Episcopal Cafe: Dobson Rejects Potter, Nyah

The Lead

The Christian Post has news that Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family has officially renounced Harry Potter and all the associated “Harry Potter products.” “‘In a story about Christians’ views on the Harry Potter books and films, reporter Jacqueline Salmon wrote that ‘Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Potter books,’’ the statement read. ‘This is the exact opposite of Dr. Dobson’s opinion – in fact, he said a few years ago on his daily radio broadcast that ‘We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products…’’

Your humble news editor-of-the-day, having spent all night Friday in line with his family for the last book of the series, wonders if Dr. Dobson has actually read them…Without giving too much away, the final book makes it clear to most that JK Rowling is writing within the model set by the Oxford “Inklings” of the last century. The works as a whole seem very much in the tradition of Pilgrim’s Progress. The final work has images of christian morality, teaching and theology that rival the works of C.S. Lewis in the Narnia books in terms of their explicitness.

I think Dobson hasn’t actually read them, either. There is one entire chapter that is quite, quite metaphysical. And there are some quiet little statements of faith in all the bits of information and epitaphs and mottoes that Harry and his friends encounter while searching for ways to accomplish the mission Dumbledore gave them in the previous book. Nothing to hit you over the head and make you think “Oi! that bit there is a blatantly Christian clue, that is!” or “hey, that sounds pretty karmic” or even “That part with the non-violent passive resistance sounds kinda Buddhist, ” but it’s there. It’s just a matter of fact thing – the school has always had Christmas and Easter holidays, and the kids come from a variety of backgrounds and faiths (there’s at least one Wizarding family named “Goldstein,” and of course there are the Patil twins). It’s clear that sometimes people attend church or other services, but there’s no particular importance attached to this.

Perhaps this is one reason Dobson and his ilk have problems with this kind of fiction.

Another reason may be that fiction and works of imagination must be ruthlessly put down so they won’t be confused with or held in equal stature with matters of faith and Holy Scripture.

It all comes down to imagination again – it’s possible for religious people to write and enjoy works of imaginitive fiction, not to mention the odd pint or two with the Inklings down at the “Bird and Baby” but not everyone can make that leap of faith.
[tags]Harry Potter, James Dobson, Christianity[/tags]

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