Posted by: cjobrien | 6 February 2008

Catholics Banning Books

This is a bit out-of-date, but what the hell….

Censorship makes my blood boil. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I read in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a Catholic school board in Ontario pulled the popular fantasy book The Golden Compass off library shelves at dozens of schools after receiving a complaint about the author referring to himself as an atheist. Of course Catholic organizations in the United States are urging parents to boycott the movie version of the book as well. All of this, simply because the author prefers not to believe that there is a god. This kind of bigoted prejudice has no place in a civilized society. It remains to be seen how many parents will comply with such medieval instruction from their Catholic task-masters. After all, the Church attempted the same thing with the Da Vinci Code and yet the movie became one of the biggest blockbusters of 2006 (The Golden Compass didn’t do nearly so well, but then it also got pretty sour reviews from people who could not be accused of religious prejudice). I suspect most parents recognize the inherent societal danger of having a church begin to restrict what they and their children should read, and will secretly buy the books and take their kids to see the movie. (I know we always did, whenever some anti-intellectual priest or bishop started to dictate what we should do outside of the church). It is no surprise that the Catholic League is also mentioned prominently in the article. I know my liberal friends will flinch at this, but thank god for secret NSA phone tapping! Hopefully when the Democrats take over in 2008 we can use Bush’s program to start tapping organizations like the Catholic League (and other religious groups) – these groups pose as much of a threat to American civil liberties as any jihadist organization.

Attempts to censor information of any kind irk me to no end, but religious-sponsored censorship is particularly disgusting, largely because the root of such censorship falls within the need to protect power for a few individuals under the guise of upholding mostly mythological events. Anyone who truly understood Catholic-Christian-biblical history could not, in good conscience, remain within the church. I have always been amazed at what the Church tried to cover up throughout history, as well as the facts of history and science that it continues to deny.  Most Catholics have no knowledge of the historical context surrounding the Council of Nicaea, the extent to which the bible has been edited, re-written or mis-translated, the historical cottage industry of faked sacred items run by the church during the 15th and 16th centuries (from where we get the Shroud of Turin and Juan Diego’s cloak), or rampant anti-Semitism permeating the history of the church and setting the stage for the Holocaust.

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