Posts Tagged “anti-witchcraft”

In the “Are you kidding me?” department … the BBC reports that famous Scottish author J.K. Rowling was refused an important honor because the White House thought she “encouraged witchcraft”:

Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed out on a top honour because some US politicians believed she “encouraged witchcraft”, it has been claimed.

Matt Latimer, former speech writer for President George W Bush, said that some members of his administration believed her books promoted sorcery.

As a result, she was never presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Latimer’s disclosure comes from an upcoming tell-all book:

The claims appear in Latimer’s new book called Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor.

He wrote that “narrow thinking” led White House officials to object to giving Rowling the civilian honour.

The award acknowledges contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours.

First, let me say that these “tell-all” books by folks who are, essentially, disgruntled employees, are not very trustworthy. So I’m not sure how credible this is. And even if there were someone in the White House who made remarks like this, it’s not clear who it was, or how much influence that person had. It’s not even clear if some other objection to Rowling getting the medal was raised, such as her not being a US citizen. (The Medal has been given to some not born in the States, e.g. Elie Wiesel, but not being an American may have represented a hurdle anway. To what extent, I have no idea.)

Nonetheless, it’s remarkable that in the 21st century, people can still fear books that mention “witchcraft” and/or “sorcery” merely because they contain these story elements. After all, famous Christian writers have used magical or sorcerous settings for their own widely-beloved works … sticking to the UK, the examples of J.R.R. Tolkien (a lifelong devout Catholic) and C.S. Lewis (an adult convert to the Anglican Church) leap to mind. The religious devotion of neither of these men has ever been seriously questioned, nor has it ever been suggested that either of them ever “promoted” or “encouraged” witchcraft or sorcery, even though they both wrote about worlds (Middle-Earth and Narnia respectively) in which these things existed, and protagonists (e.g. Gandalf and Aslan) who made use of them. Objecting to Rowling’s Harry Potter series on that basis — which are almost as much moral tales as either The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia — is simply irrational and unfounded.

While we cannot just take Latimer’s word that Christian-dogmatic anti-witchcraft sentiment played a part in this decision, it is unfortunately true that the Harry Potter books were the targets of fundamentalist Christian outrage. It’s nonsensical, of course … but these folks are fully committed to their nonsensical ideas and are unable — and unwilling — to see them as the nonsense they are.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments Comments Off on Turned Down For Medal — Over Witchcraft?