Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Don't Drink, Don't Play Games Of Chance (Including Raffles). What Do You Do?

It seems that the sales of religious books, in America, are booming. I'm sure there are plentiful reasons for. I can think of a few snarky ones right off the top of my head, including the strange need Americans seem to have for ostentatious displays of piety, despite, you know, the Bible mentioning that that sort of thing is wrong:
And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

-- Matthew 6:5-6

But it's not for me to tell people which sections of the Bible to pick and choose when they create their own personal interpretation of it (you know it's amazing how many miss these bits entirely, but that's for another day).

The religious books article has this to say about the boom, anyway:
[W]hile not all Christians were Bush voters, there was a common denominator linking politics and reading habits.

"The kind of things that make George Bush reassuring also make them find Christian fiction reassuring," she said.

I'm not sure how "fiction" was emphasized in that quote, but for the sake of all involved I'm hoping an eyebrow was so arched the speaker got cramp of the forehead, or it may be that this was said before the latest approval ratings were published...

"My first thought was Christian girls just want to have fun too, so why not do a variant of chick lit," Golan said.

Guidelines for authors are strict: "The stories may not include alcohol consumption by Christian characters, dancing, card playing, gambling or games of chance (including raffles), explicit scatological terms, hero and heroine remaining overnight together alone, Halloween celebrations or magic or the mention of intimate body parts."

You know if they ban DVDs and the Blues that's my whole private and social life gone in one paragraph, especially the "explicit scatological terms", because having an Austrian shelf-toilet means I barely talk about anything else. Who is really going to be reading this? I mean there's fiction and then there's fiction. According Wikipedia one of these is:
Fiction is the term used to describe works of the imagination. This is in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims about reality. A large part of the appeal of fiction is its ability to evoke the entire spectrum of human emotions: to distract our minds, to give us hope in times of despair, to make us laugh, or to let us experience empathy without attachment.

Which is as good a description as any and the guidelines above are just a complete denial of reality. That kind of vindicates the second quote, doesn't it?

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