For anyone who doesn’t know, today was supposed to be the end of the world…according to a very small group of people following the teachings of a man named Harold Camping. I first became acquainted with the word “rapture” in college, as the Church of Christ beliefs (with which I grew up) never said anything about Christ’s followers floating to Heaven. I never read the “Left Behind” series – though I have read something by LaHaye regarding the role of women in marriage, and that pissed me off so much I literally chucked it across the room.
Many Christians believe in the Rapture, but Camping’s predictions weren’t embraced by the Christian community. Yes, there were believers…the same way some self-proclaimed Mormons embrace polygamy, and the way others think we were planted here by aliens. Most people have no qualms belittling a religion to which they don’t subscribe, and even more can find humor in the failings of their own beliefs.
It’s come to my attention that poking fun at the Rapture that Wasn’t might be a bad showing of an author, and on a purely observational level, I suppose I can understand why. The problem, though, is no matter what you do or say, whatever opinion you have on anything, be it religion, politics, what’s for dinner, someone is always, always, always going to disagree with you. Heck, if you’re on Twitter talking about how much you love steak and how you can’t understand anyone who would give up meat, you run the risk of offending a vegan. Supports of PETA don’t even want you owning animals, so don’t talk about Fluffy. Those paranormal authors who write about witches could be, in fact, upsetting the Wiccan community. We just don’t know.
This is the Internet, and nothing – nothing – is sacred. I don’t care who you are.
Does that mean you should go out of your way to knowingly offend someone? Of course not. If I ever have or ever do offend someone, I really want to know so I can apologize. I want to be able to say, “I was wrong” or “I don’t agree with you, but I sincerely apologize if anything I said upset you in any way. It was not my intention.” I don’t want my Christian readers to feel they can’t say anything to me because I am an atheist. Trust me, I don’t bite.
I was honestly very concerned when Lost Wages of Sin debuted. I don’t believe it’s sacrilegious, but I don’t adhere to any of the philosophies therein. My grandparents, however, would likely be more hurt at the religious content than the sexual content (which they would likewise oppose). I have a healthy respect for Christianity, and indeed all religions…but they just aren’t sacred to me, and they’re not sacred to a lot of people. And if something amuses me, like the Rapture that Wasn’t, I will tweet. Someone might be offended. If that’s the case, talk to me directly. I will apologize. Probably at least twenty times.
What strikes me about this situation is the idea of what is appropriate versus what is not. Have any of you been on Twitter recently? The things discussed on a day-to-day basis could make a sailor blush. I find it amusing that we can discuss sex, graphically, and brush it off with “I write erotic romance” without taking into account those who might be offended. Yes, I write erotic romance, and discussing sex doesn’t bother me, but I also don’t want to become a poster child for those dissenters that Judy Mays faced regarding her career. We can also discuss Authors Behaving Badly – going viral and exploding over negative reviews and how Author X has ruined her career. We can discuss Greek Mythology, make fun of Tom Cruise, laugh at Mel Gibson, and we don’t care what they or similar subscribers to those beliefs think, but when it comes to This Important Thing, making jokes isn’t allowed?
Sorry. I’m calling bullshit.
Understand: I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to offend anyone. I don’t say things to get a rise out of people, and I tend to shy from confrontation because this life is precious and I want to spend it doing other things, not arguing about something about which there will never be a change of mind. If I do offend someone, please know it wasn’t by design, and please contact me so I can apologize. I hate knowing I have hurt someone, and will likely feel bad about it long after you’ve moved onto other things. On the same note, though, I won’t apologize for being who I am. I am opinionated and outspoken, and I occasionally open my mouth and insert my foot. It happens. I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last…but I won’t get offended by someone doing or saying something that doesn’t coincide with what I think is ethical. Unless, you know, a crime of some sort is involved.
For the record: I, Rosalie Stanton, survived the Rapture.