August 15, 2013

Review: The Trial of Vanessa Anderson

The Trial of Vanessa Anderson is one of those books that makes you think and makes you question. It is a book that takes the climate of the times and speculates as to what could happen in the future. As a nation that has valued freedom of religion and speech, political correctness is poised to muzzle the freedoms that we love. And this is the basis for this speculative/near-future book by Thomas Williams.

Back Cover Copy: Under a newly passed civil rights law, single young schoolteacher Vanessa Anderson is charged with a hate crime for counseling a troubled student who wants to abandon her lesbianism. At first Vanessa, a committed Christian, is strongly supported by her church, friends, and others close to her. But as media sensationalism heats up and brands her as a bigoted fundamentalist homophobe, her supporters abandon her to protect themselves. With the full weight of the state against her, Vanessa’s case seems hopeless until highly successful attorney Brandon Locke, an ex-boyfriend from college days, offers to defend her. The only problem: he’s agnostic.

In spite of his agnosticism, Locke, who still loves Vanessa, mounts a brilliant defense in a trial reminiscent of the infamous Scopes “Monkey Trial.” With the help of the underground Christians, Locke uncovers suppressed evidence that leads to the surprising conclusion of the trial.

My Thoughts:  I'll admit that I was nervous about the subject matter, because so often Christians are portrayed as bigoted people who don't love as Christ does, but deeper into the book Williams shows that kind of love. Sin is sin, whether is it homosexuality or gossip or stealing or lying. We love the sinner no matter what the sin, and I'm so glad that Williams let this kind of love come through. 

This book is about the government having the power to take away the freedom of religion and speech.  A new law had just been passed making it illegal to try to change or counsel was deemed a hate crime to do so. Vanessa was counseling a student who came to her for help. She was teaching her biblical truths about homosexuality and was turned in for it.

Throughout the book, Vanessa is hit time and time again with hardship and obstacles from the very people she thought would have supported her 100 percent. At first I questioned the author in making the people close to her abandon her so thoroughly, but then I remembered that Jesus' disciples abandoned him and denied him when he was arrested and put on trial.

Vanessa's agnostic lawyer did a brilliant job in the courtroom and the surprising facts that he uncovers near the end of the trial made the book a page turner toward the end. I won't share all the twists and turns of the ending, because those surprising tidbits make for a great read.

In closing, I want to reiterate that this book is not a slam against homosexuality. Yes, it is a Christian book and is firm in following biblical truth and declaring sin as sin. But this book is really a warning of what could happen if Christian speech and actions are repressed by government. In the author's words..."I do not at all claim that the specific issues or events depicted in this novel predict the exact shape of the future. The issues may not be the stifling of speech against homosexuality. It could be gay marriage, abortion, taxation of churches, banning Christians from serving in elected office, or any number of issues being currently pushed by political statists."

Times are changing and persecution of Christians could be in our future...our near future. Have you thought about how you would hold up during times of persecution? Would you be like Jesus' disciples and deny Him? Or will you stand firm for Jesus?

You can purchase The Trial of Vanessa Anderson HERE for $3.99. It is sold as an ebook through Amazon.

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