Guess what Hollywood’s latest controversy is?

No, it’s not a starlet found shooting up heroin between her toes. No, it’s not an Englishman playing Superman in the “Justice League” movie. It’s about armored polar bears.

That’s right – in one corner we have “The Golden Compass,” a movie based on a book series by notable atheist Philip Pullman, and in the other “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis, laced with Christian themes.

With the impending release of “The Golden Compass,” concerned parents are up in arms about the books’ anti-religious ideas (the series is allegedly a response by Pullman to Lewis’s “Chronicles,” which the author hates passionately). Apparently a little girl goes on a quest for some magic powder and has to destroy the evil Magisterium, which is supposed to represent the church. Parents are calling for a boycott of the film because of the books’ anti-religious themes, although all religious references have been stripped from the movie amid fears of retribution from said parents.

Let’s sum up this debate: It’s stupid.

When are parents going to learn that subliminal themes don’t affect the minds of children? When atheist parents complained about the religious themes in “Chronicles,” did they really think their 4-year-olds were going to have the understanding to grasp the complex Christian allegory?

Since there is nothing overtly preachy about the movie (or the book), even full-grown adults have to read far into it to pick up on the analogy. For those of you who still don’t get it, Aslan = Jesus, the White Witch = Satan and Mr. Tumnus = I don’t know, let’s say the Apostle Peter.

And on the other side, if you think the entire religious upbringing of your child can be undone with two and a half hours of magical dust and fighting polar bears, your belief system must be a little shaky. Especially now that any semblance of religious references has been stripped from the film, there’s nothing even left to complain about. Now it’s just going to be a shitty fantasy movie starring the cast of “Casino Royale” and Nicole Kidman just like “Chronicles” was a shitty fantasy movie starring four British kids and a giant CGI lion. But for 8-year-olds, both will probably be their greatest experience of the fall, so let them have it.

This debate extends far past these two movies. Remember how “Happy Feet” was supposed make us want to come out to our parents as gay? Remember how “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was supposed to make us want to experiment with LSD? Remember how the feathers spelled out “SEX” in “The Lion King”? All right, maybe that last one is true, but the problem of stupidity in parents is reaching new and epic heights lately.

The “Compass”-vs.-“Narnia” debate just highlights the fact that people like to fight just for the hell of it. Does anyone really believe their kid is going to start professing his love for Jesus after Aslan rises from the dead? If you’re a Christian and want to explain the whole story to your child to reinforce your beliefs, that’s great. But if you’re an atheist, just leave it alone – trust me, your kid won’t figure it out by himself.

As for “Compass,” there’s no need to boycott it. Just because one old English guy hated another old English guy doesn’t mean the message is going to translate when a Hollywood screenwriter massacres the original book with a Sharpie. Unless you’re going to see the film in a bizarre world, chances are good will still be fighting evil, and there’s no reason to read any more into it than that.

Your kids won’t renounce their faiths. I promise.

– Tassi needs someone to help him decode “The Land Before Time.” Someone said it was pro-Darwin. E-mail tassi@umich.edu and have at it.

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