All of you who were planning on boycotting the latest film in the Harry Potter series and picketing any theater showing it because it has been declared “a subtle seduction” that “undermines the soul of Christianity” by Pope Benedict XVI can relax. The infallible holy vicar of Christ has changed his mind. Apparently, Harry Potter and his merry gang of witches and wizards are now A-okay with the Roman Catholic Church.
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published a review yesterday that praised the latest Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, for its morality, applauding it for drawing “a clear line of demarcation between good and evil, making clear that good is right, and that in some cases this involves hard work and sacrifices.”
Coming from those stiffs in Rome, that’s practically a Gene Shalit rave. The L’Osservatore article is somewhat reserved in its praise, however, noting that the film lacks “a reference to the transcendent,” which I guess means it isn’t blatantly Christian. So much the better for that.
The line of shit the Harry Potter franchise catches from the religious community has always puzzled me. I guess I should expect the zealots to get bent out of shape over anything that isn’t a Jesus infomercial, but it’s not just the fundamentalist nutjobs that have been railing about the dangers of this particular series of children’s novels and films. I know more than one otherwise reasonable Christian parent who has forbidden his/her child from reading Harry Potter books or seeing the films. But why? What is the big deal? Why are so many Christians so scared of Harry Potter? What do they think is going to happen?
“I don’t want my kid reading it because it glorifies witchcraft!” goes the standard answer. I’ve heard John Hagee shouting that from his pulpit on more than one occasion. (I’ve also heard him talk about the evils of homosexuality during a Christmas sermon, but that’s neither here nor there.) This has to be one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard. You’re a Christian, and you’re telling your kids not to read or watch Harry Potter because you’re afraid it will get them into witchcraft. Which means that you not only accept the many dubious-at-best defining tenets of your own religion, but you also believe in the literal existence of things like witchcraft and magic. You have got to be fucking kidding me. These are probably the same people who refuse to read their horoscopes not because astrology is bullshit and a total racket, but because they fear it would somehow allow Satan to take control of their lives.
Give me a break. Grow up and let your kids watch a Harry Potter movie with the rest of their friends, for Christ’s sake. The Pope now has a more reasonable opinion on this subject than you do, anti-Potter Christians. The Pope. Think about that.