Concern widens over 'anti-religion' book

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Snuckles
Concern widens over 'anti-religion' book

 

Snuckles

quote:


Dufferin-Peel Catholic board to review fantasy after neighbouring board pulled it from libraries

Nov 23, 2007 04:30 AM
Kristin Rushowy
Education Reporter

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic board is conducting an informal review of The Golden Compass because concerns have been raised about the children's fantasy book in the neighbouring Halton board.

"It warrants us having a look at it," said community relations manager Bruce Campbell, adding staff members have been assigned to read the book and basically provide a plot synopsis "so we understand what it's about."

The Halton Catholic District School Board has pulled The Golden Compass – an award-winning book set to be released as a major motion picture next month – from library shelves after a complaint.

The other two books in the trilogy by British author Philip Pullman, which have been compared to the Harry Potter series, are also off the shelves for now, but available if students ask for them.

The Halton board is convening a committee to review the book and recommend whether it should be available to children.

Halton Catholic elementary principals were directed not to distribute the December Scholastic flyer because The Golden Compass is available to order.

A board-issued memo says the books are "apparently written by an atheist where the characters and text are anti-God, anti-Catholic and anti-religion."


Read it [url=http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/279163]here.[/url]

Snuckles

Also see [url=http://www.thestar.com/article/278845]School board pulls ‘anti-God’ book[/url]:

quote:

Halton's Catholic trustees and staff to review fantasy that is `apparently written by an atheist'
Nov 22, 2007 04:30 AM
Kristin Rushowy
Education Reporter

Halton's Catholic board has pulled The Golden Compass fantasy book – soon to be a Hollywood blockbuster starring Nicole Kidman – off school library shelves because of a complaint.

Two other books in the trilogy by British author Philip Pullman have also been removed as a precaution, and principals have been ordered not to distribute December Scholastic book flyers because The Golden Compass is available to order.

"(The complaint) came out of interviews that Philip Pullman had done, where he stated that he is an atheist and that he supports that," said Scott Millard, the board's manager of library services.

"Since we are an educational institution, we want to be able to evaluate the material; we want to make sure we have the best material for students."

Following a recent Star story about the series, an internal memo was sent to elementary principals that said "the book is apparently written by an atheist where the characters and text are anti-God, anti-Catholic and anti-religion."

Millard said if students want the books, they can ask librarians for them but the series won't be on display until a committee review is complete.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Here's what kills me, from today's Globe:

quote:

Queen's University English literature professor Shelley King said the issue of whether the board should take Mr. Pullman's books from the shelf came up yesterday with her third-year class, and she and her students agreed it is a [b]difficult question.[/b]

"It depends whether you are more interested in doctrine or in literary excellence. If your choice of reading matter is doctrinally driven, and you are not interested in challenges to received doctrine, then by all means, Pullman is not the man you want kids reading," Dr. King said.

Gordon Davies, head of languages, arts and sciences at the school of continuing education at the University of Toronto, said the school board's action has to be put into context.

It is not asking that the book not be read, sold or lent by a public library, said Dr. Davies, an expert on Catholic education.

[b]"All the school board is saying is that it has a responsibility to provide education within the Catholic faith,"[/b] Dr. Davies said.


Oh, the agony of difficult choices! These poor academics have to wrestle with such complicated issues! Should a book be banned because the author is an atheist? Well, you see, it all [b]depends[/b]!

Unionist

I enjoyed Pullman's trilogy (and there's a 4th book out now I believe), as did my children.

But I agree they should be pulled from Catholic school libraries.

I actually believe all books should be pulled from Catholic school libraries.

They just confuse the kids.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Exactly. What's "difficult" about such questions? Just pull the damn books.

SRB

"Oh, the agony of difficult choices! These poor academics have to wrestle with such complicated issues! Should a book be banned because the author is an atheist? Well, you see, it all depends!"

I think you're being a little bit unfair to that academic if you're including her in your statement. I happen to know that she's written several excellent articles on Pullman's trilogy, and even won an award for one (in fact, that's probably why a reporter talked to her), so I don't think she was saying at all that the book should be banned or not read. In fact, reading between the lines of her comment, I think she was suggesting that they are unquestionably books of "literary excellence" and that "literary excellence" should trump doctrine. Of course, thinking people of whatever belief system, whether atheist or religious) should welcome them as an opportunity to explore both literary excellence and doctrine with children.

But I haven't read the trilogy. Maybe someone who has would like to comment in more detail on the books.

Albireo

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=4&t=002357&p=... thread on His Dark Materials trilogy.[/url]

Albireo

Suddenly these books are all atheistic and anti-god, now that a movie is coming out. I guess these book-banning heathens don't even read.

Anyway, if the problem is not only work that attacks or undermines religion, but the very fact that the author is an atheist, then these people had better get off their asses and start lobbying to ban all sorts of stuff.

