Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind

Feòrag NicBhrìde

At the end of December, the pastor of a New Mexico church declared that Harry Potter is the devil and he is destroying people as he urged his congregation to join in a book-burning the Taliban would've been proud of. Pastor Jack Brock of the Christ Community Church in Alamogordo admitted he had never read the books.

In Wellington, Somerset, a Christian couple persuaded ninety people to sign a petition to stop the local cinema showing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. They complained that it promoted witchcraft and the occult. Meanwhile, a Staffordshire newspaper reported the showing of an anti-Potter film at a local church:

"Mrs Radford, aged 27, of Chesterton, added: 'I was very shocked at what was revealed in the video, such as the name Potter meaning a female goddess who created human beings from clay. I'm glad my daughter didn't see it. I'm a Christian and I want to protect her.'"

It was perhaps no surprise that the Harry Potter books and film, set in a magical world, would upset Christian extremists. As we will see, some of them even seem to take it rather personally.

Not all Christians have taken a dislike to Harry Potter though. One of the most interesting Christian sites is that of Åke Eldberg, a minister in the Church of Sweden. On his "Anti-Potterism Debunking Centre", he describes himself as a Christian who loves these books and states unequivocably

"I am convinced that the accusations and warnings are baseless. I have studied the arguments presented on various websites. In my opinion, the Anti-Potterists display various degrees of ignorance, bad logics, superstitious fear, and unfounded conspiracy theories".

He then demonstrates this. He has also written a short article detailing the many Christian ideas and Biblical events which are echoed in the Harry Potter books and concludes

"Paradoxically, those who purport to fight against superstition are themselves spreading it. The Christians who condemn the Harry Potter books are blinded by their aversion to anything even vaguely reminiscent of occultism. They see only what is on the surface, such as sorcery and ghosts; they fail to look further. The children who love Harry Potter certainly have more wisdom!"

There have been favourable Christian perspectives from more surprising sources too - Prison Fellowship Ministries' site Breakpoint includes a long interview with Connie Neal, author of What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter, where she looks at what she sees as a positive Christian message in the books. The rest of the site is somewhat conservative. Several articles have referred to a piece by Dr. James Dobson of the definitely right wing Focus on the Family which viewed Harry Potter positively, but I haven't been able to find that.

But let's face it, the Prattle isn't about sensible and well-considered religious perspectives on popular culture. What about the barking mad fundies? Their main complaints about Harry Potter can be summarised thus:

  • the magic is really real the blatant, bold, and bodacious advanced Witchcraft that literally fills these novels (The Cutting Edge)
  • it makes children want to be witches.
  • they see themselves in the Dursleys and are not flattered.
  • the kids depicted aren't perfect little angels and this encourages real children to misbehave - a thought which would not have otherwise entered their minds.

Trawling the net looking for material for this piece revealed some characters that I'd never heard of before, including a couple of self-styled ex-witches. As usual, they seem to have been involved in a most unusual version of the occult, one that is unrecognisable, and these are the people most convinced that the occultism in Harry Potter is the real thing. Last Trumpet Ministries is a classic of this type.

Its web site describes it as an International Outreach Ministry based in the unfortunately-named Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. It seems to be a family affair involving Pastor David J. Meyer, a former witch that was marvelously saved by Jesus Christ and webmaster Samuel Meyer. They produce a monthly newsletter, lots of tracts and have even made a 43 minute audio "message" The Witchery of Harry Potter available for download as a 7.4Mb MP3.

More about Pastor Meyer's claimed past can be found in the tract Harry Potter? What does God have to say?:

"I am writing this urgent message because I was once a witch. I lived by the stars as an astrologer and numerologist casting horoscopes and spells. I lived in the mysterious and shadowy realm of the occult. By means of spells and magic, I was able to invoke the powers of the "controlling unknown" and fly upon the night winds transcending the astral plane. Halloween was my favorite time of the year and I was intrigued and absorbed in the realm of Wiccan witchcraft. All of this was happening in the decade of the 1960's when witchcraft was just starting to come out of the broom closet Witchcraft was very different in the 1960's. There were a lot fewer witches, and the craft was far more secretive. At the end of that spiritually troubled decade, I was miraculously saved by the power of Jesus Christ and His saving blood. I was also delivered from every evil spirit that lived in me and was set free." (Meyer, n.d.)

This experience makes him an expert, of course. He has plenty to tell us about Wicca, including High level witches believe that there are seven satanic princes and that the seventh, which is assigned to Christians, has no name and When real witches have sabats and esbats and meet as a coven, they greet each other by saying 'Blessed be', and when they part, they say 'The Force be with you.'

So, we can trust him when he claims As a former witch, I can speak with authority when I say that I have examined the works of Rowling and that the Harry Potter books are training manuals for the occult. He then informs us darkly that Harry also learns a new vocabulary, including words such as "Azkaban", "Circe", "Draco", "Erised", "Hermes", and "Slytherin"; all of which are names of real devils or demons. These are not characters of fiction! He's completely convinced that the title of the first book is proof that the books are thoroughly satanic and anti-christ, apparently not realising that the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was only used in the United States because the publishers felt that Americans would have problems with long words like "philosopher".

