The immensely popular Harry Potter books penned by JK Rowling have become some of the most popular books ever published, but they have also become some of the most controversial books to grace bookstores in recent years. Why all the controversy and fuss? Without a doubt, the Harry Potter books have raised their fair share of ire with those who believe that the book series dabbles in the occult and sends the wrong message to millions of impressionable young readers. This sentiment has led many conservative and religious groups to attempt to ban the Harry Potter books from public forums such as public libraries and schools. Fortunately for Harry Potter fans everywhere, none of the charges have stuck, and the Harry Potter series continues to be one of the most widely read in all of publishing history.
Most of the controversy that has surrounds JK Rowling and the Harry Potter book is the direct result of conservative religious opposition that is opposed to the so-called occult or witchcraft themes in the popular books. Many fundamentalist Christian groups in particular have argued that the Harry Potter books have helped spread and promote the image of pagan themes and imagery, and that these ideas should not be promoted to young and older readers alike. The American Library Association has documented these legal battles, and they have noted that since 1999, the Harry Potter books have reigned on their list of the most protested books. It is also well known that some American churches have chosen to ban the books altogether. Some very conservative groups do allow that the Harry Potter books are not all bad in their view. The spokesman for the very conservative Christian group Focus on the Family has stated that the Harry Potter books most definitely contain important themes about the victory of good over evil, but that the books come packaged in the medium of witchcraft, which is unquestionably denounced in the Holy Scripture. In one case, there was even the attempt at a Harry Potter book-burning.
In 2002, there was even an anti-Harry Potter comic book tract created by fundamentalist Christians that was entitled “The Nervous Witch.” In this comic book, the two main characters become very involved in the occult and witchcraft because of their interest in the Harry Potter books. The comic book tract and accompanying DVD argued that the Harry potter books were simply witchcraft that had been repackaged in modern times. The Catholic Church has sent mixed messages about its approval or disapproval of the Harry Potter books and themes, and whether the books demonstrates the power of good over evil, or whether they simply open the door to the occult and magic.
The Harry Potter books have been frequently challenged officially in court because of what some deem to be their inappropriate content. The Harry Potter books have been listed as the seventh most-challenged book or book series in the United States. Even though the books ability to remain in American public libraries has been challenged several times, it does not appear that any of these challenges have been successful. In most cases it appears that libraries have not made any serious attempts to restrict access to the Harry Potter books. In most cases, it appears that no matter how much controversy the Harry Potter book series is embroiled in, freedom of the press always appears to prevail. Most readers and librarians have cheered these results. Many Harry Potter fans have failed to detect the controversial nature of the book series, viewing the books as merely well-crafted sources of entertainment that help stretch the imagination of young children while getting more kids (and adults) excited about the prospect of picking up a good book.
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