Sunday, November 25, 2007

Children's Film "The Golden Compass" not so golden!

Jumping on the global PC bandwagon, and its tireless effort to appease all those who might happen to get offended by nothing and everything, the film and television industry has had no compunctions, whatsoever, about censoring the word "God" from programming. Last year, I wrote about NBC editing out all references to "God" in the animated children's show "Veggie's Tales". According to Rebecca Marks (NBC spokeswoman) the references had been edited out
"... to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view."
As if Christianity had the exclusive rights to God! In the original format two of the characters, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato, ended each episode with, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much." Nothing more, nothing less, but it was obviously deemed potentially offensive to someone, so "God"-- gone.

This year it's Disney's turn. This past October, the Disney Company ordered the word "God" to be removed from some radio ads promoting the animated film "The Ten Commandments". Disney claims the words "chosen by God" were purged
"...because its policies require mention of the studio in its commercials and it decided to replace the "chosen by God" phrase with "from Promenade Pictures" because the original script made it sound as though the actors were chosen by God, not Moses, as was the intended meaning."

If you listen to the ad, it actually could be misconstrued, however, the script could easily have been rewritten in order to make the intention clearer. They obviously chose not to.

Sadly, "God" has become, in many ways, persona non grata, in today's world. From banning prayer in schools to calls for removal of "In God We Trust" from the U.S. currency, we are slowly being forced to eliminate God from our lives by a vocal minority of God-haters. And many are acquiescing to the PC way of dealing with those easily-offended types, by catering to their whims because it's simpler than fighting back. But the more you submit, the more they demand- and the more you lose. It's not a good precedent to set, by any means. And what is so odious and offensive about the word "God", anyway? Even if you do find it so, what harm is there in its use by others who don't? There are many things I find offensive, but I don't demand they be removed or banned. If you can't bear to use the word "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, then simply omit it, like a fellow actor at a recent SAG meeting!

There seems to be an on-going tug of war between those atheists who want a world devoid of God, and those who believe a God-less world will be the downfall of humanity. And atheists seem to be gaining ground in that battle- including in the realm of Hollywood. On December 7th, 2007 a children's film entitled "The Golden Compass", starring Nicole Kidman and other major players, is being released. It's based on the first novel "Northern Lights" in Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials". Seemingly innocuous, it's actually atheism's answer to the Narnia Trilogy. And although all religious (or rather anti-religious references) have been removed, Christian groups are still calling for a boycott. Their main concern is that children will be inspired to read the trilogy after viewing the film (in its watered-down version), and that unsuspecting parents will then purchase the books, which have a decidedly anti-Church, anti-religious theme. In fact, God is portrayed as a drooling, senile old man, and is killed off at the end, by the young protagonists. Pullman, an avowed atheist makes no apologies for his writings, and has openly admitted:
"My books are about killing God."
"I don't profess any religion; I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality."

Here is a reference from "His Dark Materials", that you won't find in the film:
"The Authority, god, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself….The first angels condensed out of Dust, and the Authority was the first of all. He told those who came after him that he had created them, but it was a lie."

There are those who believe that the anti-religious references should not have been removed, and I tend to agree. In this way, parents would at least know, upfront, what they are dealing with, rather than being bamboozled into seeing a film which is actually based on books with a rabid anti-God agenda. They should be allowed to make an educated choice, particularly before buying the books for their kids.

I'm not calling for a boycott, however I won't be lining their coffers by viewing the film, nor will I be recommending it to anyone, either. And, just as I would challenge all Atheists to simply ignore any God references that they might find offensive, rather than jumping to sue to have them removed, I am challenging all Christians and others of faith to just not view films like "The Golden Compass", or buy Pullman's books, rather than calling for a boycott. Boycotts rarely achieve their intended goals.

However, I definitely think parents should be made aware and act accordingly. If I had kids, I know I would not allow them to see this film!


Pat Jenkins said...

great piece here incog..... another blog post that should be apart of sunday morning service instead of some of what is heard.... i digress. without me going on some big rant, i wonder if the anti-God crowd does have its venom aimed at the wrong God. as with the liberal movement in this country they seem to despise authority.... and would like nothing better to tear it down. so do they hate God because he is perceived authority, or do they hate the being of God? if they hate a creator for his authority i think they are missing the true Yahweh, and thus their anger is purly a reflection on themselves....

WomanHonorThyself said...

hiya Incog! they substitute the word God for Alllllllah in no time!..pfft!

MUD said...

The world is so screwed up I can't believe it. In our founding documents we selected freedom of religion not freedom from religion. There is such a remarkable difference. I have the right to believe or not believe. Celebrate or not to celebrate my religion. Everyone else is free to do the same. I am as upset by the Christian Right telling me I must go to church and not watch sexy movies as I am offended by the atheists telling me I shouldn't be allowed to see any reference to god. MUD

24Independent said...

But haven't you heard? God himself has endorsed The Golden Compass. See for yourself - it's caught on film... sort of.

Donald Douglas said...

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Incognito said...

PatJ: Too kind PJ.

Just as Christians can't be categorized into one lump group of religious adherents, neither can Atheists. There is a contingency that probably hate God as a Being.. those are probably the ones who sue to have anything to do with religion removed from their sight. People choose not to believe in a personal God for many different reasons. There are others who witness what has occured and continues to occur in the name of religion and are turned off. I actually don't blame them, in a way. Others, yes, probably see God as an extension of what they perceive as a corrupt, authoritarian organization and rebel against that.

God, for me, is separate from religion.. too bad they miss the point.

Incognito said...

