October 23, 2007

Handbags at dawn

There has been, as you might expect, some reaction from certain Christians concerning J.K. Rowling's revelation that one of her characters is gay. Not all the reaction is what you might expect though. John Mark Reynolds, a Creationistwho has weebled on about how delightfully Christian the Harry Potter books are is really, really upset, and insists that Ms. Rowling does not know her figment of her own imagination as well as he does. No way can Dumbledore be gay, he proclaims, and if he is, why did she not mention it earlier?

She wrote about Christianity openly by Book Seven, but if Dumbledore was gay, she decided to hide it. She hid it so well that there is no evidence of it.

But was it that well-hidden? In a comment on Making Light, Rob Hansen recalls a conversation with a literary critic:

I remember Roz Kaveney telling me at the time the book appeared that she read the Grindelward/Dumbledore relationship that way and that she figured Rowling had been careful to write it the way she had to forestall the howls of outrage from the usual far-right/religious reich cretins.

Comments elsewhere have linked to where Kaveney put that thought into writing but, naturally, I can't find any of them now. Nor does Reynolds' argument, that Rowling is no longer the sole "owner" of her own intellectual property, that coherent either.

No offense to an excellent author, but Dumbledore no longer belongs only to Rowling. He also belongs to her readers who have been given a series of books in which Rowling was free to say what she wanted to say.

Alas, for this argument, we have fanfic, where the readers take other authors' characters and write their own stories about them. If the fanfic is anything to go by, then the readers have concluded, in a loud and unanimous voice, that not only is Dumbledore gay (and probably really, really kinky with it), but so are all the other characters. And they're all at it with one another!

(via Pharyngula)

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Catching up

Some stories I missed, or didn't get round to writing about:

  • A woman who falsely accused her father of raping her as a child after undergoing recovered memory therapy on the NHS has reached an out-of-court settlement with Tayside NHS. The treatment is responsible for a number of claims of Satanic abuse, though this case had no such elements. Settlement for bogus abuse womanBBC News, 20th October 2007.
  • It seems that it's not only the Roman Catholic Church which has been covering up child sexual abuse by its clergy. The Church of England has a similar problem. C of E child abuse was ignored for decades The Daily Telegraph, 22nd October 2007. (Thank you to Andrew Ian Dodge.)
  • OMFG!!!!! A fictional character is a poof! That should upset the fundies even more. Rowling Says Dumbledore Is GayNewsweek, 19th October 2007. (My favourite quote from J.K. Rowling on the matter is in the BBC News version of the story: Oh, my god, the fan fiction.)
  • The case of a Christian magistrate who resigned because his bigotry restricted his ability to do his job has reached an industrial tribunal. Christian JP forced out over gay adoption cases, tribunal hearsThe Guardian, 22nd October 2007. See also WWJD?: Lies and Blackmail!Prattle, January 26th 2007.

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September 22, 2007

A Blast from the Past

England: Anyone old enough to have been involved in neopaganism in the UK in the 1980s will remember the Rev. Kevin Logan (a.k.a.Kev. the Rev.). The Anglican vicar spent a lot of time and effort promoting the Satanic Abuse Myth, and propogating outrageous lies about neopaganism. He fell from grace after a seriously disturbed woman, Caroline Marchant, committed suicide while in his care. R.A. Gilbert summarised the story:

Caroline Marchant professed to be a victim of satanic abuse and to have been involved in child sacrifice.... Her story, however, was utterly untrue.... Many of the 'satanic' elements in her story seem to have been derived from the work of Doreen Irivine (who counselled Miss Marchant at the Zion Christian Temple at Yate, near Bristol). What she needed most was psychiatric help, whereas what she received was spiritual counselling by fundamentalists who saw demons rather than a disturbed mind. In February 1990, while in the care of the Reverend Kevin Logan, Caroline Marchant committed suicide. (Gilbert 1993, 154).

Well, he obviously thinks no-one can remember him after 17 years, and is back having a go at Harry Potter. Nor does he seem to have spent the time learning anything about neopaganism, as he strangely seems to think that Rowling's books have something to do with it.

The Rev Kevin Logan, of Christ Church with Cannon Street, Accrington, said that JK Rowling's teenage hero has many similarities with Jesus Christ - but the author's references to paganism could lead children into danger...

The Potter epic encourages kids to be curious in an area that God forbids, he said. It is also an encouragement to the vulnerable and under-age to learn more of paganism and the occult, which have a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

Obviously failing to look after someone in your care, and contributing to intense religious pressure on her to lie, to the point where she kills herself, does not give the Rev. Logan himself a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

But there is a reason for his sticking his head over the parapet. In 1988, he published a book which he entitled Paganism and the Occult: A manifesto for Christian Action, in which he expounded, well, a load of complete bollocks. Gilbert (a Christian) was more restrained when he reviewed the work:

The author's aim is to provide the basis for converting occultists to Christianity, but his lack of objectivity and of factual accuracy remove credibility from his attempt. (Gilbert 1993, 177)

So, why do we think Kev. the Rev. is back to his old media-whoring ways?

Christian comment on the issue is being sought as Mr Logan prepares to update his book 'Paganism and the Occult'.

I wonder if they'll send the Prattle a review copy?

Vicar calls for Harry Potter debateThe Blackburn Citizen, 19th September 2007; Gilbert, R.A., 1993, Casting the First Stone: the Hypocrisy of Religious Fundamentalism and its Threat to Society, Shaftesbury, Element Books.

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July 25, 2007

Harry Potter and the apostolic succession

Some more bizarre Harry Potter material has shown up in alt.conspiracy, and it has to do with the apostolic succession the Pope was going on about the other day.

In Three Apostolic Successions (op. cit.), the sorcery powers of Jesus were discussed. These sorcery powers were passed along to Peter. Peter later had a sorcery showdown with Simon Magus. So, it is worth noting that Harry Potter also reportedly has such sorcery powers.

