Killing God? or free thought?
Sorry that I had to post the below article, it came to me this way, and I am too lazy to search for a link.
Group to protest 'Golden Compass'HOLLY TOWNSHIP
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
By Christofer achniakmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
A retired grandmother is leading a group that plans to protest the nation's No. 1 movie - "The Golden Compass" - in Fenton this weekend. Bev Suski, 56, of Holly Township, calls the film anti-Christian and wants the theater complex, Fenton Cinemas, to pull the movie. She's asking anyone who agrees with her to join the group outside the theater on the sidewalk during the matinee showing Saturday. They're hoping for 100 people.
"Even though we're late, we need to do something," said Suski, who is retired from the antique business and attends St. Rita Catholic Church in Holly. "As Christians, we need to stand up to be heard." A spokesperson for New Line Cinema, which produced the film, declined to comment on the protest Tuesday, but provided the studio's official statement about the controversy the film has generated that says "the film is neither anti-Christian nor anti-religion."
"The Golden Compass is an exciting, entertaining fantasy adventure that we believe audiences will enjoy," the statement said. "The critically acclaimed, award-winning novel on which the film is based has been praised by countless clergy and religious scholars, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, for its deep spirituality and exploration of important theological issues."
The fantasy movie starring Nicole Kidman opened last week and earned $25.8 million nationwide in what was considered a quiet weekend at the box office. Catholic groups have been advocating a boycott of the film, and locally, the book on which the film is based has been banned from a classroom at Grand Blanc West Middle School, although officials have said the removal wasn't over the content.
Jason Lillmars, owner of Fenton Cinemas, said while he respects Suski's opinion, he doesn't know what material is objectionable. He said he is willing to speak with her about her concerns, but said at this point he won't pull the film, which he's under contract to show. It's being shown at first-run theaters nationwide. "It's a PG-13 fantasy film," he said. "Every movie isn't for everyone, and if you don't like a movie, don't go to it."
Suski, who hasn't seen the movie but decided to act after hearing about the film from her friends and commentators on a local Catholic radio station, said it's her understanding the objectionable aspects of the movie are more "innuendo." She's concerned the film's popularity will lead kids to read the book it is based upon. Written by British atheist Philip Pullman, the book is part of a trilogy titled "His Dark Materials." Pullman has said his books are in response to "The Chronicles of Narnia," the popular children's fantasy series written by C.S. Lewis to teach Christian ideals to children. One of the Narnia books already has been adapted into a successful movie and a second is on the way.
In "Compass," a friend of a 12-year-old girl, Lyra, is kidnapped by the Magisterium or Church, a body that governs nearly every aspect of people's lives. Lyra uses a magical golden compass to free her friend and other kidnapped children. In the trilogy's final installment, the characters succeed in killing a character called God, who turns out to be a phony - not God at all. But Suski, who also has complained about the book being sold during a book fair at her grandson's school in Grand Blanc, said it's a story in which "evil wins" and where "they want to kill God."
My friend Miss Cellaneous sent me that article and I was surprised to see that it involves my hometown. I actually worked at the movie theater that is mentioned in the article (when I was in high school). The article is "about" removing The Golden Compass movie from the Fenton Cinema. Well, really, in light of all the other protests, the article is really about people who are trying to rally against the book in all its forms.
I am Catholic. I consider myself to be an ok human being. I attend Church every weekend, I pray, I live a mostly good life. And yet, as a Catholic, as a (seemingly) intelligent adult, I have NO PROBLEM with The Golden Compass. I guess I should mention that I have not read the book yet, but even knowing how the last book ends with the idea that the characters need to "kill God" is something that I can deal with. And as a Librarian I will one day fight for the right to keep books like this in the library (and fight for my right to party).
A few points need to be considered:
A. Having different opinions is ok--that is what makes America great. Discriminating against something because it differs from your beliefs is another matter. I thought this quote by the American Library Association (ALA) President, Loriene Roy, was brilliant!
"It is one thing to disagree with the content of a book or the viewpoint of an author; it is quite another thing to block access to that material because of that disagreement. Removing a book from a school or library because the author is an atheist, or because a religious group disagrees with the book's viewpoint, is censorship that runs counter to our most cherished freedoms and our history as a nation that celebrates and protects religious diversity.
We encourage librarians, teachers and parents to resist the call to censorship. Censorship results in the opposite of true education and learning. Young people will only develop the skills they need to analyze information and make choices among a wide variety of competing sources if they are permitted to read books and explore ideas under the guidance of caring adults."
B. Anyone who knows anything about pop culture knows that if you want to bring attention to anything, talk about it--or in this The Golden Compass's case, CHALLENGE IT! Calling so much attention to something like this book has only peaked curiosity and encouraged more people to read the book.
C. Pullman did not write this book as an evil atheist, trying to lure good like Christians into beliving that all they were taught is wrong, in the same way that C.S. Lewis didn't write the Chronicles of Narnia to convert people to Christianity. Both books were written to show a struggle between good and evil, manifestations of struggles, endurance, and overcoming something.
Many of my friends have read the Chronicles of Narnia and none of them were converted to Christian thought because of their experience. These books are centerpieces to be discussed and mulled over, to make us question what we stand for. Is it so terrible for a child, an innocent voice to ask questions; to question something they do not understand? In reading articles I have come across more than one parent saying they would not let their children read this series. And I am sure the kids will read them eventually anyway. I ask, why miss such a learning opportunity to teach your child something, even if it is opposite of what the book says? That truly is a greater loss than your kid reading the story.
It always amazes me in this modern world where technology is king and books go by the wayside at times that we never seem to see a book as valuable. Yet, when a book comes out with a thought that is contrary to what we like to believe we give the thing so much power, and all of a sudden this book--this thing--is capable of destroying our Christian foundations.
Horse shit, I say.
I wanted to share some of what Philip Pullman had to say about The Golden Compass.
"In the world of the story — Lyra’s world — there is a church that has acquired great political power, rather in the way that some religions in our world have done at various times, and still do (think of the Taliban in Afghanistan). My point is that religion is at its best — it does most good — when it is farthest away from political power, and that when it gets hold of the power to (for example) send armies to war or to condemn people to death, or to rule every aspect of our lives, it rapidly goes bad. Sometimes people think that if something is done in the name of faith or religion, it must be good. Unfortunately, that isn’t true; some things done in the name of religion are very bad. That was what I was trying to describe in my story.I think the qualities that the books celebrate are those such as kindness, love, courage and courtesy too. And intellectual curiosity. All these good things. And the qualities that the books attack are cold-heartedness, tyranny, close-mindedness, cruelty, the things that we all agree are bad things.
What I was mainly doing, I hope, was telling a story, but not a story like Tolkien’s. (To be honest I don’t much care for “The Lord of the Rings." As for the atheism, it doesn’t matter to me whether people believe in God or not, so I’m not promoting anything of that sort. What I do care about is whether people are cruel or whether they’re kind, whether they act for democracy or for tyranny, whether they believe in open-minded enquiry or in shutting the freedom of thought and expression. Good things have been done in the name of religion, and so have bad things; and both good things and bad things have been done with no religion at all. What I care about is the good, wherever it comes from."
Free thought + free expression=a good thing.