Now they’re banning the books

The Catholic Church has repressed positive reviews of the movie The Golden Compass, and has encouraged people to not see the movie. Representatives of Catholic groups have spoken out forcefully, on the verge of Holy War Level Talk, against the movie and the book. Now we year news of an event that started to play out a few weeks ago and that is now coming to a head: One school district has banned the book. The Halton Catholic District board has removed the His Dark Materials trilogy from the library shelves in that district.

The trio of books was removed from library shelves last November after receiving a request for review from a member of the community. All three titles were available to students upon request.

The board set up a committee, made up of teacher, principals, trustees and consultants, to review the book and recommend whether it should be available to students.

LeMay said this is the first time a book has been banned from school libraries within the board. The three titles will not be made available to students upon request and will be “stored at the central board office for the time being.”

Well, at this stage, you might as well burn them.

OK, swallow any coffee you may be drinking before you read this next bit, or you will spit it all over your computer:

She said the books were initially purchased for the schools because of the critical acclaim they received.

LeMay said she has received a minimal amount of calls from parents about the book and added that if parents want the trilogy for their children they can visit a public library or purchase copies.

“The board felt that because it really was in opposition of what we’re trying to teach the children, there is a lot of literature out there that is more appropriate for teaching critical thinking,” she said.

“Yes, we do want the children to be good critical thinkers but we can do it with other materials than that one.”

So 1) They are good books but we will ban them anyway. 2) There really wasn’t much in the way of complaints, but we’ll ban them anyway. 3) The books are critical of the church so we must ban them. 4) We want to teach critical thinking but not critical thinking about us. So we banned them.

I’ll give the author of the books the last word:

“The trouble is that all too often in human history, churches and priesthoods have set themselves up to rule people’s lives in the name of some invisible god (and they’re all invisible, because they don’t exist) — and done terrible damage,” Pullman writes on his website.

“In the name of their god, they have burned, hanged, tortured, maimed, robbed, violated, and enslaved millions of their fellow creatures, and done so with the happy conviction that they were doing the will of God, and they would go to Heaven for it.”

[source]

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    December 21, 2007

    In the interest of a more complete picture, it should perhaps be noted that …

    * This board rejected the recommendation of their appointed committee that the book not be banned.
    * The decision has been condemned by at least 2 other neighbouring Catholic boards, and by some librarians and teachers within the Halton district.
    * I’ve seen no position taken by the Canadian Catholic hierarchy yet.

    In other words, it looks as though this decision is an outlier …

  2. #2 Virgil Samms
    December 21, 2007

    Censorship is nothing new to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. They ran the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for centuries.

    The Index as an official list having force of law was abolished in 1966 under Pope Paul VI, following the end of the Second Vatican Council and largely due to practical considerations. However, the moral obligation of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals, was reaffirmed in 1966…

    What with the Pope bringing back the Latin mass and indulgences, who knows what medieval contrivances will be next.

    Vatican blasts “Golden Compass” as Godless and hopeless

  3. #3 Virgil Samms
    December 21, 2007

    I think the Forces of Darkness (R) should strike back by panning the book about the Pope’s cats. I’m heading over to Amazon right now to give it a lousy review.

  4. #4 Virgil Samms
    December 21, 2007
  5. #5 Gene Goldring
    December 21, 2007

    I’m thinking someone should get about 1000 sets of the trilogy and hand them out for free to the kids as they leave school, utilising the sidewalk in front of the Halton Catholic District Schools of course. ;)