"... 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."And:
"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!