Progressive Christianity

At the end of July this year, the best selling author of Gothic novels and commentator on the Catholic faith, Anne Rice, clearly upset with the mainstream conservative version of Christianity, announced to her stunned fans she was quitting Christianity – but not her intention to continue following the way of Christ. In her face book page – and confirmed by her publisher – the 68-year-old author wrote among other things that she refuses to be “anti-gay … anti-feminist,” and “anti-artificial birth birth control.”  She adds that “In the name of … Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

While I have the greatest sympathy for Anne Rice’s stand, I wonder if she is conflating conservative Christianity with her understanding of what it means to claim a Christian way of life.   Certainly fundamentalists and ultra-conservative Christians appear to embrace many of the features of what Anne Rice sees as religion gone bad but historically the bad features are only one dimension of the practice of Christianity.   Christianity also developed much of the hospital system, the education system, the legal system – and it was liberal Christians who worked to abolish slavery.  No doubt the US Tea Party members would be happy with the anti-gay, anti-science, anti-feminist, anti-liberal thinking versions of the Christian faith but let us not forget there are also the Mother Teresas, Karen Armstrongs and Albert Schweitzers of this world.  For those who share Anne Rice’s gloomy evaluation of Christianity they could do worse than look up the term “Progressive Christianity” on the web

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