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Harry Potter: Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and the Harry Potter Books

Fundamentalists and conservative evangelical Christians in America have become fierce opponents of the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling. Christians try to ban the books from school libraries, write nasty letters to newspapers, and claim that the books promote witchcraft over genuine Christianity. How justified are the arguments against Harry Potter? Perhaps there is more to the Harry Potter stories than the witches and wizards we see at first glance.

Harry Potter Books to Blame for School Shootings
Everyone is shocked and outraged over the recent series of school shootings, all of which appear to have targeted girls in particular (though the media seems to be trying hard to avoid acknowledging or investigating this fact). Some, though, are unashamed to be using these tragedies for their own political demagoguery. One case in point is Laura Mallory in the Atlanta suburb of Loganville.

Christian Censorship of Harry Potter: Schools, Libraries, and Free Speech
The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling are not only popular with children, they are popular with Christian censors as well. Harry Potter books have consistently been among the most challenged books in schools and libraries for the past several years, according to the American Library Association. Why do so many Christians object to Harry Potter?...

Do the Harry Potter Books Promote Immorality and Immoral Behavior?
The Harry Potter books have come under fire from different critics for many reasons. Perhaps the most serious accusation is that it teaches immorality by telling children it’s OK to act immorally on behalf of some cause that is perceived as more important. Thus, it is argued, Harry Potter teaches kids to accept moral relativism or moral egoism...

Does Harry Potter Promote Wicca or Witchcraft? Is Harry Potter a Pagan Book?
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books have been attacked by the Christian Right because of how the books portray witchcraft. According to Christian critics, the Harry Potter books encourage children to accept witchcraft as benign, even good, and thus will lead them to adopt some form of paganism or Wicca.

Harry Potter & Women: Are Women Treated Equally in Harry Potter Stories?
Parents should care about how J.K. Rowling portrays gender roles, the nature of men and women, and family in her Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter books could either promote the idea of equality between men and women or they could promote a culturally conservative vision where women are secondary to men and masculinity is judged according to...

Harry Potter and Philosophy
The Harry Potter books are wildly popular, but are they just children’s stories, or do they contain substantive themes that merit philosophical analysis and exposition? It’s arguable that any book series which can attract so much attention is probably not fluff, but instead appeals because of the good use being made of serious themes, ideas, and...

Harry Potter's World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives
First as books, but now as movies, video games, and a multitude of toys and kitsch, Harry Potter has become an important feature of modern popular culture. As such it is becoming the subject of critical, cultural studies designed to help us better understand what the phenomenon says about modern culture as well as what sorts of influences it is having on that culture.

Looking for God in Harry Potter
Is the Harry Potter series anti-Christian? That’s the argument made by many conservative and evangelical Christians. They object to the Harry Potter books’ depiction of magic and morality. This is not, however, the only possible Christian reaction. There are many Christians who argue that Harry Potter is not only acceptable, but in fact presents...

The Secular World of Harry Potter
One curious aspect of the Harry Potter novels which I had never thought about before is just how secular they are. The wizarding world contains no clear references to religion and, in its own way, is rather scientific in how it operates. What little is shown of the Muggle world has no religion, either.

Harry Potter Converting Christian Critics
During the earliest years of the Harry Potter phenomenon, Christian critics were numerous, widespread, and very vocal. Recently, though, very little has been heard from them. One reason is that changes have been made in how the books are used in schools, but another appears to be that more Christians are finding that the books aren't so bad after all.

Harry Potter Resources
From the Parenting of Adolescents Guide: "Harry Potter books and the Harry Potter movies delight parents as much as their teens. Here are some Harry Potter resources on all five of the Harry Potter books, with reviews, Harry Potter trivia and more Harry Potter fun."

Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels?
Most religion-based criticisms of the Harry Potter series of books come from evangelical Christians. Catholics tend to be silent on the matter, but a report indicates that while still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope Benedict XVI was very critical of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter: Gay Icon?
Religious conservatives are regularly profiled for their opposition to the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling. Their complaint: the books portray witchcraft in a positive light. They may be able to come up with a new reason to hate these books ban them: they allegedly carry a positive message about homosexuality and the process of coming out of the closet about who you really are.

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