Harry Potter And The Extremely Gullible Priest
As much joy and delight as the Harry Potter series has brought into this world, it has also brought a whole lot of stupidity. And I am not just talking about recreational Quidditch games and people in my age cohort using it as a reference point for nearly everything that happens in the world. As irritating as that may be sometimes, it's not difficult to see some similarities between an evil villain who feeds off the devotion from his obsessive followers and wants to rid the country of those he has deemed impure and Voldemort.
No, the stupid I am talking about here is the stupid that has come from certain religious people and groups, who for the past 22 years have burned the books, tried to ban them in various school districts, and warned parents off from letting their children read them, all because they think it will lead to children becoming interested in the occult. Heck, J.K. Rowling didn't receive a presidential medal of freedom award because officials in the Bush Administration were scared that the book "encouraged witchcraft." Yeah. Adult human beings who felt themselves competent enough to lead us all into a shitty, unending war were scared that a book series was going to turn children into witches. Marinate on that for a second.
Naturally, there was also a Jack Chick comic:
Recently, Father Dan Reehill of St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville sent out an email explaining the school would be banning the Harry Potter series, on account of he thinks the spells in them are real and doesn't want anyone accidentally Avada Kedavra-ing anyone.
The Tennessean reports:
"These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text," the email states.
Reehil goes on to say in the email that he consulted several exorcists in the U.S. and Rome who recommended removing the books.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. "Hello Mr. Exorcist! Will Harry Potter turn our precious schoolchildren into Linda Blair? Y/N?" I would also like to know what "sources" he used to determine that these were "actual curses and spells" because I am pretty sure if they existed, the Harry Potter fandom would have gotten to them first. Certainly, we would have never heard the end of it if anyone had been able to successfully conjure a patronus.
For the record, I have read all of the Harry Potter books and have yet to curse anyone, accidentally or otherwise. Then again, I also didn't do any telekinesis after reading Carrie in the sixth grade -- and not for lack of trying -- or make anyone's hair fall out after I saw The Craft. This seems unfair, but also reasonable because no one has magic powers.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse