American Humanist Association Encourages You To See The Golden Compass

The American Humanist Association just put out this release:

Take a Stand Against Censorship! Go see “The Golden Compass” at a movie theater near you.

For what reason should you go see it?

Because the religious right doesn’t want you to see it. And some media commentators are saying that that’s reason enough.

But there are even better reasons. “The Golden Compass” is a Humanist movie, a potential blockbuster based on the “His Dark Materials” book trilogy of Philip Pullman.

They go on to talk about how William Donohue‘s Catholic League is trying to censor the movie from you. Because you’re not smart enough to make up your own mind about the movie’s messages.

For those curious, what is Pullman actually promoting in his books?

For Pullman, however, his books are a positive Humanist response to the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia and their thin, black-and-white Christian morality. Pullman’s books promote such humanistic values as opposition to organized dogma and totalitarian concentrations of power, and support of intellectual curiosity, kindness, love, courage, and courtesy.

Blasphemy, really.

It turns out Pullman will be receiving the 2008 International Humanist Award at the World Humanist Congress this June in Washington D.C. (I’ll be there — I can’t wait!)

By the way, if you want some behind-the-scenes background on how the movie came to be made, The New York Times has a fascinating article on that today.

(Thanks to Maria for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Mriana

    I have plans to go see it, by hook or by crook. If it weren’t for the Religious Reich making a big deal out of it, I probably would not have known it existed. Since they object, it’s even more reason to see it and then come back to tell them how ignorant and foolish they are, esp when they have not seen the movie and probably the majoriy have not read the books. I just love showing just how uneducated and close-minded the Religious Reich is. :lol:

  • http://www.masala-skeptic.com Masala Skeptic

    I caught a sneak preview of this last night and it’s excellent. Above and beyond the controversy, is a really good movie. I hope that means it will do really well and the free market will prevail :)

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/fole0091/epistaxis Epistaxis

    Maybe we atheists should boycott the movie (and read the books in protest), since Hollywood deliberately replaced the allegorical version of the Catholic Church with generic fascism to make it… less controversial?

  • http://wintershaven.net Jacob Wintersmith

    Well, hey, Catholics organize boycotts of The Golden Compass, atheists organize boycotts of The Chronicles of Narnia…

    Oh wait. There is no atheist boycott of Narnia. Maybe the parents who worry most about their children being indoctrinated by some book or movie are the same parents who have been indoctrinating their own children — not the parents who try to teach kids to think for themselves. Maybe that’s because the latter group doesn’t live in a fragile fantasy world at risk of collapsing under the weight of a children’s novel.

  • http://badidea.wordpress.com Bad

    Seeing a movie just because someone else doesn’t want me to see it is a pretty silly reason to go see it.

    Like I said: realistic talking animals are pretty much a no go for me every since those excruciatingly awful dog food commercials started doing it. That’s going to make it very very hard for me to rush out to theaters on opening day.

  • http://complexzeta.wordpress.com Simon

    I’m not quite sure why this movie needs to turn into an ideological debate. I read the books when they came out (when I was in middle school I think, but I’m not exactly sure), and I had a lot of fun reading them, so now I want to see the movie. I wasn’t an atheist then (or at least I doubt I would have admitted to it), and I don’t remember thinking of the books as being anti-religious. So I’ll go to the movie just because I think it will be fun.

  • Karen

    Maybe that’s because the latter group doesn’t live in a fragile fantasy world at risk of collapsing under the weight of a children’s novel.

    Y’know, that’s the truly amazing thing about this culture war controversy and all those tiresome similar controversies before this one (and the ones undoubtedly coming in the future). Some psychologist needs to do a study on the enormous level of systematic denial involved in perpetuating the god view.

    Everything that dares to challenge the religious world view is so terribly dangerous it has to be denounced and rejected and attacked! Thinking for oneself – especially if children engage in it – is such a no-no that parents have to guard against it! It’s like subconsciously they totally realize how thin and fragile their veneer of fantasy is.

    (And yes, before someone reminds me, I realize that it’s a certain subset of Christians who react like this. It’s probably the same 50+ percent who believe in the devil but do not accept evolutionary theory.)

  • Mriana

    Like I said: realistic talking animals are pretty much a no go for me every since those excruciatingly awful dog food commercials started doing it.

    I love talking animals. :D Sometimes, if you watch closely, you would think some sort of thought is going through their minds and you just can’t help saying something that looks like your pet’s expression. They watch us and get the most interesting expressions on their faces- even one that looks like, “OK my human has gone and lost his/her mind.” Of course, there is the occassional “Ma-ma”, “Mawk” (for milk), “mawn-awn” (for morning) that comes out of cats’ mouths, that many cat caregivers swear by too. I don’t know about dog caregivers, but there are many people who raise cats that insist their cats can say some words- me included. I have yet to find a pet lover who does not express some form of communication between them and their pet. The difference is, I think, pet caregivers are more receptive than non-pet caregivers of other animals and I don’t think there is a pet in the world who expresses love for their caregiver, who does not claim that person as “their human” via some action.

    The jest of it all is that animal lovers are more observant of animals than those who are not. I don’t mean that derogatively, just as an observation. Even Jane Goodall would attest to other animals- like chimps- are very expressive and communicate a lot via expressions and actions.

    I’m not going to go because some Religious Reichers are objecting, I’m going because they called my attention to it and I adore the on-line trailers I’ve seen of the movie. As I said, if they had not drawn my attention to it, I would not have known it existed.

  • http://literaghost.blogspot.com/ literaghost

    What is the link? I can’t find it anywhere, including the AHA website (all I can find is a press release saying Pullman was receiving the award, and it doesn’t have any of the quotes listed above). Help…?

