Justice Sunday III v. Harry Potter
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 02:25:42 PM EST
On Sunday, January 8, 2006, I had a choice between Justice Sunday III and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Perhaps this was a choice faced by other parents seeking to find something educational for their children to experience. My son is grown up now, but I thought about the lessons to be learned from both events.

Let me tell you what I learned when my wife and I attended the Harry Potter film.
    •   Certain actions are evil, but evil is not based on heredity or nationality.
    •   Sometimes we are called on to do things that we do not want to do (and even makes us unpopular), but that we should shoulder these responsibilities with good grace.
    •   Real heroes sometimes set aside their personal quest to help others in danger.
    •   We should welcome people from different cultures and nations into our midst.
    •   Friendship includes taking risks to support our friends and standing up for them in a crisis.

We also saw that young teenage boys are clueless about young teenage girls, but as parents, we already knew that was true.

Salient quotes:

Professor McGonagall: Is that a student?
Professor Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody: Technically, it's a ferret.

Hermione: Everything's going to change now isn't it?
Harry: Yes. Cites

I think these are important moral lessons for young adults to learn.

Some on the Christian Right have denounced the Harry Potter series--books and films--as anti-Christian and perhaps even Satanic due to the flagrant use of magic.

From news reports and a transcript of the Justice Sunday III event posted by the sponsoring Family Research Council, we can see the alternative lessons presented by some of the Christian Right.

    •  The moral struggle is not between ideas that support goodness and ideas that spawn evil, but between "secular supremacists" and Godly Christians.
    •   God is against gay men and lesbians signifying their commitment of love through marriage.
    •   God is against abortion.
    •   God wants us to put judge Samuel Alito on the Supreme court.

We also learn that liberals and non-Christians threaten America and that we should pray that "not secularism or unbelief or a hostile supreme court [should] prevail against" God's word.

Salient quotes:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania): [liberal judges are] ''destroying traditional morality, creating a new moral code and prohibiting any dissent.'' Cite

Rev. Herbert Hoover Lusk II: "Don't fool with the church because the church has buried many a critic, and all the critics that we have not buried, we're making funeral arrangements for them!" Cite

As a parent, ask yourself to which event would you take your child for moral guidance?

As a citizen, ask yourself which set of principles seem best for moral guidance in running our country?

As a visitor, ask yourself which lessons would build a country that would welcome you as an immigrant or guest?

If you are a non-Christian or secularist or gay or support reproductive rights or are liberal or progressive, the choice should be even clearer.



Display:

If some Christians knock children's literature like the Harry Potter series, then how do they explain their own appeal to the supernatural? After all, in preparation for Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of three dominionist ministers made use of ritually prepared potions in conjunction with invocations to bless friends, hex enemies, and "bind" objects and places. How do you explain to young Harry Potter readers the difference between that and magic? Yet Professor Snape would give the ministers a flunking grade on Potions Class, because they failed to follow Ye Olde Original Holy Oil Recipe.

Finally, Hogwarts is not necessarily hostile to Christianity; the faculty and students do celebrate Christmas with their families.

by jhutson on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 02:56:26 PM EST
Exceptional!
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Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 04:10:09 PM EST
Parent


Clear as a bell. Just laying out the facts with an economy of words - and raising critical questions. To my way of thinking, this is what we need to be doing more of. Will certainly pass on.

by Psyche on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:09:02 PM EST
It is nice to have someone appreciate the work that went into the writing.  Thanks.  Glad it was useful.
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Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 04:11:00 PM EST
Parent
really nice, Chip.

For all the theoretical noise about "values" we hear from inside the Beltway, this is as fine, plain language, and widely accessible contrast between common decency and the demagogic and divisive "values" of the religious right I have seen.

And -- fun to read too!

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jan 11, 2006 at 07:44:41 PM EST
Parent


thanks

by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 08:49:27 AM EST
Parent




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