Authors Behaving Badly Episode #3: Jan Butler
Hey, a special Saturday edition of Authors Behaving Badly. We did our level best to simply ignore the rantings of a small minority, but with the recent post by Ms. Butler, we had to send our letter of commiseration. For those who aren’t in the know, Jan Butler is a member of RWA and an inspirational author. Last month she called for RWA to take a stance against romances that feature homosexual or polyamorous relationships concluding that those romances are responsible for pedophillia and other sexually deviant behavior. Bloggers like Kate Rothwell, Sybil, and the Smart Bitches responded. Then Ms. Butler responded to the bloggers accusing those who disagreed as attempting to stamp down her constitutional right to free speech. Karen Scott, the Smart Bitches, and others blogged but I sense that they just don’t get poor Jan. Thus, our special Saturday edition of Authors Behaving Badly.
Dear Ms. Butler:
I understand where you are coming from. I really do. But the problem in your argument is that you failed to take into account all the other moral deviants that are within the RWA. Because religion, err faith, is apparently what you are using to determine the guidelines of RWA, I can’t help but notice that in excluding those insidious romances featuring homosexual or polyamorous relationships that you forgot some huge categories that are considered to be sins in the Bible and by definition are leading to moral decline.
As a Christian, one of the first precepts is no sex before marriage right? Correspondingly, we should eliminate all those books where the characters are engaging in sex before their vows. I would include books by Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I know that their characters are constantly sexing it up before marriage. Those harlots.
The stories that feature men having sex with prostitutes are out. Also books which portray heroes who only sleep with married women (particularly those rakes). I say any book featuring a rake, by the very definition, has to be excluded. We should revoke the membership of Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney, and Jo Beverly.
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:16 )
Let’s not forget the golden rule: love your neighbor as yourself. Christ said that was one of the most important commandments. I think that Harlequin should be pushed out of the RWA for having the audacity to continue to publish those books that feature the secret baby because those babies are being born out of wedlock and in secret. Those are two violations of the Bible, for sure. And those bosses who are constantly sexually harassing their secretaries? That can’t be loving your neighbor as yourself, can it?
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (NAS, Mark 12:28-31)
Oh, and I was just re-reading this story published by Harlequin called Teller of Tales by Laurell Ames which features a woman masquerading as a man who has sex with a man out of wedlock. And she has no intention of marrying him! Holy cow. The sins in this book. It was published in the 90s. I can really see the link between books like this and the rise of the liberal majority.
The seemingly sweet and innocent Harlequin Presents are rife with heroes lusting in the hearts after the heroines. We both know, Jan, that is SIN. Those books featuring sinful acts and sinful people need to be pushed outside the RWA umbrella.
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28).
I am not certain what is left. Oh, your books? Wow, I have to give you some major props here because originally I thought your opinion was just the crazy thoughts of a Fundamentalist who has spent too much time in the tent. (I should know. I grew up in one). Now I see it is a clever scheme that you have concocted to get the RWA to approve only your books. I hate to break it to you, though, because RWA has very little influence on the reading habits of “actual” readers in the “real” world, even though the majority of those readers may be termed “conservatives.”
See, Ms. Butler, people are eviscerating your argument, not because they hate you, the person, but because they hate your arbitrary arguments. You should understand this concept. After all, God is all about hating the act and not the actor. Your argument is specious because it lacks consistency and supportable facts. By arguing for the exclusion of just one type of romance on the basis that it is sinful or leading to the moral decay of our society, it ignores all the other romances responsible for the high divorce rate, adultery, abuse of children, spousal abuse, and the like.
If you would just frame your argument correctly, there would be no cogent rebuttal. To wit: RWA should only include inspirational romances that feature no cussing, no sex, no mental lusting, no negative thoughts, no envy, no gluttony, no treating your neighbor poorly, no haughtiness, no liars, no one with a wicked heart. Have I forgotten anything? Anyway, like I said before, I know where you are coming from. I don’t agree with it, but I get that you want to impose your definition of morality on the rest of us romance readers.
Oh, and regarding your accusation that the individuals who disagree with you are children (ad hominem attack, btw), you should know that the hallmark of a child’s actions are that they believe that they can do things without regard for the consequences. Ultimately that is what you forget in your post. No one says you can’t say what you want. We just reserve the right to call your opinions hateful, exclusionary and wrong. See: Action = Consequence. Let me leave you with one last biblical quote:
“When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” I Cor. xiii. 11.