Excerpting about 100 names from [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists]this long list of atheists[/url] and sorting by first name... includes over 2 dozen Nobel laureates:


* A. J. Ayer (1910–1989): Philosopher and advocate of logical positivism. Ayer was not an atheist in the sense of asserting that God does not exist, since he viewed such a claim as meaningless. However, he has been classified as a "practical atheist," who finds no reason to worship a deity whose existence cannot be verified.[125][126]
* Alan Turing (1912–1954): English mathematician, logician, and cryptographer. Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. The Turing Award, often recognized as the "Nobel Prize of computing", is named after him.[211][212]
* Albert Camus (1913–1960): French philosopher and novelist, a luminary of existentialism. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957.[128][21]
* Alfred Kinsey (1894–1956): American biologist, sexologist and professor of entomology and zoology.[187]
* Amartya Kumar Sen (1933—): 1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics.[201][202][203][204]
* Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914?): American writer, author of The Devil's Dictionary.[30]
* Ayn Rand (1905–1982): Russian-born American author and founder of Objectivism.[56]
* Baron d'Holbach (1723–89): French philosopher and encyclopedist, most famous as being one of the first outspoken atheists in Europe.[135]
* Bertrand Russell, (1872–1970): British philosopher and mathematician. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950. Though he considered himself an agnostic in a purely philosophical context, he said that the label atheist conveyed a more accurate understanding of his views in a popular context.[144]
* Billy Joel (1949—): American singer, songwriter, and pianist.[117]
* Bjцrk (1965—): Icelandic Singer/Song writer, Composer and Producer.[111]
* Brannon Braga (1965–): American TV producer and writer, creator of Star Trek: Enterprise.[86]
* Camille Paglia (1947—): American post-feminist literary and cultural critic.[52]
* China Miйville (1972—): British Science Fiction author.[50]
* Christer Fuglesang (1957—), Swedish astronaut and physicist.[181]
* Christopher Hitchens (1949—): Author, journalist and essayist.[38]
* Claude Adrien Helvйtius (1715–71): French philosopher whose ethical and social views helped shape the school of utilitarianism later made famous by Jeremy Bentham.[133]
* Claude Shannon (1916–2001): American electrical engineer and mathematician, has been called "the father of information theory", and was the founder of practical digital circuit design theory.[205]
* Daniel Dennett (1942—): American philosopher, author of Breaking the Spell.[131]
* Dave Barry (1947–): American humor columnist and author of Big Trouble, among others.[29]
* David Gilmour (1946—): English guitarist and vocalist with Pink Floyd.[114]
* David Sloan Wilson (1949—): American evolutionary biologist, son of Sloan Wilson, proponent of multilevel selection theory and author of several popular books on evolution.[217]
* David Suzuki (1936—): Canadian university professor, science broadcaster and environmental activist.[25]
* Denis Diderot (1713–84): editor-in-chief of the Encyclopйdie, who succeeded in bringing about "a revolution in men's minds."[133]
* Diagoras (5th century BCE): Ancient Greek poet and sophist known as the Atheist of Milos, who declared that there were no Gods.[132]
* Douglas Adams (1952–2001): British radio and television writer, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.[27]
* Ernst Mayr (1904–2005): a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist. He was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists.[189]
* Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900): German Existentialist philosopher and known as the founder of Nihilism whose Beyond Good and Evil sought to refute traditional notions of morality. Nietzsche penned a memorable secular statement of the Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence in Thus Spake Zarathustra and is forever associated with the phrase, "God is dead" (first seen in his book, The Gay Science).[142]
* Frйdйric Joliot-Curie (1900–1958): French physicist and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1935.[185]
* G. H. Hardy (1877–1947): a prominent English mathematician, known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis.[183][184]
* Gao Xingjian (1940—): Chinese йmigrй novelist, dramatist, critic, translator, stage director and painter. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000.[67]
* Gene Wilder (1933—): American actor best known for his role as Willy Wonka.[109]
* George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950): Irish playwright, only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize (Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925) and an Oscar (Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1939 for Pygmalion).[62][63]
* George Meyer (1956—): Producer and writer for The Simpsons.[102]
* Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837): Italian poet, linguist, essayist and philosopher. Leopardi is legendary as an out-and-out nihilist.[45]
* Greg Graffin (1964—): Lead singer of the punk rock band Bad Religion. Received his zoology PhD with the thesis Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist Worldview: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology.[115][116]
* Harold Kroto (1939—): 1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.[186]
* Harold Pinter (1930—): British playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor, director, author, and political activist, best known for his plays The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978). Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005.[53]
* Hermann Joseph Muller (1890–1967): American geneticist and educator, best known for his work on the physiological and genetic effects of radiation (X-ray mutagenesis). He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1946.[194]
* Ibn Warraq (1946—): Best-selling author and secularist scholar of Islam currently living in the United States. He is a Muslim apostate and an outspoken critic of Islam who has written extensively on what he views as the oppressive nature of Islam.[66]
* Isaac Asimov (1920–1992): Russian-born American author of science fiction and popular science books.[28]
* J. Michael Straczynski (1954—): American writer and producer, creator of Babylon 5.[107]
* Jacques Monod (1910–1976): French biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1965 for discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.[192]
* James D. Watson (1928—): 1962-Nobel-laureate co-discover of the structure of DNA.[213][214]
* Janeane Garofalo (1964—): American actor and comedian.[78]
* Jean Meslier (1678–1733): French village Catholic priest who was found, on his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay, entitled Common Sense but commonly referred to as Meslier's Testament, promoting atheism.[139][140]
* Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980): French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and novelist who declared that he had been an atheist from age twelve.[145] Although he regarded God as a self-contradictory concept, he still thought of it as an ideal toward which people strive.[146] He rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964. According to Sartre, his most-repeated summary of his existentialist philosophy, "Existence precedes essence," implies that humans must abandon traditional notions of having been designed by a divine creator.[147]
