Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sermonized For Your Protection

"If one has morals, they can't be taken away by me or anyone else." (Lily St. Cyr, legendary 40's and 50's stripper)

This weekend, "The Golden Compass" opened (to mediocre reviews and box office) at a theater near you. It's a movie based on a book I never heard of that was written by an author I never heard of. Or hadn't heard of until I started getting mass-mailing e-mails a few weeks ago warning of the dire consequences sure to result if anyone sees this movie.

If the idea is to make sure no one sees a movie, a campaign to tell people about the movie is a curious approach. In any event, I understand the campaign's objections to be two-fold.

First, the writer, Philip Pullman, is an affirmed atheist whose writings generally portray major religions as groups of people engaged in widespread, organized efforts to tell the less-enlightened people what to do. To counter this portrayal, groups of  offended religious people have organized widespread campaigns to tell the rest of us not to see this movie.  (And on the eighth day, the Lord created irony...)

Second, some of those offended have expressed concerns not about this movie or the book on which it is based, but rather about the more openly critical second and third books in the trilogy. It's felt that after reading the first book, there's a chance there could turn out to be a possibility that maybe someone could conceivably read one of the other books at some time in the future and potentially be influenced by it to some degree. Sure sounds to me like something to spend today fretting about. And I'm sure these folks, in protecting their religious beliefs from any form of disagreement, must have a good reason for disregarding Jesus' own admonition from the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34 NIV)  

Being fair, many of the concerns are understandable. Not long ago, these same folks were warning us about the rush of youth enrollmont into witchcraft-practicing cults after the Harry Potter books and movies were released and, sure enough, isn't that just what happened? It was the most shocking display of social deterioration I've seen since the epidemic of alcoholism that resulted from Lucy doing the still-shocking Vita-Meta-Vegimin episode.

If children ever started getting hold of Phillips' books there's no telling what could happen. Just ask any child who has already read one of the fifteen million copies of books in the trilogy sold since 1995.

Regular readers of this journal know God is an important part of my life, so I'm certainly not taking any kind of anti-religious stance. Regardless of whether I agree with someone's concerns about a movie or book, I can respectfully accept them if they've seen the movie, read the book, etc. We need to think a bit more than we sometimes do before preaching a sermon from the Book of Reefer Madness about how we know the sky is falling because we heard it from someone who saw it in an e-mail he got from a guy he knows who read a synopsis.

Now let's go out there and protect our children from the threat of wizards and golden compasses, and give them more wholesome concepts like talking lions.



amy122389 said...

The Book of Reefer Madness?  Hmm....can one find that on Amazon?  Hee hee hee....


vkmay said...

what would we do without these well-intentioned evangelicals protecting us from maybe some independent thought about something?  
Gee, I saw a war movie the other night, but, funny, I don't feel like becoming a mercenary just so I may fight for any cause...just gotta get that gun in my hands!?

silverdoe64 said...

I was glad to read this post because I also have been swamped with the emails about this movie.  I havent had a lot of time to research it and probably would have just came out with a sound "NO" to my kids if they wanted to see the movie.   Thinking back, when Harry Potter came out - all of the people who were taking a stand against "wizards" and such just made me mad-more professional protestors was my thought.  My step son and I read all of the books anyway and so far neither of us turned to wizardry.  I like to think that the values I am teaching my children are stronger than 2 hours in a movie theatre.   Incidently, Lucy and the Vitametavegamin poster is framed and hanging above my washing machine...(I rarely take a swig while doing the laundry either lol)

faveanti said...

I rarely watch movies and when I do it's when they pop up on TV........aren't they supposed to ENTERTAIN?
Angie, x

astoriasand said...

I think I will continue to still stick to my favourites as in" The Greatest Story Ever Told "Thankyou.Which all my Family and Grandchildren loved.Even though my Eldest Grandaughter at thirteen has read every Harry Potter book published.She is still an Angel in my eyes..Take Care God Bless Kath

oldhousegal said...

How comforting to know that someone is trying to protect us from certain doom.  My favorite literary comment on the dangers of protecting children from dangers is the Mark Twain short story, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyville."  It's a good read (as all Twain's works are) and a very intellegent discourse on the virtue of vice and vice versa...

gazker said...

'First, the writer, Philip Pullman, is an affirmed atheist whose writings generally portray major religions as groups of people engaged in widespread, organized efforts to tell the less-enlightened people what to do'.
Well, he's right aint he? That's what it's all about.