Finally, he puts his vast knowledge of numerology to work:

"On July 8 at midnight, bookstores everywhere were stormed by millions of children to obtain the latest and fourth book of the series known as 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.' These books were taken into homes everywhere with a real evil spirit following each copy to curse those homes. July 8th was also the 18th day (three sixes in numerology) from the witches' sabat of midsummer. July 8th was also the 13th day from the signing of the United Religions Charter in San Francisco. Now we have learned that the public school system is planning to use the magic of Harry Potter in the classrooms making the public schools centers of witchcraft training".

Oh, sorry - that apparently wasn't numerology. In his December 2001 newsletter, he puts us right on that People who are intellectually dishonest have accused me of using numerology. Here let it be noted that I have nothing but contempt for the occult which is why I have attacked and exposed it everywhere that it tries to hide. I know how it works, because I was once a part of that world.

So, after going into the significance of the dates and other numbers associated with September 11th, he reveals, not using numerology, that: On November 16, midway between the two full moons of November or the 11th month, the Harry Potter witchcraft movie opened.

Cutting Edge Ministries also want us to know that Harry Potter is full of genuine occult lore and offer us Spiritual Insights Into The New World Order So Startling You'll Never Look At The News The Same Way Again - at a cost. On the subject of Harry Potter alone they offer a book Harry Potter and the Bible ($14.95), a six-cassette set with the snappy title A Christian That Knows Witchcraft Looks At Harry Potter ($12.99) and a video tape Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged ($21.98). They do offer a number of articles from their newsletter, but the most recent (including HARRY POTTER AUTHOR USES IMAGERY FROM THE MOST IMPORTANT ALCHEMY BOOK IN EXISTENCE, A BOOK WRITTEN IN 1459!) were initially only available to those who have given the ministry at least $20. Fortunately for us, there are enough other fundies who believe it more important to get their message out that the articles can be found elsewhere. This one starts with a typical claim that the magic in the books is real:

"We have stated repeatedly that the author of the Harry Potter books knows her Satanism quite well. We have repeatedly pointed out where the events and the scenes in her books are pure Satanism; in fact, they are correct Satanism. She paints a perfectly correct picture in her books of aspects of Satanism, she gets the spells right, she gets the ingredients right, she understands the importance of drugs, and so on and so forth."

The most important alchemy book in existence is apparently a very old, and very obscure, Luciferian book entitled, The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosendreutz , written originally in 1459 and translated into English in 1690. i.e. Johann Valentin Andreae's Chymische Hochzeit: Christiani Rosencreutz a text so fundamental and important that the extensive Alchemy Web Site and Virtual Library files the English translation separately from the alchemical texts (under Rosicrucian Texts) and links to an offsite edition in the original German. To prevent us checking the claims, Cutting Edge kindly provide page numbers for their references to this rather tedious and entirely allegorical tome without ever concerning themselves to mention which edition they are using. Apparently Rowling got the idea for paintings which move from this very book. Also, it's this book, and no other, which mentions griffins, unicorns, the phoenix and poltergeists:

"Thus, in three out of the five points of commonality between Harry Potter books and The Chemical Wedding , Rowling has chosen unique and very old occult legends to use in her books. Especially choosing the pictures on the wall that seem alive and the Griffon-type creature called a Hippogriff are dead giveaways that Rowling drew her inspiration from this very old, but very important, Alchemical book of the Rosicrucians."

Alas, they have the wrong obscure alchemical tome. The Pagan Prattle can now reveal that every single creature and concept they mention in this article, plus most of the others in the Harry Potter books, can be found in a single rare occult text - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. This outrageous book not only contains information about all kinds of magical creatures, but explains every sort of divination imaginable and is full of spells for all kinds of purposes. It even has entries describing the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life! Even though it is terribly hard to find, there are two copies in the Edinburgh Central Library and I contend that J. K. Rowling managed to dig up one of these copies from the depths of the stacks.

In case we are not convinced of the Satanic origin of the books, we are reminded of Nicolas Flamel, who was 666 years old when he achieved the Sorcerer's Stone and had first partaken of the Elixir of Life! [Ibid.] Thus, Rowling correctly ties in the number of Antichrist with Alchemy and its pursuit of occult eternal life, a very strong indication that she is a practitioner of the Luciferian arts.

This is presumably a reading of this passage from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001 UK paperback edition): the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Nicolas Flamel who celebrated his six hundred and sixty-fifth birthday last year (p161), clearly indicating that not only is Mr. Flamel not yet 666 years old, but has only reached 665 years old because he discovered the Philosopher's Stone about 600 years ago!

Strangely, this is one of the few "true" bits of occult lore in the books. There was an alchemist called Nicolas Flamel, born around 1414, who was thought to have discovered the Philosopher's Stone. In the Testament of Flamel, a work attributed to him, but probably an 18th century invention, he explains the whole magistery of the secret of the Philosophical Tincture, which God hath willed to impart to his very insignificant servant, and which I have found out. But the fundies missed that one!

