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December 06, 2007
'The Golden Compass' . . . not for children?
LEROY, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Following is a message I received via e-mail from a friend that I found rather curious, but dismissed it as probably being a rumor.
"You may already know about this kids movie coming out in December starring Nicole Kidman. It's called The Golden Compass, and while it will be a watered down version, it is based on a series of children's books about killing God. (It is the anti-Narnia.)
"From what I understand, the hope is to get a lot of kids to see the movie - which won't seem too bad - and then get the parents to buy the books for their kids for Christmas. The quotes from the author sum it all up. I hope it totally bombs because we were all paying attention!"
While my beliefs are conservative, I really didn't believe this was true. (A lot of strange stuff goes around on the Internet.) I decided to check it out on snopes.com, the website that checks out urban legends and "e-rumors". They seem to be pretty fair in their analyses of such things. If anything they seem to lean more to the liberal side than conservative, from what I've read on their site.
So, what I read really took me by surprise. According to the site, the "rumor" is true!
They report that The Golden Compass, a fantasy film starring Nicole Kidman, which opens this Friday, is based on Northern Lights (released in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), the first of author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of children's books, a series that follows the adventures of a streetwise girl who travels through multiple worlds populated by witches, armor-plated bears, and sinister ecclesiastical assassins to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.
The books aren't anything new - they've sold more than 15 million copies around the world, with Northern Lights winning the Carnegie Medal for Children's Literature in 1995 and in 2007 being awarded the Carnegie of Carnegies for the best children's book of the past 70 years. The Amber Spyglass, the final book of the series, won The Whitbread Prize in 2001, making it the first children's book to do so.
The author, Philip Pullman (who has described himself as both an agnostic and an atheist), has affirmed, "I don't profess any religion; I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality.'"
What others are saying:
? Conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens in 2002 labeled Pullman "The Most Dangerous Author in Britain" and described him as the writer "the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed."
? A Los Angeles Times article noted: Pullman has never hidden his skepticism about God or his rejection of organized religion. His Dark Materials features a sympathetic character, an ex-nun, who describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake."
? Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League, has condemned The Golden Compass as a "pernicious" effort to indoctrinate children into anti-Christian beliefs and has produced a 23-page pamphlet titled The Golden Compass: Unmasked, in which he maintains that Pullman "sells atheism for kids." He went on to say why he believes Christians should stay away from the film: the movie is based on the least offensive of the three books. And they have dumbed down the worst elements in the movie because they don't want to make Christians angry and they want to make money. Our concern is this, unsuspecting Christian parents may want to take their kid to the movie when it opens up December 7th and say," this wasn't troubling," then we'll buy the books. So the movie is the bait for the books which are profoundly anti-Catholic and at the same time selling atheism.
? One mother reported, "As I skimmed it, I couldn't believe that in a children's book part of the story is about castration and female circumcision."
One of Pullman's pagan characters states, "Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling."
I just feel it is very important that every parent or grandparent know what their money is going toward promoting, and more importantly, what their children are learning and absorbing when watching this movie, or worse yet, reading the books.
The bottom line is, in America we have freedom to choose to see this movie, or not. We can choose to read or not to read these books, or rather to let our children and/or grandchildren read them.
Perhaps, after checking out the movie or the books, you'll decide not to let your child watch/read. Or, perhaps you'll not find them nearly as dangerous as people are saying . . . but either way, are they really suitable for children? As parents/grandparents we need to be informed so we can make those decisions, and that's what I've attempted to do.
After what I've read and the quotes the author has made, I've made my choice.
In today's world we can't just blindly follow along.
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