* Jonathan Miller (1934—): British physician, actor, theatre and opera director, and television presenter. Wrote and presented the 2004 television series, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, exploring the roots of his own atheism and investigating the history of atheism in the world.[190]
* Josй Saramago (1922—): Portuguese writer, playwright and journalist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.[59]
* Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709–51): French physician and philosopher, earliest materialist writer of the Enlightenment, claimed as a founder of cognitive science.[141]
* Karl Marx (1818–83): German author of Das Kapital, known for his assertion that "Religion is... the opium of the people."[138]
* Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003): American actress who appeared in 53 films from 1932 to 1994; winner of four Academy Awards for Best Actress.[92]
* Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007): American author, writer of Cat's Cradle, among other books. Vonnegut said "I am an atheist (or at best a Unitarian who winds up in churches quite a lot)."[21]
* Leonard Susskind (1940—): American theoretical physicist; a founding father of superstring theory and professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University.[209]
* Linus Pauling (1901–1994): Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1954) and Peace (1962); considered by many to be the greatest chemist of the 20th century.[178]
* Linus Torvalds (1969—): Finnish software engineer, creator of the Linux kernel.[210]
* Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804–1872): German philosopher whose major work, The Essence of Christianity, maintains that religion and divinity are projections of human nature.[134]
* Luis Buсuel (1900–1983): Spanish-born Mexican film-maker, activist of the surrealist movement. Known for his one-liner, "Thank God I'm still an atheist."[87]
* Michael Kinsley (1951—): American political journalist, commentator, and television host.[96]
* Michael Smith (1932–2000): British-born Canadian biochemist and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1993.[206]
* Michel Houellebecq (1958—): French novelist.[39]
* Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876): Russian philosopher, writer and anarchist.[127]
* Mikhail Gorbachev (1931—): Former Soviet president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.[157][158][159]
* Nadine Gordimer (1923—): South African writer and political activist. Her writing has long dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. She won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1991.[33][34]
* Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908): Russian Nationalist composer, member of "The Five", best-known for the tone poem Scheherazade.[121]
* Paul D. Boyer (1918—): American biochemist and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1997.[173]
* Paul Dirac (1902–1984): British theoretical physicist, founder of quantum mechanics, predicted the existence of antimatter; won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933.[177][178]
* Paul Nurse (1949—): 2001 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.[196]
* Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822): British Romantic poet, contemporary and associate of John Keats and Lord Byron, and author of The Necessity of Atheism.[64]
* Peter Atkins (1940—): Professor of chemistry at Lincoln College, Oxford in the University of Oxford, England. Also a prolific writer of popular chemistry textbooks. [172]
* Peter D. Mitchell (1920–1992): 1978-Nobel-laureate British biochemist. Atheist mother, and himself atheist from age 15.[191]
* Philip Pullman (1946—): CBE, British author of His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy for young adults, which have atheism as a major theme.[55]
* Phillip Adams (1939—): Australian broadcaster, writer, film-maker, left-wing radical thinker and iconoclast. He was the Australian Humanist of the Year in 1987.[85]
* Pierre Loti (1850–1923): French novelist and travel writer.[48]
* Primo Levi (1919–1987): Italian novelist and chemist, survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp.[46]
* Pдr Lagerkvist (1891–1974): Swedish author who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1951. He used religious motifs and figures from the Christian tradition without following the doctrines of the church.[42]
* Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872—1958): British composer. Despite the variety of his works with religious connections, Vaughan Williams was decidedly not a believer.[123] He once said that "there is no reason why an atheist could not write a good mass," then proved it by writing a superb one. He later became an agnostic.[124]
* Richard Dawkins (1941—): British zoologist, biologist, creator of the concepts of the selfish gene and the meme; outspoken atheist and popularizer of science, author of The God Delusion and founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.[176]
* Richard Feynman (1918–1988): American theoretical physicist, best known for his work in renormalizing Quantum electrodynamics and his path integral formulation of Quantum Mechanics . He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.[179]
* Richard J. Roberts (1943—): British biochemist and molecular biologist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1993 for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing.[198][199][200]
* Richard Leakey (1944—): Kenyan paleontologist, archaeologist and conservationist.[188]
* Ron Reagan (1958—): American magazine journalist, board member of the politically activist Creative Coalition, son of former U. S. President Ronald Reagan.[57]
* Rutka Laskier (1929–1943): Polish Jew who was killed at Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 14. Because of her diary, on display at Israel's Holocaust museum, she has been dubbed the "Polish Anne Frank." [43]
* Salman Rushdie (1947—): Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction.[58]
* Sarah Polley (1979—): Canadian actress and director.[104]
* Sean M. Carroll (1956—): Theoretical cosmologist specializing in dark energy and general relativity.[174]
* Sigmund Freud (1856–1939): Father of psychoanalysis.[180]
* Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917—): British scientist and science-fiction author.[31]
* Sir Ian McKellen (1939—): English Stage and Screen Actor.[99]
* Stanislaw Lem (1921–2006): Polish science fiction novelist and essayist.[44]
* Steve Wozniak (1950—): Co. founder of Apple Computer and inventor of the Apple I and Apple II.[218]
* Steven Pinker (1954—): American psychologist.[197]
* Steven Soderbergh (1963—): American filmmaker, Academy Award-winning director of such films as Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven, and Sex, Lies and Videotape.[105]
* Steven Weinberg (1933—): American theoretical physicist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 for combining electromagnetism and the weak force into the electroweak force.[215][216]
* Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995): Indian American astrophysicist known for his theoretical work on the structure and evolution of stars. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983.[175]
* Terry Pratchett (1948—): English Fantasy author known for his satirical Discworld series.[54]
* Vitaly Ginzburg (1916—): Russian theoretical physicist and astrophysicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003. He was also awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1994/95.[182]
* Woody Allen (1935—): American film director, actor and comedian. Allen said that "To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition."[72]

