June 24, 2003

Harry Potter (-2)

The Separation of "Harry Potter" and State is one page out of a larger site. This particular page makes some fun claims.

Though Harry’s adventures are obviously not religious instruction books, they employ heavy use of Wicca symbolism, language and themes. Wicca is now granted IRS status as a religion and the Department of Defense supplies chaplains for Wiccan folks serving in the U.S. military forces. "Harry Potter" is to Wicca what "Adventures in Odyssey" or "McGee and Me" (fanciful Focus on the Family videos and books) are to the Christian religion. "Harry" on the school library shelf and in the halls after school reflects a legally tolerable situation; promotion of Harry through school day book sales and teacher oral reading sessions is something else entirely.
To paraphrase, Harry Potter is not a religious text, but it has religious content and shouldn't be part of public school activities. I appreciate that these folks are a little less extreme in this matter -- not seeking to bar Harry from the library bookshelves. However, I have a feeling they're just reining in their true feelings. My evidence is this quote:
The drug message in this book is clear. To reach your goals in life like Harry Potter you need to know how to make drugs and take drugs in just the right way or else you are a "dunderhead" and will never succeed.
(that from this page.) We're basing out opinion on one quote from Prof. Snape in the first Potter book.

This claim ignores the following:

  1. Snape is a minor villain. No one in the book wants to be like Snape. (Though, to tell the truth, I suspect that Snape may not be very villainous by the end of the series)
  2. Potions class is not their favorite. It involves being poisoned at times.
  3. No one in the books, so far as I have read, is on any sort of "potion" on a regular basis.
  4. Potions could also be thought of as medicines.

Bleh. These people are really reaching.

Posted by James at June 24, 2003 3:55 PM
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What are these people so afraid of? Freedom of thought?

Posted by: Mike at June 24, 2003 4:19 PM

I dunno James. The more I look at this "how to recognize evil" site, the more I conclude that it is satire and not to be taken seriously.

Posted by: Chuck Seggelin at June 25, 2003 1:58 PM

I have no idea what the intentions of the author of that page are. But he does quote from the founders of the http://www.fflibraries.org/ (Family Friendly Libraries). He's lifted whole pages. That group is real, and the views are real.

Family Friendly Libraries is part of "Citizens for Community Values"

Here's what they say on their site:
"After forty years of liberal hostile takeover of our institutions, the public library is the final insult to taxpayers, parents and those who cherish common sense and the family."

"Issues CCV has been combating for years such as pornography, special rights for homosexuals and exposing children to harmful material are being promoted in many local libraries and the taxpayers are paying the bills."

My bet is that their idea of "harmful material" does not coincide with yours. Yes - these people are real.

The author of the "How to recognize evil" site may well be making a subtle satirical statement. But he didn't write much of the content that he presents on the site. The content itself appears to come from sincere people. And that's the scary part.

Posted by: JP at June 25, 2003 3:26 PM

I'm not clear on what, exactly, these people think *should* go into a public library. Other than the Bible and "George W. Bush's Condensed Bill of Rights."

One thing in such a library's favor: it'd be very small. No one would want to go there, so you wouldn't even need electricity. Or a door. You could save a lot of tax money. That's what the conservatives are all about: making government and human intelligence smaller.

Posted by: julie at June 26, 2003 2:09 PM

Again, I reiterate my mantra, which The Supremes seem to have heard this week with regard to gay rights (but sadly not in the topic at hand): "Mind your own business."

Please don't tell me which websites I can and can not view, what books I may or may not read, with whom to have sex, or what kind, or for what purpose, et cetera, et cetera. I'm a big girl--I think I can figure it out.

Posted by: Patti M. at June 27, 2003 3:37 PM

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