What Scares Thriller Writers? Author James Renner

What Scares Thriller Author – James Renner?

I’ve hunted real life serial killers and I’ve written mysteries about imaginary demons, but there’s nothing that scares me quite like fundamentalists. I’m not talking about those who have faith in a higher being. I think there’s enough evidence of design in the universe to support the existence—and necessity—of a God. What I’m talking about is the sort of person who believes that metaphors written in great books thousands of years ago have more validity than proven truth, the kind that believe religious law supersedes secular law.

My wife works in the public school system in Ohio. I kid you not, there’s a science teacher at her school that does not believe in evolution, another who believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Those adults teach your kids and even though they surely avoid such discussions in class, it’s hard to believe their fundamentalist ideas don’t work their way into conversation on occasion. Five miles from my house is a Creationist museum. Out of curiosity, I checked it out. They have a display devoted to the belief that cowboys hunted dinosaurs to extinction in the 1800s. While I was there, a busload of charter school kids pulled up.

One needs only to turn on the television to see the danger of blind faith over truth. Fundamentalist Muslims killing Christians for burning the Koran. Fundamentalist Christians killing Muslims for being Muslim. At the moment, the Republican leadership is close to giving their nomination for President to a fundamentalist Protestant who attacked Obama for having “phony theology.” Because he believes in Global Warming? Because he believes women should be able to choose what happens to their bodies?

There was this guy from my neck of the woods, a fundamentalist Mormon named Jeffrey Lundgren. He told his followers, twenty ordinary folk, the kind that live in the suburbs beside you, that the end times were coming and they had to defeat some demons. One night he called for a sacrifice. He and his church murdered an entire family and buried them under a barn on Lundgren’s property; parents, two girls and a boy.

The problem is, you can’t tell who is a fundamentalist just by looking at them. And, like Roddy Piper in They Live, I know they’re everywhere and all around us, except nobody seems to care. They’re teachers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, carpenters.

Sometimes when I drop my kid off for pre-school, I think about this. Might I come to pick him up extra early one day and surprise some teacher leading a discussion on animal sacrifice to a bunch of four year olds? That’s the stuff that keeps me awake at night.

Editor’s Note: James Renner is the author of the just released The Man from Primrose Lane. He spends his spare time hunting serial killers and writing about his adventures. James recently signed a two-book deal with Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for a couple of novels: The Man from Primrose Lane and The Great Forgetting (release tentatively set for 2013). You can learn more about James by visiting his website. 

 

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