[ 23 November 2007: Message edited by: Albireo ]

Michelle

Here's an excellent argument for pulling public funding from these schools. How about a new rule: if your school is run by a bunch of book-burning religious nutjobs, you DON'T get public funding. Period.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Here's an excellent argument for pulling public funding from these schools. How about a new rule: if your school is run by a bunch of book-burning religious nutjobs, you DON'T get public funding. Period.[/b]

Works for me! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Here's an excellent argument for pulling public funding from these schools. How about a new rule: if your school is run by a bunch of book-burning religious nutjobs, you DON'T get public funding. Period.[/b]

It's certainly a great issue to frame the debate, since it makes it rather clear that the Catholic schools aren't simply about educating about the Catholic faith (not something that should be publicly funded anyway), but actively indoctrinating the students, to the exclusion of all other ideas.

gbacque

quote:


Originally posted by Snuckles:
[b]

Read it [url=http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/279163]here.[/url][/b]


I wonder what they're gonna do when the movie version is released in a couple of weeks. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Trevormkidd

I can't believe that wikipedia didn't include Ian McEwan in their list of atheist authors. Outspoken atheist and winner of many literary prizes.

Noah_Scape

I am allways quoting the unionist:

quote:

I actually believe all books should be pulled from Catholic school libraries.

With a twinge of regret for taking the low road of 'tossing insults', I offer this:

We have come this far:
"Separation of Government and Religion"

Maybe someday:
"Separation of Schools and Religion"

But it has allways been:
"Separation of Thinking and Religion"

... and ya, separate public funding from religious schools for sure!!

Unionist

Somehow this attempt to develop an Ontario version of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum has ended up being discussed on [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=9&t=001991]an... thread[/url], but I think it's important to reiterate here that not one, but three (3) Catholic boards are now "reviewing" the trilogy:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2007/11/23/golden-compass.html]CBC news[/url]

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Here's an excellent argument for pulling public funding from these schools. How about a new rule: if your school is run by a bunch of book-burning religious nutjobs, you DON'T get public funding. Period.[/b]

I 2nd that motion, if it's already been 2nd 'ed, then never mind

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

expect more of this as more people vocalize a return to traditional- family - Christian values.

The religious zealots have been setting themselves up to set the agendas in our public spaces.

Look for key words like "intolerance" and "bigotry" being thrown around when censorship of books is challenged by librarians, teachers, GLBT advocacy groups, secularists etc .

[ 25 November 2007: Message edited by: TemporalHominid ]

janfromthebruce

quote:


Originally posted by Draco:
[b]

It's certainly a great issue to frame the debate, since it makes it rather clear that the Catholic schools aren't simply about educating about the Catholic faith (not something that should be publicly funded anyway), but actively indoctrinating the students, to the exclusion of all other ideas.[/b]


No kidding. Read it at

On page 2 it says, "And the mission of the Catholic school is to [b]evangelize youth[/b]so that they will become not only well-developed persons and good citizens but also faithful disciples of Christ and "witnesses to the faith!"

