Sitting in our adult Sunday School class today we were in a discussion of how the Christian is to strive not to be conformed to the world. Suddenly one of the ladies spoke up that all she had been hearing about for the last week was the new Harry Potter book. She remarked that children on the news were lining up to get the newest book. She was upset that there were Christian families that had actually bought Harry Potter books and let their children read them. She ended her commentary with the statement “I wish ministers all across the country would band together and start preaching against this Harry Potter.”

Because, you see, it’s Harry Potter that is responsible for the downfall of the formerly Christian United States. Not families struggling with divorce, poverty and violence. Not the replacement of true Christian moral authority with Christian political authority. Not any one of a hundred different legitimate worries. Nope it’s a bratty English boy with a scar on his forehead. Sadly her attitude is relatively common among conservative Christians (see “Is Harry Potter Harmless?“)

How many of the people who get their panties in a bunch about Harry Potter have read the books? I’m not certain but I can guess the number is astoundingly low. If they had, they would read about the bonds of family, the importance of fighting evil, the struggles of growth and maturity and, above all, the need for friendship. Scary stuff indeed.

I suspect most people focus only on the magic in the books and react with a knee-jerk fear. I’ll never forget a conversation with a fellow church-goer about going to see The Lord of the Rings movies. He talked about how he wouldn’t take his daughter to go see it. “Oh. Well she might be a bit too young” I replied. He looked me in the eye and stated “No. No one in our family will go see them. They have sorcery in them.” I informed him that they were fantasy books written by a Christian but the discussion was effectively over at that point.

The sad thing is that the “preaching against this Harry Potter” cements in the secular mind that Christians are pushy, uninformed and more concerned about people being exposed to the wrong things than actually loving and living sacrificially.

And for what it’s worth, I liked The Last Temptation of Christ more than The Passion.