The Harry Potter book series, written by J.K. Rowling, has been a publishing success story with over one hundred seventy-five million copies sold worldwide in forty-three different languages as well as being made into several major motion pictures.
I have not read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies; however, I have friends who are enthusiastic supporters of the books and movies. Reaction to the books range from educators who praise the books for drawing young people back to reading to critics who claim the books are anti-Christian. Christians seem divided. The late Charles Colson commented that he planned to use the Potter craze to, “ lead kids to the real thing.” Jack Chick of the Fundamentalists wrote, “ The Potter books open a doorway that will send untold millions of kids to hell.” The Catholic Church has been inconsistent. Pope Benedict said in 2005, “ It corrupts the Christian faith in souls before they even grow and mature.” But in 2009 the Vatican seemed to soften when it issued statement saying the Potter series, “ draws a clear line of demarcation between those who do good and those who do evil.” To all the occult talk John Monk of the State of Columbia newspaper responds, “poppycock… to say the Harry Potter lures children to the occult is to say that Treasure Island makes children want to be pirates or Peter Pan entices children to leave home.”
J. K. Rowling replies to all this fuss, “ People have the right to decide what they want their children to read, but they don’t have the right to tell other peoples children what they should read.” When asked if she believed in God she replied, “ I believe in God, not magic.”
Whether Harry Potter is good or bad for children seems to be a question that will continue to be debated. There is a question to which there is an answer. Does threatening J. K. Rowling in a FAO Schwartz toy store do anything to advance the kingdom of God here on earth? Or for that matter does threatening anyone draw others closer to a loving God? The Disciple Peter cautioned no. God does not want someone threatened or coerced into loving him. We should defend our hope in Jesus with gentleness and respect. Use our relationships to love, not judge others, be forgiving and treat others with respect so that they might come to Jesus, be reconciled with God, and have a peace that surpasses all understanding. JDI