Monday, July 23, 2007

Paranoibia: When You Think They're Out To Get You

According to our friendly loons over at Wingnut Daily, the Harry Potter books are a source of "anti-Christian bigotry".

Our kids hear every day in public schools about the perils of "intolerance" and "homophobia." They are cautioned frequently to "separate church and state," because not to do so would result in vague, unspecified horrors. And merely raising an eyebrow at evolutionary theory can unleash pent-up fury over Christian beliefs.


Wow, that's quite an opener. We start out with a claim that the world is out to beat up on their poor little "Christian" sensibilities. After all, why wouldn't we all subscribe to their absolutist view of the world, right?

Only occasionally do the wizards pull back the curtain to reveal to Muggles what's really going on, and it's usually more than these one-dimensional creatures can handle. Denial is one response; dying of fright is another.


Why yes, that would seem to be analogous to the christianist response to the reality that GLBT people are not only real, but amazingly also productive members of society. (In spite of the discrimination and abuse faced on a near daily basis)

In fact, Uncle Vernon's attitude toward Harry is classic bigotry:

"Now, you listen here, boy," he snarled. "I accept there's something strange about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn't have cured. …" (page 56, "Sorcerer's Stone")

The message that screams from these pages for children to absorb is that these despicable people who object to "magic" are worthy of the worst scorn. And that's mostly what they receive throughout the Potter books.


Or, one might just turn it on its ear and derive that Rowling is in fact railing against the irrational bigotry that the "Others" in any society face daily. Whether we are talking about GBLT people, or Western European people living in the Middle East. In fact, I'd say that if Rowling had christianist wingnuts in mind when she wrote about the "Muggles", it was little more than holding a mirror up to them.

In the Potter books, it's OK to hold such people in thorough contempt and sometimes openly mock them. Harry's school nemesis, wizard Draco Malfoy, shows undisguised bias against Muggles or those with mixed Muggle and wizard "blood," and his nasty attitude is politically incorrect by the school's standards. But Malfoy just expresses what the others secretly think.


Whoa there! There isn't a shred of evidence in any of the Potter books to back this claim up. Malfoy is the classic schoolyard bully - no more, no less. He's arrogant, abusive, and apparently just charismatic enough to attract a couple of boot-licking cronies to do his thuggery for him.

What astounds me here is the notion that because someone "secretly thinks" something that it is somehow "right". It wasn't so long ago that the "majority" thought that women weren't rational enough to have a legitimate voice in politics. (and in some regions of the world, they still do not) Does that make the belief that women are "too irrational" for a political voice correct? No, of course not.

Similarly, the belief that Evolution theory is wrong because the Bible says differently doesn't factually alter the reality that to date, Evolution theory has been able to encompass all the evidence available.

So next time you hear your kids dish out scorn for Christians and /or Christian beliefs, maybe it's time to take an inventory of their favorite books and movies.

What will another Potter tale add to the mix? Rowling could decide to have Harry repent of his open rebellion against God through sorcery. Maybe she will cease dishonoring traditional "non-magic" beliefs. And, pigs could also start flying.

Until this happens, Christian families need to protect their kids from Harry Potter's clever seduction.


Ah - so censorship to support christianist views is okay? All books we read must be devoutly "christian". {Oh my, could I write some dark stuff centered around the Inquisition...or perhaps the conniving of the oh-so-moral "church leaders" who rail against homosexuality from the pulpit, and engage in it in seedy back alleys.

Sane parents will have long ago realized that Harry Potter (or the Oz books for that matter) are good basic children's literature. They are no more "pro", or 'anti' Christian than my sofa. The only offense in those books is in the mind of the truly paranoid.

Frankly, I think the author of that article on Wingnut Daily forgot to take their anti-paranoia medications ... or they decided somebody was messing with them.

*Note: I use the term "christianist" to refer to these people because they have twisted their faith so far beyond recognition that I can't bring myself to tar faithful Christians with the brush of christianist extremism.

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