Note from the LuapHacim, 11/14/2012: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect my current beliefs and convictions. Even if they do, I would almost certainly express them in different words today. Time changes people, and I am not exempt. Nonetheless, because of its historical value, I will not modify or remove this post. It tells you (and me) something important about where I've been. Read on at your own peril.
A Georgia school board has declined to ban Harry Potter because "Our students do understand the difference between fact and fiction."
The appelant, Laura Mallory, a former missionary and mother of three, had this to say:"I knew what they were going to do, but it's good we live in a country where you can stand up for what you believe in. God is alive and real and he says it (witchcraft) is an abomination. How can we say it is good reading material?"
I would ask Mallory a few important questions in an effort to answer her question:
1.) What is "good reading material"?
2.) If a piece of fiction creates a self-consciously fictional world with certain rules, and those rules happen to be in conflict with your view of the real world, does that automatically disqualify it as a "good" piece of writing?
3.) What if a piece of fiction contains important moral messages for its readers (as the HP books unquestionably do)? And what if parents can use those messages to talk to their children about aspects of religious belief in new and interesting ways? Wouldn't that seem to be a characteristic of morally "good" fiction?
The issue here is not one of right and wrong, but one of intellectual maturity. On a moral level, there is nothing fundamentally different between Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings trilogy (though the plot points and motivations of the authors are undoubtedly different). In fact, the main difference seems to be that Christians tend to give LOTR a chance, whereas they blindly lash out against HP.
It sickens me that so many Christian parents see LOTR as a wonderful teaching tool and refuse to see the same potential in HP.