And there it is in the written word. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img] [url=http://www.smcdsb.on.ca/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6/File/Our%20Board/Trus... TRUSTEES Advocates, Stewarts & Guardians[/url]

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: janfromthebruce ]

Unionist

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071126.wpullman26/B... as if the movie has already been "sanitized" to mollify religious fanatics...[/url]

quote:

Days after an Ontario school board temporarily pulled copies of Philip Pullman's popular fantasy novel The Golden Compass from their shelves, the people bringing it to the big screen, including actor Daniel Craig, have come to its defence.

"These books are not anti-religious. I think that mainly they're anti-misuse of power - whether it's religious or political," Mr. Craig, best known for his portrayal of James Bond, said after being asked about the controversy dogging the novel. [...]

Interestingly, [b]some Pullman fan sites have complained that the studio behind the film, New Line, has diluted the books' criticism of religious authority[/b].

The film's director, Chris Weitz, who hopes to film Mr. Pullman's entire trilogy, echoed Mr. Craig's sentiments. "I don't happen to believe that His Dark Materials is an anti-religious or anti-Catholic series of books. I think that Philip Pullman is against the abuse of religion, the abuse of God for political power." [...]

Neil MacCarthy, communications director for the [b]Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto[/b], said yesterday his organization "expects our school boards, their leadership and our Catholic trustees to ensure responsible decisions are made about the books they offer in their schools' libraries. It is our understanding that several boards are taking a look at this particular book."


I suppose the Catholic Archdiocese has a point. If a popular well-written series of books got children thinking about religion in a critical way, it could affect the Archdiocese's future revenues. Best to burn take a look at such books right now.

Michael Hardner

Has anybody fully understood what is offensive in these books ? My understanding from the thread is that there is anti-Catholic sentiment therein ?

If so, I can't see what would be objectionable in monitoring those books more closely.

This phrase -

quote:

religious nutjobs

- is intolerant and shouldn't be used on a progressive site, in my opinion....

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]My understanding from the thread is that there is anti-Catholic sentiment therein ?

If so, I can't see what would be objectionable in monitoring those books more closely.[/b]


You haven't even read the books - and you are concluding [i]from this thread[/i] that it would be unobjectionable to "monitor" them more closely?

Because they may contain "anti-Catholic sentiment"?

I thought political views like yours were overthrown by the French and American revolutions.

That was over 200 years ago. I wouldn't want to rush you, though.

Michael Hardner

U,

quote:

You haven't even read the books - and you are concluding from this thread that it would be unobjectionable to "monitor" them more closely?

Because they may contain "anti-Catholic sentiment"?


There's that little phrase "if so" in there...

I don't know why they would be banned if there wasn't something explicitly anti-Catholic or anti-God in there. I mean, they're not banning 'Inherit the Wind'...

quote:

I thought political views like yours were overthrown by the French and American revolutions.

That was over 200 years ago. I wouldn't want to
rush you, though.


I believe that religious freedom should be protected as per the constitution. That means that some objectionable, and false things will be allowed to be taught to children...

If you can find me an example of a progressive government that successfully banned incorrect thinking, then perhaps I could be convinced otherwise.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I don't know why they would be banned if there wasn't something explicitly anti-Catholic or anti-God in there.[/b]

So (and I don't want to presume here, or rush you, or miss any two-letter words...):

Catholic school boards would be justified in banning books that had explicitly anti-Catholic or anti-God sentiment?

If that is true, they should not simply be de-funded. They should have their certificate-granting powers removed, even if operated as private schools.

Parents still insistent on such a high level of thought control can try to force their kids into convents or monasteries. Although I'm afraid that even there, the Devil's ideas have been known to reach.

Tommy_Paine

Well, the Halton Catholic School Board really let the cat out of the bag, didn't they?

They are afraid of a single book that may have atheistic overtones. It shows a serious lack of confidence in their beliefs.

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]Has anybody fully understood what is offensive in these books ? My understanding from the thread is that there is anti-Catholic sentiment therein ?
...
[/b]

Here's a quote from the second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, which should answer your question.

quote:

Ruta Skadi stood. Her white arms gleamed in the firelight; her eyes glittered so brightly that even the farthest witch could see the play of expression on her vivid face.

"Sisters," she began, "let me tell you what is happening, and who it is that we must fight. For there is a war coming. I don't know who will join with us, but I know whom we must fight. It is the Magisterium, the Church. For all its history - and that's not long by our lives, but it's many, many of theirs--it's tried to suppress and control every natural impulse. And when it can't control them, it cuts them out. Some of you have seen what they did at Bolvangar. And that was horrible, but it is not the only such place, not the only such practice. Sisters, you know only the north; I have traveled in the south lands. There are churches there, believe me, that cut their children too, as the people of Bolvangar did--not in the same way, but just as horribly. They cut their sexual organs, yes, both boys and girls; they cut them with knives so that they shan't feel. That is what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling. So if a war comes, and the Church is on one side of it, we must be on the other, no matter what strange allies we find ourselves bound to."


My jaw dropped when I read that, with a response mixing "That was awesome!" and "I can't believe this book isn't more controversial!" Naturally the coming movie has changed the controversy bit (as was pointed out by Albireo, those interested in banning books don't seem to read them otherwise).

