Religious zealots strike at Harry Potter again

  July 1, 2003 at 6:35 PM ET
  Cheeser     The Leaky Cauldron (via WKYT (Kentucky))

A sign in a Kentucky townopens in new window reading "Harry Potter is of the devil" has created some controversy for local residents. Says the man behind the sign: "God takes that serious. Witchcraft and sorcery -- he takes that very serious. People say this [the Bible] is just a book. But this nation was founded on this book. Now, they're trying to plant other books in our children's minds."

Meanwhile in Alabamaopens in new window, things are a little more level-headed. Montgomery religious leaders urge parents to read the Harry Potter books with their children, and be aware of JK Rowling's comments that she intends the series to become even darkeropens in new window:

"From some of the conversations I've heard, the movie and the book itself is based upon witchcraft," said Gennice Diggs, vice president of Women of Destiny Internationalopens in new window, a local ministry that tutors children in reading, math and character development. "This is not something that we would not have as an assignment for the children or in the classroom. It's something that parents should pay closer attention to and look into and research themselves before they actually allow their children to view or to read."

"In today's climate, with the occults and Satanism, we can be desensitizing our children to the dangers of occults and Satanism," said the Rev. Travis Coleman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Prattville. "With books like Harry Potter, though, they have some good themes and lean toward good morals and character values."

Heading on over to Australiaopens in new window, a 13-year-old girl there wrote in to her newspaper, decrying Harry Potter as "detestable to the Lord."

"Most of my friends agree with me," she said. "I once was a reader of Harry Potter and I realised that I was slowly getting sucked in by it, so I found some bible verses that helped me out."

Ms. Presser claimed the author of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling, had studied mythology and the occult. She also said the books were related to real occult happenings, spirits and spells.

Now come on, honestly. Harry Potter is fiction, not real. Any attempt to compare the books to real "occult happenings" can be discounted on that fact alone.


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