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BOW Award Strikes Close to Home

This week's BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award hits a little too close to home.  The news item first appeared in the November 2008 issue of Locus, which for those of you who don't know, is the self-described "magazine of the science fiction & fantasy field."  In their "People and Publishing" section, under "Milestones" comes this little tidbit:

"J.F. Lewis was excommunicated from this church in response to his debut vampire novel Staked."

I know J.F. Lewis as Jeremy Lewis.  He lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and we frequent many of the same cons in the Southeast.  Jeremy is as nice a guy as you'd ever want to meet, and I imagine that his new book, out from Pocket  Books, is very good.  For more on the circumstances of Jeremy's excommunication, visit the site of Jackie Kessler, one of my cyber-buddies from SFNovelists.

Obviously a church is free to do whatever it wants, but in this case I think it's pretty clear that they've crossed the line.  According to Jeremy, his church elders believed that "by writing the book, I committed the sins contained within it."  They demanded that he renounce the book, apologize for writing it, and stop promoting it.  When he refused they kicked him out.

This is so uncool on so many levels I'm not even sure where to begin.  Don't the church elders understand the meaning of the word "fiction"?  Don't they understand that having morally flawed characters move beyond their moral failings can actually provide readers with a powerful message?  Don't they see the dangers inherent in this kind of faith-based censorship?

Apparently the answers are no, no, and no.  So, for their contemptible treatment of fellow author J.F. Lewis, this week's BOW Award goes to the elders of his church (out of respect for Jeremy and consideration of the church itself, I won't publish the church's name here).  Take a BOW there folks; you've earned it.  And here's hoping that your shameful treatment of Jeremy translates into massive sales for Staked.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
crazywritergirl
Nov. 29th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Jesus was cool enough to hang with prostitutes and tax collectors, but a church can decide that you're "out" just because of what you write? This is unreal. It would have blindsided me, for sure. Then I would become seriously furious. Ask me to renounce my work and apologize for writing it? Get real.

Oh yeah, the Church Elders definitely deserve this award. While they're basking in the glow of their "righteous decision", maybe they outta go back to the Bible. Jesus preached tolerance. Apparently they missed that part.A couple of STAKED will be hitting my TBR pile very soon.

davidbcoe
Nov. 29th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Amen.
sleigh
Nov. 30th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
On the other hand, I think having a church (the bigger the better) publicly and loudly condemn my book would be the best publicity I could get for it. I once even sent one of my books (THE BONES OF GOD) to Jerry Falwell, hoping he'd feel the need to burn hundreds of copies of it.
davidbcoe
Nov. 30th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, publicity wise this is a pretty good situation for him. And the story seems to be making the rounds in the blogosphere.
hedwig_snowy
Nov. 30th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Good thing we elected Obama. It puts off a law declaring a "National Book Burning Day"... Let's see... first we get rid of any that has any magic... then we get rid of those that use the word Satan/Devil/etc...excluding the Bible, of course...and then we get rid of the ones that WE decide are blasphemous...Koran...Torah...Book of Mormon...finally, we get rid of all those nasty science books...can't be teaching our kids that filth!

Churches, just like other 'businesses' can do virtually anything they want. Still, we don't have to be their customers. And then, fairly soon, they go out of business...

Heading over to Amazon to check out his book...
davidbcoe
Nov. 30th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. Do buy the book. Let's voice our displeasure the way folks like this understand -- with our wallets.
markwise
Dec. 1st, 2008 05:25 am (UTC)
It's churches like this one who give the rest of them a bad name. They need to get their collective heads out of the Dark Ages and realize that the Inquisition is over.

davidbcoe
Dec. 1st, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well said.
waynemccalla
Dec. 1st, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
I have read Jeremy's novel "Staked" and I enjoyed it very much. A take off from the "normal" vampire books.
I met him at DragonCon last year and listened to him on a panel and thought I would check out his book and I am glad I did.
davidbcoe
Dec. 1st, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, Wayne. As I say in the post, I think Jeremy is as nice a guy as a person is likely to meet. He's also bright, articulate, and a great spokesman for his books.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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