Heinrich Heine, from his 1821 play Almansor: "Where they
have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."
Deacon Mushrat, a religious cartoon character from an old Pogo comic strip:
"There's nothing quite so fulfilling as a brightly burning book."
Some early negative responses by conservative Christian
Very few, if any, Evangelical Christian bookstores stock these
books. But a number of conservative Christian organizations have commented on
them. There seems to be a common thread running
through the statements of many Christians groups and organizations about the
Harry Potter™ books. They say that many different groups have practiced "Witchcraft":
Satan worshipers during the late Middle Ages and until 1792.
Therefore, many conservative Christians equate Wicca with
Paganism, with the Harry Potter imaginary world and with the world of the 15th
to 18th century Witch Burning Times.
But Wicca and other traditions of Paganism are actual, benign religions. The
Harry Potter books refer to an imaginary, fantasy world of unicorns, flying
broomsticks, invisibility cloaks, etc. The so-called Satan worshipers
centuries ago were heretics that the Christian church said had they engaged in human sacrifice, selling their souls to Satan, and
casting evil spells, etc. They never existed. But the church and civil courts at
the time rounded up and charged tens of thousands of people with "Witchcraft."
Many were burned alive or hanged.
The root core of the problem is that there are at least 17
different, almost entirely unrelated activities, that have been called "Witchcraft."
If each of these activities were differentiated from each other by having a
separate name, the problem over Harry Potter books would probably largely
Pennsylvania: Members of the Harvest Assembly of
God Church in Butler County, PA. had a book burning at their church on
2001-MAR-25: Thirty-five people brought books, CDs and tapes that they felt
were not in keeping with their faith. Included were videos such as Pinnochio and
Hercules, CDs by Pearl Jam and Black Sabbath
CDs, pamphlets from Jehovah's Witnesses, and lots of Harry Potter books.
Rev. George Bender said: "There's no such thing as a crusade to deal with
other people's things. That's their business. We believe in the First
Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the First Commandment and Second
Commandment." He objected to the Harry Potter books: "We believe that
Harry Potter promotes sorcery, witchcraft-type things, the paranormal,
things that are against God...That is really bad." Judy Corman, a
spokesperson for Scholastic, the books' publisher, said they are more about
a child who feels powerless in the world understanding that he can take some
control of his life. She said the message sent by burning books is more
dangerous than any fable about sorcery could be. Corman said: "I think
burning books is shameful. The message is very clear by inference. I think
he's saying something very strong." 1
Maine: A group of Christians in Lewiston, ME, the Jesus Party had planned to hold a book burning in a local park on
2001-NOV-15. However, they were denied a fire permit by the Fire Department.
So they held a "book cutting" instead. Church leader Doug Taylor
said: "Everybody’s going to have scissors and we’re going to cut those
four books up right into the trash. We’re Bible believers. We’re Christians.
We think these books are dangerous."Counter-protestors were
New Mexico: Pastor and members of the Christ
Community Church in Alamagordo NM plan a "holy bonfire" on 2001-DEC-30 to
burn Harry Potter books. Pastor Jack Brock, 74, has not actually read the
books or viewed the movie. However, he believes that the books teach
Wicca, a rapidly growing Neopagan religion. He is certain that: "These books
encourage our youth to learn more about witches, warlocks, and sorcerers,
and those things are an abomination to God and to me...Harry Potter books
are going to destroy the lives of many young people." 3 He is expressed a concern that children will read some Internet web sites
about the Potter books which are linked to Wiccan web sites. At the latter
could about Wiccan practices, which he termed an abomination. He appears to
Old Testament witchcraft (the sayings of spoken curses to harm
Modern-day Witchcraft (called Wicca, a religion that prevents
its followers from harming others), and
Fantasy witchcraft (as in the Harry
Potter books, which deal with an imaginary place with invisibility cloaks,
unicorns, flying broomsticks, etc.) 4
consumed more than Harry Potter books. Also destroyed were Ouija boards,
Maxim magazines, Pokémon cards, and personal problems written on pieces of
paper. It is hard to imagine this happening, but somebody burned a statue of
the Buddha -- the founder of Buddhism. This brings back memories of the desecration and destruction of
the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan, motivated by the intense religious
hatred and intolerance of the Taliban.