Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Radical Islam (Nancy Salvato)
I find myself not wanting to waste precious time commenting on the mainstream news story about the Gwinnett County Georgia mom who wants Harry Potter books taken out of the elementary school because the series encourages “witchcraft and evil.” However, the fact that the school board is even considering her request compels me to write a column in order to lend some much needed perspective to this particular uninformed and inane distraction from larger concerns in the area of school reform and religious indoctrination.
To begin, I must disclose that I whole heartedly agree with Gwinnett County, Georgia Schools attorney Victoria Sweeny’s opinion that, “Harry Potter promotes reading and good values.” Furthermore, she is absolutely correct when she says that, “The major themes are good versus evil, overcoming adversity, loyalty, friendship and courage,” which I believe are all important ideas for kids to consider during their formative years. More needs to be said, though, in order to frame this ridiculous issue in its proper context.
We are facing clear and immediate dangers to our way of life and shouldn’t waste time entertaining the paranoid delusions of any person(s) declaring that Wicca is being proselytized through the Harry Potter series, especially anyone who hasn’t bothered to read an entire book. Indeed, from everything I’ve ever read about Wicca, it is a very peaceful practice. A good site to read more can be found here.
Yet, one can conclude that another religious practice is spreading evil amongst us; those who believe in the inalienable rights of every person to pursue life, liberty, and happiness; and respect and defend the U.S. Constitution which protects these rights. As Mehdi Mozaffari explains on the History News Network website, Islamism is ‘an ideology bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the conquest of the world with all means’. Radical Islamists, in the name of Allah, will commit indiscriminate, non-selective and suicidal acts of terror, as has been demonstrated on American soil.
Despite this, in our nation’s public schools, children are being taught about Ramadan and have been required to play act being Muslims. I find it perplexing that teachers are compelled to avoid explaining Judeo-Christian religious history and curriculum directors find it unnecessary to require teaching this aspect of our nation’s history, yet it’s acceptable to teach about Muslim traditions while removing the Ten Commandments from the public square. Even more curious is that those practicing extreme forms of this faith want to follow Sharia laws in our country; they want to be exempted from the “rule of law” which governs the sovereign citizens of our nation (link).
When I was a kid, I loved Scott Corbett’s Trick books, (The Lemonade Trick) in which the series begins with a boy who helps out a witch on her evening constitutional; who then gives him a magic chemistry set, which leads him into (and gets him out of) all sorts of trouble (link) Although I dearly wanted a magic chemistry set, I did not find myself wanting to become a witch. Instead, I was (unknowingly) drawn to books with Christian themes, like “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. Undoubtedly, my love of fantasy and science fiction has never wavered.
Not having the time to read for pleasure these days, most of my current reading focuses on education reform and other issues affecting our society. I credit my experiences as a child, reading for pleasure, for my current ability to read quickly, for meaning, and with being able to generalize the point of what was said. Thank goodness there are authors like J.K. Rowling, who can capture a child’s imagination and take a reader to places beyond any that they can experience in their immediate environment. After such an adventure, the underlying theme will continue to surface in many other books and real life occurrences. Being able to recognize good and evil is an important skill. Perhaps the mother in Georgia ought to begin with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. He’s written about witches and magic. Yet the goodness in all his characters prevails. Evil is usually disguised and sometimes hard to recognize when it’s right in front of you. Yet with lots of experience, it can be rooted out.
To experience true indoctrination of children, watch the video clip on You Tube called “Children of the Future Jihad”. This is what the mainstream media should be reporting, this is what parents should be worrying about. Harry Potter is a fantasy, and though no one is telling readers which characters are good and evil, it can be agreed that most kids fantasize about being Harry, the good guy, not Malfoy (the bad guy). Do the kids indoctrinated into radical Islam understand good and evil? They haven’t had enough experiences to recognize that they are being brainwashed. Let this be on what our energy is focused, not distractions like magic and witchcraft. Leave that to the imagination.
Nancy Salvato is president of The Basics Project.