Locally, last evening, at midnight (and matching the magical 7/11 date), the new Harry Potter movie premiered here. Naturally, this premiere was given a front-page headline spread, in the Champaign- Urbana News-Gazette.

But seeming to forestall the Harry Potter elevation of 7/11, Pope Benedict XVI invoked some counter-sorcery of his own. Raining on the Potter Parade, Pope Benedict XVI released a document on July 10th proclaiming the Catholic Church to be the only true church. This means, in other words, Harry Potter is not the Pope. I, Benedict, am the Pope.

A few days later, the same author elaborates on the hypothesis by identifying Potter's nemesis:

Papa bin Edict has begun spiritual warfare with Lord Voldemort (Vladimir Putin). The contest was joined roughly coinciding with the numerological date of 7/11, 2007.

So-called "Dementors" have defected from the Vatican and secretly work for Putin. Does a secret society, the Order of the Phoenix, oppose Putin and lend support to Papa bin Edict? Or are they part of a "Fourth Way"? Not clear at this time is the role played by Sirius Black (Serious Black), Barack Obama.

The Harry Potter connection becomes more tenuous after this, but there are some interesting bits involving goths, monks and sodomy. Finally, there's some kind of conclusion:

Also numerologically significant is the date 7/7, 2007. At that time, the nasty house elf Kreacher, disguised as Al Gore, prestidigitated a glamour to dazzle the eyes. Kreacher belongs to the Dementors, hostile to bin Edict and in league with Putin. When the Mother Earth Glamour sorcery flopped, this marked the subsequent sorcery battle escalations.

Harry Potter, vying with others for the papal crown, is allied with the sacred feminine. A subterfuge to cloak so-called conspiracy theories under the guise of fiction heralds the premiere of some new, acceptable, conspiracy magazine, possibly to be called The Quibbler.

Harry Potter, the Fourth PopeConspiracy Nation, 11th July 2007; Sorceries Of Papa bin EdictConspiracy Nation, 14th July 2007.

Update: The articles have now been posted to the Conspiracy Nation site, and the links have been updated accordingly. See, we even link to enemies of Cthulhu!

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July 22, 2007

Bored now

There has been very little by way of interesting anti-Harry Potter rubbish to mark the publication of the last book in the series, but at last, I found some written by one Greg Farber. It seems that some early British socialists had the (very common) family name Potter, and this is grounds for a conspiracy.

Also the true Author of the wounded in the head, little Dark Prince Harry Potter was written by Richard Potter himself, The Lady J.K. Rowlings who claims to be the author is not at all, she was just given the job of editing and a nice title. Richard Potter a benifictionary of Sydney and Beatrice Webb who began the Fabian Socialist movement in England and they really intended to Socialize the World but began in a very small way. Potter was a very rich Rail road magnet who helped them with a lot of money. They sent Ramsey McDonald to the United States in 1895, touring the United States. He came back and said, The United States will never be Socialised until we can get rid of the State and Federal Constitution Ramsey McDonald became the future Prime Minister of England.

And who exactly was Richard Potter? The father of Beatrice Potter, who was born in 1858. That explains the turgid Victorian prose and the complete lack of any reference to anything modern in the books! Another paragraph from the article is interesting, too, and I think is meant as some kind of explanation:

The British Labor Party has been controlled by the JESUITS since its inception in the late 1800s. it has always advocated Home Rule for Ireland-as did British SIS Aleister Crowley!!Asquith, Lloyd George, and Labor-Loyalist Smokin Winston Churchill were all controlled by the Order via its Fabian Socialists, Like the American Republican Party, nothing good ever proceeded, or was allowed to proceed from British Labor–the true backers of the Soviet Russia's Bolshevicks and the Pope's Masonic Jewish Zionists ruling Israel's Labour party.

The author does not explain what the British Labor Party is - maybe some American organisation of ex-pat Labour Party supporters or something? Nor what it has to do with Harry Potter. The article ends with something which was debunked in Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind, published in the Prattle back in 2002.

J.K. Rowling uses imagery in her Harry Potter books contained in the Alchemy Book, “The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosendreutz? written in 1459. Using such a obsure book, known only to the occult initiated, is one strong indication Rowling does practice Witchcraft.

As I pointed out five years ago, it's a Rosicrucian text, not and alchemical one, and available online. These days, there's even an English translation. Other fundies insist that the text is the single most important one, though it's obvious that neither interpretation is the case.

And that's not all. The same individual has written another piece which is even less comprehensible. Harry Potter and Hollyweird only mentions Harry Potter in passing, but "exposes" the terrible symbolism of recent Disney films.

Under Michael Eisner, the Walt Disney Co. ( Which has seen Walt's surviving nephew, Roy E. Disney, part ways with Eisner in disgust) has become one of the mass initiators of children through visual processing loaded with brazen occult themes. As one example, the animated film Atlantis contains a surfiet of OTO symbolism. ( Ordo Templi Orientis ) The cartoon character Scooby Doo has also been transformed into an evangelist for Witchcraft. In Scooby Doo and the witches ghost, kids learn that Sarah Ravencroft, buried long ago in a Puritan village, was really a Wiccan and that Wiccans were people who were in tune with forces of nature and used them for healing purposes.

Scooby Doo was originally a Hanna Barbera creation and is now a Warner Brothers character—nothing to do with Disney. Apparently the Da Vinci Code has made Catholic nuns turn to Wiccan practices, too.

Harry Potter, Socialism and the truthSun Valley Idaho Online, 19th July 2207; Harry Potter and HollyweirdSun Valley Idaho Online, 20th July 2207.

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June 9, 2007

Tribunal to fundie whiner: bugger off!

