I was reading an interesting book recently, a fantasy published by Bethany House, and I noticed I was way more critical of the underlying ideas than if I had been reading a book from a secular publishing house and then found out the author was a Christian. That was not something I wanted to discover about myself.
I don't want to just turn off my critical thinking skills
if a book is from a Christian publisher. That can happen. You just
assume that you and the author agree, and you gloss over stuff that
would raise a red flag if the book didn't have that label. (Of course, I
also have a tendency to gloss over stuff if the writing is amazing, and
then realize several books later oh yeah- this person and I disagree
about everything. But she/he writes so well!) I just don't want to judge people unfairly because they label their books as Christian fantasy instead of just fantasy. A book should stand on its own.
Tim Hawkins once made a comment that people call him a Christian comedian instead of a comedian who is a Christian but they don't do that for plumbers and other jobs. If someone is a Christian and also a writer, they aren't (or shouldn't be) more of a Christian if they're writing for Zondervan and less of a Christian if they're writing for Scholastic. What a person believes may be presented differently, but there is something seriously wrong with the writer if their actual beliefs change whenever they switch publishers.
I don't know how many Christian fantasy writers think about whether they're writing for a Christian or secular publishing house when they're actually working on the book. Marketing has to cross a person's mind sometime, but, at least at first, you just write the story how ever it wants to be told.
This post is really just me thinking out loud. I don't have any amazing revelations, just a realization that, yes, a label really does affect the way I approach a work, even if it shouldn't.