Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Monday, December 17, 2007

Golden Compass

My daughter coerced me into taking her to The Golden Compass, that atheist movie, as I call it. I was prepared to de-program her afterwards from the atheist message I have been warned about. I confess that if all those worried people hadn’t pointed out that “Magisterium” is the name the Catholic Church uses to describe itself, the anti-Church message would have flown right over me, like those slinky witches in the movie. I don’t like kids thinking daemons are cool and witches are good, but even if the bad guys were called Catholics, it’s a fantasy world that bears no relation to the Pope and the Vatican and the Catholic church down the street. The bad guys are fascist villains cut out of the same central casting mold as Darth Vader's Empire. Or Al Gore's Church of Global Warming. Apparently many liberals interpreted the East German Stasi in The Lives of Others as a metaphor for Bush’s fascist shock troops. They both monitor phone calls! People bring their pre-conceptions into the movie theatre; secular progressives might have their disdain for religion confirmed by The Golden Compass. It seems to me that if the Magisterium is evil because they want to tell you what to think and how to live, the movie could just as well be a critique of big government liberalism.