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.”