United Kingdom: A teaching assistant who quit her job after refusing to let a child read from a Harry Potter book has lost her case for religious discrimination. Some interesting details of the case have emerged, including her strange beliefs about the books and their author.

She also said author JK Rowling was a 'real witch' and hearing the seven-year-old girl reading out spells from the story would leave her cursed...

She said: I said this because it is known that the subject of the Harry Potter books is white magic. The main character himself is a wizard who casts spells and uses the supernatural in order to triumph in various plots.

I do not believe that there can be such a thing as a mild form of witchcraft as the Holy Bible gives express instructions against some of the practices contained in the book and I therefore objected to the child reading this book to me. It would compromise my religious beliefs.

The tribunal also found that her other claims were not true, and that she had lied about the assistant headmaster insulting the Bible to her, and belittling her faith.

Harry Potter Teacher Loses Tribunal ClaimLife Style Extra, 9th June 2007; see also Teaching assistant wants compensation for her own biasPagan Prattle, 8th June 2007.

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June 8, 2007

Teaching assistant wants compensation for her own bias

United Kingdom: A teaching assistant who discriminated against a child on religious grounds is seeking compensation for religious discrimination. Sariya Allen quit her job at a London school after she was disciplined for refusing to hear a child reading aloud from a Harry Potter book. She claims the books glorify witchcraft.

Ms Allen, 47, said the mother of a seven-year-old girl who was a fluent reader had complained to the girl's teacher that the book Ms Allen had given her was too easy.

The girl then chose a Harry Potter book from her reading folder, but Ms Allen refused to listen to her reading it because God had stated in the Bible that witchcraft was an abomination, she told the Guardian yesterday. The girl went home and told her mum. I also had told the teacher that I objected to hearing that book read because of my faith,Ms Allen said.

Teaching assistant quit in protest at Harry PotterThe Guardian, 8th June 2007.

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May 30, 2007

LiveJournal say fans are pædophiles

LiveJournal: because reading fan fiction makes you a pedoThe People's Republic of LiveJournal: Internet Jihadists have declared war on LiveJournal, ostensibly for the sake of the chiiiiiiiiildren. The bampots at Warriors for Innocence (read the comments before clicking this link) claim to be dedicated to hunting pedophiles where they fester but in reality, they hate fandom and fan fiction. At least the effect of their actions has been to shut down a number of fannish communities devoted to writing about romantic trysts between fictional characters. Most badly affected has been Harry Potter fandom, even though Harry Potter has been over the age of consent in the country in which the stories are based since book 5. A list of banned fannish communities shows a number of Harry Potter related ones.

They also hate literature. One of the banned communities was a Spanish language one discussing the work of Vladimir Nabokov. Nor do they like discussion of sex and censorship, as the banning of porn_debate demonstrates.

And, as you might expect, our crusaders demonstrate a remarkable lack of intelligence. One of the banned communities was called lol_porn, but obviously they didn't look at it before complaining as it was for lolcat style postings using porno as a basis.

Other subcultures are worried. Fans of yaoi are concerned that they will be targetted, not just because of the existence of shōta (where the characters are underage), but because the somewhat effeminate characters can appear younger than they are in the story. The moderators of yaoi_daily and yaoi_daily_cafe have felt the need to set up a status page and make back-up plans.

So far, the Jihad has not noticed Gothic Lolita, which they are bound to misinterpret as soon as they do. The number of actual child abusers affected by the purge appears to be zero. Their victims, on the other hand, have grounds to be worried:

This is not a fandom-only issue. LJ's heavy-handed response threatens support groups and researchers. By telling users (after that fact and in contradiction to their own FAQ) that you can receive a permanent suspension, proactively, for having an "illegal" interest, pretty much everyone's at risk.

A Jihad Against Innocence LJ community devoted to protesting and fighting back against the extremists.

(written with a lot of help from Red Wolf)

Update (from Red Wolf): Naruto fandom is scared and the Jihad denies attacking innocent sites. They're all guilty. We're never wrong. And this list of naughty words suggests that Gothic Lolita has, indeed been noticed, and the comments suggest support communities are worried. The last comment references a 12th century Georgian poet—Shota Rustavelli.

May 29, 2007

Judge: Harry Potter to stay in school libraries

United States: An Atlanta judge has upheld the decision of local school officials and refused to ban Harry Potter books from school libraries in Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor issued the ruling after hearing arguments from attorneys for the school system and from local mother Laura Mallory, who wants the books removed...

Mallory has tried to ban the books from Gwinnett County school library shelves since August 2005. She says she has never read any book in the series but says they are an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft.

Mother Loses Harry Potter Appeal13WMAZ.com, 29th May 2007.

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Ugandan discussions on the occult

Uganda: We've all heard loads of loony fundie nonsense about the occult, and their lies fall on stony ground in North America and Europe these days. What's a bampot to do? Why, tell the same bollocks somewhere where they haven't heard it before, or at least not heard the debunking. The Sunday Monitor fell for it this week, printing an article liberally quoting from self-styled ex-Satanists

According to Roger Mugisha whose former life as a Satanist is the inspiration for Battle of the Souls, the fact that one is not aware that what they are wearing as an accessory or the picture on their clothes is an Occult symbol doesn't let the wearer off the hook. The signs will still be significant and the wearer becomes an advocate of the devil. With this statement, Roger Mugisha is shown a recent picture of the Nabagereka, Nagginda Sylvia Luswata at the Kabaka's birthday celebration.

Looking impeccable as usual, the queen of Buganda is wearing a blue dress, which bears a Ying-Yang symbol on the chest area. To a layman's eye and most likely herself, the Ying-Yang sign is only another artistic impression that makes the dress a lot more glamorous. But to one who knows about the occult signs, a Satanist or a former devil worshipper in this case, wearing this dress is no different from proclaiming your discipleship with the devil.

