinoniablog.net/2010/08/annerice.html

  4. Posted August 4, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Is 2K more important than the Gospel? Because I’m not sure where Ms. Rice having the proper 2K ethic and denying Christ is better than having a skewed understanding of 2K and confessing Christ? (Not that I think Ms. Rice ever confessed Christ)

  5. Posted August 5, 2010 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    I agree, I don’t think Anne Rice was ever a Christian to begin with.

    As far as 2K……I think the Gospel of the Kingdom is pretty important. How one defines Kingdom has massive implications for the Christian life and not only how we view the Church but the direction we would take it.

    To many a Theonomist, the Church has largely been a failure and has not lived up to its expectations…we’re still waiting for that.

    But to a 2Ker, this borders on blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The Church has been gloriously victorious and continues to be so…yes, even now at a time which many view as an era of depressing defeats.

    I think Christ’s own teachings on the Kingdom is one of the most neglected and/or misinterpreted doctrines of Scripture in the NT.

    Let us pray for Anne Rice. Why do Christians get so excited over celebrities converting? Most of the time it seems to just lead to more confusion and in the end an occasion to mock the faith as the celebrity…very publicly turns away or ends up saying and doing things that give an opportunity for our enemies to blaspheme,

    I remember a few years back listening to Dobson practically wetting his pants talking to Mel Gibson. It was pathetic and still is.

    John A.

  6. Hugh McCann
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    No, Ms. Rice was a ‘re-vert’ to Catholicism for a time, but not a Christian in the biblical sense.

    Sadly, she was massaged in her unbelief even by the White Horse Inn when Mike Horton interviewed her for the show on July 8, 2007. He treated her as a scholarly Christian authority on liberal textual criticism. (Hear the show @ OnePlace.com)

    I had extensive correspondence with both he and she, trying to point her to the sovereign God of Scripture, while Mike preferred a MUCH less direct approach.

    How shall they hear w/o a preacher? Sadly, Anne Rice was kid-gloved @ the Inn!

  7. David Gellatly
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Bravo to Ms. Rice! How I wish millions of Catholics would just say no to Rome. Sarah Silverman spoke the truth: let the Pope sell some real estate and feed the hungry. A church that shelters pedophiles and ex-communicates life saving nuns … what could be worse?

    More broadly, I feel we need new language, new labels. ‘Conservative’ and ‘liberal’ have been so twisted … but what about ‘Christian’? What to call someone who self identifies as ‘Christian’, yet rejects the teaching of Christ? How can any ‘right wing conservative’ be called a ‘Christian’? That’s just wrong.

    But what is the proper term? Biblican? Pharisee? The word needs to be identified, and used, in public discourse and by the media. Let there be an end to hiding behind the ‘Christian’ label by those who would hotly protest Christ in their midst.

  8. Posted August 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    @Hugh M: “Sadly, Anne Rice was kid-gloved @ the Inn!” … I remember the interview and find myself nodding in concurrence. Like John A., I’m curious as to why Christians are so eager to claim high-profile converts (Ms. California anyone?). I watched Rice’s recent HLN/CNN interview with Behar and was struck by the level to which modern American society was reflected in Rice’s statements (Romans 12:2) – seemingly at the expense of Scripture. DGH’s above post helps clarify the disconnect with Christianity Rice experienced as a liberal voter…

    @David G. – “How can any ‘right wing conservative’ be called a ‘Christian’? That’s just wrong”. I agree our labels have lost much of their meaning – but what about ‘right wing conservative’? By my definition, I know numerous Christians in that voting bloc.

  9. Hugh McCann
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Dear Panicked,

    Horton & I differ quite obviously on how to deal with papists or purpose-driven Arminians, but he’s done immeasurable good for the cause.

    Anne & Rick are weird blips on the Horton radar. Hopefully repented of, and not merely rationalized and sloughed off.

    Yer blog looks flippin’ sweet, Napoleon.

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