    – Miz L.

  • Mriana

    I had to forward the AHA newsletter, literaghost, to Maria because I could not find it on the AHA site. As far as I know, it is only in the newsletter.

  • Old Beezle

    Christian = book burner

  • http://badidea.wordpress.com Bad

    Sometimes, if you watch closely, you would think some sort of thought is going through their minds and you just can’t help saying something that looks like your pet’s expression.

    This has exactly zero to do with talking animals, who are either computer generated, or even worse, real animals digitally altered to look like they are talking. It’s that which I can’t stand, not animals or real animal communication.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I’ll be taking my two kids to see it (age 5 and 10)!!!!

  • Jeff P

    I’ve purchased the boxed book-set from Amazon. I plan to see the movie with my wife and kid.

    If I like it enough, I’ll purchase the books and DVD for our local library. How’s that for censorship, self-appointed self-righteous right-wing fundamentalist s..t for brains!

  • cautious

    For anyone skeptical about seeing this movie, I have three potential selling points:

    1) Epic Ursus maritimus v. U. maritimus action. Or, in other words, armored polar bear fight scenes. (tho, um, probably not as brutal as in the book…)

    2) an evil blonde woman who works for the Church named Coulter = an excellent opportunity to teach kids about evil blonde women named Coulter

    3) The rare opportunity to hear Ian McKellan voicing a character in a movie adaptation of a fantasy book. It’s been like 4 years since that last happened!

  • Darryl

    You know, having seen and heard William Donohue many times on TV and radio, I”ve got to say, he seems like a real ass, I mean, really. He’s afraid of everything! Everything that he doesn’t approve of is dangerous and anti-Christian. It’s sad really. Some people just can’t accept change.

  • Jen

    Pissing off crazy Christians, especially ones who boycott like its their job, is the number one motivation I have for doing things. Now I just have to convince someone else to go see what is escentually being marketed towards the younger crowd.

  • http://crazychristianblog.blogspot.com/ Ryan Green

    I just finished reading it and I loved it! I cannot wait until the movie!

  • Mriana

    Now I just have to convince someone else to go see what is escentually being marketed towards the younger crowd.

    Well, when and IF it comes here, my 18 y.o. son and I plan on making it a mother and son night out. :D We’re excited because we’ve not done anything together for a while and well… If there are Christians picking, they can just go pick their noses, because we’re going in to get popcorn, a soda, and to watch it.

  • http://reformedchicksblabbing.blogspot.com/ Michele

    Um…the boycott is for Christians, not atheists. Sort of would be a wasted effort there wouldn’t it? :-)

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    Sometimes I wonder if the filmmakers weren’t hoping for the free publicity of a big Christian boycott… ;)

    I don’t care, though, because while the culture warriors are distracted by the Christian vs. atheist aspect, a little bit of feminism is sneaking in the back door. I hope this turns out to be a great film!!! :D

  • stogoe

    realistic talking animals are pretty much a no go for me

    I pity you. Really and truly, I pity you. Did you never read fantasy as a kid? Did you never use your imagination? Man, I can’t even fathom what it would be like to be you. Just, wow. That’s so sad.

    Anyways, I’m trying to get my friends to go see it this weekend. Should be fun.

  • Claire

    Did you never use your imagination?

    While I have no problem with realistic talking animals (I loved “Babe”), not everyone has the same tolerance for special effects. It’s not about imagination; when it comes to enjoying movies, it’s about the willing suspension of disbelief. Not everyone can manage that. I find it harder all the time as I get older, but I will not let go if it.

    That willing suspension of disbelief has a down side though – take it too far and you end up with religion (eww). It’s best kept under control.

  • Milena

    I’ll definitely be seeing the movie and reading the books. What really bothers me is how far the religious right has reached to denounce the books, usually on claims that are untrue. For example, I was recently reading an article about the Golden Compass in a respectable (Canadian) political journal, where the journalist repeatedly made comments about the killing of god in the book. However, not once was it mentioned that the god killed in the book is an impostor and not a real god. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, have seized this idea of a god-killing children’s book in order to smear and censor it. What the books do advance is the idea that a fall from grace, such as that of Eve, representing the gaining of knowledge and the cessation of belief in a deity, are necessairy steps to humanity’s advancement.

    Also, I see nothing wrong with introducing atheism to children. Let them make their own informed religious decisions. Secularism and atheism simply aren’t present enough in children’s literature, and when a book does present them as ideas, fundamentalists jump to censor and stifle it.

  • Milena

    2) an evil blonde woman who works for the Church named Coulter = an excellent opportunity to teach kids about evil blonde women named Coulter

    Are you serious? That’s amazing! I love that!

  • Don Pope

    I’ll be watching the movie with my kids because it looks really cool.
    As much as I like sticking it to the christards, I’m not paying 30 bucks + snacks just for that.

  • Lilith Jones

    Can someone tell the haters that this site is called the FRIENDLY atheist? How are we going to convince everyone that atheists are friendly if you can’t help using insulting language for those less enlightened? If we are calling them “christards” and telling them to go “pick their noses” we are showing the same level of immaturity as those who would get upset over a friendly little atheist children’s movie and call out the troops for a boycott. Also, we should teach ourselves the meaning of the word “censorship”. We are constantly getting our knickers in a twist over supposed “censorship” when there is actually no official government banning on the horizon whatever. Just because those less enlightened want to pass the word to each other not to see a movie doesn’t meant that the government is trying to shut down the movie. There are countries in the world in which this really happens (some of them officially atheist, they need our help learning to be friendly) and when we go screaming “censorship” every time those less enlightened choose to have one of their silly boycotts we cheapen the suffering of those living under true censorship.

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