Friends, I ask you to read the following news lead and tell answer this question: Is it from The Onion, or what? No! It's from The Palm Beach Post. But before you read on, ask yourself this question: How much money does someone like David Geffen give to progressive political causes? How about other members of the Hollywood elite? And do they have every right to do so? Of course.
Now check this out:
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush is encouraging Florida schoolchildren to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a parable of the New Testament gospels, for a contest timed with the release of the movie version by a company owned by a prominent Republican donor. ...
The movie is being co-produced by Disney and Walden Media, which is owned by Philip Anschutz, a Colorado billionaire. Anschutz, his family, his foundation and his company have donated nearly $100,000 to Republican candidates and causes in the past three elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Now we are, of course, talking about a book that has been read for decades by schoolchildren across the nation and in many, many parts of the world. The Narnia books are classics -- unless they have been banned in schools and libraries lately and I missed that headline.
Anschutz gave $100,000 in the space of three elections? Shocking! You mean some brand of conservative owns any kind of Hollywood studio? Shocking! And now he is working with that fundamentalist outfit called Disney?
It turns out that the usual suspects are, indeed, afraid that Narnia -- book and movie -- is an attack on the wall between church and state. You just know who the Post is going to quote, don't you?
"This whole contest is just totally inappropriate because of the themes of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," said Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "It is simply a retelling of the story of Christ."
I am afraid the conspiracy may go back further than that.
Last night, to test this theory, I got out a DVD of another right-wing flick by this same Walden outfit -- a movie called Holes, based on a novel by Louis Sachar that -- gasp! -- was also read and enjoyed by millions of unprotected school children. In their own classrooms! And libraries! Some children may even have read this book without the permission of their Unitarian parents!
This movie was packed with moral absolutes and even strong religious symbols. The word "sinner" was sung in an appropriate context. There was sacramental symbolism involving water and what could only be seen as an act of God.
Enough is enough. Let's all thank the Post for raising this crucial issue. Reading books of this kind must be stopped. What's next? Little House on the Prairie, in the original editions?