Anne Rice: “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist.”

Huge news this week from author Anne Rice: she’s quitting Christianity. Rice made the statement via a series of Facebook status updates on Wednesday:

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.

“Rice wrote Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, a memoir about her own conversion to Christianity—making the post a bit more surprising,” comments GalleyCat’s Jason Boog.

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. 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.

“Rice’s repudiation of Christianity is a twofold clarion call,” explains Michael Rowe, in Friday’s Huffington Post, “one that should not be written off as a publicity stunt by a bestselling author, or condescendingly dismissed by the Evangelical establishment.”

UPDATE: The AP spoke with Rice via phone:

Rice said she had been having doubts for the past two to three years. She was troubled by the child abuse scandals in the church, and the church’s defensive reaction, and by the ex-communication of Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and hospital administrator who had approved an abortion for a woman whose life was in danger.

“I believed for a long time that the differences, the quarrels among Christians didn’t matter a lot for the individual, that you live your life and stay out of it. But then I began to realize that it wasn’t an easy thing to do,” said Rice, speaking from her home near Palm Springs, Calif. “I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t make this declaration, I was going to lose my mind.”

Rice said she is a Democrat who supports the health care legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama and believes gay marriage inevitably will be permitted throughout the country. Although no longer part of any denomination, she remains a believer and continues to read theology and post Biblical passages on her Facebook page. She has no immediate plans to write about her leaving the church and will continue with her metaphysical fiction series, “Songs of the Seraphim.”

Rice will not be taking up vampires again, but she said she is a big fan of the HBO series “True Blood,” enjoyed the first two “Twilight” movies (she has yet to read any of the Stephenie Meyer novels) and is interested in seeing her most famous character, the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, return to the screen.

“We’re in talks about it,” she said. “But then we’ve always been in talks about it. Hope springs eternal in California.”