And of course, an anonymous youth pastor had to wade in in Harry Potter, even though he does not know the name of the books' author, nor that of the protagonist.

This youth pastor who declines to be named adds that books like the Harry Porter series, which openly uphold witchcraft and are packaged to sound seductive and fun for our children are also another route of spreading Satanism.

In the process, J.K. Rowlings (the author of the Harry Porter series) has become a billionaire by spreading the gospel of the underworld and also contaminated and probably converted a large number of our future leaders and law makers, he says.

The same pastor is also worried about rock music and goths.

Most young people start by innocently taking to rock music (especially). Before you know it they are emulating rock stars and taking to the gothic lifestyle; wearing only pitch black and scarlet red for clothes, accessories and make up. The numerous body piercing and tattoos come next.

Exactly how many goths are there in Uganda anyway?

The Occult: The signs are still out there...Sunday Monitor, 27th may 2007.

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March 19, 2006

Harry Potter: The First Step to a Life in the Embrace of Satan

Vatican: Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, has warned that reading Harry Potter could lead young people towards Satanism. Bear in mind that the original source was that great bastion of fact-checking, The Sun.

By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil, he was quoted as saying.

You start with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil.

There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.

In 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) reportedly wrote two letters to a critic of the Harry Potter series.

It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly, he wrote.

By Satanism he no doubt means that children may learn to read, think for themselves and question the insanity spouted by the recent crop of frock-wearing troglodites who claim to filter the word of their imaginary friend to the great unwashed masses.

Vatican exorcist warns of Harry Potter [BugMeNot] - Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd March 2006.

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August 1, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Dead fictional character on toast

Red Wolf points out an auction which will be of great interest to those who found the Prattle by searching for harry potter porno, harry potter vampires and harry potter porn. Or perhaps not, as it doesn't feature anything vague pornographic or have anything to do with the undead.

But, the auction itself is full of spoilers for the sixth book, so if you intend to read it, do not read any further!

Continue reading "Bargain of the Day: Dead fictional character on toast"

July 22, 2005

It takes one to know one

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wildhunt Blog is having fun with fundies who are eager to accuse him of all the things they do.

A few days ago I wrote an entry pointing out a logical fallacy in a article about Christian reactions to Harry Potter. But author Richard Abanes (whom I quote in the post) feels that I am the one committing a fallacy, specifically that I have set up a strawman to tear down.

Those of us who are thoughtfully concerned about Harry Potter are NOT committing the loigical fallacy you cite. Instead, we are saying other things that you apparently missed in your rush to find a logical fallacy.

Actually, this is the fallacy I pointed out:

According to Retail Trends, interest in Wicca materials, schools, spells has doubled since the release of the Harry Potter series.

There is no hard evidence linking a rise in the interest in Wicca to the popularity of Harry Potter. No matter how much correlation (including Wiccans who believe the books lead seekers to them) you document it still doesn't imply causation. That is a fallacy. In pointing out this fallacy I wasn't trying to erase the validity of concerned parents, I was pointing out that Harry Potter can't be used to claim a spike in sales and interest in Wicca. There is no strawman there.

His fundie correspondent, who apparently writes books on the evils of Harry Potter, then proceeded to accuse Pagans and Wiccans of specifically targetting children, because (unnamed) books on Paganism happen to mention Harry Potter. Of course, this is just an excuse to promote his book.

you quote me as saying: "Many real-world occultists and Wiccans are using the popularity of Harry Potter to bring kids into their practices." But this, my friend, is not a logical fallacy, it is a statement of fact--big difference. If you were to do a little research, you would find that Wiccans, occultists, and assorted neopagans have now produced books and other non-fiction (and fiction-based) materials that target children and use Harry Potter as a lure of curiosity (explicit references to HP, etc.). Documentation is in my book "Harry POtter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings" (I assume you DID read it before commenting, right?).

You can line up a hundred real-world (as opposed to what, imaginary) occultists and Wiccans but it still doesn't imply causation in the issue of Harry Potter driving people to Wicca. I know that there are books that use Potter-influenced themes written by Wiccans and occultists but that is mostly a case of Harry Potter becoming such a hugely popular book, before Potter Wiccan authors referenced other works of fantasy to make a point or to sell more books. Also is every book referencing Harry Potter targetting children? Harry Potter is also hugely popular with adults (so I hear).

Of course, Christians would never countenance targetting vulnerable members of society who are only learning to think for themselves and distinguish good information from bad. Not like those evil Wiccans who are only slightly more evangelical than Zoroastrians.

My Fallacy Is Made of Straw? - The Wildhunt Blog, 19th June 2005. See also Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind - Pagan Prattle, Samhuinn 2002.

September 12, 2004

Video corner

In lieu of any serious stories, I present Video Review: Harry Potter... Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent Also known as Christians vs. Children's Books, Seanbaby's sarcastic look at a Christian anti-Harry Potter video. This remarkable production can be summarised thus:

Thanks to aggressive Pagan marketing, books about witchcraft are no longer found only in secret underground caverns, but in bookstores everywhere. Did you know that kids are using magic spells they learned from Harry Potter to win money, pass school exams, and get boyfriends and girlfriends? The Christians did. Apparently, Neo-Paganism has been discipling [sic] our children into dark cults for years with the help of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and The Craft. And with the internet, Pagans can now perform rituals with each other online!

(via Ansible).

July 15, 2004

Look, it's fiction, okay?

United States: A birthday card to Harry Potter has caused chaos at a Missouri post office. The sender, who is old enough to know better, sprinked some white powder on the envelope. As a result, the office was closed for two hours while it was checked out by hazardous material specialists.

The letter turned out to be a birthday card a 16-year-old fan was sending to Harry Potter in England. The teen apparently sprinkled the card with some floo powder, which turned out to be harmless talcum powder. In the books by JK Rowling, floo powder helps wizards travel.

