There’s something I alluded to in my Big Idea essay that I meant to expand upon. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit the theme of the essay, so I’m inflicting it on you here.
Writers, do not make your vampires cringe away from/burn at the touch of crosses and crucifixes.
Why? Well, let’s talk about honor killings. Seriously.
In Jordan, as much as one-third of the murders of women are honor killings. Women who are raped are not treated as victims–they’re treated like criminals and killed.
In our own culture, we’re still trying to get past the idea that women are at least partly-responsible for sexual assaults against them. We still still have people who want to what a woman was wearing or what she did to cause the assault. It’s taking a long time to excise that attitude from our culture, but I like to think that most people, if they stop to think about it, understand that you don’t blame the victim.
And here’s why I think these two topics are related: You (man or woman) are walking home from work at night when someone jumps out of an alley, drags you in and kills you by draining your blood. Or maybe you (man or woman) meet someone sexy and interesting and decide to invite them back to your place; once there, things go way too far and you end up the victim of an attack.
And how does God treat you afterwards? God burns you every time you touch one of his symbols.
I know, it’s a trivial thing, really. It’s a silly vampire story, and it isn’t a patch on the real misery real victims endure. Still, it’s a relic of an older, awful time, when crime victims were held at least partly culpable for their victimization. It enshrines a culture where the highest, most exalted being repudiates someone because of a thing they had no control over, because of a choice and an action that fell on someone else.
It turns God into a blame-the-victim asshole. Really, the Supreme Deity really ought to get his public relations department to work on this.
If I weren’t an atheist, I’d be seriously annoyed. As an atheist, I consider it simply inconsistent characterization and a cultural relic of awful times. Also as an atheist, I have to admit that, while I consider vampires dangerous and scary, I don’t think of them as “evil.” Certainly not more evil than a shark or a tiger–they’re hungry, and people are their prey. As soon as The Lord starts turning away crocodiles with the power of faith, I’ll accept it with vampires.
So, God=one of the good guys. In theory, at least, right? Then maybe he should stop setting fire to crime victims who come too near him in our stories.