Why My Books are Religiously Neutral

Religious SymbolsSomeone recently asked me a very interesting question.  She wanted to know if The Reunion was a Christian-oriented romance book. I told her no, it was not, and my reason is because I want readers of all faiths and backgrounds to read, and enjoy, The Reunion, along with my other books.

There are some authors out there who, regardless of their genre, write novels geared toward readers of their faith.  For example, at a book signing I did last year, I met Mormon author.  She informed me, quite matter-of-factly, that her romance books were LDS romance books. I looked at the covers, and sure ‘nuf, the words, “LDS Romance,” were included in the subtitles of her books. Since I’m not Mormon, she kind of looked down on me, as if I had two heads or something.

I’m pleased she found a faith that she believes strongly in, and if her religion enhances her life for the better then I’m all for it.  After all, this is America, and our country was founded on the concept of freedom of religion.  However, from a book marketing point of view, she was limiting the scope of her readership to other Mormons, so her books would only be read, or appreciated, by a small percentage of the population.

One of the things that makes America great is the diversity of faiths among its people, and  I want Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, Wiccans, even agnostics and atheists, to be able to read and enjoy my books.  Yes, my characters are all believers, but none are churchgoers.  Again, I don’t want to endorse one religion over another.  Any references made to God in my books are very general, and are stated with phrases such as, “we’ll all say a prayer that he’ll be be found soon, safe and sound.”

I admit I am more spiritual than religious, meaning I believe in God, but I don’t follow the dogma of any particular church.  My mother was a non-practicing Northern Baptist, and my father was New Age, long before Shirley MacLaine came along and popularized it.  My parents weren’t churchgoers, so I didn’t attend Sunday school, and I’ll admit that as an adult, whenever I joined a church, regardless of the denomination, I never stayed very long because I got turned off by the inevitable back-biting and politicking going on amongst the various members.  My own beliefs are a blend of New Age and Christian, and I’ve never found a church were both schools of thought were welcome.  (The Unity faith came the closest, but I don’t agree with all of their teachings either.)

So there you have it.  While I have my own set of beliefs, I don’t use my books to proselytize or endorse any particular religion.  I’ll leave that to the theologians.

MM