Evangelical Alliance (England), Nov. 21, 2002 (Press Release)
The Evangelical Alliance is encouraging Christians to view the Harry Potter phenomenom as a significant opportunity to engage with society and present the enduring Christian world view as a positive alternative to the fantasy realm of Harry’s world.
But the clear expression of kingdom values, such as love, loyalty, trust and sacrifice, contained in Rowling’s literature, should also be recognised said the Alliance’s UK Director, John Smith.
“As Christians we should avoid the knee jerk rejection of this piece of fantasy literature outright without thinking through the implications,” he warned. “Rejection on the basis of using magic as a literary device must also call into question Lord of the Rings and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – not to mention much that our children watch unsupervised on TV.
“Neither is it consistent to reject Potter whilst retaining Gandalf and the White Witch, simply because their creators were professing Christians. In doing so we run the risk of reinforcing the stereotype of the Church as negative and completely disengaged from modern living,” he added,
“In a post-Christian society we must pick carefully the battles which we choose to fight. It will not do to pick on Harry Potter while we remain silent on more blatant dangers to our children, such as materialistic exploitation and sexualisation.
“At least JK Rowling, like Enid Blyton before her, introduces us to a world in which children are allowed to be children. But neither should we ignore the potential dangers of the stories as an unintended apologetic for the occult.”
John Smith’s comments follow the general release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which has been described as a darker cinematic offering than last year’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The Bible warns categorically against involvement in occult practice. Any evidence that the Potter books and films lead to an unhealthy obsession with the occult would need to be taken very seriously.
“The Alliance supports the view that parents and teachers should monitor children’s exposure to Harry Potter. We recommend that they read at least one of the books, and indeed any other similar literature to which their children are inclined, and exercise careful, indeed prayerful, judgement.
The Alliance represents a diverse membership of evangelicals and recognises that Harry Potter continues to give rise to mixed feelings within the Christian constituency.
“Christians must take seriously the burgeoning interest in the supernatural represented by Harry Potter’s world,” stressed John Smith. “For too long we have been embarrassed to give the supernatural core of the Gospel its central place in our proclamation and practice. Today’s openness to the supernatural provides an arena for Christian witness which we cannot ignore.”
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