Harry Potter Birthday Card Shuts Down Post Office - NBC San Diego, 14th July 2004.

June 26, 2004

Kids like it, so it must be bad

Bulgaria: The next Harry Potter will feature Stanislav Ianevski playing the part of Quidditch star Viktor Krum. So what's the reaction in his home country?

Bulgaria's Church has raised an alarm over the Harry Potter movies.
Clerics condemned incantation scenes that are repeatedly shown in the Potter films, which continue to stir craze among kids and teenagers internationally.

Bulgaria's Church Frowning at Potter - Sofia News Agency, 26th June 2004.

June 7, 2004

'Satan' to Mel: 'Pthrrrrpp!!!!!!!'

United States: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has set a new record for opening day takings, and is third, behind Spider-Man and Shrek 2 for all-time opening weekend takings. In comparison, The Passion of the Christ is eighth in the all-time US opening weekend chart, proving less popular than any of the Harry Potter films, The Matrix Reloaded and X2: X-Men United. All three Harry Potter movies thrashed Mel Gibson's vanity pic on the opening day as well. Fundies who think Harry Potter is the work of Satan may draw their own conclusions.

New 'Potter' sets June box office records - Detroit Free Press, 7th June 2004; All Time Box Office Opening Weekends and All Time Box Office Top Opening Day Grosses - Box Office Mojo, 7th June 2004 (this latter chart disagrees with the press reports, and places Spider-Man top).

May 28, 2004

Elementary school

Has Disney come up with a challenger to Harry Potter in the Offending Fundies Stakes?

Will. Irma. Taranee. Cornelia. Hay Lin. Together they are W.I.T.C.H. - five ordinary friends with an extraordinary secret - they each have the power to control a natural element. W.I.T.C.H. is the acronym of the first names of the 5 heroines, all of who are 13 or 14 years old and are just like others of their age; they wear trendy clothes, they have fun with their friends, they're classmates.... But they also have magical powers.

And what's worse, unlike Rowling's boy wizard, there are definite references to 'real' neopagan magic:

Will controls energy, Irma commands water, Taranee has power over fire, Cornelia controls earth, and Hay Lin dominates air. The girls use their powers to guard against evil and to uncover the truth behind mysterious portals leading to other worlds.

Unsurprisingly, fundies are not happy bunnies.

Unfortunately, the fantasy that so many people are living is one that's not going to have a happy ending. They will end up in a very real Hell where they won't live happily ever after. One thing is for sure, the Disney Empire and the "Magic Kingdom" certainly have the ability to captivate minds with its fantasy. In an American Culture that thrives on being constantly entertained, The Disney empire has access into the minds of literally hundreds of millions of people.

Better not let them know about Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (Tweeny Witches), then.

Disney Brings the Magic of Friendship to the U.S. with the Launch of W.I.T.C.H. Books - LPWire, 23rd March 2004; Mickey Mouse leading children to Hell - ac18.org, not dated; Disney leading kids to hell? - WorldNetDaily, 28th May 2004; W.I.T.C.H. site (Flash only); Tweeny Witches fansubs.

May 18, 2004

Making Revelation happen

United States/Israel: A terrifying article in the Village Voice looks at the influence of evangelical Christians on US policy towards Israel. One group in particular, the Apostolic Congress, is singled out, and their representative in Israel, Kim Johnson, seems particularly interesting. She believes that she was attacked by witchcraft because there was a Harry Potter in the same block of flats as herself:

Two of the three nights in my apartment I have been attacked by a hair raising spirit of fear, she writes, noting the sublet contained a Harry Potter book; at this time I am associating it with witchcraft

Fortunately, as she holds herself to the sumptuary standards of Orthodox Jewish women, so as to better blend in to her surroundings, she's probably far too busy looking for a new wig to cause any trouble. The Jesus Landing Pad - Village Voice, 18th May 2004 (via Eschaton, and thanks to Charlie and PBen for thinking of me when they saw it...).

December 1, 2003

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas

United States: There's nothing like Harry Potter to bring the fundies out of the woodwork, as Marshall Field's discovered when they selected the boy wizard as the theme for their 2000 Christmas display. I have to wonder if they are just as miffed over this year's theme of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It's a given that these intellectual giants are ignorant of that fine Christian tradition of co-opting pagan traditions as their own to convert the heathen masses.

Get your facts straight people. The Christians hijacked the pagan celebration of the winter solstice and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. These celebrations date back at least 4,000 years, long before the birth of Christ and are responsible for such Christmas traditions as the Christmas Tree and decorations, Mistletoe and Exchange of Gifts. The actual date that was chosen to be the notional birth of Jesus was, in fact, the day celebrated as the birthday of Mithras, the Persian sun god who was popular at the time Christmas was created by the Pope in 320AD. Rather than try to get the peasants to change celebration dates it was decided to use this date even though evidence suggests that Jesus was actually born around midsummer, i.e. June or July.

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas - The Green Man, 26th November 2003.

September 25, 2003

Pthrrrrp!

Redwolf drew my attention to Harry Potter and Wife Of The President at The Green Man. Short form: regardless of what the fundies might think, Mrs. Bush likes Harry Potter.

June 23, 2003

From the horse's mouth

The BBC got a confused Wiccan to review the new Harry Potter book. So what did Marysia Kolodziej have to say about the 'real' magic in there?

All most of us will be talking about for the next few weeks will be this book, at least among my pagan friends, despite the fact there is very little crossover between the world of Harry Potter and the real world of wicca and witchcraft.
In this book the only relevant topics are divination classes and a brief discussion of life after death. Magic in Harry Potter is a science not an art, a fact not a philosophy or religion.
In fact there is very little religion at all in the books. But we can all see ourselves in the characters whether we are witches or not.

