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Propaganda Proofing Catholic Kids, Part I: The Emperor’s New Clothes

The once Christian Western Industrialized Nations with their teetering democratic governments are on the fast track to totalitarianism. Massive propaganda campaigns are attacking our values and our common sense. History is being revised and a new story of mankind (sorry, persunkind) is being created and disseminated by the all-encompassing media. The goals of the social engineers seem noble: equal rights for oppressed minorities, tolerance for all world views, beliefs and lifestyles, brotherhood (sorry: xhood) of man (sorry: womyn).

As you can see, I am very unsure of my use of language. Anything I write might be considered offensive by someone, somewhere. Somehow our new-found tolerance does not apply to our use of language. In fact, there is a lot of hostility regarding the use of language. And there is fear!

Underneath all the talk of love and understanding, a great hatred of the Truth, of

God and of His Church are hiding.

Guess who is behind all this? Ultimately, it is always the father of all lies. So, how can we protect our children?

Books to the rescue!

I have been thinking for a long time about a post suggesting books that will propaganda proof our kids. I have asked friends, locally and on Facebook, for suggestions. Finally, here is Part I of the series Propaganda Proofing Catholic Kids. There are more to come, books, resources and ideas for all age groups. Thanks to your many suggestions, I have a slew of books to go through. I just wanted to post this picture book as a starter because it came to mind first.

Everybody knows the classic fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes by 19th-century Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. The beautiful Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales edition above also comes in audio format. It is graded for ages 4-8 but fairy tales speak to all ages.

Here's a reprint of the classic 1950's edition of The Emperor's New Clothes by

Virginia Lee Burton whom you may remember from her illustration of Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel. This book also comes in audio format.

So, what's going on in this tale?

A pair of con artists pose as weavers. They succeed in making the Emperor and his subjects doubt what they see before their very eyes. They replace the truth with a delusion. How do they accomplish this? They exploit the emperor’s vanity. They create peer pressure. They arouse fear. These are standard propaganda techniques. In this story, the weavers play on the people's fear of being exposed as unfit for office or as stupid. Only a child too young to have such fear dares to proclaim the truth: "But he hasn't got anything on.”

In the manner of fairy tales, this story compels us to ask questions: Why has this fairy tale stood the test of time? Is this story universal? Is something like this story happening now? Who are the weavers today? What are their motives? How do they profit? What is our greatest fear? What is the vice or sin that makes us succumb to this fear? What is the truth we dare not admit seeing? Discuss these questions with your kids.

“Be not afraid!” St. John Paul , The Great

Here is a link to a free text edition of The Emperor’s New Clothes:

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