"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.