July 15, 2005
The evil one draws near
A primary school celebration of JK Rowling’s blockbusting boy wizard, Harry Potter, has been cancelled after a rector claimed its organisers were “seeking to lead children into areas of evil.”
Pupils from The Holt in Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, were planning to dress up as witches and wizards to celebrate Saturday’s launch of the latest installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Its headteacher, Paul Martin, wrote to parents explaining that the situation was escalating disproportionately when the local rector complained the event was an attempt to lead the children into areas of evil. Parents had also written letters expressing concerns about links between the day’s festivities and witchcraft.
Pope Benedict has already given his verdict:
Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern that the Harry Potter books “erode Christianity in the soul” of young people in a letter two years ago, a German writer says. The comments came in an exchange of letters between the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Gabriele Kuby, a Bavarian-based Roman Catholic sociologist who penned a book criticising JK Rowling’s blockbusters.
In a letter dated March 7, 2003, the text of which could be seen today on Kuby’s website, Ratzinger thanked her for sending him a copy of “your informative book” … “It is good that you are throwing light on Harry Potter, because these are subtle seductions that work imperceptibly, and because of that deeply, and erode Christianity in the soul before it can even grow properly,” the letter added.
And where would we be without America’s religious right?
In 2000, Aristea Zekios, an education team leader at St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Palos Hills, wrote an essay, “I’m Not Wild About Harry,” for her church’s Web site. Five years later, she still finds the books too intense for younger readers and questions the subject matter.
“Basically, we’re talking about sugar-coated witchcraft,” said Zekios, of Oak Lawn. “As I read through the series, I wondered what impression it may be making on young minds. I wonder if it stirs an interest in witchcraft to the point where they’ll be desensitized to it.”
Fortunately, saner souls are also speaking out:
Oak Forest resident Morn Geiger, who says she’s a real witch, doubts the books have convinced anyone to join the Wiccan religion. “These books are not used to recruit anyone at all,” Geiger said. “There are tons of books out there where kids have magical powers. A few years ago, my nieces wanted to become spies because of the ‘Spy Kids’ movies. If you ask most kids, they know that Harry Potter is a fantasy.”
And yet to wingnuts, it all seems terribly real.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
I am a Christian but I love the Harry Potter series, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to any child I knew. I find it funny that many Christians are all for their children reading The Narnia Chronicles or The Lord of the Rings, but Harry Potter is out. The only difference is the known Christianity of the authors of the first two. I think the Potter books demonstrate many "Christian" (I hate saying that, as if christians have a monopoly on morality and ethics) values like friendship, loyalty, and sacrificial love.
Posted by: Kate at August 10, 2005 5:16 AM