Book Review: Letters to Christian Leaders – A Hatchet Job
By Ryan Sutter
Letters to Christian Leaders
by Jake Farr-Wharton, ©2011
Dangerous Little Books
When I was asked to review the book “Letters to Christian Leaders” by Jake Farr-Wharton I was happy to do so. The premise of the book, a series of letters to leading Christian cultural figures, sounded potentially interesting. I read the book jacket and was a little concerned by the claim that it contained a “dash of toilet humor” but assumed it was just going to take a witty, sarcastic, or generally snarky tone.
That much is true. The tone of the book is definitely snarky, but frankly, it goes so far beyond snarky that the word fails to do the book justice. This book doesn’t contain a “dash” of toilet humor, the book is essentially an endless tirade of abuse, profanity, and smugness. The author takes every opportunity to heap bile upon the targets of his chapters, mixing in actual facts here and there but generally just telling such Christian luminaries as Kirk Cameron, Roberta Combs, Pat Robertson, and Dinesh D’souza how stupid and pathetic they are. It’s like reading a book-length Internet rant written by a foul-mouthed 15 year old.
The tone and quality of writing are likely to turn off most rational readers and probably every Christian reader. In addition, the book is shoddily edited and assembled. Proofreading errors abound (President “Barak” Obama features heavily in the first chapter). Freethought and liberal politics are strongly intertwined with a subsequent dilution of the message of the book. It is hard to tell if this is an anti-right-wing culture war book or an anti-Christianity book. It is as if the author has forgotten that there are Christians of all political persuasions.
To summarize: Letters to Christian Leaders is a sloppily written, weakly researched, profanity laced, fundamentally misguided book that, in my opinion, does more harm than good in the battle to free minds from enslavement to religion. If it were funny, that would be something, but unless you find references to bodily orifices inherently funny, you’d be better off with Lewis Black, George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, Penn Jillette… basically anybody else.