Fantasy tales can entice young minds

By RICHARD ABANES
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 25, 2003 (Opinion: Equal Time)
http://www.ajc.com/

I love fantasy. And so I am not advocating either book burning or banning. But I am calling for caution. Why? Because some fantasy might affect some children negatively.

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Consider Harry Potter. According to Thomas Robisheaux, a Duke University associate history professor, “[author J.K.] Rowling discusses alchemy and the whole range of occult arts.” Many witches agree, noting that Harry Potter contains accurate depictions of real occult practices, beliefs and lore.

Because kids love to emulate what they read or watch, it seems quite possible that some children might begin experimenting with the occultism presented in Harry Potter — e.g., divination, astrology, numerology and mediumship. Interestingly, in a 2003 Reuters article, Kevin Carlyon (High Priest of British White Witches) said that Harry Potter had helped create a surge in occult interest. And in a 2000 This Is London article (“Potter Fans Turning to Witchcraft“), Pagan Federation officer Andy Norfolk explained: “In response to increased inquiries coming from youngsters we established a youth officer. . . . It is quite probably linked to things like Harry Potter.” Moreover, several how-to books on witchcraft are now being brazenly packaged for young Potter fans.

Regarding Harry Potter morality, the books do not truly illustrate good and evil, nor do they offer admirable ways to respond to the world. Rowling has re-defined the concept of “good” to mean anyone who stands against Voldemort, period.

As a result, so-called “good” characters actually behave rather badly: Harry lies, cheats, breaks laws and disobeys rules; Mr. Weasley lies to his wife, has no control over his children, breaks laws and behaves hypocritically; Hagrid breaks laws, gets drunk and disobeys school policies; Dumbledore lies and breaks his own rules (by letting a werewolf into Hogwarts). But because these characters are against Voldemort, their immoral, unethical and illegal actions are overlooked. What if children were to start emulating these behaviors?

Richard Abanes, of Orange County, Calif., has written a dozen books on cults, the occult and world religions, including his latest, “Fantasy and Your Family: A Closer Look at The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Modern Magick.”

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