I recall an old Cat Stevens song from the early 70’s, Where Do the Children Play? It runs through my head from time to time when I think about the adult world interacting with children. I had the phrase somewhat in mind when I reacted to the recent invasion of Harry Potter’s world by JK Rowling’s world. I stated then that I was sad that children can’t be left out of some things. But this is the modern world, and apparently we are at war (forgive me for saying it). Terry Mattingly, who is Orthodox and a columnist for Scripps Howard, and one of the most astute observers of the media and religion, wrote one of the most alarming columns this weekend I have seen in years.
His column deals with the up-coming movie based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series (children’s books). The movie is a production of his first book: The Golden Compass. Quoting Pullman from an Australian interview:
I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry [Potter] has said. My books are about killing God.
And, there’s more. Mattingly notes in his column that evil incarnate has a name in Pullman’s books: the “Church.” Apparently Hollywood is too shy to be so up front and chooses in the movie to substitute the word: “Magisterium.” I’m sure that Catholics will find that comforting.
I tend not to be alarmist in culture matters. I know that in the end God wins (not in Pullman’s books but in the real world). But I continue thinking, “Where do the children play?”
Then I have to remember that we Christians have been writing children’s books for years with the understanding that introducing children to God and His Kingdom at an early age is laudatory. We even go so far as to Baptize them. But apparently an atheist writer considers it equally laudatory to educate children in killing God. This indeed is a culture war – with its merchants – Hollywood and the publishing world sitting back and making money off both sides (now I think of a song by Dylan).
Where do the children play? In the same minefield that we adults play – and the merchants are playing for keeps. It’s a topic of discussion in my house. I don’t plan to fill the coffers of those who would kill God. But the ironic thing is that this God already died for them. I recommend Terry Mattingly’s Column and all of his writings at Getreligion.org.