Letter: Killing God in the minds of children

Editor:

"I want to kill God in the minds of children." Now, I don't know about you, but if someone said that, I would not want to give that person access -- any access -- to my children. After saying the above, Phillip Pullman, author of the popular trilogy, "His Dark Materials," went on to say, "I want them to decide against God and the Kingdom of Heaven." This from the author of one of our choices in theaters this Christmas -- The Golden Compass.

Many will object that, "It's just a movie." True, it is just a movie -- and a children's movie at that. The movie trailers make it look a lot like it is designed to appeal to the same audiences that enjoyed Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. What should guide a parent's decisions regarding which movies are appropriate and which are not? At the very least, popular entertainment shouldn't be destructive to the fundamental beliefs held dear by most Americans. Nevertheless, here is a highly publicized movie and book series whose author said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2003, "My books are about killing God."

Granted, in the first movie, this theme is watered down, but his contempt for Christianity and especially the Catholic Church is barely masked. As is often seen in our society, the last acceptable prejudice is one against the Catholic Church. Had this movie contained such thinly veiled invectives against Islam or Judaism, protests would have been loud and clear. In the movie, the Church is portrayed as a sinister force that is "the supranational cult of authority and dogma." The priest character in the film is a devious and ruthless hitman, and the nun in the movie, now a scientist, abandons faith and uses Eastern mystical practices to save the heroine from the "evil" Church.

This PG-13 movie gives a really good opportunity for "Parental Guidance." Long ago, Isaiah cried out, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20). That is exactly what Mr. Pullman does in The Golden Compass. Mr. Pullman, God is not dead. He is alive in the hearts of many. He is the only compass that our children and families need.

Robert Hanson

Pastoral Assistant

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

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