Harry Potter: The witch's view - BBC News, 23rd June 2003.

June 21, 2003

A quiet day

You'd never know, if I didn't tell you. There's a new Harry Potter book out apparently.

For some, the choice of the Summer Solstice as a release date is terribly significant. The anonymous 'New World Order' posted NEW WORLD ORDER - Occult Revival: to several Christian groups and observes

The release date for the latest Harry Potter novel, The Order of the Phoenix, was set for the day of the Summer Solstice, the 21st June 2003 - a crucial date in the REAL occult calendar. This is no coincidence

And instead of doing all that tedious study, it seems you can now become an initiate by reading Harry Potter and certain well-known works of comic fantasy.

You may have been initiated into the occult Outer Mysteries without even knowing it! The genuine mythology and references to the occult in Harry Potter and the Discworld novels are designed to start you on path to illumination - in the same way that the parables of Jesus and the Pagan Sages concealed deeper Inner Mysteries for the initiated.

Others appear not to have noticed, and have assumed all those evil witches are celebrating the launch of the book. Take kcaj, who asked the denizens of alt.conspiracy Druid Luciferians At Stonehenge? A Coincidence Potter's Book Released On Same Day?:

I don't think so. Luciferians use books like this to entice people to become satanists like them. Look how many innocent kids will now become innocently involved and have now entered into the broad gate. A gate their parents many times led them through like little sheep. Many times the adults are the main ones reading the luciferian tripe. Little innocent Harry who casts satanic spells to fight the bad guys and help people. In this book there is no black and white. There is no good and bad because the historically bad guys, the wizard-warlocks and witches, have become the good guys. Good little horned Harry with his little, cute warlock horns growing out of the back of his head.

My article Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind includes the shocking discovery of a book in Edinburgh's public library system which contains all the 'real' magic and mythology in the Harry Potter books.

June 16, 2003

Must be Pagan then...

The Canadian edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be printed on 100% recycled paper. As J.K. Rowling herself said:

The forest at Hogwarts is home to magical creatures like unicorns and centaurs. Because the Canadian editions are printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper, the Harry Potter books are helping to save magnificent forests in the muggle world, the home of magical animals such as orangutans, wolves and bears. It is a good idea to respect ancient trees, especially if they have a temper like the Whomping Willow.

Ancient Forest Friendly - Raincoast Books web site (via BoingBoing).

April 23, 2003

Harry Potter on the shelf

Arkansas, United States: A judge has ordered a school district to return the Harry Potter books to library shelves after parents sued. Judge orders Harry Potter back onto shelves - Baxter Bulletin, 23rd April 2003.

April 3, 2003

The lurkers support me in e-mail

United States: A lone fundie is trying to get the Harry Potter books banned from his local schools, and Antonio Rivera even claimed massive, but anonymous support for his campaign.

Why in the world [would] we want to teach our children witchcraft and sorcery? Rivera asked the board.
Rivera, who does not have any children, said he represented several reformed Protestant churches in the Fair Haven community, but would not name them.

The school board was not impressed.

It has been a phenomenal success in getting kids excited about reading, said Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, director of communications for New Haven Public Schools.
We're not doing anything different, she said, adding that this was the only request the school system had received to remove the books.
Board of Education President Carlos Torre said at the meeting that there is a difference between a book about a sorcerer and a book that teaches sorcery. Nevertheless, he did volunteer to meet with concerned citizens if necessary.

Resident calls for removal of 'Harry Potter' - Yale Daily News, 3rd April 2003. See also the same newspaper's editorial on the matter: First Amendment under fire and brimstone - Yale Daily News, 3rd April 2003.

January 17, 2003

Kev the media whore (again)

While conspiracy theorists are likely to make much of the next Harry Potter book being released on 21st June, self-appointed witch king Kevin Carlyon thinks that the book will be cursed because the summer solstice release date will offend 'real' witches. Hurry PotterDaily Record, 17th January 2003.

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January 15, 2003

Harry Potter is evil, again.

The Greek Orthodox church is in a tizzy over the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Thrace, the Orthodox See quoted fundie sources when it claimed that the film and books would turn children into Satanists:

(The books and films) acquaint people with evil, wizardry, the occult and demonology, the announcement said. It is beyond doubt that Harry was made to resemble a young savior. Upon his birth people try to kill him, he is forever subjected to injustice but always supernaturally manages to prevail and save others. Let us reflect, who else... is held to be the unjustly treated God?

Similarly in Cyprus, Bishop Chrysostomos has complained that the highly successful film made children familiar with evil, sorcery and apocryphism. There is no tradition of children's magical fantasy in Greek-speaking areas. Church: Harry Potter film a font of evil - Kathimerini, 15th January 2003; Church Cross at Potter - Sky News, 15th January 2003.

December 31, 2002

No case against Harry Potter

The Russian Prosecutor's Office has announced that it will not be pursuing a case against the publisher of the Harry Potter books.

The city Prosecutor's Office has looked into a complaint filed by the chairman of the Tarussa office of the International Foundation of Slavic Writing. The foundation maintained that the book entitled "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by Joanne Kathleen Rowling instilled religious extremism and prompted students to join religious organizations of Satanist followers. The probe revealed that there were no grounds for a criminal case, the Prosecutor's Office said.

Prosecutor's Office refuses to launch case against Harry Potter publishers - Interfax, 31st December 2002.

December 24, 2002

Harry Potter promotes religious hatred.

The Russian Orthodox Church already has loads of legislation shoring it up but still it feels threatened. The Moscow city prosecutor's office has been forced to waste his time dealing with a claim that the Harry Potter books break a law against religious hatred.

