Golden Compass' Film Draws Scrutiny Over Religious Message

A new film based upon Philip Pullman's novel The Golden Compass, the first book in Mr. Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials," is due to hit theaters on Dec. 7, but a major controversy is already brewing over the questionable themes contained in this children's film.

"Atheism for kids. That is what Philip Pullman sells," stated William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Because of its anti-Christian and atheistic themes, the Catholic League has urged a boycott of the film.

At the center of the controversy are the two main themes of the film: the rejection of organized religion and combating the abuses of a fictionalized Catholic Church. And while such themes have been watered down for the silver screen, Mr. Donohue still believes a danger is present.

Tree of Knowledge display

Please join members of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 10:00 AM to help install and decorate FSGP’s 2007 winter display:

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge will be placed on the lawn of the Chester County Courthouse located at the corners of High and Market Streets, West Chester, PA 19380.


The antithesis of a Margaret Downey story

I have Google Alerts set up so that whenever Margaret Downey is mentioned online, I'll find out about it.  Use of this function helps ensure that her web site remains the most up-to-date and is an accurate portrayal of Margaret and her work.  This particular Goggle Alert struck me as hilarious as it's as far from a Margaret Downey story you would ever think to see....

Accused drug dealer 'put pistol to man's head'
Sunshine Coast Daily - Queensland,Australia
Justice Margaret White said Mr Downey, who had five pages of criminal history including violence offences, was probably serving an extended suspended ...
See all stories on this topic

Greydon Square on Margaret Downey

Sapient asked if I would say something about Margaret for her new website.  I've decided to make a song, here's a verse, the song will be added later. 


Victory against discriminatory boy scouts!

Philadelphia Raises Boy Scouts' Rent $199,999 Over Gay Ban

Thursday, October 18, 2007

PHILADELPHIA  —  The city has decided that the Boy Scouts chapter here must pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its city-owned headquarters because it refuses to permit gay Scouts.


The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates. The city owns the land on which the council's 1928 Beaux Arts building sits.

Scouting officials will ask the city solicitor for details on the appraisals that yielded the $200,000 figure, said Jeff Jubelirer, spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty Council.

Tom Paine assembly, visiting Alton Lemon, 2008 party plans and Widener speakers

It’s three days after the presentation of “The Life of Thomas Paine” at the Philadelphia Academy Charter School and I’m still glowing from the experience. Interacting with children who are receptive to learning is so gratifying. The audience was comprised of 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. It was a wide range of ages, but I think the text reached across the discrepancy of ages.

I ran a little late that day, but Kelly and Brian from the Rational Response Squad were there ready to unload my car, set up the room and help me into my costume. I could not have done the assembly without them! It was the first time they have seen me perform and yet they knew immediately how to set up the table of Colonial games and the PowerPoint. We were ready within a half hour of my arrival.

Kelly and Brian wore “I love Margaret Downey” T-shirts. It was so nice of them not only to be there to help, but to show the students and teachers that they support my efforts. I was so proud!

AAI Convention photos needed

The Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is looking for photos taken at the 2007 “Crystal Clear Atheism” convention.

Please send convention photos that you want to share with us. It would be helpful to have the names of people in the photos, but that is not a requirement.

Please also give AAI permission to print your photos in Secular Nation magazine. Proper credit to people in the photo and the photographer will be given upon request.

Thanks in advance for your assistance and thanks again for attending.

Margaret Downey
[email protected]

My first blog post here

Well, it's just two days before I am to present "The Life of Thomas Paine" to 100 children at the Philadelphia Academy Charter School. There is a lot of work to be done in preparation of the assembly. I have a stock supply of Colonial themed items to gather and count. All the children will be getting an assembly souvenir.
Thomas Paine assemblies provide me with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I just love interacting with children and the children I have met so far have been delighted to learn all about Thomas Paine.

My activism begins...thanks to Margaret Downey

In early 2002 I was beginning graduate school.  After a year and a half away from school, I was very happy to be back.  I had not yet been active in any atheist community, nor had I ever heard of Margaret Downey.  My life was soon to go through a great change.

The search for Margaret's impact

So, if you would have asked me 3 weeks ago who Margaret Downey was, I would have said; I have no idea.

Of course I would have used my trusty Google and found out quickly that she has had a big impact on many things beyond the rights of Atheists; womens rights, gay rights, a boys right to be in the boy scouts regardless of his beliefs. I would find that she has supported and fought in many ways over the years in her activism.

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