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Religious establishment targets Harry Potter (again)

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  • Religious establishment targets Harry Potter (again)

    This isn't really 'new', but with the new book coming out its kind of topical. Just curious as to whether anyone identifies with the pope's argument about HP as being

    subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly
    The above quote is a response to a recent book (Harry Potter- good or evil by Gabriele Kuby) that criticises the popular childrens book series. More Specifically, that:

    The above quote is a response to a recent book (Harry Potter- good or evil by Gabriele Kuby) that criticises the popular childrens book series. More Specifically, that:
    http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html

    This was also in the news this week:

    Evil' Harry Potter day cancelled
    Harry Potter
    The new Harry Potter book is launched on Saturday
    A primary school cancelled a Harry Potter day over complaints it could lead children into "areas of evil".

    Pupils from The Holt Primary School in Skellingthorpe, Lincs, were planning to dress up as witches and wizards.

    But the event - to mark the launch of the new JK Rowling book - was scrapped after parents and a local rector expressed concerns about witchcraft.

    Headteacher Paul Martin said the rector claimed he was seeking "to lead our children into areas of evil".


    May I reassure parents that my staff and I only wished to raise the profile of reading
    Headteacher Paul Martin

    Children are said to have been left upset and confused by the cancellation of the day, which was due to be held before the launch of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince on Saturday.

    In a letter to parents, headteacher Paul Martin wrote: "When I received a letter from the rector which suggested that I was 'seeking to lead our children into areas of evil', I felt that the situation was escalating disproportionately.

    "May I reassure parents that my staff and I only wished to raise the profile of reading.

    "We did not wish to cause any offence or upset and the fact that it has turned sour is entirely regrettable.

    "I now wish to put this behind us and pull together to make the end of term a happy and positive experience."

    Mr Martin said he had been advised by the county council not to make any comment on his decision to scrap the event.

    An education spokesman for Lincolnshire County Council said: "The children's book has been published nationally and internationally.

    "Schools make their own decisions as to the relevance of this book in their children's study programme."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/l...re/4682519.stm

    This smacks of jealousy IMO - the church has to take a reactionary stance on HP because a form of mass entertainment is more (or at least as popular) as the 'word of god' or church attendance. Get them while they're young and impressionable - is that what he's saying!?
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

  • #2
    Harry Potter is bigger than Jesus. :lol:

    Despite the warning in Matthew 7:2, there is nothing fundamentalist Christians do better than judge others. The book came out day before yesterday -- how many of these religionist detractors do you figure actually read the book they are so fervently condemning? They base these accusations upon ignorance and fear.

    I went through this with my folks when I was a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons. My parents were against the game, due to the admonitions of Pat "Filthy Hypocrite" Robertson. Try as I might, I could not get them to even read a single page of the Player's Handbook or DM's Guide. They'd tell me, "We won't sully our minds reading works of the devil." :roll: How they were able to know it was bad without ever reading them is beyond me.

    By the way, I took my step-daughter to the store first thing Saturday morning to get the new Harry Potter book. She's finished it already (in tears, mind you).
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

    Comment


    • #3
      The Christians are getting uppity, alright; I find it worrying. Witches and wizards have been a staple of children's stories since the Brothers Grimm. That's probably a sign that noone takes them seriously. 'Harry Potter' is hardly that original, were we lured into the dark world of the occult by 'The Sword in the Stone' or 'The Worst Witch'? (Well, personally I did graduate on to Aleister Crowley in my teens, but that might have had more to do with taking David Bowie's lyrics too seriously... :oops: ).

      Another (somewhat begrudging) thought, however, is wondering whether it is really appropriate for a publicly funded school to get so caught up in the commercial hype surrounding 'HP'? Perhaps this is part of the reason why the God Squad feel nervous about it, or am I being a bit too generous towards them?

      Of course, people will say, JKR encourages people to read, so her success is an unalloyed Good. But it all seems to be over-manipulative and exploitative to me - although that's my reaction to brandname culture in general. Isn't this event just a teensy weensy bit similar to a Coca Cola themed sports day? (OK, HP is non-fattening, doesn't rot your teeth, hasn't assassinated any Colombian trade unionists that we know of...)