Aigistov confirmed a report in Moskovsky Komsomolets that Alexandrov is studying whether the books violate Article 282 of the Criminal Code, which deals with instigation of ethnic, racial or religious enmity. Violators, if convicted, face up to five years in prison.
Moskovsky Komsomolets reported Monday that Alexandrov opened the inquiry on Dec. 16 after his office received a complaint from a woman in the Moscow region town of Tarusa. In her complaint, the unidentified woman said Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the series, promotes witchcraft and discredits the Orthodox faith. Prosecutors were unavailable for comment Monday.

Or maybe it's an excuse. A prosecutor's office official has requested copies of all the books to read. One Orthodox minister has already done so:

Is it a textbook on magic? Deacon Alexander Kurayev said in an undated 16-page critique of the Harry Potter series posted on his personal web site. No, he said, it's a fairy tale.

Prosecutors Consider Opening An Investigation of Harry Potter - Moscow Times, 24th December 2002.

November 7, 2002

Arse, meet elbow.

Kevin Carlyon clearly hasn't seen Bollocks and Broomsticks. He has a page on his website, Its a Kinda Magic (sic.) on which he states:

At last its over. The film is out, kiddies are happy and I can lift my spell on Harry Potter as the long awaited acknowledgement that the broomstick was the wrong way around has been received.

(thanks Carol)

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September 25, 2002

Want your book read? Get it banned.

Librarians in Missouri have discovered that the surest way to get everyone to read a book is to ban it. Ever since a local school library banned Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's award-winning Alice series, about an adolescent girl dealing with growing up, the books have been constantly checked out of the local public library. The Harry Potter books are still the most frequently challenged works.

(Will Harrell, executive director of the ACLU of Texas) said the highest number of challenges were based on mystical and pagan references in books. A third of all challenges were based on those concerns.
That suggests to us a movement that is religiously based that is targeting schools to influence, he told the Houston Chronicle for its Sept. 20 editions.

Missouri librarians latest to discover: Banning makes books popular - Associated Press, September 24th 2002.
Banned Books Week web site.

September 19, 2002

Annoying angry youths further

London's police chief wants barking mad fundies to help deter young people from crime. Sir John Stevens wants to the Bible bashers to reach out to disaffected young people, citing research done as a result of the Damilola Taylor case. The Evangelical Alliance is naturally enthusiastic:

Senior members of the Evangelical Alliance are to meet Sir John in coming weeks to discuss ways of collaborating. The alliance, which is launching a values advertising campaign on the theme of forgiveness, also issued a 10 point plan, including praying for the police and even adopting individual officers and police stations to offer them support.

There is evidence that young people listen to evangelists - look at the increased success of the Harry Potter books after Christian extremists started campaigning against them.

August 26, 2002

Fundie fiction is evil too

The Left Behind series are Christian science fiction books, graphic novels and other products by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye and by all accounts they're pretty dire. I can't tell you any more because they don't want to use their web site as a marketing tool - it uses Flash so extensively that it's not accessible. But perhaps this is good for my eternal soul. According to Lisa Ruby, author of GOD'S WRATH on Left Behind, the Left Behind series is not only unbiblical in many ways, it is anti-biblical and anti-Christian. The God of the Left Behind series is Satan in disguise, and the reader is unknowingly embracing him with open arms. More detail can be found at Liberty to the Captives web site:

Our goals are to expose the false doctrines in Tim LaHaye's books and the Left Behind series and all practices and teachings in the church that are contrary to sound doctrine. Other topics include the true gospel vs. the false gospel, the planned satanic infiltration into the church; false teachings about Satan in Jim Pappas' Christiana: The Pilgrim's Progress Part II, ways a Christians can be harmed by Satan and his followers and what to do about it, the New Age infiltration of the church; why rock music is unholy, Jesus' promise of a post-tribulation rapture, propaganda techniques used to influence Christians' doctrinal beliefs, witchcraft in the Harry Potter books, Tim LaHaye's false teachings about the mark of the beast, scripture-twisting in the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible: King James, walking after the flesh vs. walking in the Spirit; Christian liberty vs. license to sin; home histories of godly saints; spiritual authority; Bible deliverance from evil spirits; fasting and praying; satanic markings on the work of professed Christians, the various ways Satan's servants work to try to spiritually destroy Christians.

The site also explains why most holidays are evil and exposes the NWO and Planned Martial Law.

July 1, 2002

You know what they say about statistics

A US ministry has produced its own survey to 'prove' that reading Harry Potter leads to an interest in the occult. To this end, they asked teenagers which occult activities they had particpiated in.

To see how many teen-agers were dabbling in psychic-occult experimentation, researchers listed a variety of activities and asked teens which ones they had participated in. The list included: palm reading, fortune telling, going to a spiritual medium, calling or visiting a psychic, playing with a Ouija board, playing a game that featured witchcraft elements, participating in a séance, trying to cast a spell and trying to mix a potion. One in four teens had experimented with three items on the list; one in 20 had done all the items and met a profile Matlock labeled as heavily involved.

The proof of the nefarious effects of Harry Potter is that Out of all the teens that had either seen the Harry Potter movie or read the books, 74 percent told researchers they had tried at least one item on the list. Without any information on whether the 'experimentation' started before or after exposure to Harry Potter, this statistic only suggests that young people with an interest in the occult are attracted to the Harry Potter books.

