by Frederick Meekins
Since the 1920Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s or thereabouts, secularists have invoked the imagery of the Scopes Monkey Trial as evidence that conservative Evangelicals are bent on suppressing knowledge in the realms of science and literature.
Most following the news are no doubt aware of the ongoing angst on the part of unbelievers and Modernists regarding the propriety of introducing Intelligent Design into the Biology classroom since in their eyes suggesting anything but the materialist hypothesis (itself a faith-based assumption) diminishes the rigor of so-called scientific education. Instead, they suggest such ideas should be considered as part of the Social Studies or Humanities curriculum.
Yet such gestures of enlightened magnanimous compromise are little more than a canard. For when it becomes time to examine the metaphysical issues within what liberals previously promoted as the appropriate venue for such a discussion, they then cry Separation of Church and State. Thus, what they really want is a monopoly on the perspective taught across all of public education.
As could be expected, Americans United For The Separation Of Church And State has demanded that the State of Florida alter an essay contest that encourages students to submit their reaction to The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The Humanist front group contends some students might be offended by a work that has often been interpreted as a Christian allegory. The agitators suggest alternative titles should be made available for students to select from.
One wonders if the Lynnites would be as prompt about coming to the defense of students that did not want to read Harry Potter or other works of literature even more salacious in their content. Interesting when it comes to the boy wizard the important thing is that Miss Rowling gets the kids to read; shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t this be the same attitude towards Professor Lewis among those that insist we have nothing to fear from books?
No doubt had the White Witch been the hero of the story rather than the villain, those sympathetic to Wicca and the Dark Arts would have no problem with the novel. The thing about contemporary liberals is not so much that they oppose spirituality in the classroom but rather merely traditional forms of it.
Neither do these liberals support the principles of individual mental autonomy to the extent that they claim. Where were they when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals essentially ruled parents have no constitutional right to protect their elementary-age children from perverts masquerading as educators asking these little ones all kinds of questions even an adult would be embarrassed to answer and to which no agent of the government has a right to know their answers.
These sensitive liberals whine students not wanting to read the book do not have an alternative to choose from if they still want to participate in the contest. Any other time these advocates of radical tolerance and inclusion insist that in a pluralistic society the upstanding member of the community has an obligation to subject oneself to ideas one might otherwise find objectionable.
So if students have to be subjected to putting condoms on cucumbers for their own good, then how are they going to be harmed by a novel about a talking lion? Makes you wonder what they are so afraid of.
All the fuss causes the critically minded to speculate if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for the sake of the children or rather about something else the hypertolerant malcontents themselves do not want to confront. A child not belonging to the Christian faith is not going to necessarily pick up on any Christian motifs Lewis might have incorporated into the text.
To pick up on any parallels, one would already have to be familiar with Christian doctrine. Thus to be offended by Aslan as a perceived Christ-figure is to have a problem with an intellect more formidable than even that of C.S. Lewis, namely God Himself.
Adherents of absolutist relativism will contend it is not the place of educators to convert students to any particular set of religious ideas. Funny, public educators donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind using the persuasive powers of the classroom as to influence the choices pupils make regarding viewpoints on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and the origins of the universe. If no set of ideas is better than any other and parents are usually seen as being too stupid to decide what is in the best interests of their children, whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the big deal if a child switches to Christianity if all paths to God or whatever else you happen to see as the supreme universal truth or lack there of really are equal?
In LewisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ novel, it is revealed that the White Witch has placed a curse on the Land Of Narnia so it is always winter but never Christmas. With the lust of liberals to remove all vestiges of Christianity from Western culture, my guess is that they hate this book because Lewis just hit too close to home.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins