You may have read newspaper accounts and heard radio reports of how Christians are fighting school boards over having the books in libraries. As a concerned parent, what should you do?
We think you should read the Harry Potter books to your kids.
First, we should all be suspicious of the media's hype of Christian parents objecting to the books. Reporters love the dialectic of first presenting the Christian stick-in-the-mud who objects to or is outraged by something, followed by the "reasonable" person who demonstrates how to be both moral and fun-loving. What remains unreported is that many Christians—such as Charles Colson and Wheaton College literature professor Alan Jacobs—enjoy and defend the Potter series.
Second, Christians should never apologize for rigorously scrutinizing what influences our children. A major scandal of our day is how seldom this happens. Modern witchcraft is indeed an ensnaring, seductive false religion that we must protect our children from (see "The Bewitching Charms of Neopaganism"). But the literary witchcraft of the Harry Potter series has almost no resemblance to the I-am-God mumbo jumbo of Wiccan circles. Author J.K. Rowling has created a world with real good and evil, and Harry is definitely on the side of light fighting the "dark powers."
Third, and this is why we recommend the books, Rowling's series is a Book of Virtues with a preadolescent funny bone. Amid the laugh-out-loud scenes are wonderful examples of compassion, loyalty, courage, friendship, and even self-sacrifice. No wonder young readers want to be like these believable characters. That is a Christmas present we can be grateful for.
See today's related Harry Potter stories, "Opinion Roundup: Positive About Potter | Despite what you've heard, Christian leaders like the children's books," and "Parents Push for Wizard-Free Reading."
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