Everyone agreed that Pagford has nothing to do with Hogwarts: “The only obvious parallel with the Potter books is that, like them, it is animated by a strong dislike of mean, unsympathetic, small-minded folk,” says Tait. But everyone may have read too quickly. The Casual Vacancy and the Harry Potter series are alike in one important respect. Both are based on a profoundly biblical worldview.
Look at how Rowling uses religious themes.
Chapter 1 introduces us to “the pretty little town of Pagford,” dominated by “the dark skeleton of the ruined abbey.” The expensive houses are located in Church Row. The church itself is “mock-Gothic.” The townspeople, we will learn in later chapters, use the building for school plays and council meetings and parties. Another former church, Bellchapel, has been turned into an addiction treatment center. The Old Vicarage is now owned by a Sikh family. Rowling seems to want us to know that the world of The Casual Vacancy is decidedly post-Christian. It is what Quaker theologian D. Elton Trueblood once termed a “cut flower civilization”: pretty now, but rootless and doomed.
Do read the whole thing!