For decades the ultra-Conservative Free Church of Scotland has been caricatured as gloomy and depressive, only truly content when it is opposing Sunday ferry services or chaining up play park swings on the Sabbath.
However, the God-fearing members of the Calvinist church, most strongly represented in the islands and west Highlands, are now being urged to express what the editor of the monthly magazine calls "serious joy".
As part of its bid to shed its fire-and-brimstone image, the church has endorsed the Harry Potter stories, as well as the fantasy movie The Golden Compass, both of which have been denounced as "ungodly" by some Christian groups....
I could find no "endorsement" as such, though the writer says it is "beautifully written," which is not the same thing. He should have connected the novel's insinuation that the church opposes reason & intelligence with the popular but unbiblical belief among even zealous Christians that faith is opposed to or beyond reason. For example, one frequently hears Christians deprecating "head" knowledge. With talk like this so commonplace, no wonder Pullman found grist for his mill.
I like the idea of chaining up swings at parks on the Sabbath...of course, that means..Sunday, right? or Saturday? The Bible says it's Saturday, right? I certainly hope they are not trimming their phylacteries and not eating pork!