Bill Donahue is calling for a boycott of the upcoming movie, “The Golden Compass,” a recent adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy.
The expressed concern is “The Golden Compass” being used as a lure to “hook parents into thinking the books by Pullman are okay and get it for their kids this Christmas.” This marketing is thought problematic because fundamentalists object to its atheistic theme and characters’ attempt to “kill God.”
Personally, I can’t wait to see the movie. Philip Pullman, and these books specifically, are some of the reasons I want to be a writer.
Consequently, when I heard people are boycotting this movie, I became very distressed. Most of the hatred towards this movie comes from either a misunderstanding of the novels, or a failure to read them in the first place. The characters do not seek to kill God. The characters seek to kill a false god; one that is in no way like or equivalent to the Christian God.
The other assumption, that the novels attack Christianity, is also misled. “His Dark Materials” is not a declaration against theism; it is a literary work like “1984”, “Brave New World” or “V for Vendetta,” speaking against corrupt and subversive governments.
If you want to boycott the movie because the books speak against injustice, then tear down the “95 Theses,” burn the “Declaration of Independence” and lock Martin Luther King Jr. in jail with Ghandi.
My generation is one clinging to the safety blanket of conformity. We have sought a world without gray areas and ambiguity. We want to google all of life’s questions for an answer without an ounce of the hard research to seek them ourselves. “Is this wrong?” Yes. “Is that right?” Yes. “What should I do with my life?” Go to college. We sacrifice our revolutionaries like Jesus, Martin Luther and Thoreau for a frictionless lifestyle.
Modern artistic expression in film, television and literature, doesn’t challenge our beliefs enough. A world without doubt or alternative is a world without choice. A genuine, truth-seeking body (as most churches would claim to be) shouldn’t sustain itself on the absence of options.
The pop-genres we ingest regularly don’t challenge what we believe. We have begged for simple, black and white messages and they are fed to us. When is the last time you saw a movie, or heard a song and were truly inspired? When is the last time you read a book and wanted to change the world for yourself? This world is not so terrible. Neither is it perfect, and until it is, we should not slip into the comfort of stagnation.
If you hate movies with Nicole Kidman, talking bears or English accents, then don’t see the movie. If you feel “The Golden Compass,” or any movie for that matter, will challenge your beliefs, then it is imperative you see it. Beliefs that are not contested to hold true, are not beliefs worth holding.