This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," October 9, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I propose to discover a world much like our own in a parallel universe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is heresy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you familiar with the prophecies of the witches?
NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: You think she is that child?
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: That is a clip from the new film "The Golden Compass." It hasn't even been released yet but it's already rubbing some people the wrong way. The film stars Nicole Kidman and is based on the first book of a trilogy by Phillip Pullman. A series geared toward children that has been criticized for being anti-Christian. The Catholic League is urging Christians to stay away from this movie, saying Pullman's objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism to kids.
HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: But Nicole Kidman is saying that the religious messages have been watered down for the film and that she doesn't believe its anti-Catholic. So are the Catholic critics overreacting or is the movie trying to promote a religious agenda to children? With us now the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue and FOX NEWS contributor Father Jonathan Morris. Thank you. So Father Morris, let's start with you. Not so worried about the film itself, but the trilogy of books you say is — is something that really concerns you. What are the issues?
FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS: I'm also concerned about overreacting, I'm not into that. I know Bill and I are friends, but we probably disagree on a few things in this matter. But what I'm concerned about is not so much the anti-Catholic part, but the intellectual dishonesty of Pullman in this series. The book itself. The book is pretending like there is, there has been in the past, your religious societies where everything is happy. The fact is, you look in history, not a single civilization has been anti-religious. He takes heroes and he turns them into devils and he turns devils into heroes. It's intellectual dishonesty. This is an adult's game and it should be set in adult's terms.
GIBSON: Bill, "Golden Compass", Catholic bashing, is this film fomenting fear of priests?
BILL DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE PRESIDENT: Oh, I don't know about fomenting fear of priests, I think what the movie is designed to do is exactly what Pullman admits to. He wants to denigrate Christianity. He wants to sell atheism to kids. This is not me talking, it's what he said. That's why we put together a booklet on this.
NAUERT: He's literally said that.
DONOHUE: Absolutely, he's said it is my goal to go after Christianity, I want God to be dead in my works. I want to undermine Christianity. It's all in our book, we put together a 23-page booklet on this subject. There is really nothing left to discuss about this. Look, the movie is based on the least offensive of the three books. And they have dumbed-down the worst elements in the movie because they don't want to make Christians angry and they want to make money. Our concern is this, unsuspecting Christian parents may want to take their kid to the movie, it opens up December 7th and say, this wasn't troubling, then we'll buy the books. So the movie is the bait for the books which are profoundly anti-Catholic and at the same time selling atheism.
GIBSON: Father Morris if a movie is pushing atheism, should it get a PG rating?
MORRIS: Well, this is the point John, you know coming to the belief that there is no such thing as transcendence, there is no such thing as heaven, there is no such thing as destiny, that's a big deal. Now if that's an issue that adults come to in a very serious way, it should be presented in a serious way among adults. Putting a PG rating on it I think is saying this is a conversation that's worthy of kids. And that's my problem with this film.
GIBSON: You have this gateway thing. I mean if the movie were not leading kids to the book, would you object to this movie just on the face of it?
DONOHUE: No, I would not, because the only time they mention anything about the Catholic church is the use of the term "magisterial". But everyone knows if you read the books, what the "magisterial" means, the Catholic Church. And it is explicitly anti-Catholics, not just about transcendence. This is about the pope, the cardinals, the bishops, the magisterial and the teaching body of the catholic church, and the Catholic Church is painted as an evil force which kidnaps children, performs experiments on them. There is no other way to read this. I mean I'm just taking what even the friends of Pullman have said. And I'll — give the man his own integrity. He wants to be known as the Christopher Hitchens for kids. He wants to sell atheism for kids.
NAUERT: There were lots of concerns of course when Harry Potter first came out. Do you see this as being worse than Harry Potter?
MORRIS: Well you know Harry Potter is fiction, it's presented in a fiction way. Now, again, we have to be careful that there isn't ideology pushed. These books by Pullman, is — they're fiction of ideology. And ideology is a big thing. It distorts minds of kids. Have you ever met a really happy kid who is an atheist? I mean, give me a break. We have to spend our time helping kids become happy people. I don't think this is the way.
DONOHUE: Harry Potter was innocent. This is pernicious.
NAUERT: Ok. Good to know.
GIBSON: All right thanks, to both the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue and of course Father Jonathan Morris, thanks to both of you.
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