I’ve been seeing previews for this new film coming out called the Golden Compass. It has a talking Polar Bear played by Ian McKellan which makes it a must see in my book. I figured I should get a little background though and discovered it’s part of a series of books which some claim have an aethisitic (sp?) agenda. Having not read the books, I don’t know, but why does that matter. Anyway, I wiki’d the movie and found this controversy.
“Several key themes of the novels, the rejection of organized religion and the abuse of power in a fictionalized Catholic Church, are to be diluted in the adaptation. Director Weitz said “in the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic Church gone wildly astray from its roots” but that the organization portrayed in his film would not directly match that of Pullman’s books. Instead, the Magisterium will represent all dogmatic organizations. Weitz said that New Line Cinema had feared the story’s anti-religious themes would make the film financially unviable in the US, and so religion and God will not be referenced directly. Attempting to reassure fans of the novels, Weitz said that religion would instead appear in euphemistic terms, yet the decision has been attacked by some fans, anti-censorship groups, and the National Secular Society (of which Pullman is an honorary associate), which said “they are taking the heart out of it, losing the point of it, castrating it”, “this is part of a long-term problem over freedom of speech.” The changes from the novel have been present since Tom Stoppard‘s rejected version of the script, and Pullman himself believes the film will be “faithful.”
As part of a two-month protest campaign, the Catholic League has called for a boycott of the film. It believes that while the religious elements of the film will be “watered down” from the source novels, the film will still encourage children to read the series, which League president William A. Donohue claims “denigrates Christianity” and promotes “atheism for kids”, citing author Pullman as saying that he is “trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.” The League hopes that “the film [will fail] to meet box office expectations and that [Pullman’s] books attract few buyers.” The call for a boycott has resulted in action by some Catholic groups in the US and Canada, and a school board in Ontario has ordered the source novel removed from its library shelves. Pullman has since said that the books do not have a religious agenda, saying of Donahue’s call for a boycott, “Why don’t we trust readers? Why don’t we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world.” Other evangelical groups, such as The Christian Film and Television Commission, are adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to the film before deciding upon any action, as is the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.“
Why are these people afraid of letting children know about different beliefs? It’s just disgusting. Let your children think for themselves, be their own person. If they find the same god as you, great, if not, that’s their choice. What matters is that you love your kids and they love you. And your a good family with values and an understanding of the world around you. Not what religion you believe in. At least not to me.