Book Warning Labels: Should "Christian Fiction" be Labeled as Christian?

I came across an interesting entry on another blog last week and it’s been kinda ringing in the back of my head. Rachelle Gardner (rachellegardner.com) posed this to her readers last week:
There has been a controversy brewing underground for awhile now, ever since publishers started promoting books by offering a limited-time free download. Many of the Christian publishers have done these promotions, but whenever Christian novels are promoted on Amazon as free downloads, many people download them without realizing they’re Christian. They start reading and when they realize it’s “Christian” they become enraged. They feel like they were hoodwinked somehow. And then they leave 1-star, angry reviews on Amazon. 


My initial reaction was ok, well they read something they didn’t like. They didn’t like the theme. Is it really necessary to drop the 1 star bomb on an author because they are non-Christian? Rachelle continues to say this:

I know a lot of Christians think it’s a real shame that people are responding this way. But I have to say, I’m not surprised. To understand what I mean, just imagine if the tables were turned. You are a Christian and you download a free book (or worse, pay good money for a book), which you then discover contains a storyline that strongly promotes the Muslim faith, clearly saying Islam is the one true faith and without it, you’re doomed. I imagine you’d be upset. You’d feel disrespected as a reader. You’d feel tricked into buying something that goes against what you believe; you may even worry that simply reading it was dangerous for you.
I still don’t necessarily agree with that. There have been times when I have picked up a book, started reading it and just didn’t like where it was going. I just put it away or gave it to someone else. I don’t think hoodwinked is a right word. Surprised maybe but no one put a gun to your head to buy the book. The whole point about reading a book is because you don’t know what it’s about. You want to see what the author has planned for you as the story progresses. You may or may not like it. That’s why the book market is so vast – it’s a process of elimination. And when you find one that really tickles your fancy, you’re excited about it!
I guess I’m on my soapbox this morning because I have some Christian images and some Christian ideas/themes. But it’s not a blatant sermon saying that if you don’t believe in Christ, you are going to hell. It’s a different way to see angels and demons (and things in between) and how their eternal battles are felt in the real world. It’s (or is becoming) a bit more fantasy as I write/edit but a great journey is the main basis of the story. A story of a girl going in adulthood who needs to determine where her life is going; whether she is going to tap into a gift predestined to save the world.
I don’t want my potential readers be turned away from a story because some angry people who simply see the word heaven and decide that I’m preaching to them. I want to craft a story that appeals to everyone – Christian and non-Christians.
I’m interested in what you guys think. Do you agree with Rachelle – if there is a remote idea of a religion in a book, do you want to a warning before hand?

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