When Chris Weitz (co-director of American Pie, and writer of Nutty Professor 2) was named director of the film adaptation of His Dark Materials, not many were thrilled. When he announced that he's scrapping the existing script, written by Tom Freakin' Stoppard, and writing his own, many were horrified. Now, he's announced that he will be cutting away all referrences to the Church and God. The reason? The studio's fear of the American Christian Right.
His Dark Materials was written, consciously, as the "Anti-Narnia," a fantasy series to counter C.S Lewis' thinly veiled ode to Christ and the Church. The Church is, in many respects, the true villain of the series.
New Line, a company which earned miles and miles of credit with the LoTR trilogy, is quickly burning that credit away.
As Cheryl Morgan noted, with referrences to the Church cut out, what will be left? A bunch of kids with pet animals?