Christian Controversy/Conversation Continues

by John on July 30, 2009

Last Friday, I did an interview on the ‘This is the Day!’ Moody Bible radio show that I assumed was going to be about How Harry Cast His Spell (that book’s publisher set it up) and the movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I had my notes about the Christian content of this film, especially Dumbledore as Christ figure and the ‘I am with you’ line that was cut from the film, in anticipation of questions from the host on this subject and others.

Whoops.

What I got instead was a reminder that the “Harry as a Gateway to the Occult” meme is still very much alive. The program’s hostess was kind, and, even if she hadn’t read one of the books, my book, or seen a Potter movie, she was very diplomatic in giving me plenty of time to answer the proof-text assertions and angry questions from her audience.

In brief, the experience was a flash-back to the first years of the century.

Reflecting on that interview/tribunal, I realized times really have changed — but a lot of folks are just waking up from the Imperius curse cast over them years ago. Here are a few examples:

Big Fat Harry Potter Influence: I enjoyed this blog post because it revealed that there is a group of older readers — this one is a set of Evangelicals, I think — that is now reading Harry Potter only because everybody else has. They discuss the Rolling Stone piece that was the leaping off point of my Touchstone article Book Binders.

Coming Out of the Closet: Here a conservative Catholic blogger admits at long last to being a Potter-phile — and is met immediately with anathemas and accusations of apostasy. Fortunately, Perelandra steps in to straighten the Star Chamber true-believers out.

What Would Jesus Say to Harry Potter?: When we last heard from Richard “I have moved on to other things and have not read Deathly Hallows” A-banes, he was celebrating the impossible bind he felt Ms. Rowling’s admitting she “always thought of Dumbledore as gay” put anyone silly enough to believe there was edifying, even Christian content in her books. No word here about whether he has read the series finale, but he did decide to speak as the God-Man on the subject (“all in fun!”) to the ‘God on Film’ group so we can only hope.

Vatican Blesses Potter Film : Now this is an interesting story, if, as usual in the Vatican file vis a vis Harry Potter, the headline tells you just the opposite of what is really happening. As covered back in the day of ‘Pope Condemns Harry Potter’ (2005), Rita Skeeter is still covering the Vatican. If you read the story (here’s another version), it seems the Pope and friends have given the Half-Blood Prince film the proverbial “two thumbs up” (if that meant something very different in Rome’s Coliseum).

But it’s not the Pope or Fr. Fleetwood or even the Vatican loose cannon exorcist talking here; it’s L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Read this if you think ‘The Roman Observer’ is the curia’s megaphone. Caveat Lector, as usual; every newspaper and especially newspaper reports about the meaning of another newspaper’s story, should be read as if they are stories from The Daily Prophet.

The great thing about that story, though, isn’t that it upset the Harry Haters at LifeSiteNews or that it reflected a sea change in Roman Catholic thinking on this subject — really, folks, the Pope and his friends have more important issues to spend spiritual capital on than children’s fiction and films — has been responses like this one from ‘Rapture Ready.’

Some things and people never change.

Have you heard any new stories about Harry Potter and the Witchcraft Controversy? Let us know below!

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