      Interesting...
      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

      Comment


      • #4
        On a related point - its interesting that the church makes a big deal about attacking depictions of sorcery and witchcraft as they appear in a children's book, but go out of their way to encourage it, say when discussing the invalidity of evolutionary theory and the scientific method.
        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

        Comment


        • #5
          It's a moot point whether kids should be allowed to read the Bible. There's more occult references, bloody violence and sexual perversion in that single book than any I can think of. Let's start a campaign!
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

          Comment


          • #6
            Looking at it from an historical point of view, there have been mystics or "magic" men and women present in far more human cultures, for a far longer period of time, than Christianity could ever hope to lay claim to. In many ways, it would make more sense if there were "Medicine Men" picketing shops that sold the Bible. Not to say I have anything against organised religions, I just mean that from a slightly simplistic "we were here first" perspective, Harry Potter is only the lastest in a long line of folkloric heroes who dabble in magicks. He isn't even the first "boy wizard" to have round spectacles and dark, side-parted hair, but that's a topic for the lawyers to chew over!

            I seem to recall a previous discussion about the difference between "magick" and the "miracles" which Christ performed, but I can't remember how it went.

            Personally I'm with Mikey on the fact that the rampant commercialism is a far more worrying aspect of the Harry Potter phenomenon, but that might just be (un)professional envy talking. I wasn't exactly shy about demanding He-Man toys from my parents, so I can't be too critical.
            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

            Comment


            • #7
              To be fair, I resisted reading the books for quite a time. My wife finally got me to read them prior to seeing one of the movies, and I have to say I quite liked them. As kids books they're quite good - they don't talk down to the reader, and they get progressively more 'mature' with each new book.

              Most of the 'christians' seem to object to the fact that there are witches and wizards in there and take that fact completely out of context - there is no promotion of paganism, wicca or other forms of 'anti-christianity' in there. I suspect its the bias of the reader projecting their ideologies onto the book - rather than those elements they object to actually being in the book to begin with.
              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

              Comment


              • #8
                Probably the most powerful piece of paganism in children's literature is 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' chapter in 'The Wind in the Willows'. I also have vivid memories of the final chapter of 'Stig of the Dump' when the protagonist is transported back to witness a solstice ceremony at Stonehenge.

                Let's hope the Christian Taliban don't set their sights on these classics. Actually I suspect they'd look pretty stupid if they did...
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                  Harry Potter is bigger than Jesus. :lol:

                  Despite the warning in Matthew 7:2, there is nothing fundamentalist Christians do better than judge others. The book came out day before yesterday -- how many of these religionist detractors do you figure actually read the book they are so fervently condemning? They base these accusations upon ignorance and fear.

                  I went through this with my folks when I was a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons. My parents were against the game, due to the admonitions of Pat "Filthy Hypocrite" Robertson. Try as I might, I could not get them to even read a single page of the Player's Handbook or DM's Guide. They'd tell me, "We won't sully our minds reading works of the devil." :roll: How they were able to know it was bad without ever reading them is beyond me.

                  By the way, I took my step-daughter to the store first thing Saturday morning to get the new Harry Potter book. She's finished it already (in tears, mind you).
                  There will always be enemy's of the world(s) of free imagination.
                  Many people can't take it when people step out of a traditionalist line of thought or 'go their own way' because, to them, it upsets social heirarchies, aka control and also to an extent self-control.
                  Most christians mistake religion as an agent for social cohesion.
                  When, in fact, it does nothing of the sort. At least not in a healthy way.

                  If i like looking at pictures of demons or watching/listening/saying whatever I like that other people find offensive.
                  It's my damn right and my own responsibility.

                  I'm certainly not against Christ but i find it hard to go with "the good book" that's full of vague theological assumptions and ripp-offs from other older religions. And it has been through too many editors. Contriving editors and translators at that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Perhaps more people will finally question the Christian right's increasing muscle-flexing.

                    You can mess with Darwin and people yawn, but people will notice when you mess with Harry.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Religious establishment targets Harry Potter (again)

                      Originally posted by devilchicken
                      This smacks of jealousy IMO - the church has to take a reactionary stance on HP because a form of mass entertainment is more (or at least as popular) as the 'word of god' or church attendance. Get them while they're young and impressionable - is that what he's saying!?
                      I don't think it's got anything to do with 'jealousy' as you put it. Christians are traditionally 'anti' the occult for historical reasons - ie they think it's a 'bad thing'. If you think something is 'bad' then you're going to speak out against it, aren't you?

                      The reason why HP is targeted by Christians at the moment is precisely because it is popular with 'impressionable' children, which is why you're not getting the Church speaking out against Mike's Elric novels anymore. I'm sure when the Elric stories first appeared there might have been vicars or whatnot who voiced disquiet with a 'hero' who has a sword that sucks souls and relies upon demons to help him win battles. Of course, that was all many years ago, and probably because Mike's audience is still mostly teenagers and adults - rather than 10-year olds - it's not seen as that big a deal anymore.

                      Personally I wouldn't mind if HP was any good but it's borderline trash* imho, so I'd rather they just didn't give it the 'oxygen of publicity' but at least they're not burning it (yet). I hope that in 50 years time, HP will be long forgotten and kids will be reading something worthwhile (whereas in all probability they'll be reading 'Son (or Daughter) of Harry Potter' or something ).

                      *Er...I should point out, you know, that, like, I haven't...um...how can I put this?...actually, hmm, of course, read any HP novels, kind of.

                      But I can still have an opinion about them, can't I? Oh pleeeease! Go on...can't I be prejudiced, just this once?

                      No? Bugger. :(
                      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Religious establishment targets Harry Potter (again)

                        Originally posted by demos99

                        *Er...I should point out, you know, that, like, I haven't...um...how can I put this?...actually, hmm, of course, read any HP novels, kind of.

                        But I can still have an opinion about them, can't I? Oh pleeeease! Go on...can't I be prejudiced, just this once?

                        No? Bugger. :(
                        :lol:

                        I haven't read a single word, either. Does that really mean we don't get an opinion, Demos?

                        In the spirit of answering my own question-

                        From what I can tell its pretty ordinary recycled cliche fantasy that has caught lightning in a bottle. I think it is great that many children who would not ordinarily read will read Harry. However, I hate that it further (and wrongly) entrenches fantasy, in some people's minds, as "children's literature," consequently unable to deal with adult themes.

                        I also find it interesting that adults who wouldn't be caught dead reading Robert Howard or Fritz Leiber (or Mike, for that matter) will gobble up Harry Potter.

                        This is our loophole, Demos--
                        We can't have an opinion on the book, but we can have an opinion on the fans! :D

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Religious establishment targets Harry Potter (again)

                          Originally posted by Doc
                          This is our loophole, Demos--
                          We can't have an opinion on the book, but we can have an opinion on the fans! :D
                          We can?!
                          [broken link][broken link][broken link]
                          Last edited by Rothgo; 04-24-2010, 05:47 AM.
                          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When my daughter was still quite young, I made a practice of reading any book that she thought she'd like to read to make sure it was "okay." In accordance with that personal rule, I read all the HP books (through the "Goblet of Fire" and the next one, whose name escapes me at the moment).

                            I did not care for the books, to make a blanket statement. They were written in a somewhat pedestrian fashion, and I found the ideas and handling derivative of other writers (many of whom did a better job).

                            That being said, she was clearly a novice writer when she wrote the first book. It was LOADED with the sorts of faults one sees from such novices. The next two books seemed to try to repeat the success of the first book, but with less interest in the material. The writing became more workmanlike, and so did the construction, but she seemed unsure of where the books should go...

                            The fourth and fifth books showed some further improvement, and she seemed to have come up with an angle of attack that should permit her to follow through on her plan for 7 (or however many) books in the series.

                            If one draws a line describing her progression as a writer, she might turn out to be fairly good by the time she completes the 7th book.

                            In the meantime, her stuff isn't the sort of thing I like to read.

                            Sorry. I know I should argue from a position of ignorance here. I couldn't help myself.

                            LSN

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Careful. My daughter's a HUGE HP fan!
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                              Comment

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