It's not her faith in God, however, that she's renouncing. It's church organization.
"I remain committed to Christ as always," she explained further on Facebook, "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 made headlines in 1998 when – already famous as the author of vampire, witchcraft, and erotic fiction – she returned to Roman Catholicism, her childhood faith. In her 2008 memoir, "Called Out of Darkness," she wrote: "In the moment of surrender, I let go of all the theological or social questions which had kept me from [God] for countless years. I simply let them go. There was the sense, profound and wordless, that if He knew everything I did not have to know everything, and that, in seeking to know everything, I’d been, all of my life, missing the entire point."
Now, however, Rice says that she refuses to be "anti-gay … anti-feminist" and "anti-artificial birth control."
How will her fans react? Some, undoubtedly, will be distressed. On The Huffington Post, however, Michael Rowe writes that, in his estimate, "in leaving Christianity and rejecting its contemporary manifestation as codified ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance, Rice has paradoxically moved herself closer to the essence of Christ's teachings than perhaps at any other time in her life."
Rowe quotes John 13:35: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
"The title 'Christian,' in short," he writes, "is meaningless in and of itself – especially without love."
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.