Sunday, November 25, 2007

Freedom to offend redux

The book "The Golden Compass" was recently pulled from the library shelves of a Catholic Schoolboard in Ontario. Having not read the book, I can't argue for the motivations.

However, I have argued that the Freedom of Expression includes a fortiori the right to offend. After listening to the arguements for and against a given book in a given school, I think the Charter of Rights should be rewritten to include a Charter of Obligations- and that should include the obligation to hear dissent.

In any event, the timing of these protests couldn't come at a better time to promote the film version which is just opening, and the furor will no doubt attract further attention to the book.


Anonymous said...

I think, having read the book that those who have pulled have done because they dislike the fact that the author has challenged the existence of God. The author has set the story in a context where the history of the society in which the events taken place never experienced the renaissance, the reformation, or the Enlightenment. I think that the key reason that they're disagreeing with the book is that the soul, rather than being in the body of the person is embodied in an creature called a daemon which is in close proximity in each person. If you don't have a daemon you could die. This book, and rest of the trilogy, question the existence of God much like C. S. Lewis' Narnia series and Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series.

adamvs said...

I'm not sure I follow. Narnia was subtly christian- Tolkien doesn't deal with specifically christian themes.

My understanding is that "The Golden Compass" critiques the abuses of organised religion. I suppose that the most organised religion in existence might not care for that perspective. But critiquing a god or his church doesn't deny the existence of god- just your God.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster