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This page was last updated
January 7, 2002


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Subject: Newsletter_30 Harry Potter
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
From: Rebecca

Thank you, thank you, thank you for standing up to the 'witch hunt'. I've read all 4 of the Harry Potter books as have my 3 children. They supply a healthy dose of imagination (something seriously lacking in children's lives today) with values that are in line with the ones we teach in a Christian home. I became aware of a group that has put out an anti-potter video and it nauseated me. For one thing, they make claims that the books teach children authentic satanic spells and incantations, which anyone who has read the books will realize is rubbish. For the other, I felt that they were only interested in their own gain. I was also appalled at a group that was criticizing Rowling for allowing the Potter imagery to be used by Coca-cola because it encourages kids to drink sugary, empty calorie beverages. While I won't argue the merits of drinking coke, I had to wonder why attack only Rowling? Why not go after the Burger King commercials that use the Shrek characters? Or maybe McDonalds for handing out miniature Barbies. Aren't they promoting anorexia? You see how ridiculous this can get. Let's let parents actually BE parents and talk to their children about the difference between real and imaginary. When I asked my 9 year old daughter if she thought the things depicted in the Harry Potter books were real, she rolled her eyes at me as if she thought dementia had finally set in. I'm a lot more concerned about her watching the preview of the Brittany Spears tour tonight than I am of her watching the Potter movie. I think it's time for the Christians who know God as loving and compassionate to speak out before the ones who see Him as mean and punitive take over the world.

Response: Thanks for your insightful words. You make several good points. -David

Subject: Newsletter_30 _Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
From: Eric Waltersdorf

David, All my reservations about H.P. come from the fact that it sells the notion that there can be good witches and that there is some nobility in witchcraft if it is used for "good". That's nonsense. There is no good witchcraft.

Is H.P. a modern fairy tale. Yes, I believe it is. Can it be used a subtle means of blurring God's standard of right and wrong? I certainly believe it can. That is my concern.

Movies made from books tend to pick out and exaggerate points of the director's and screenwriter's personal bias on the original text. Nothing therefore is left to the imagination or discussion, because a conclusion is produced in film. From what I have seen so far this film ended up a dark impression of the book. Too bad. Keep up the good work.
Respectfully, Eric Waltersdorf

Response: Thanks for your kind words Eric. I do not think that Potter promotes witchcraft, anymore than Fantasia does. -David

Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
From: "Dan Laskowski"

This newspaper is in the UK.


IN CHRIST Dan Laskowski

Response: Thanks -David

Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
From: "Dan Laskowski"

Greetings David
For a long time, I have had links pointing to your website, and though I don't always agree with your reviews I still point others to HOLLYWOODJESUS.COM, but I must now speak out loudly about your stand on Harry Potter.

Although the new Harry Potter movie seems innocuous, according to you, I recently heard that "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" have both attracted so many girls to REAL WITCHCRAFT in England that a witch website needed to hire extra help to handle all of the extra traffic. When asked how the young people were attracted , the teens replied the names of the above listed TV shows.

I would also like to add the name of "Charmed" to the list because I can't seem to pull my 2 teenage daughters away from their intense interest in it. If I put my foot down and tell them not to watch it, I later find out that they watched it in a different time slot or taped it in a different time slot. "Charmed" is total garbage in my opinion and blurs the lines of good and magic by having "White Lighters" (white magic) and "demons" mixed together. To blur the lines further and confuse the viewer further there is even a "demon" who is "half human" and is now being presented as "good".

Though I haven't seen Harry Potter, I'm sure that this same kind of confusion will be prevalent throughout. I'm hoping that when the movie is released and you actually view it that you will recant.

Remember David. Todays media is not like what happened with Zeus. People didn't see Zeus on TV every day. The printing press hadn't been invented yet. There weren't newspapers on everyones porches with the headlines "ZEUS IS GREAT!". TV and Movie media is ALL CONSUMING and for the 90-120 minutes the viewers of the Harry Potter movie will be absorbing everything they see. The press and media are already sending out the message "HARRY POTTER IS GREAT!"
In Christ Dan Laskowski

Response: Zeus was bigger and more important than Harry Potter could ever hope to be. We are talking the difference between an elephant and an ant. Your attempt to minimize Zeus is charming but not historically correct. Zeus was worshipped for 2000 years and his temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Potter is not worshiped and is a flash in the pan, historically speaking -David

Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
From: "E.M."

Thanks for the sound and enlightening comments on Harry Potter. When I was reading the series for the first time some of my more evangelical Christian friends would raise an eyebrow (or more) and I would politely explain to them the fact that it is just a work of very creative and enjoyable fiction. I hope a lot people that disagree with the film read the review above and will most importantly read the books for themselves and see the movie. Yes, Harry Potter can be dark (I think too dark for some children), but the writing just seems to get better with each novel.

Someone mentioned Tolkien earlier. I am more eagerly awaiting the LOTR movie series and re-reading the series right now. Someone mentioned Tolkien "may not have been a Christian" this is a wrong statement. Tolkien was a devout and faithful Catholic and great friends with C.S. Lewis. Tolkien's books, espeically the Silmarillion are full of mostly unintentional Christian themes simply because that was his worldview. In fact, before I am became a Christian I read the LOTR and was disappointed to find out Tolkien was a Christian. ;) (people can be silly)

Response: Thank you! Tolkien was a Christian, indeed. -David

Faithfully in Christ,
Emily M.


Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
From: Heidi

I had gotten an e mail from my sister in law about how good harry potter books are- My husband picked one up for my daughter the other day.My daughter has been reading it nonstop and is upstairs right now reading the first book (She's been reading it since 7.00 pm off and on last night.(I've read a bit too) While I was bringing her home from school today we were talking about Harry potter and I told her that in real life witchcraft is not good- She asked me why- she seemed to think it was ok! (she's 9) Normally wizards and witches are portrayed as from another time, But this book is not like that. I think we really need to help our kids understand-They may think its cool and that "I wish I could do that or "wouldn't it be neat if we could fly or so on- They don't realize the evil in the real world -they are innocent- So we need to let them know- This is Harry Potters world- Not our world. I have explained that in the real world satanists and people (not all wiccans or nature lovers ect) do horrible things- ie kill babies and burn animals. I didn't want to go any further than that. I explained to her that in real life we can't fly, but when were in heaven we will. We need to make sure we leave the magic in harry's world,because its not the same here. Here it is evil- If we don't talk to our kids about it it may seem mythical, and magical- they may want to get into something that they don't realize is very bad. We need to educate our kids because not all kids might think that its all "make believe".

Response: Killing babies, etc? Harry Potter is any thing but this. Apples and Oranges. Thank you for voicing your concerns. -David

Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
From: "Troy

Harry is a Potter, and our children are his clay. Have many parents had a real sit down with there child and explained that magic is real, witches are real, demons are real, and they are all under the controlling influence of spiritual darkness? My guess is not, probably because that might be too "scary". So to keep things "neat" and "controllable" they prefer to portray witchcraft as harmless and imaginary, but it is neither harmless nor imaginary. Enter, Harry Potter, the lovable character who "softens" witchcraft by using it in a good vs. evil conflict, who wouldn't cheer for the hero in the story. However, deep inside the heart and mind of a child a change has taken place, a door has been cracked, a bridge has been crossed. It so subtle that it is nearly unperceivable, almost like the hand of potter gently impressing the clay. They perceive the use of magic as playful, almost benign. Now the line has been "grayed". "Daddy, kids are playing Harry Potter at school, pretending to cast spells, is that okay?" "Daddy, I saw this girl at school, she had a pentagram necklace, she said it gave her powers like Harry Potter, what do you think?" You can obviously see were this heads. Be the gatekeeper God meant you to be now, so you won't have to back peddle later. Bottom line: Make a better choice than Harry Potter for your child's mind and spirit.

Response: Does this mean Cinderella, Sword in the Stone, Fantasia, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, CS Lewis' fiction, Wizard of Oz, etc. are wrong by the same logic. I am confused. Where do you draw your line? The magic in Harry Potter is pretty tame stuff compared to some of these classics. -David

Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
From: Maggi

I also have no problem with the Harry Potter film or the books. What I do have a problem with, are Christians who have no problem with The Wizard of Oz/Cinderella/Snow White, etc (all of which feature witches) and yet, they'll attack Christians who enjoy Harry Potter (and they use they excuse..."its about witchcraft"). Why is one okay and not the other? They both feature witchcraft, right? If someone doesn't want to watch Harry Potter, that's perfectly okay with me, but I have a problem when they jump down the throats of believers with the "How can you call yourself a Christian" attitude. Harry Potter is fantasy. The characters are obviously not real people and even the "witchcraft" is portayed in an unreal, fantasy way. Right now I'm reading the entire Lord of the Rings series, which featires wizard, goblins, magic, etc. I was actually shocked to see Family Christian Bookstires selling the series. I couldn't help but wonder how many Christians have probably complained to them about selling "occult books" (which some have called bother Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings).

I don't know if I'd let very impressionable young kids, or kids who scare easily read Harry Potter (or even the Wizard of Oz), but I suppose that each parent needs to decide for themselves what their child can or can not handle. I'm going to be an English major in the spring and I'm trying hard to read all of the major classics and other popular books (including Harry Potter), so that if we study them in school, I'll know what we're talking about. I don't believe that Harry Potter causes people to get involved in witchcraft. I've know people in the past who are into wicca and stuff and most of what is in the books is far from reality.

Another thing I was thinking about...

A lot of Christians I know of don't even like adults or teenagers reading Harry Potter because of the witches. But does that then mean that we also should not read Macbeth since it has characters that are witches? Real witchcraft does not involved flying around on broomsticks like in Harry Potter or many of these other fantasy stories. I could maybe understand the concern of the witchcraft was realistic and/or gory in nature, but even then, shouldn't adults be able to read whatever they want to (within reason), without other Christians accusing us of "not being very Christ like?" I don't believe teens or kids get into the occult because of Harry Potter or even Marilyn Manson. Many of them are introduced to it by their peers and get into it in order to feel accepted. I don't think they read Harry Potter or the Wizard of Oz, and actually believed that's what the occult is all about (flying around on broomsticks, making up silly sounding spells, etc). If they did, then I'm sure that when they got involved in witchcraft, they were sorely disappointed.

Heck, I even had Christians freak out on me for seeing the Sandra Bullock movie Practical Magic because she and a few other actresses play witches. But for goodness sakes, it was done in such an unrealistic, fantasy way. If a youngster walks out believe that that's what witchcraft is really about, maybe the parents should sit down with their kids are talk to them. Parents talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol, so maybe we should add the occult to the list. BUT the adults should do some research themselves. I don't want adults sitting their kids down and telling them that Harry Potter is a good example of witchcraft or the occult. Trust me, the real occult is much more scary and satanic then getting on a broom stick or saying things like "hocus pocus." If a child gets involved in the occult, why blame Harry Potter? Why not blame the parents for not teaching their child the difference between reality and fiction? If a child goes into a movie like this, thinking this is what witchcraft is all about, then something is wrong with that child, not with the movie. If your child is that naive then maybe you should keep them away from Harry Potter. But if you have an older child who knows about discernment, then I see nothing wrong with giving them something like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings to read.

Also, why is it that so many Christians who have strong opinions AGAINST things like Harry Potter, aren't even educated about it? They seem to only go by what they think its about or what some other Christian (who probably hasn't done any research either) tells them its about. For example, one Christian told me that the Wizard of Oz is okay because the witches are portrayed as bad whereas in Harry Potter they're portrayed as good. Hello? Remember Glenda the GOOD witch, from Oz? So before you start judging things like Harry Potter, there are a couple of things you need to do:

1) Be consistent. Don't pick and choose by saying "Well, the Wizard of Oz and Cinderella are okay but Harry Potter is not" and then use the lame excuse "Because Harry Potter features witches." If Harry Potter is bad because it features witchcraft, then shouldn't the others be considered bad as well?