An additional possibility is that the teenagers are lying in order to look cool. A similar effect has been found in research into children's exposure to 'video nasties'. For example, the Parliamentary Group Video Enquiry report Video Violence and Children from the early 80s was used to rush through some regressive legislation. It claimed that 45% of 7-16 year olds had seen a video nasty, and this figure was obtained by giving kids a list of 113 titles and asking them which they had seen. Later, researchers at Aston University repeated the survey, but added some fictitious titles ot the list. They found that 68% of children claimed to have seen one or more of the fake titles! (Cumberbatch, Guy. 1994. Legislating mythology: Video violence and children, Journal of Mental Health, 3, 485-494)

As researchers interested in the field we were puzzled at these survey results since it had proved difficult to obtain many of the titles and so we began to suspect the methodology. On obtaining the original questionnaire used in schools it became clear how such an inflated figure could have been produced. The questionnaire was far longer than desirable and the key questions came on the last five pages where 113 video titles were listed. At the beginning of this section children were asked if they had seen a film listed to rate it on a three point scale. This scale read great, just all right and awful. At the top of each page above each scale was a cartoon face corresponding to the judgement. Unfortunately instructions even if initially understood can quickly become forgotten and our hypothesis was that children might well have begun to rate the films even if they hadn't seen them. To test this, the original questionnaire was faithfully reproduced but with some non-existent titles substituted for the video nasties. These fictitious titles such as Blood on the teeth of the vampire were checked in specialist film guides to ensure that no similar sounding film existed. The results from five classes of eleven year olds indicated that two thirds (68%) of them had seen films which do not exist!

Study: Potter readers more occultic, WorldNetDaily, June 30th 2002.

May 9, 2002

Book of the month

Prattle favourite Jack Chick has a new tract out. The Nervous Witch is all about a group of witches who curse their uncle because he happens to be a Christian of the annoying, won't-shut-up, variety (I'd have thought a restraining order would be more effective, but...). The uncle tries to evangelise them repeatedly, to the point where a baseball bat would be even more effective than a restraining order, but fails until he assaults one of the women who accepts Jesus as a result of the bullying. When asked how she got into "The Craft", she says:

Through the Harry Potter books! We wanted his powers... so we called for spirit guides. The they came into us. They led us into stuff we found in the Harry Potter books -- tarot cards, ouija boards, crystal balls.

All this is apparently to promote a new video - Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged. What took Chick so long to get round to it? The Nervous Witch, Chick Publications. Posted by Feòrag in Popular Culture: Harry Potter at 14:20 | View blog reactions

February 12, 2002

Potter fans say Bible is evil

From an Australian satircal magazine:

OXFORD, Tuesday: A number of concerned British Harry Potter fans have spoken out against the Bible, claiming that the holy text of the Christian Church can cause serious damage to children. Reading the Bible teaches children to believe in the supernatural, said one English Literature academic from Oxford University, Lewis Williams. The tales of Jesus turning water into wine are fairly harmless, but there is a serious risk of children drowning if they try to walk on water, he said.

Harry Potter fans warn against dangerous effects of Bible, The Chaser 49.

January 24, 2002

Equal protection under the law

Every year, the Lancaster Family YMCA in Penryn, Philadelphia, organises a triathlon. About 600 athletes race to complete a one mile swim, a 25 mile cycle ride and a 6.2 mile run. But this year, they'll have to do without the traffic-directing skills of the local police department who have voted to boycott the event. Why? Because Harry Potter books are read to children attending the YMCA's after-school programme and the police claim that this promotes witchcraft. Penryn Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn said I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be. He wrote to the YMCA challenging their religious integrity and accused it of failing to serve the will of God. Pa. Police Boycott Ymca Over Book, Guardian Unlimited 24th January 2002. Thanks, Charlie.

Update: Wren of Witchvox points out that American Pagans (and presumably other religious minorities) ought to protest over the police's (in)action.

This is potentially serious situation, folks. Everyone in these United States is entitled to equal protection under the law. On the day that any public agency, federal or state, can refuse to enforce, uphold or offer protection to any group or citizen because of religious belief, we are in deep, deep trouble. Capt. Fichthorn's comments and the 'boycott vote' of his department cannot go unchallenged. Pennsylvanian Pagans should call or write their state governor, attorney general and their Congressional representatives and demand that the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection be upheld in the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians should be outraged and deeply embarrassed that such an outrageous act by a public agency could occur in a state so instrumental in our nation's history and in the founding of U.S. liberty and justice.

Addresses to complain to are at Wren's Nest on the Web.

January 7, 2002

God's Love

United States: Pat Robertson has decided that witchcraft is the greatest evil in America today and that it is bringing divine displeasure upon the USA. The comments came in the December 5th edition of the 700 Club which included an interview promoting an anti-Harry Potter video. This follows on from the September 13th show which blamed gays, feminists and civil liberties campaigners for bringing about the September 11th attacks. According to People For the American Way

In Robertson's post-interview comments, he returned to his Sept. 13 theme that God was lifting his annointing, his mantle from the United States of America. Citing Deuteronomy, Robertson made a list of reasons nations could invoke divine displeasure, putting witchcraft at the top of the list (we're now teaching witchcraft in the schools), followed by sodomy (we're legalizing sodomy,) bestiality, incest, and sacrifice of children (the sacrifice of children through abortion is in the 35 to 40 million range).

Religious Right leaders stick to theme that gays, abortionists, and others invite God's wrath on AmericaPFAW Right Wing Watch Online,/cite>, 4th January 2002.

December 31, 2001

Harry Potter is evil (yawn)

United States: The pastor of a New Mexico church declared that Harry Potter is the devil and he is destroying people as he urged his congregation to join in a book-burning the Taliban would've been proud of. Pastor Jack Brock of the Christ Community Church in Alamogordo admitted he had never read the books.

As well as Harry Potter books, members of the church torched Stephen King books, ouija boards, recordings by Eminem and AC/DC and even a copy of Disney's Snow White, all of which they called the work of the Devil. I hope they bought these legitimately rather than stealing them to deny the artists their royalties!

Counter-protestors wore witch hats and carried brooksticks. One of them carried a Third Reich War Ensign and placards included one reading Hitler - Bin Laden - Pastor Brock - what great company. 'Satanic' Harry Potter books burnt - BBC News, 30th December 2001