Thursday, July 10, 2008

You must agree with the Christians… OR ELSE.

What happens if you don’t agree with the Christian agenda? They’ll do everything they can to defame you, shut down your business, and make sure you are never heard from in public again. People aren’t allowed to have a difference of opinion when it comes to “Christianity and God”, see. If you disagree with the Christians, then they’re coming after you.

The latest offender is Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials books for young adults, is going to be the victim of a Christian rights protest. His “crime”? He doesn’t believe in the benevolent God of the Christians! Therefore, these “Christian” advocates think he should be boycotted and his business shut down. How open-minded and tolerant of them!

Roman Catholic groups in North America are calling for a boycott of a forthcoming film adaptation of the first in Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, arguing that it is bait to ensnare children in his “atheist agenda”. Bill Donohoe, the president of the Catholic League in the United States, has said that the British author’s His Dark Materials books are deeply anti-Christian and promote “atheism for kids”.

He said he feared the film would prompt parents to buy the books, unaware that the third in the series, The Amber Spyglass, climaxes in an epic battle to “destroy God”.

The conservative league’s call for a boycott of The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, has been taken up by a growing number of Catholic leaders.

The Catholic school board in Ontario has ordered Northern Lights, the book on which the film is based, removed from library shelves.

See, if you don’t support the Christian God, then you don’t deserve to make money. You don’t deserve to have a successful business. From these people’s perspective, you aren’t allowed to have a different opinion than the one they hold.

And yet somehow, atheist authors are the ones painted as intolerant and close-minded.

What’s that you say? What am I going on about? I’m going on about this strange and, in my mind, misguided attack on the idea of using boycotts as a political tool to support personal causes.

Cassy Fiano paints boycotts as a terrifying act of economic oppression when, in fact, boycotts are supremely democratic in nature. A boycott with enough support will succeed in either changing the behavior of a company or organization by causing economic hardship, it’s true, but without much popular support a boycott will surely fail. Indeed, if the boycott is in itself repugnant to most citizens, they may well support the target organization even more to fight the effects of the boycott. A boycott is very simply people voting with their dollars and their business.

Do I agree with either of these boycotts? That’s an irrelevancy: I support the concept of groups of citizens refusing to do business with companies that they find politically or socially repulsive. Be it Dixie Chicks, Ben & Jerry’s, the new GI Joe film, or the Manchester Grand Hyatt (be sure to read Cassy’s post linked above), I won’t always agree with the cause--ferGodsake, don’t even get me started on the talk of boycotting Dunkin Donuts a bit back--but I believe that the boycott is a practical tool used in any healthy, open society and act as another manner in which we hold these larger conversations about our own society.


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