2) Do you research. Know what you're talking about. Get the books out of the library and do some research online (and not just from "Christian" sources, which can sometimes be quite biased).

I just think that there are some Christians who love to find things to complain about. I don't know what they'd do if there wasn't some kind of "lets condemn this or that to Hell" bandwagon to get onto. I remember when they used to freak out about Ghostbusters and The Wizard of Oz (and some still do), then it was Pokemon and now its Harry Potter. I can't wait to see what's next.

By the way, growing up I watched the Wizard of Oz every single week for the longest time. I also grew up on fairy tales. And guess what? I am not and never was interested in the occult...unless you consider the time when I used to pretend I could fly around on my mom's kitchen broomstick.

Response: Yes you are so right. Thank you for some sanity on the issue. -David

Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: Chris

I dont think this movie at all is demonic or will advance the satanic movment or somthing. All it is is a movie with a cool story and fun graphics for entertainment. It annoys me when so called "christians" condem others or try to scare others into coming to know Jesus. You know what brings people to the Lord? His love. Not the fear of hell or demons, because if thats all your living for, not to go to hell, then what kind of life is that? We have to show the unsaved Gods love for them and that he wants to have a intimate relationship with them, we have to show them that He's not a mean rulemaking God, but a God who loves us and wants to protect us. So, intead of pointing the finger and saying, " this is demonic and your goin to hell!" say," Jesus Christ loves you and died for you and he wants a relationship with you." basically. Sorry i kinda got off track.....so yeah, Harry Potter, not demonic, just fun and games.

Response: You are not off track, you are right on! -David

Subject: 'Harry_Potter_Can_Be_Used_Positively_Newsletter_30
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: Richard

We are bible believing Christians and struggle with the attitude of some towards the Harry Potter books.

Before our children read them I read them. If I thought that they were unsuitable it would have stopped there. However I found the books full of values that I can support e.g. importance of the family, sacrificial love, the clear distinction between good and evil, the fact that there is always a price to pay, I could go on.

I started by reading the books to the children and we discussed them. Again if I thought they were getting the wrong message we would have stopped.

I was heartened to hear my 10 year old recognise the actor who plays Madam Hooch as appearing in a current TV program, a sign , I believe that she can distinguish between reality and fantasy, and Harry Potter is fantasy.

God Bless
Richard Stringer

Response: Thank you for being such a caring parent. God bless you. -David

Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001
From: "Bill Yates"

Love the newsletter. I think it may be useful for your readers to know something in regards to Jen's comments "I am sure that Tolkien's (Lord of the Rings) work will come under fire as has Harry Potter but I believe in this case that the story is what you take away from it. I have read the Hobbit and the Trilogy at least 7 or 8 times now and every time I have learned more from it. Although Tolkien himself may not have been a Christian, there are Christian values that are still presented to readers in his story." Tolkien was most certainly a Christian and extremely instrumental in leading his fellow Oxford professor, C.S. Lewis, to the Lord as Dr. Lewis tells us in his autobiography. Makes any talk about the magic in Lord of the Rings so ridiculous, I am waiting for that discussion to take place.
Thanks for the discussion,
Bill Yates

Subject: Harry_Potter_Can_Be_Used_Positively_Newsletter_30
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
From: Kim L Jeffery