Yes, the books are quite clearly and strongly critical of organized religion and of Christianity in particular, which is referred to as a "very convincing mistake." The question for religious schools then becomes to behave exactly like the fictional Magisterium and try to suppress critical thought.

Michael Hardner

Ok, well that explains the reaction I suppose.

quote:

Catholic school boards would be justified in banning books that had explicitly anti-Catholic or anti-God sentiment?


Justified ? In whose eyes ?

I understand why they would ban the book, though.

quote:

If that is true, they should not simply be de-funded. They should have their certificate-granting powers removed, even if operated as private schools.

Parents still insistent on such a high level of thought control can try to force their kids into convents or monasteries. Although I'm afraid that even there, the Devil's ideas have been known to reach.


Hmmm....

Well, I don't think religious schools should be publicly funded. Removing the funding, though, could cause more damage than it's worth. As long as they have funding, then they should be able to dictate what is in their libraries, within reasonable limits.

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]As long as they have funding, then they should be able to dictate what is in their libraries, within reasonable limits.[/b]

The implementation of intellectual freedom in our libraries is far from perfect. But when you throw that principle out the window completely and start dictating which ideas get to be included and which must be censored, then you don't have a library in any meaningful sense of the word, just a collection of books.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]As long as they have [public] funding, then they should be able to dictate what is in their libraries, within reasonable limits.[/b]

Wha--? Why does the presence of public funding endow them with the right to dictate what's in their libraries? If public funding were removed, would that remove their right to "dictate"?

Surely the shoe is on the other foot - the presence of public funding should if anything tend to [b]restrain[/b] their ability to exclude the ideas of a significant sector of the taxpaying public from their libraries?

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Michael Hardner

quote:


The implementation of intellectual freedom in our libraries is far from perfect. But when you throw that principle out the window completely and start dictating which ideas get to be included and which must be censored, then you don't have a library in any meaningful sense of the word, just a collection of books.

Draco,

You're using the term 'our libraries' which must mean you are a Catholic school supporter.

Are you planning to take this up with your separate board representative then ?

Michael Hardner

Spectro,

quote:

Wha--? Why does the presence of public funding endow them with the right to dictate what's in their libraries? If public funding were removed, would that remove their right to "dictate"?

Sorry - maybe I didn't make this clear.

They're endowed with the right to dictate what's in their libraries in the constitution. Funding has nothing to do with it.

quote:

Surely the shoe is on the other foot - the presence of public funding should if anything tend to restrain their ability to exclude the ideas of a significant sector of the taxpaying public from their libraries?

No, the religious minority is protected no matter who pays the freight.

Imagine what could happen, constitutionally speaking, if that were the case.

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

Draco,

You're using the term 'our libraries' which must mean you are a Catholic school supporter.

Are you planning to take this up with your separate board representative then ?[/b]


I meant all Canadian libraries. I have no ties to nor support for religious school boards, though I suppose enquiring locally regarding this issue wouldn't hurt.

Michael Hardner

Draco,

quote:

I meant all Canadian libraries. I have no ties to nor support for religious school boards, though I suppose enquiring locally regarding this issue wouldn't hurt.

Well, I don't know why you would consider a Catholic library 'yours' then...

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]
They're endowed with the right to dictate what's in their libraries in the constitution.

Well, I don't know why you would consider a Catholic library 'yours' then...[/b]


The children attending Catholic schools, as citizens or residents of Canada, are constitutionally guaranteed freedom of a) conscience and religion and b) expression, which includes as a necessary corollary the freedom to access the expressions of others. I don't think mere criticism of dogma justifies the school board in violating the rights of its students by censoring ideas from the library.

As the students are unlikely to have been fully educated in their right to read, it falls on others to act on their behalf.

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: Draco ]

Michael Hardner

quote:


The children attending Catholic schools, as citizens or residents of Canada, are constitutionally guaranteed freedom of a) conscience and religion and b) expression, which includes as a necessary corollary the freedom to access the expressions of others. I don't think mere criticism of dogma justifies the school board has the proper authority to violate the rights of its students by censoring ideas from the library.

As the students are unlikely to have been fully educated in their right to read, it falls on others to act on their behalf.


D,

The necessary corollary part is untrue. Certainly, the board would win this right if it were tested.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]No, the religious minority is protected no matter who pays the freight.[/b]

Which religious minority are you referring to? Surely not the Catholic Church, which is the largest religious denomination in Canada?

And protecting religious minorities does not mean guaranteeing them the right to deny their children the freedom to read. If it did, moreover, why on earth would we want to spend public funds to support such child abuse?

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

D,

The necessary corollary part is untrue. Certainly, the board would win this right if it were tested.[/b]


Well, I can't imagine how freedom of expression could be considered meaningful if that expression can be stopped before it gets to anyone else.

