A news interview in which Bill Donohue, the leader of the Catholic League, admits that his intention in pushing for a boycott of the Golden Compass film was to "destroy the idea of having a second and third movie based off of his (Philip Pullman's) lousy books...".
Well done, the Catholic Church. Suppressing free expression since the fourth century, and still going strong.
What is interesting about this interview, however, is that, contrary to his claim to have "unmasked" Philip Pullman, it is Bill Donohue who unmasks himself as a sneering intolerant reactionary. On two separate occasions, he admits that the film is "innocuous" and "unobjectionable". And yet, he feels justified in calling for its boycott, simply because he does not want viewers to go on to read Pullman's original books.
It is not in fact the works of Philip Pullman that are in question here, but the principle of individual freedom. Should individuals have the right to decide for themselves and make up their own minds? Or is it necessary for the Church to vet materials in order to determine whether or not they are "suitable"? The position of the Catholic Church, with its history of intolerance, suppression of dissent and persecution of minorities, is not in doubt. What matters is whether or not the rest of us will allow the Church to suppress the right to free expression that Mr.Pullman and others of his persuasion currently exercise.
I watched this film for the first time a few days ago and enjoyed it. To be honest, it would not matter a great deal to me whether or not a sequel was made, although if one was made, I would definitely want to watch it. But, on the principle that no producer should be bullied into not making a film by a bunch of priests, I went on to sign the Golden Compass Sequel online petition asking for a sequel to be made. If you, too, want to support the principle of free artistic expression, then please sign the petition here.