I heard author Ann Rice interviewed on NPR the other day, as she explained why she had given up on Christianity and was ready to find another way. Her accompanying online manifesto was passionate and clear: ``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.''
I thought of going to my computer and writing my hallelujahs at that moment. Thankfully, I was distracted. I could not have competed with Pulitzer Prize-winner Leonard Pitts, who addressed the problem of Christianity in modern society. Here's an excerpt.
Organized religion, Christianity in particular, is on the decline, and it has no one to blame but itself: It traded moral authority for political power.
To put that another way: The Christian Bible contains numerous exhortations to serve those who are wretched and poor, to anger slowly and forgive promptly, to walk through this life in humility and faith. The word ``Republican'' does not appear in the book. Not once.
Yet somehow in the last 30 years, people of faith were hustled and hoodwinked into regarding the GOP platform as a lost gospel.
Somehow, low taxes for the wealthy and deregulation of industry became the very message of Christ. Somehow, hostility to science, gays, Muslims and immigrants became the very meaning of faith. And somehow Christianity became — or at least, came to seem — a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.
Consider that, after the election of 2004, a church in North Carolina made news for kicking out nine congregants because they committed the un-Christian act of . . . voting for Democrat John Kerry.
Who can blame people for saying, If that's faith, count me out. Has atheism ever had a better salesman than Jerry Falwell blaming the Sept. 11 attacks on the ACLU or Pat Robertson laying Haiti's earthquake off on an ancient curse?