Dear David,
I have been thinking constantly about your last two newsletters since they arrived and I am struck by the different direction you are approaching Philippians 4:8 from. I'm a 48-year-old homeschooling wife, mother of five, and grandmother of [soon] six and all my life I have heard that verse used to defend the belief that Christians should "make nice"; that they should flee from any influence which exposes them to evil, ugliness, sin, the wages of sin, the carnage created by sin, the attractiveness of some types of sin. The result of this see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil attitude is a hardened sense of self-righteousness, an appalling lack of compassion for those trapped in sin, and often a frightening inability to recognize and discern *real* sinfulness when confronted with it. What I hear you saying as you present your approach to Paul's words in Philippians 4:8 is radically different. You seem to be encouraging believers to be fully engaged in their lives wherever they are, whomever they are with, in whatever capacity they are called and in the midst of this gritty, sometimes messy, fallen, stricken world, to be looking constantly, vigilantly for the Word of God in the midst of us. I cannot tell you how exciting and extraordinary this insight is. It reminds us that we serve and love a God who is always seeking to communicate with His people, to be the Light of the World, who will use whatever means at hand to reach as many as have ears to hear. You seem to be recalling us to the old David and Karen Mains idea of the God Hunt, where we are alive to every situation, word, symbol, recollection and interaction with our heroic and glorious God who is *always* here and always at work. Your approach brings excitement and challenge and almost an electric arc of recognition when we see the Lord's word. Disengaging means we sit and congratulate God on His good taste in choosing us. Who has a greater impact and a more powerful testimony? The person who is alive to the Lord and sees Him at work all around Him, or the person who fears sullying him or herself with the muck of the world and instead waits, tracts in hand, for sinners to find their way to them in a clean environment?

I hesitated to read the Harry Potter books for a long time because so many Christians feel deeply that they are evil and a gate to the occult. But after reading Chuck Colson's comments I decided to read the whole series and have not only enjoyed them greatly, but have been quite moved by Harry Potter's self-sacrificing nature, by his loyalty, his courage, his wit and intelligence. With each novel I've seen many old stories brought to life (just an example, isn't Harry seeing his father as the stag in the moonlight very similar to the old Christian legend of St. Eustace and the stag?) Harry bears the marks of the evil Voldemort (he is known by his scar!) but he received the scar and lived through the encounter because of the love and sacrifice of his parents. This kind of story telling is powerful and has such parallel to the stories we Christians love so much that I am saddened that it is fear which keeps our brothers and sisters from enjoying the beauty and meaning. Of course I think it's important to discuss the use of mechanical magic in the wizarding world with our children, but as we are bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord we should be discussing those things anyway. I don't *want* my children's first exposure to these ideas to occur after they're grown and out of my home. I read the books aloud to my family and we talked about them all the time, speculated about the meanings of names and sometimes figured out that characters weren't entirely reliable based on clues in their names before they had ever done anything suspicious. But isn't the muggle/wizard division similar to the world/believer division as well? The intriguing thing to me in the wizarding world is that every single person must make a choice of who they will serve. What more fundamental life question could we face? And to those who criticize the death of Harry's schoolmate -- the stakes are high and to make the battle appear easy and the consequences minor is to betray the memories of so many who who lost everything. Good *isn't* better than evil because it's nicer!

Thank you so much for your newsletters. I have been impressed with the issues you raise and the call that you give to all of us to be faithful in all things. I didn't discover your website until after I spent a year teaching in a small Christian school and can give you a serious example of the impact you have had in my life. When I was teaching high school English, I was presenting my students each week with Latin and Greek roots to English words in hopes that it would improve their vocabularies and their understanding of the interrelatedness of language and thought and ideas. The day I presented the Latin word "mater" and its derivatives, including "matrix", my 11th and 12th grade students became very restive and suddenly little pockets of conversation and speculation erupted all over the class. I was curious about this uncharacteristic reaction until they said they had all gone to see *The Matrix* at the local theatre over the weekend and had been trying to puzzle out the meaning of the film. I, of course, out of respect for our church's belief that no Christian should see an R-rated movie had *not* seen *The Matrix* and had no basis for discussing this film with the kids. To this day I repent of such a foolish restriction because I lost the opportunity of opening my English class to an entire period of discussing the meaning and parallels and witness of an amazing film that I have since seen. That incident totally changed my perspective on the necessity for me to be culturally awake and aware. You had a big part in that and I thank you. God bless you for your ministry!
Very sincerely,
Kim Jeffery

Response: I am humbled by your letter. Thank you, thank you. By the way, Philippians 4:8 has set the new tone of my life. At one time I focused more on what was bad and evil rather than good. You have made my day -David


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