The idea being put about by the Catholic League that there should be a boycott of the upcoming movie version of The Golden Compass is, of course, juvenile (and I would have said something similar to those who claimed to be ‘offended’ by the Christian subtext of 2005′s The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe). While the later volumes of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy crumble under the weight of the author’s preachiness (I reviewed the whole series for NR here), The Golden Compass itself is, quite simply, a masterpiece. The movie may well not be, but it seems a shame to rule it out simply because of unhappiness over aspects of its underlying ideology. It’s possible to appreciate works of art, as art, independent of their politics or their religion. As for those worried about the effect of insidious atheist propaganda (substantially diluted for the film, I understand) on the ‘children’, teaching kids to appreciate art in its own sake while understanding the way it can be used/abused to deliver a message is, I would think, a doubly good thing. All that said, if the Catholic League wishes to call for a boycott, it is well within its rights to do so. That’s called free speech. In Turkey, however, that rather basic idea is not so well understood. Here’s just the latest example:
“A Turkish prosecutor is considering whether to prosecute the Turkish publisher of Richard Dawkins’ bestselling atheist polemic, The God Delusion, on the grounds that it incites religious hatred.”
Interestingly, “inciting religious hatred” (which can mean just about anything) is increasingly something that EU governments are looking to proscribe, as they continue their efforts to put more and more limits on what their citizens are free to say. Come to think of it, perhaps Turkey will fit better into the EU than I had thought.