Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC, describes itself on its website as “a Christian-based, family owned mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover and market unknown authors.” Writer Beware ®, on the other hand is a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America, that shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. They also provide industry news, writing advice, and a special focus on the wacky things that happen at the fringes of the publishing world. Tate gets two thumbs down from Writer Beware who puts it on their top ten list of the worst of the worst publishers in the industry. Is this sacrilege? Blasphemy? Unrighteous indignation? Or just so-called conservative bashing by one of the devil’s liberal legions?
In order to find plausible answers to these questions and to, perhaps surreptitiously, also discover the God particle from which literature originates, we need to play with fire and create a toxic stew which includes the taste bud-searing ingredients of politics, religion, and literary criticism. Feel free to add salt and/or pepper if necessary to accommodate your palate.
One of Tate’s submission guidelines is that your manuscript not be “weak in faith.” Oh ye of little understanding! Don’t you comprehend that Christan fiction (a contradiction of terms) must be conservative, family friendly, free of vulgarity, sexuality, and firmly based upon a Gospel-centered theme? But hold on. Wait just a damn minute. What about the Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not lie? After all, isn’t that what fiction is? A lie? A yarn? A tantalizing spin on truth that seduces the reader into a willing suspension of disbelief? Conservatives (and I use this term in the moral sense) would have to agree if they practice what they preach. Therefore, any novel that is not fact-based and backed up with credible notation has to be a sleight of hand, carefully inspired by Satan who the Bible calls “the father of all lies” in John 8:44 (NLT). Maybe not, if there’s money to be made.
I can now hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth through cyberspace by Christian readers along with muted curses such as “Marxist! Progressive liberal son of a…” So before I continue, let me add this disingenuous defense of my unimportant perspective as a speck of breathing dust in the vast universe: I read the Bible daily and I have also read many scholarly works by Christian apologetic authors such as Josh McDowell and Alva J. McClain. Scripture is wonderful. It contains themes that any littérateur would do well to embrace and incorporate into their knowledge base, including love, war, death, sex, plague, pestilence, redemption, prophecy, and apocalypse–topics which Tate would avoid publishing with a 10 foot pole made of thousand dollar bills. So which faith filter do their editors use in scanning potential manuscripts for publication? Submit a query letter and find out for yourself.
On the other hand, I also spent an entire summer reading Leszek Kolakowski’s, Main Currents of Marxism, considered by many critics to be the definitive analysis of this often misunderstood and complex philosophical theory which has changed the course of modern history in more ways than one. My conclusion is that Marxism in its purest sense has absolutely nothing to do with moral liberalism, licentiousness, homosexuality, or any other societal malady that political Christian conservatives claim it does. Marxism is to economy as what the bible is to spirituality–a framework that provides discerning thinkers with enough wiggle room to come to their own, often conflicting, position regarding God, man, and society.
And then there’s Amway. The American Way. A business model agreeable to conservatives, liberals, god fearing folks, and atheists alike. That’s one one thing that almost everyone, including Tate Publishing, can have strong faith in without fear of eternal damnation or earthly condemnation–In God We Trust. A motto stamped onto American currency and passed without guilt from hand to hand every minute of every day.