Real Time: Religion in Politics

January 20, 2008
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Wacko Boycotts Prove Innefective as Golden Compass Still Takes First

December 9, 2007

Christian boycotts against The Golden Compass didn’t seem to do too much. While the movie fell short of New Line Cinema’s projection of $30M in the first week, it’s still in first place at the box office.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — “The Golden Compass” proved a mild fantasy at the box office, pulling in $26.1 million, a modest opening weekend compared to such recent December heavyweights as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” flicks.

New Line Cinema’s “The Golden Compass,” whose cast includes Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, also took in $55 million overseas since it began opening last Wednesday in 25 other countries.

New Line, which had enormous success with its three “Lord of the Rings” films, had hoped for more out of “The Golden Compass,” expecting it to reach at least $30 million domestically over its first weekend, said Rolf Mittweg, the studio’s marketing chief. The film cost $180 million to make.

“The Golden Compass” follows the adventures of an orphan girl hurled into a parallel world of witches, strange flying machines and talking polar bears.

Parents with children accounted for half of the film’s audience, so New Line is counting on family crowds that flock to theaters over the holidays to keep the movie afloat, Mittweg said.

The three “Lord of the Rings” films released from 2001 to 2003 had opening weekends ranging from $47.2 million to $72.6 million. Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” opened with $65.6 million in 2005.

Those were based on very familiar fantasy literature from J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, while “The Golden Compass” was adapted from the first book of Philip Pullman’s lesser-known “His Dark Materials” trilogy.

Mittweg said he was uncertain about the effects of a backlash against “The Golden Compass” by some Christians, who said Pullman’s books preach atheism.

“It’s very hard to say. Historically, protests of these sorts tend to be ineffective on box-office results,” Mittweg said.


Is The Golden Compass an “Atheist Movie”?

December 4, 2007

It’s been in the news for weeks: Godly Parents Look Out! Atheists are Trying to Sell Propoganda to YOUR Children in the Form of The Golden Compass! Every major news outlet has reported it.

There’s no doubt that Phillip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass is an atheist. He’s made many public compassstatements throughout his career and even through some of his writing that don’t hide that fact. But he is not trying to “convert” your children as Bill Donohue of the Catholic League wants us to believe. Pullman defended his work in an interview with Newsweek magazine.

“To regard it as this Donohue man has said – that I’m a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people – how the hell does he know that?” Pullman said.

“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.”

P.S. If you want to see some funny stuff, do a YouTube search for Bill Donohue and watch all the stupid little things gets worked up about. What a way to live your life!

Even Snopes.com joins in on the fun in scaring concerned parents.

My view, having not yet seen the movie is this: The movie certainly has themes that can be paralleled with a person’s journey escaping from the binds of religion. It perhaps belittles religion by showing that it is an escapable life from which one is empowered by leaving behind.

But couldn’t parallels be drawn to other things? Why aren’t parallels drawn to the fall of belief in Greek and Roman mythology? Or perhaps the freedom an 11 year old boy faces when he realizes there is no Santa Claus and his parents just used the Jolly Old St. Nick as a way to get him to stop fighting with his brother? Couldn’t these be the meaning of The Golden Compass too?

Christian groups are quick to point out what they’re looking for as an “attack on Christianity.” And when one author’s personal point of view becomes manifested through his work, thinly veiled as it is, they feel personally attacked. This is America – the country where everyone is free to express their opinions. And Pullman is free to create any books and movies he wishes. There are countries where people are executed for speaking out against the official religion of the state. Women are jailed for insulting the religion through the naming of teddy bears or incorrectly interpreting the religion’s holy scriptures. In America, we have a luxury. That luxury is that we can create whatever we want freely and openly and if we want to sell it, we can! And if it’s good, people will buy it. The Christian church is scared that this may be a good (and their God forbid, perhaps even persuasive) movie. The movie is not an “Atheist Movie.” It may be a movie with themes that revolve around the concept of atheism. But that doesn’t mean that everyone watching is going to leave the theater and go ridicule religion. That’s ridiculous.

What’s sad are all the people who will now deprive themselves and their children from a good piece of entertainment now that their pastor or church news has told them to boycott this movie which has been described as “militantly atheistic,” “blasphemous,” “heretical,” and “diabolical.”

People are most concerned because this is a children’s movie. And they’re afraid that it will scare their kids into being atheists. Keep in mind, most parents have a pre-conceived image of atheists that look something like this:
Manson

That scares them. Hell, it scares me. But their kids aren’t going to become atheists after watching this movie just like I didn’t become gay after watching The Birdcage. The Golden Compass doesn’t glorify or promote atheism. It simply uses it as a theme to present an entertaining story. It’s make-believe folks – lighten the hell up.


Video, Report Details Evangelism at Highest Levels of US Military

August 6, 2007

A report released publicly on Thursday by the Defense Department’s (DOD) inspector general has found high-ranking Army and Air Force personnel violated long-standing military regulations when they participated in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization while in uniform and on active duty.

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God Bless Atheism

August 5, 2007

Gullible Is Not In The Dictionary

August 3, 2007

Indoctrination

August 2, 2007

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Thanks to Little Green Footballs