Harry Potter Project

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HarryPotter MAGICAL CENSORSHIP

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“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity...” ― Stephen King Plot Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J.K Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard, Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry . The main story arc concerns Harry's quest to overcome the evil dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aim is to subjugate non-magical people, conquer the wizarding world, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.

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For the ill-informed: Heres an example of Harry Potter

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The Issue Since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out in 1997, there have been several states and organizations who have made it their mission to ban the best-seller. People working to ban the popular book series have one main reason : Harry potter, the main character and heroine, is a wizard. In fact the entire story revolves around sorcery and magic...therefore going against the bible. (and we all know people don’t like it when things go against the bible) “Opponents of Harry Potter believe that anything that mentions a witch or a magic spell is equated with evil. They don't see it as fantasy, they see it as real. A small group of Americans can't accept fantasy that way. They really do care [about the book's impact], so they go against others' legal rights." Mark West professor of English with a specialty in children's literature at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Fantasy or Occult? In Harry Potter's world, magic exists as a natural science. For many modern Pagans and Wiccans, magic IS a very natural thing. It's rooted in the natural world. Furthermore, most Wiccans and Pagans agree that some degree of training and study is required to be an effective spellcrafter, just like in Rowling's books. For Wiccans , magic is generally defined as bringing about change in the universe by the manipulation of energy. Magic has limits, in that it won't go against the laws of physics or science. But in the Potter series, the line is not so clear. The “good” guys practice White Magic, while the “bad” guys practice the Dark Arts. “While some practicing Wiccan flatly deny any link between Potter’s world and theirs, the evidence is undeniably clear that Potter promotes an interest in magic and the occult. Parents, whether Christian or not, must take an active role in what their children are being exposed to and determine what is appropriate.” christiananswers.net

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Readers become fascinated with the magic used in the series, but it is the lack of distinction in the Bible between good and evil magic that had Christians worried. “God is clear in Scripture that any practice of magic is an “abomination” to him. God doesn’t distinguish between “white” and “dark” magic since they both originate from the same source.” christiananswers.net “There shall not be found among you anyone who …practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayer and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.” Deuteronomy 18:9-12 What the Bible says:

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Christian Response “J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has gone through an awful lot of research. She is very accurate (otherwise we would have witches all over the country and the world saying ‘this is not a true representation of our religion.’) This is a true representation of witchcraft, and the black arts, and black magic. And yet we have people that say this is merely fantasy and harmless reading for our children. Actually, what makes this more dangerous is that it is couched in fantasy language, and children’s literature, and made to be humorous, and beautifully written and extremely provocative reading. and it just opens up children to want to have the next one. This is what is so harmful.” Caryl Matrisciana from Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged

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In 1999, the focus on wizardry and magic in J. K. Rowling's books made them the most challenged books in 1999, according to the American Library Association (ALA) In one year, there were 26 challenges to remove the Harry Potter books from bookshelves in 16 states, said Beverley Becker, assistant director for the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom. In 2001 , the books were challenged in Bend, Oregon; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Salamanca, New York; Whittier, California; Pace, Florida; Arab, Alabama; Fresno, California; Bristol, New Hampshire; and Ontario, Canada for dealing in “witchcraft, the occult, promoting violence, and being “scary.” The books were also restricted to students with parental permission in Santa Fe, Texas for endorsing witchcraft. Dueling Harry

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In October of 2006, Laura Mallory , a mother of four in Georgia, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education that the popular fiction series is an "evil" attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion. - Mallory said that “books, like the Harry Potter series, help foster the kind of culture where school shootings happen.” - She added that the books were harmful to children who are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy. - Mallory argued that teachers do not assign other religious books, like the Bible, as student reading. _ She is appealing after the Gwinnett County school board ruled in favor of the books saying that Mallory failed to prove that the series promote the Wicca religion. - The Georgia Board of Education ruled that the availability of the books in public schools does not constitute advocacy of a religion Mallory vs. Gwinnett County

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In September 2007 , Pastor Ron Barker of St. Joseph Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts received international attention after pulling the books from the shelves of the parish's K-8 school. According to the ALA, this was the first time the books were banned in Massachusetts. The Roman Catholic Archdioce se of Boston claimed this was an ind ependent action in which the Church played no role. "It may be a great series, but for some it is a vehicle for entering into some occult practices," he said. "Sorcery and witchcraft are not appropriate subjects for a Catholic school and I do not want parents or children thinking we approve of them in our library." He claimed his actions were no different from protecting children with a peanut allergy; "What I did is start a spiritual peanut butt er ban on Harr y Potter," he said. St. Joseph Church vs. Massachusetts

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In 2000 , The Public Library system of Jacksonville, Florida was faced with a lawsuit from conservativeChristian group Liberty Counsel of Orlando after they began awarding "Hogwarts’ Certificate of Accomplishment" to young readers who completed the fourth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One parent complained that "If they are going to pass out witchcraft certificates they should also promote the Bible and pass out certificates of righteousness". The Library agreed to stop awarding the certificates, but said they would not remove the books from their shelves. The Hogwarts “Certificate of Accomplishment”

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That same year, Carol Rookwood, headmistress of St Mary's Island Church of Englan d Aided School in Chatham, Kent, England , banned th e books from school grounds, saying that, "The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous, and God's people are told to have nothing to do with them". In response, the chairman of the Church of England's doctrine commission, Stephen Sykes, said, "The Church's position is that magic and sorcery are contrary to the Christian religion, Mrs Rookwood is absolutely right. But children who are capable of reading Harry Potter could be told not to take witchcraft seriously, or might even realize that for themselves". In 2010 , a Salvation Army post in Calgary, Alberta, Canad a , refused to take donations of Harry Potter items because they “promote black magic and the occult.” "The Salvation Army is sensitive to what parents feel is appropriate for their children and choices sometimes have to be made. In cases where donations are not usable by The Salvation Army, these toys are generally given to other organizations for their use." In 2002 , Russia . A Slavic cultural organization had alleged that the stories about magic and wizard could draw students into Satanism. However, the prosecutor's office in Moscow, which had investigated the claim, said that it would not be taking forward the allegations. International Cases

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''I absolutely did not start writing these books to encourage any child into witchcraft,'' she says with an uncomfortable chuckle. ''I'm laughing slightly because to me, the idea is absurd. I have met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, 'Ms. Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch.' They see it for what it is,'' she emphasized. ''It is a fantasy world and they understand that completely. I don't believe in magic, either.” J.K Rowling The End

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