"If our words are ambiguous our meaning will escape [the reader]," wrote C.S. Lewis. "I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right, the readers will most certainly go into it." Pity that HarperSanFrancisco exec Steve Hanselman didn't take the advice when writing his ill-fated memo about Carol Hatcher's documentary, or that HarperCollins didn't consider it when writing its statement about its plans for Lewis-oriented material (which didn't mention a word about the new Narnia books or answer any questions about downplaying Lewis's Christianity). As a result of such unclear statements, and a gag order on HarperCollins employees, confusion about what's happening to Lewis's works is running rampant throughout the media. New news stories are hard to come by, but the commentators are out in force.
Still, as cloudy as the statements by Hanselman and HarperCollins are, one thing is clear: "The works of C.S. Lewis will continue to be published by HarperCollins and Zondervan as written by the author, with no alteration." That has been publicized elsewhere, but it didn't stop novelist, sociologist, and priest Andrew Greeley from beginning his commentary, "Plans are afoot to purge Christian content from the seven Narnia stories." The rest of his commentary isn't really worth noting, since it all proceeds from the same false premise. "Harper intends to censor out of C.S. Lewis's masterpiece that which is most essential to it—its Christian imagery—because that imagery would be offensive to mostly imaginary secularists," he writes. "Such a plan is not only ...1