Thursday, April 11, 2019

Burning Harry Potter Books?

This again? I thought we had seen the last of it years ago, but I guess not. A group of evangelical Catholics in Poland recently staged a burning of books that they say "promote sorcery," including books from the popular Harry Potter fantasy series.

Three priests in the northern city of Koszalin were pictured carrying the books in a large basket from inside a church to a stone area outside. The books were set alight as prayers were said and a small group of people watched on. A mask, various trinkets and a Hello Kitty umbrella were also visible in the pictures of the makeshift bonfire.

Oooh, that Hello Kitty is so Satanic! She's a cat, and she talks. And carries umbrellas! If God wanted us to stay dry, he wouldn't make it rain, right?

The Catholic evangelical foundation SMS From Heaven posted the photographs to its Facebook page, which has 22,000 followers, accompanied by fiery emojis and Old Testament quotes decrying sorcery and idolatry. The stunt provoked mockery from Facebook users, many of whom left comments questioning the sanity of those involved, or making comparisons with Nazi Germany.

It is not the first occasion in which the hugely popular Harry Potter series has attracted the ire of religious zealots, some of whom believe the books are inspired by evil spirits and could lead children astray.

A serious question for these folks. Don't you think that if the Harry Potter books were inspired by evil spirits they would include instructions on how to do real magick? Chanting levio-SAH at a feather doesn't do anything - and it is very easy to design an experiment to prove it! Likewise, real magical practitioners don't literally fly through the air on brooms, let alone play a sport while doing it. And so on.

If anything, the made-up magick of Harry Potter makes the whole discipline look kind of ridiculous. It also suggests that magick is way easier than it is in real life. There's a lot more to casting an effective spell than getting the pronunciation of a couple words exactly right. This supposed ease is part of magick's appeal to young people, but it also means that most people who try to use it without putting in much of the necessary work are going to get discouraged and decide that none of it is real.

So that helps these fundie Catholics, right? When people who are interested in magick try it, can't make it work, and get discouraged they are pretty unlikely to keep practicing. Probably the most annoying thing about fundamentalists in general is their inability to think stuff like this through. It's almost as if, you know, being a fundamentalist and a critical thinker are mutually exclusive...

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