Leave it to an author of ultra-popular vampire novels to bring me out of hiatus — Anne Rice has decided to quit Christianity. Rice, as her millions of devoted fans will recall, converted to Christianity in 1997, and promptly began a series of books based on her her newly found faith in Christ.

This week, though, she made the startling announcement that she’s leaving Christianity. Having made the announcement on her Facebook fan page, it instantly traveled the interwebs:

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.

It’s this statement, I believe, that is most telling. Naturally, it’s quite easy to presume that she’s rejecting Christ (and therefore hell-bound, as some believe). Let’s be clear. She did not reject Christ. She’s simply leaving behind institutionalized Christianity:

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.

Why would she say such things? Clearly, she’s educated. She’s her own woman. She believes in reproductive responsibility. She’s a Democrat (horror of horrors). She loves science, and she’s also the mother to a gay son. Her faith in Christ doesn’t force her to reject these things — they are completely integrated into her life, and have made her the woman — and the writer — that she is.

In the end, though, I think she has a point. While the brand of Christianity she departed is the Catholic faith, she’s also made clear that she’s walking away from all forms of organized religion:

…I feel I must walk away from all organized religion, that my commitment to God demands this of me…

Clearly, she’s a woman of intense principle. She’s leaving Christianity for a multitude of reasons, and as I indicated before — I think she just might have a very valid point. Just take a few basic examples of just how horrific “Christianity” has become in recent years. Of course, the institutionalized Catholic church has been replete with stories of molestation and abuse within the ranks of its priesthood. Truthfully, sexual abuse has been revealed to be just as common — if not more so — in evangelical churches. The reason that they’re not all over the headlines is because most of these churches are independent, and don’t have the hierarchy that is seen in the Catholic church:

Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.

It’s not just these skeletons in the closet that are disturbing when “Christianity” is discussed — let’s also keep in mind the fact that the “Church” (I use this word in the context of the church at large, not one particular denomination) is outright hostile to the world around it. Of course, this isn’t a new thing, either. Certain groups were hostile to the idea of ending slavery, racial integration, women in the army/workplace, and of course, civil rights. “Communism” was the great evil up until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Now they have “liberals” and the ultimate: “homosexuals.”

Don’t let the reality that we understand more and more about complex political issues and sexual orientation as each day passes confuse you — the venom and bile that’s ejected toward those two groups are downright poisonous. Clearly, liberals and homosexuals are their enemies. Pop quiz: what did Christ say to do for our enemies?

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matt 5:44 (NIV)

Okay, I know that’s a sore topic. I’ll move on. But is anyone even listening? Was Bradlee Dean listening to Christ back in May of this year when he said that Muslims are more “moral” that Christians because they’ll actually kill gays?

Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Dean said on YCR’s May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

“If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that,” Dean continued. “That is what you are seeing in America.”

Yes, Mr. Dean’s comment was part of the reason that Ms. Rice left Christianity. Sadly, not a day goes past where some Christian group isn’t talking about the evils of somethingorother, yet never once looking at themselves in the mirror. Thankfully, Dean has been very quickly dismissed as another hate monger in the brand of Fred Phelps and his “God Hates Fags” clan in Topeka, Kansas.

Unfortunately, though, these extremes aren’t all that’s out there. It’s the mainstream evangelical community that’s getting more and more brazen in their “boldness for Christ.” In the last few weeks, we’ve seen at least two counseling students in Masters degree programs that have filed suit because their schools wouldn’t let them “counsel” gays that they needed to change their sexual orientation. They were both ordered to endure diversity training, but instead they both sued. One has already lost. The other — well, let’s just say that the American Family Association is doing the “action alert” bit with her as some poor martyred soul (despite the fact that she is clearly going after the wrong career).

In this second case, Jennifer Keeton has filed suit against her school, Augusta State University, for discrimination. Why? She wants to be able to counsel students that they should change their sexual orientation — never mind the fact that children and teenagers are especially volatile regarding sexuality, and such “counseling” would actually do more harm than good.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Here’s the official policy of the American Counseling Association (the national board that establishes policy for counselors) regarding the farce that is “reparative therapy:”

The American Counseling Association has adopted a resolution that states that it: “Opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation.”

Of course, the good “Christian” attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund are fighting her case. They’ve already lost once, what’s one more?

Unfortunately, I could literally fill volumes with the kind of nonsense that has come out of the world of “Christianity.” Anne Rice has left “Christianity” for the sake of following Christ. It’s plainly obvious to me that she’s had plenty of good reason for doing exactly that — the question is how long it will take for the the “Church” to realize that it may very well have left Christ long ago?