The board might win a legal challenge, or they might not. That doesn't change the fact that children have rights and that libraries have a duty to: "guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable." ([url=http://www.efc.ca/pages/doc/cla.18nov85.html]Link[/url]) This duty is somewhat muted in school libraries, but not to the extent that it could possibly justify removing books merely because they criticize religion.

Unionist

This is not just about funding. It's about whether a school should even have certificate-granting privileges.

In Quйbec, schools which teach creationism instead of evolution are not recognized. Children who attend them and not real schools are considered as truants.

Perhaps Halton will ban "Origin of Species" next?

If a school bans reading material on the grounds that it criticizes organized religion, I would suggest that its credentials should be seriously scrutinized - whether it is public or private, state-funded or not.

Michael Hardner

M Spector,

quote:

Which religious minority are you referring to? Surely not the Catholic Church, which is the largest religious denomination in Canada?

I thought they were a minority of Canadians, but point taken it doesn't matter if they're a minority or majority.

quote:

And protecting religious minorities does not mean guaranteeing them the right to deny their children the freedom to read. If it did, moreover, why on earth would we want to spend public funds to support such child abuse?

It doesn't sound like you do want to spend 'your money'. It's okay, I spend lots of time arguing with right-wingers who don't agree with 'their' taxpayer dollars going to welfare, schools, hospitals and so forth. I'm not offended.

A cultural mosaic means that all cultures are tolerated, whether their individual beliefs are found to be distasteful or not...

Michael Hardner

Draco,

There are many problems with what you're saying.

quote:

Well, I can't imagine how freedom of expression could be considered meaningful if that expression can be stopped before it gets to anyone else.

Parents can stop children from watching all sorts of things that are permitted under the constitution. I wouldn't let my child watch a John Wayne war movie, nor an episode of Sex in the City and God forbid... Dick Cavett.

Michael Hardner

U,

quote:

This is not just about funding. It's about whether a school should even have certificate-granting privileges.

In Quйbec, schools which teach creationism instead of evolution are not recognized. Children who attend them and not real schools are considered as truants.

Perhaps Halton will ban "Origin of Species" next?


You're comparing apples and oranges there.

quote:

If a school bans reading material on the grounds that it criticizes organized religion, I would suggest that its credentials should be seriously scrutinized - whether it is public or private, state-funded or not.

Let's call a spade a spade.

a) They haven't even banned the book, although it would be understandable if they did.
b) These aren't essays on religion, written by philosophers, but children's books with an anti-religious message written into the plot.
c) There is no 'criticism' of religion here, but rather a demonizing of 'The Church'. I can see that there are references to circumcision but no mentions of synagogues.

It's all underhanded and negative. I'm not religious but I think that these books are dirty business.

Stargazer

Actually, the problem is with what you are saying. Here you go. This is your quote:

quote:

A cultural mosaic means that all cultures are tolerated, whether their individual beliefs are found to be distasteful or not...

Can you see where your problem lies??? If you can claim that all cultures are tolerated (and I had no ideas Catholics were considered a "culture") then you cannot possibly be okay with the banning of a book based upon the criteria it is atheist. If you think this book is anti-Catholic, than how do you defend the fact kids in catholic schools are denied the right to read a particular book? Should the Catholic schools be allowed to ban "Are You There God, It's me, Margaret?" because it deals with sexuality? Where do you think they should draw the line in their quest to ban books? What books do you think they have no right to ban?

Since when is it progressive to side with book banning? *sigh*

Michael Hardner

Starg,

quote:

Can you see where your problem lies??? If you can claim that all cultures are tolerated (and I had no ideas Catholics were considered a "culture") then you cannot possibly be okay with the banning of a book based upon the criteria it is atheist. If you think this book is anti-Catholic, than how do you defend the fact kids in catholic schools are denied the right to read a particular book? Should the Catholic schools be allowed to ban "Are You There God, It's me, Margaret?" because it deals with sexuality? Where do you think they should draw the line in their quest to ban books? What books do you think they have no right to ban?

Since when is it progressive to side with book banning? *sigh*


Tolerance means tolerating intolerance.

Many religions prohibit marrying outside the faith, which itself is prejudice so...

Stargazer

Well, I guess we have a vastly different meaning of tolerance. I'll stick with mine thanks. I don't have to tolerate bigots, racists or sexist fools. No more than I need to "respect" religious beliefs.

Oh and I'd love for you to answer my questions. All of them.

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: Stargazer ]

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]Draco,

There are many problems with what you're saying.

Parents can stop children from watching all sorts of things that are permitted under the constitution. I wouldn't let my child watch a John Wayne war movie, nor an episode of Sex in the City and God forbid... Dick Cavett.[/b]


We aren't talking about parents, but a school board making that decision for every child in the district. And was pointed out by unionist, there are limits on even a parent's right to deny their child access to ideas. Surely a school board would have a much more limited ability to censor.

quote:

These aren't essays on religion, written by philosophers, but children's books with an anti-religious message written into the plot.
There is no 'criticism' of religion here, but rather a demonizing of 'The Church'. I can see that there are references to circumcision but no mentions of synagogues.

