Lying for the Faith
Over at World Magazine, Gene Veith reports on the latest horror from those evil liberal secularists:
Many public schools already use The Chronicles of Narnia in their reading curriculum. But after Florida governor Jeb Bush started promoting The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in a statewide reading contest called “Just Read, Florida,” the critics are wanting to ban that book.
C.S. Lewis' classic, set to premiere as a major motion picture Dec. 9, has a clear Christian message, culminating in the Christ-figure, Aslan the Lion, giving himself to the devil figure, the White Witch, to die in the place of the rotten little kid, Edmund. Then Aslan rises from the dead, which brings salvation to Narnia.
Such a clear gospel message, according to some civil libertarians, has no place in the public schools. Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, says, “This whole contest is just totally inappropriate because of the themes of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is simply a retelling of the story of Christ.”
Ironically, those comments came out a week after Banned Books Week, celebrating books people have tried to censor. (According to the Banned Books Resource Guide from the American Library Association, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is on the list. So is the Bible.)
Chilling indeed. There's just one problem. Veith just made up the idea that Barry Lynn wants to ban anything.
The details on the reading contest can be obtained from Jeb Bush's website here. Basically the contest involves children in grades three through twelve reading the book, and then, depending on their grade level, either writing an essay, producing an illustration, or putting together a video.
So, does Barry Lynn want to ban the book? Of course not. Lynn made his position perfectly clear on Monday's edition of the MSNBC show The Situation with Tucker Carlson. Here's an excerpt:
CARLSON: Welcome back. “The Passion of the Christ” was a huge box office hit. Odds are, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” based on the stories of influential Christian writer C.S. Lewis will do pretty well too, but the first book in the series is hitting some resistance.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State wants the state of Florida to stop pushing “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” in its state-wide reading contest. The group says the state should only permit nonreligious books in reading programs.
Here to defend the group‘s position, executive director, Barry Lynn, who joins us live tonight from Denver, Colorado.
Barry, thanks for coming on.
BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED FOR THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE:
Nice to be back.
CARLSON: Thanks. So you spend your life fighting against religious fundamentalism, and here you find yourself trying to ban a book. You have become what you despise, have you not?
LYNN: No, I have not, because I‘m not trying to censor this book. I‘m not trying to take “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” out of any library or classroom in the state of Florida.
I‘m just trying to figure out why it was that Governor Jeb Bush chose this obviously Christian-themed book to be the sole book for his state-wide reading contest that goes from elementary to high school up to high school. All we were asking him to do this year was to come up with an alternative along with this book. I mean, it could have been the book you wrote, Tucker. That would have been an alternative.
CARLSON: I think it would have helped sales. But look, you‘re trying
so you‘re not trying to prevent kids from reading this book in the reading contest?
LYNN: Absolutely not. I love this book. I‘m going to see the movie, but it is inappropriate for the state of Florida to use an obviously Christian themed book. C.S. Lewis, the guy who wrote...
Pretty unambiguous. From here the debate dissolves into Carlson preposterously arguing that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is not a Christian book, with Lynn showing in great detail that it totally is.