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The evil lurking in Harry Potter

Ryan Williams | Thursday, November 18, 2010

As anyone who did not make the unfortunate decision to eat at North last night is already aware, this week Notre Dame has decided to pay homage to the Harry Potter franchise by hosting a Hogwarts-themed dinner at South Dining Hall. Along with the Yule Ball dance scheduled for Friday evening, the events form the centerpiece of student government’s effort to celebrate this week’s release of the seventh film of the Harry Potter series. They are also a shameless betrayal of this University’s founding Christian principles.

Few people seem to understand the existential threat that the Harry Potter novels pose to our nation’s Christian culture and way of life. Behind the charming façade of a courageous young hero on a quest to destroy evil lies a subversive plot to corrupt America’s young people. The books unabashedly advocate witchcraft and Satanism while openly blaspheming our Lord Jesus Christ and encouraging readers to take revenge on those who wrong them through the use of spells, rituals and demonic powers. The novels are among the most widely read books of all time — author J.K Rowling has sold an estimated 400 million copies of her seditious literature (an especially disturbing fact given that many of this iniquitous woman’s readers are young children who are easily influenced by popular culture.) Indeed, it has been demonstrated that the novels have adverse effects on the religious beliefs of our nation’s youth, causing them to believe, among others things, that magic is real and powerful, that conversing with ghosts of the dead is common and acceptable and that the Bible is nothing but a collection of lies and fantastical tall tales. The books also promote esoteric practices like clairvoyance, astrology, divination and numerology, which further lead our children away from traditional American values.

Thankfully, the Catholic Church has been one of the few organizations to recognize the inherent danger that the Harry Potter franchise poses to conventional morality and the American way of life. Upon release of the fifth novel in the series, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI, commented that the books contain “subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.” In addition, Father Gabriel Amorth, one of the official exorcists of the Archdiocese of Rome and a man experienced in dealing with magic and demons, noted that, “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.” He went on to add that, while the books seem to differentiate between good magic and bad magic, this is in fact misleading, “because magic is always a turn to the devil.” Other Christian organizations have raised similar concerns about the series, including the evangelical group Focus on the Family, which denounced the books for packaging their message “in a medium — witchcraft — that is directly denounced in Scripture.” Indeed, even President George W. Bush recognized that Harry Potter presented a serious threat to America, as he denied Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on account of her books’ pernicious content.

Unfortunately for the Notre Dame community, this University has not seen fit to heed the warnings of these brave, enlightened leaders. Instead, it has chosen to spit in the face of its Catholic identity by brazenly embracing and celebrating Rowling’s witchcraft-promoting novels. The disgraceful decision to host Harry Potter themed events on campus is only the latest example of this University shamelessly ignoring its founding Christian principles as it continues its transition into a secular, elitist institution in the mold of Harvard, Yale or Hogwarts. What is even more disturbing is that, by hosting a special dinner and ball that supposedly take place in the fantasy world of Harry Potter, the university appears to be encouraging its students to pretend that they don’t live in reality, that they instead live in a magical world where sorcery and Satanism reign supreme. What then is the point of Notre Dame continuing to call itself a Catholic university, when clearly it cares more about promoting esoteric false religions like paganism and Wicca? Where are the outraged alumni protesting this blatant disregard for Catholic principles, as they so effectively protested President Obama? It is time for this University to take a stand against the evils of Harry Potter and lead her students down the path of true faith and morality. I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country and my University.

Ryan Williams is a sophomore. In his free time, he enjoys reading Swift and Moliere. He can be reached at twilli15@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.