It's all underhanded and negative. I'm not religious but I think that these books are dirty business.


I thought you hadn't read them?

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]I enjoyed Pullman's trilogy (and there's a 4th book out now I believe), as did my children.

But I agree they should be pulled from Catholic school libraries.

I actually believe all books should be pulled from Catholic school libraries.

They just confuse the kids.[/b]


I believe all funding should be pulled from Catholic schools.

Michael Hardner

Starg,

Answers:

quote:

Can you see where your problem lies??? If you can claim that all cultures are tolerated (and I had no ideas Catholics were considered a "culture") then you cannot possibly be okay with the banning of a book based upon the criteria it is atheist. If you think this book is anti-Catholic, than how do you defend the fact kids in catholic schools are denied the right to read a particular book?

Hmmm. Because it mocks and denigrates the values of Catholics ?

quote:

Should the Catholic schools be allowed to ban "Are You There God, It's me, Margaret?" because it deals with sexuality?

I don't know that book, so start a new thread.

quote:

Where do you think they should draw the line in their quest to ban books? What books do you think they have no right to ban?


I don't want to talk about "rights" because that's more of a legal question. On second thought, let's leave it on "rights" because it's easier for me to answer.

I'd say that they have the legal "right" to ban books that denigrate their faith, its values, and its practices.

Maybe someone else with more of a legal background can add their two cents.

Michael Hardner

Dracul,

quote:

We aren't talking about parents, but a school board making that decision for every child in the district.


Actually, I was responding to your point:

"Well, I can't imagine how freedom of expression could be considered meaningful if that expression can be stopped before it gets to anyone else."

The fact that we're dealing with children throws your 'freedom of expression' angle out the window.

quote:

And was pointed out by unionist, there are limits on even a parent's right to deny their child access to ideas. Surely a school board would have a much more limited ability to censor.


Of course, there are limits. But some ideas can be denied, as you imply. In other words, freedom of expression can be stopped.

quote:

I thought you hadn't read them?


I hadn't. I read the excerpt posted above after it was posted.

Michael Hardner

SP,

quote:

I believe all funding should be pulled from Catholic schools.

I agree, but I think that the pulling of funding would cause a lot of strife right now. In 20, 30 years, it won't be such a big deal to pull religious funding.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I agree, but I think that the pulling of funding would cause a lot of strife right now. [/b]

Dumping Catholic public schools in Quйbec and N&L caused no strife - only relief.

What makes you so pessimistic about Ontarians? More importantly, if you understand the need to cut the Catholics off, what makes you so much smarter than everyone else?

janfromthebruce

There is a great read and link about this books at [url=http://plawiuk.blogspot.com/]LA REVUE GAUCHE - Left Analysis And Comment [/url] called "More Silly Censorship." Hat trick to Eugene Plawiuk for a great post.
This is not anti-christ or anti-christian but threatens power structures of the church.
There is a link to another page here:[url=http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2007/11/25/god_in_the_d... Boston Globe[/url] called God in the Dust.

Everyone on this board should read this author's whole article.
To quote "It is a beautiful story, and a Christian story. It is a story that could prompt believers to reflect on their faith. It is just not a story that everyone may want you to read."

Donna Freitas is a visiting assistant professor of religion at Boston University. She is the coauthor of "Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman's Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials," and author of the forthcoming "Sex and the Soul" from Oxford University Press.

"But this is a sad misreading of the trilogy. These books are deeply theological, and deeply Christian in their theology. The universe of "His Dark Materials" is permeated by a God in love with creation, who watches out for the meekest of all beings - the poor, the marginalized, and the lost. It is a God who yearns to be loved through our respect for the body, the earth, and through our lives in the here and now. This is a rejection of the more classical notion of a detached, transcendent God, but I am a Catholic theologian, and reading this fantasy trilogy enhanced my sense of the divine, of virtue, of the soul, of my faith in God.

The book's concept of God, in fact, is what makes Pullman's work so threatening. His trilogy is not filled with attacks on Christianity, but with attacks on authorities who claim access to one true interpretation of a religion. Pullman's work is filled with the feminist and liberation strands of Catholic theology that have sustained my own faith, and which threaten the power structure of the church. Pullman's work is not anti-Christian, but anti-orthodox."

So, a book is being pulled that is not atheist, and not anti-religion because why??? Because powers to be feel threatened and where the Catholic League, a conservative religious organization, along with evangelical nonprofit Focus on the Family, in the states started this boycott.

This brings new meaning to oppression and human rights of children.

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: janfromthebruce ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by janfromthebruce:
[b]"I am a Catholic theologian, and reading this fantasy trilogy enhanced my sense of the divine, of virtue, of the soul, of my faith in God."[/b]

All right, ok, I agree - the books should be pulled. Thanks for pointing out their insidious pro-Catholic nature! And here I thought they were benign Satanic volumes...

Burn 'em!

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