MUD: Great point. There is a marked difference bewteen Freedom of and Freedom from, and Atheists seem to be attempting to institute the latter. I could care less is someone is an Atheist.. I feel sorry for them.. as much as they probably feel sorry for me.. but I have had too many experiences in my life that prove, without any doubt, that God exists.

24INDEPENDENT: Well, that was a pretty stupid video, but thanks for sharing.

DONALD D: Thank you I did! Hope you did as well. Thanks for stopping by.

24Independent said...

A stupid video? You call the word of God stupid?

The Vegas Art Guy said...

I had my daughter read your post and she stopped at his first admission. Looks like we'll find something else to watch.

Pilgrim said...

How do you take God out of a movie about the 10 Commandments?
Thanks for the piece, I will be boycotting the films.

dons_mind said...

i'm not sure on this one. certainly i can't let others tell me how i should feel about this. the movie is rated pg-13 by the way. i think i'll buy the books, read them and then decide for myself. rowlings when through this with all of her "harry potter" books too. censorship is a dangerous thing - from any viewpoint...

Incognito said...

24INDEP: Well, *that* particular God. Just didn't find it as clever as it pretends to be.

VEGAS ART GUY: The movie in of itself is probably fine.. it's the books that could prove troubling.

PILGRIM: FYI. The movie itself hasn't censored out the word God.. just the ads for it.

DON'S MIND: Hello. As I noted at the bottom of my post, I'm not telling people to boycott the film... just warning parents about the author's agenda. I actually read all the Potter books, and unlike many, found them innocuous. Pure fantasy. The major difference between Rowlings and Pullman, is Rowlings lacked an agenda, whereas Pullman has admitted he has one. Adults can choose to go or not, or read the trilogy or not, but they should be aware of what they have their children read. Young minds are very impressionable. I pesonally have no interest in watching or reading about anyone killing God, I have better things to do with my time.

And I agree wholeheartedly, censorship *is* dangerous.

Renegade Eye said...

When I was in first grade, in public school, I had to sing "Jesus Loves Me." I was a practicing Jew at the time. Getting religion from public school is something that shouls be supported.

I hate books and movies abridged or revised.

Pilgrim said...

Since when is boycotting censorship?

MondaythroughSunday said...

Thanks for the heads up. I am always looking for good movies for my kids and now I know this one just isn't it.

Frasypoo said...

Great post,Incog.Am telling everyone about it.
I am a big fan of Daniel Craig and was so disappointed when he acted in this !!

Incognito said...

REN: Classes on world religions might help children understand and tolerate others of different religions. It should be mandatory teaching in schools.

PILGRIM: It's not. :-)

MONDAY: You're very welcome!

FRASY: It's too bad his books have such an agenda, because although the film might not, the books do and watching the film might inspire kids to read the books. That's when the trouble could begin.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Well, my daughter still does not want any part of the movies or the books.

And good for her, I did not convince her either way, I simply told her the truth and let her figure it out.

Incognito said...

VEGAS AG: Sounds like you've raised your daughter well. She's lucky she has someone who has taught her how to think for herself! ;-)

Dee said...

Great post and great points. I have gotten numerous emails about this movie and you can bet my kids won't be seeing it.

kodiak73 said...

Incog - hope you had a good Thanksgiving. My kids have been seeing this promo lately and I admit, the movie looks cool but luckily my wife is all over this one and has been telling them from day one that we won't see that movie for the reasons you outlined. I don't know where the name of the book/movie comes from but it is truly ironic as their "Golden" compass is actually the lack of one. Maybe they should rename the movie, "The Invisible/Lost/Missing/Directionless Compass" (you take your pick).

Grand Weepers said...

Damn Straight! I'm linking this one!

All_I_Can_Stands said...


Very excellent post. I have been mulling over this upcoming movie. Over the years I have observed many movies, books, products, etc. denounced. Often when I finally do see / read I ask what the big deal was about.

I think in this case it is something different. This author certainly seems to be driving an agenda very hard. There are some who choose not to believe in God. That is their choice. However, others seem to make war on God. I think that is the case here.

I am seeing a very active, angry, and organized atheist movement growing. I certainly don't want my dollars contributing to such a cause. Perhaps one day I will see it for free and judge for myself.

Incognito said...

DEE: Thanks.. just wanted to make those with kids aware.

KODIAK: Indeed I did, thanks K73. Hope you did as well! The movie does look cool.. too bad. I think it's taken from a golden compass that they use in the book/film. Not sure why they changed the name from "Northern Lights" though.


AICS: Thank you. Same here.. and frankly.. I enjoyed the Potter books and the few movies I saw. I don't see it as promoting witchcraft.. but.. then again.. I'm an adult. And I think Pullman definitely is making "war on God" as you put it. I agree, if you choose not to believe in God, that's your choice. A sad choice, but yours. When you start actively pursuing an anti-God agenda.. different story.
I think the actual movie would be harmless.. as all the anti-religious references from the book have been removed. But I just refuse to give them my money.

Anonymous said...


Incognito said...

Yes, Anon, that's wonderful, I do too... I'd recommend you send a letter to Mr. Pullman at his website.

Liz said...

um, i found this post through searching for republican sites...and i have to point out: THE GOLDEN COMPASS IS NOT A DISNEY FILM!

being a republican AND a disney fan, i have to say that. disney had NOTHING to do with the production nor the distribution of the film. it's a warner brothers/new line cinema film.

i'll never understand why people always assume animated or fantasy films are always disney.

Incognito said...

LIZ: Thank you for pointing that out to me. I changed the title. However, if you bothered to read the post, you would see there was no mention of Disney producing the film in the post itself. This was not an anti-Disney film commentary, i was merely pointing out that production companies (including Disney) and networks were sadly removing references to God in much of their programmming etc.

No need to get you knickers in a twist.