Christian Propaganda: A Case Study
The other day I pointed out and we discussed the practice of some on Amazon to give very poor reviews based solely on the fact that a book was Christian fiction . . . or as it is so often called in these reviews “CHRISTIAN propaganda.”
Here is a case study of one book that has come under fire for being said Christian propaganda.
In December, Tyndale House Publishers decided to offer Tom Pawlik’s book Vanish as a free Kindle download to ramp up exposure for it and its sequel, Valley of the Shadow. Soon after, the reviews started pouring in, most good, some just awful. The funny thing is, the vast majority of the awful reviews (1- and 2-star reviews) are based on the fact that the purchaser (can you even say purchaser since it was a FREE download) was unaware that Vanish is Christian fiction and felt totally duped and violated for having to succumb to Tom’s Christian propaganda.
And when I say vast majority, that’s exactly what I mean. To be exact, as of the writing of this post, there are 18 1-star reviews, 17 of them are based on the book being propaganda. There are 16 2-star reviews, 11 of them due to it being Christian fiction. By the time we hit the 3-star reviews things start normalizing a bit. Of the 12 3-star reviews, only 4 were based on the book’s Christian themes. Amazing? Here are some excerpts from some reviews:
Disappointment does not come close to the actual feeling I encountered when I realized this book was an entire ruse for Christian fanatics. This was beyond ridiculous.
This was an enjoyable thriller for the most part, until at the end when it became apparent that the book was not-so-subtle Christian propaganda.
At about 3/4 of the book, the big reveal occurs … that this book is really going to be a bunch of religious ramblings.
I can’t believe I got sucked into two of these “slip the fundamentalist Christian message into the last few pages of a thriller” scams being offered free on the Kindle store.
I don’t have a problem with any religion that a person chooses but I don’t like being duped into reading religious propoganda.
This novel is simply Christian propaganda cleverly disguised as a thriller.
Ugh! What PROPAGANDA! Not even worth the $0.00 pricetag.
I think you get the point.
Now, look, I totally defend these indivuals’ right to review how they want to. I’m not looking to censor or dampen free speech. That isn’t what this is about. It’s about judging a book by its artistic quality and showing a little objectivity (and how about a little intelligence along the way).
Some of the reviewers said they thought the book should have a disclaimer on it: Christian book! Really? Should novels that push a humanistic world view or even anti-Christian message (ie. The Davinci Code) have similar disclaimers?
To his credit, Tom Pawlik is taking all this in stride. I asked him about it and he said that while he found the reviews a bit discouraging at first he can handle a few snarky remarks. He has no intention of letting a few bad reviews stop him from writing. Good for you, Tom.
And by the way, Vanish has gotten some very good reviews as well, 61 to be exact (4- and 5-star reviews).
So this brings up a question: Should Christian fiction sold on Amazon have some kind of disclaimer so the unsuspecting reader doesn’t get duped into reading a bunch of Christian propaganda? What do you think?