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Granger, a Christian classicist , has defended the books in his book, Looking for God in Harry Potter. Indeed, says Granger, the themes of love triumphing over death and choosing what is right instead of what is easy are very compatible with Christianity. In , the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral refused to allow his church to be filmed as part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film series, saying that it was unfitting for a Christian church to be used to promote pagan imagery. It is also amusing, exciting and wholesome, and is just the sort of story families should be encouraged to read.

Said one honorary chaplain, "Oh yes, there was quite a to-do. There was one particular man, very evangelical, writing in and complaining that it wasn't right for such things to be going on. I don't think it was so much the film's subject matter but the fact that filming was happening at all.

Then- Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey gave positive remarks about the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone film in his New Year Message for , calling it "great fun," and a film that "asks some very real questions" on moral issues. In June , the Anglican Church published Mixing it up with Harry Potter , a page book designed to use parallels from the novels to teach the faith to 9—year-olds. Rowling and to vastly underestimate the ability of children and young people to separate the real from the imaginary.

At least two prominent leaders of the church have even recommended the series and spoke of being fans because they teach morality and show good victorious over evil. According to a spokesman from the education ministry of the UAE government, the books' fantasy and magic elements were contrary to Islamic values. Despite being banned from schools in the Emirates, there are no plans to ban them from bookshops within the country.

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A large number of Islamic scholars have argued that the books' magical themes conflict with Islamic teachings. Feiz Mohammad , the Australian Islamic preacher believed to have inspired Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev , the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing , decried Harry Potter for "paganism, evil, magic and the drinking of unicorn blood". In August , police in Karachi , Pakistan discovered and defused a car bomb located outside a shopping centre where, hours later, the final Harry Potter novel was scheduled to go on sale.

The book launch was postponed in response. A local police superintendent commented that, "We are not sure so far whether the target of the bombing was the book launch, but the connection cannot be ruled out. Many prominent rabbis have described the Harry Potter books as, in the words of one, "a force for good".

The decision to release the final volume of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , in Israel at 2 AM on a Saturday morning briefly angered many of Israel's rabbis, since it fell during the Jewish Sabbath , a time when business dealings are forbidden. The books' inclusion in public and school libraries has been frequently challenged for their focus on magic, [79] particularly in the United States, where it was ranked seventh on the list of the most challenged books in American libraries between and despite having been first published in the United States in However, the ALA notes that overall, opposition to Harry Potter in the US appears to be waning; having topped the list of the most challenged books in American schools in many previous years, they have to date failed to reappear in the top ten since In , in response to complaints from three local parents, Zeeland, Michigan school superintendent Gary Feenstra restricted access to the Harry Potter books to those pupils whose parents gave written permission.

One parent complained that "If they are going to pass out witchcraft certificates they should also promote the Bible and pass out certificates of righteousness". However, the ban was lifted after a number of students and parents complained.


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The books were reinstated after a public outcry. In , in York, Pennsylvania , local parent Deb DiEugenio, along with her pastor, attempted to have the books banned from her daughter's school. DuEugenio said that "It's against my daughter's constitution, it's evil, it's witchcraft I'm not paying taxes to teach my child witchcraft". In , Billy Ray and Mary Nell Counts, a couple in Cedarville, Arkansas , brought suit against the local school board on behalf of their daughter to contest a rule requiring parents' written consent to read the Harry Potter books.

A parent, Angie Haney, had requested such a rule on the grounds that they were "not based on fiction," at the prompting of Pastor Mark Hodges, who was also a member of the school board. In September , Laura Mallory, a mother of four children in Loganville, Georgia , attempted to have the Harry Potter books banned from her children's school library on the grounds that they promoted a religion, Wicca , and thus for a public school library to hold them would violate the separation of church and state.

I've put a lot of work into what I've studied and read. I think it would be hypocritical for me to read all the books, honestly". She considered taking the case to federal court, but spent the following summer with her husband and four children. In July , Sariya Allan, a teaching assistant at Durand Primary School in Stockwell , South London , quit her job after she was suspended for refusing to listen to a seven-year-old pupil read a Harry Potter book in class.

A practising Pentecostal , she told the girl that "I don't do witchcraft in any form," and that she would be "cursed" if she heard the novel recited. Allan took her dispute with the school to an Employment Tribunal , citing religious discrimination and claiming for damages. The school's lawyer claimed that, "her suspension was due to her obstructive conduct over time. It was not down to that day alone. Joseph Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts received international attention after pulling the books from the shelves of the parish's K-8 school.

According to the ALA, this was the first time the books were banned in Massachusetts. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston claimed this was an independent action in which the Church played no role. In response to the criticism that the books promote Wicca , a number of Wiccans and other commenters have argued that the critics' definition of Wicca tends to lump together many and various spiritualist practices that actually have little in common.

