Thursday, December 08, 2005

Narnia, Penguins, and the Christian Right

Going in to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I had some lingering hesitations. The Christian Right, with more than a little help from the media, reminded us all over and over that this movie was probably the most Christian thing since wafers, wine, and The Passion of the Christ. Praise be! Churches are buying out the multiplexes! It is Family Approved! Narnia, before anyone even saw it, had been endorsed by God himself! (At least his self-proclaimed mouthpieces.)

Having the Christian Right endorse something is just about the best way to get me to run the other direction, but I'll admit I was curious. Heck, Tilda Swinton was in it, playing the White Witch!

You see, in my mind, there is a big difference between Narnia and The Passion. One is about kids, a big kitty, and a fantasy world of good and evil. The Passion is about, well, Jesus Christ. Now I know that C.S. Lewis made it no secret that his story was a Christian parable, but it is also an interpretation. I don't remember the talking beavers in the Bible. I could argue just as much about The Matrix (Neo is the chosen one, he had a "virgin" test tube birth, he has been expected by his followers, he dies and comes back more powerful than ever before to lead his people). Heck, I'd almost say that The Matrix is more obviously Christian (despite the black pleather and machine guns) than Narnia.

I have to admit I love it best when the Christian Right bellows something to the masses that doesn't quite make as much sense as they'd hoped. For instance, I had heard that the Christian Right took full credit for the success of the recent crowd-pleasing documentary hit March of the Penguins. "That there penguin movie is a good example of Family Values!" they crowed, encouraging the masses to go see it. After I finally saw the film (and enjoyed it), I was pleased to find that they had endorsed a movie where the dad penguin stays home to birth the baby, mom leave immediately to go and eat non-stop for three months, the parents are monogamous (for a year, then go their separate ways), and sometimes there is carnage where desperate childless penguins try to steal or kill the babies of others. And did you hear the recently revived story about the monogamous gay penguins, Roy and Silo, at the Central Park Zoo? (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4352011/). They've stuck it out longer than many of their "straight" penguin pals.

Though I hardly ever agree with them, and constantly find them bafflingly infuriating, pushy, bigoted, and small-minded, I have to admit the Christian Right can be unintentionally entertaining. And, because of that, I say to the Christian Right: God Bless 'em! (even if they don't say the same about me).

1 comment:

Vickie said...

You know, that Matrix analogy sounds like it should be a thesis. I wonder if there *is* one kickin' around out there somewhere...