There’s a big thread going at Dear Author about how RWA shouldn’t hate the erotic. I expressed the idea that it’s wrong for people who don’t want to judge inspirational romances to have to (when they haven’t signed up for them), just as conservative readers shouldn’t have to judge strong sexual content, should they prefer not to. I’m totally on board with that. I don’t think anyone should have read something they find objectionable. (I do wonder, however, if the folks who refuse to read sex ever read murder mysteries, and if so, why is murder okay, but sex is not? That’s a different post.)
My proposed solution was a box indicating a book contains one or the other, though I suppose it’s theoretically possible it could be both. (I’d sort of like to read that one. And any non-Christian inspie, too. I’d be intrigued with a Judaic romance or a Wiccan one. I’ve just had my fill of traditional Christian values.) Note: that’s not a condemnation of anyone else’s beliefs or way of life.
It’s only reflection of my personal taste. So how come when I say I’d rather not read an inspie entered in the historical category it becomes a lack of respect for all Christians? Now I’ll grant you my initial tone was flip, but I’m pretty much that way on all topics. I very seldom get all-the-way-down-to-the-bone serious about anything (and I tend to think people who are 100% earnest are a bit tiresome). But that’s neither here, nor there.
The reason I’ve brought this to my blog is: I’m paying for the bandwidth, so I feel free to ramble here. And this is the thing–it’s very hard to have this discussion because so many people seem to internalize “does not want to read inspies” as “hates / condemns all Christians.” Personally, I cannot make the leap, myself. I’ve never heard an erotic romance author say, “You just hate all the people who have sex because you’re not allowed to!” Now there have been other bits of silliness there, like, “you’re just jealous” or “you’re too stodgy to appreciate my genius” but those are different criticisms, I think.
I’m thinking in particular about one objection I read to erotic content on an RWA loop. Unfortunately, I can’t share it with you, but if I could (and I changed all the hate-language to a religious counterpoint), I would be lynched, no question. And yet it’s okay to say the opposite in reverse? Since when does not wanting to read a book equate to religious persecution? That might even make sense, if Christianity were still a minor religion. I could understand the cry of persecution, if the Wiccans were rallying behind it. But this kneejerk yell of prejudice puzzles me.
I am not interested in reading a book that sets forth certain values as the definite ideal. I am not interested in a book that tells me how I should approach my spirituality (and I was never good at coloring in the lines either). That doesn’t mean I don’t wish everyone else well who has found joy and peace in organized religion. Me, I have too many questions. Too many things don’t make sense. The rules that are set forth, many of them, seem designed to enrich the church’s power base, not improve my soul. It seemed predicated on fear of punishment, which is not the way I want to live. I would rather do good and be kind because I want to, not because I fear burning in eternal flames. I don’t enjoy people who believe their way is the only way, and if I am being completely candid, I have never had a Buddhist come knocking at my door to interrupt my workday and harangue me on the state of my soul. That said, I recognize those “bad encounters” I’ve had with organized [Christian] religion don’t encompass the full picture.
And I think every person should pursue the path that makes them happy, and it harm none. That doesn’t make me Wiccan. I am what I am, and I’m not going to find my faith depicted in a book. I would rather read about other things and let my faith be private. Why is that so wrong?