They have also highlighted the differences between magic within Wicca, which is invocational and derives from the divine powers, and that depicted by the Harry Potter books, which is a purely mechanical application of spells without invoking any deities. A Wiccan review of Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged pointed out that "communing with the dead and spirit world, sorcery, curses, occult symbology, black magic [and] demon possession"—all cited by the book as evidence of Harry Potter promoting Wicca—are not part of Wiccan belief.

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Divinatory practices such as scrying and astrology , although occasionally employed by characters in the books are neither unique nor central to the Wiccan religion [] and are treated in the novels in a condescending, tongue-in-cheek manner; the school divination teacher is, according to writer Christine Schoeffer, "a misty, dreamy, dewy charlatan," [] who is ridiculed by the students and staff alike.

In the Harry Potter universe, Schoeffer claims, "the entire intuitive tradition of fortune-telling … is discredited. The website religioustolerance. Wicca "Through the Harry Potter books! We wanted his powers … so we called for spirit guides. Then they came into us.

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They are a New Age phenomenon. Regardless, statements such as those in Witchcraft Repackaged that the books depict actual occultist practices of any kind have been roundly criticised. Christian writer Stephen D. Greydanus writes that the magic of the Harry Potter novels is not the ritualistic, invocative magic of Wicca or occultism but the same "fantasy" magic practised in the works of J. Tolkien and C. Lewis ; "If anything, the magic in Rowling's world is even more emphatically imaginary, even further removed from real-world practices, than that of Tolkien or Lewis; and, like theirs, presents no appreciable risk of direct imitative behaviour.

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That is, Harry and his friends cast spells, read crystal balls, and turn themselves into animals—but they don't make contact with a supernatural world. Rowling researched Wiccan practices and incorporated a few elements in order to give her books a bit more of an air of reality, but she and Wicca are drawing upon the same corpus of ancient traditions and stories so similarities are inevitable.

They certainly aren't a sign that the books work to "indoctrinate" people into Wicca as a religion. In his book, John Granger makes a critical distinction between what he calls the dangerous invocational magic calling a spirit and Rowling's incantational magic, in which the formula one speaks gets the job done, and says that her presentation to the materialistic world that there is more out there than is visible is doing a service for the cause of Christian evangelism. Connie Neal has commented that, "there are 64 real references to witchcraft in the first four Harry Potter books, but you have to see them in context to know they are not teaching witchcraft or sorcery.

Many of the detractors who have actually read the books already have made up their mind that Harry Potter is evil before they read. They have taken a magnifying glass and picked at the books, using literary reductionism to find what they want to find. You can pick up Dickens ' A Christmas Carol and do the same thing that these people have done with Harry Potter ; it is ridiculous. In , Massimo Introvigne , an Italian expert in emerging religious movements, criticised the Fundamentalist impulse to distrust fantasy.

If we dismiss the use of magic as a language, we should at least be fundamentalist to the bitter end, and go against "Mary Poppins," "Peter Pan," and "Sleeping Beauty," and insist that Cinderella puts a burkha on. Another response to the claim that the books promote the religion of witchcraft, which has been raised as much by Christians critical of the books as those who support them, is that, far from promoting religion, the books do not promote religion in any way.

Apart from celebrating Christmas and Easter and a non-denominational clergyman presiding at both Dumbledore's funeral and the Weasleys' wedding, religious practices are largely absent from the books. In her critical editorial on the books, Focus on the Family 's Lindy Beam comments, "The spiritual fault of Harry Potter is not so much that Rowling is playing to dark supernatural powers, but that she doesn't acknowledge any supernatural powers at all.

These stories are not fueled by witchcraft, but by secularism. There are no churches, no other religious institutions, nobody prays or meditates, and even funerals are non-religious affairs. God," Lev Grossman argues that, "Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Lewis ' The Chronicles of Narnia and J. Tolkien 's The Lord of the Rings.

Rowling has repeatedly denied that her books lead children into witchcraft. I absolutely did not start writing these books to encourage any child into witchcraft. I'm laughing slightly because to me, the idea is absurd. I have met thousands of children and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, "Ms Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch.

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You do not have the right to decide what everyone else's children are exposed to. So that's how I feel about it". When people are arguing from that kind of standpoint, I don't think reason works tremendously well. But I would be surprised if some of them had read the books at all. While many describe the books as secular or Satanic, many writers, including Rowling herself, have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that the books actively promote Christian values. Rowling attended a Church of Scotland congregation while writing Harry Potter and her eldest daughter, Jessica, was baptised into that faith.


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Yes, I am, which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books.

Of course, Hogwarts is a multifaith school. In , Rowling described her religious background in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant : []. I was officially raised in the Church of England, but I was actually more of a freak in my family. We didn't talk about religion in our home.


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  • My father didn't believe in anything, neither did my sister. My mother would incidentally visit the church, but mostly during Christmas. And I was immensely curious. From when I was 13, 14 I went to church alone. I found it very interesting what was being said there, and I believed in it. When I went to university, I became more critical. I got more annoyed with the smugness of religious people and I went to church less and less. Now I'm at the point where I started: yes, I believe.