Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heretical Blasphemy

Once upon a time someone put pen to paper so to speak, and wrote a series of stories that was eventually published into a hugely popular book. The key figure in the story is a boy born and raised under unusual circumstances. His coming was foretold, and was highly anticipated by people who believed in him. He was destined for greatness and a difficult struggle to lead people against Evil. The boy was a learned scholar who had a devout following, and was able to perform great feats of magic and miracle. The boy was often troubled and misunderstood but grew into a wise and respected young adult with worshipful admirers.

The story of the young man with a greater destiny became one of the most popular tales in history and has been told the world over in dozens of languages. Movies have been made about the story. Depending upon the social customs and beliefs of various peoples, children have been both encouraged and dissuaded from reading the story of this boy. Many valuable lessons can be learned from the story, such as tolerance of others, kindness, love, sacrifice, gaining of wisdom, serving a higher calling, and the struggle of Good vs. Evil.

By now, you must be wondering who this controversial center character is. Who is this boy who rose from austerity to prominence? Many of you would say I’m referring to the story of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible. And just as many would say I’m talking about Harry Potter. Both of you would be right, actually. It’s pretty easy to argue for either one to be the one of whom I speak. So, if there are so many similarities between the two central figures, why do so many people view the Potter books as some sort of evil entity full of devilry and witchcraft?

It’s harmless escapism, a delightfully fantastical yarn that not only entertains but also teaches its readers to be better people. Sorta like the Bible, but with a few more special effects. So, to be fair, if religious wingnuts in the state of Georgia want the Potter books banned from public school libraries because of potentially harmful material to kids, mayhaps the New Testament should be banned as well? After all, the main characters are pretty similar….The adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter can stay in Gwinnett County school libraries, despite a mother’s objections, a judge ruled.

Laura Mallory, who argued the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft, said she still wants the best-selling books removed and may take her case to federal court.

“I maybe need a whole new case from the ground up,” Mallory said. The woman, who said two of her four children attend public schools in the county, was not represented by an attorney at the hearing. The old maxim states that a person who is their own lawyer has a fool for a client, no?

The ruling by Superior Judge Ronnie Batchelor upheld a decision by the Georgia Board of Education, which had supported local school officials. County school board members have said the books are good tools to encourage children to read and to spark creativity and imagination.

At the hearing, Mallory argued in part that witchcraft is a religion practiced by some people and, therefore, the books should be banned because reading them in school violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

“I have a dream that God will be welcomed back in our schools again,” Mallory said. “I think we need him.”

But that plan has a flaw, lady. You clamor for separation of church and state in one breath and then want to bring God into the schools? That’s the problem with you religious fruitcake fanatics, whether you be Christian, Muslim, or even those who worship sticks of butter; you want to shove YOUR beliefs down everyone’s throats while crushing any viewpoint that conflicts with your personal beliefs. Listen up, all you zealots and kooks: It’s a book, a work of fiction. Get over yourselves. I’ve heard some folks say the same thing about that little book that YOU hold so dear.

“The highest result of education is tolerance."
Helen Keller, (1880-1968)

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Jesus (from the Bible, Matthew 22:39)

"I do not serve what you worship; nor do you serve what I worship. You have your own religion and I have mine."
The Koran