In another article MAJOR DISCOVERY IN HARRY POTTER BOOKS! USE OF VIVID COLORS NOW UNDERSTOOD AND THEIR MYSTERY UNRAVELED. We learn that Author Rowling uses the most vivid colors imaginable in her Harry Potter novels for a reason. These colors are discovered to originate from the old Satanic Druid religion, and play a significant role in Ritual Magic. The source for this claim is Nigel Pennick's Pagan Book of Days, and his reprint of Robert Graves' (modern, invented by him) "Celtic tree calender" is taken as an accurate representation of ancient beliefs. They also print a table showing one possible set of colour correspondences for the signs of the Zodiac and allege that, because she doesn't use simple descriptions such as "red" or "green" but describes things as "scarlet", "crimson" or "emerald", that this is part of a consistent Satanic colour scheme. So, Dumbledore's robes are purple because that is the colour of royalty or authority. Oh hang on, he also has some "deep green" ones and maroon is also apparently the colour or royalty, and other people wear that colour. Still, we shouldn't really criticise them on this one - there are plenty of equally gullible Neopagans who believe the calendar to be genuinely ancient.

The author(s) of the Cutting Edge articles also demonstrate their thorough understanding of the Law of Return inHARRY POTTER CONDITIONING KIDS TO LOVE MAGICK, WITCHES, AND TO ADOPT THE VALUES AND ATTITUDES OF THE 'COMING GREAT ONE'!:

"Rowling accurately depicts Witchcraft. A Witch or Wizard has to be very careful against whom they throw a curse, and under what circumstances. If the magic power of the intended victim is stronger than the originator of the curse believed it to be, or if the curse is not correctly cast, the curse will rebound back upon the person who threw it in the first place."

But why have all this in children's books? David J. Meyer explains - it's the Illuminati:

" In order to succeed in bringing witchcraft to the world and thus complete satanic control, an entire generation would have to be induced and taught to think like witches, talk like witches, dress like witches, and act like witches." (Meyer, n.d.).

He reiterates this in his January newsletter:

"In order to enslave the world, it takes more than control of the tangible. Satan must cleverly capture the hearts, minds, and souls of massive amounts of people in order to be a god to them. We are now seeing our nation flooded with witchcraft, and when we look at the masses of young people tattooed, pierced, scarred, and marked while waiting for the ultimate mark, it becomes increasingly obvious that the last days are upon us."

Cutting Edge Ministries agree:

"With all signs pointing to the soon appearance of the Antichrist the Great One as many people as possible need to be made "Proper Receptors" to him. Harry Potter is certainly fulfilling that role for preparing youngster's minds. Is this the reason the movie release date is 66 days after the World Trade Center bombing?"

In Yorkshire, the head teacher of Bradford Cathedral Community College resigned after banning Harry Potter books from the school because they could lead children into the occult. The school has the worst GCSE results in the city and local councillor Ralph Berry told the Telegraph and Argus:

"Here you have a school with a lot of children below the national average in English. It seems silly not to use the most popular text that anybody has come across in recent decades.
"I read Harry Potter with my eight-year-old son and if Mrs Jones thinks I'm being irresponsible, she can take a running jump."

In Australia, MP (and Reverend) Fred Nile claimed that witches were using Harry Potter's popularity to recruit young people into witchcraft.

The Christian Resources Network seems to be related to exposingsatanism.org, and this website includes five articles on Harry Potter, the first of which commences The Bible is clear that in the last days witchcraft and sorcery will be widespread. In fact, it even reveals that many Christians will be caught up in it! These Harry Potter books are right on time in the end time scenario and warns If you are a Christian and these words offend you, it is probably because your mind has been seduced by a devil and not because they're a heap of paranoid shite - got that?

They (the articles are anonymous) are particularly concerned that fundies like themselves are represented by the Dursleys. In the books, Harry Potter is brought up by his cruel uncle and aunt after his parents are killed. It's a bit like Cinderella, except that he has only one Ugly Brother, Dudley Dursley. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone introduces them as ";proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much and the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. They are somewhat ashamed to be related to the Potters, who are weird, and very distrustful of anything which isn't "normal". Middle England personified, basically.

According to the essay Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Why it is truly Satanic, this is part of Satan's plan:

"The first Potter book contains its own defense against the fundamentalist outcry. It paints fundamentalists as stupid and paranoid. Therefore, anyone who reads the book and enjoys it is brainwashed into seeing the fundamentalist attack on the book as an exercise in 'absurdity'."

The Dursleys are seen as fundamentalist heroes, rather than a depiction of ultra-normality This couple opposes witchcraft as dangerous, and for that reason they have separated from Potter's family Rowling paints this couple in the worst light imaginable. I wonder which part of the Bible says that Christians should spoil their natural children by giving them everything they want, including two bedrooms, while keeping adopted children locked in a cupboard?

To the CRN, the term 'Muggles', used to mean everyone who doesn't have magic powers, is a gross insult:

"Yet, it is clear that by "Muggle" Rowling does not just mean people who cannot exercise magic. She means anyone who believes it is dangerous or morally wrong to practice magic! People who think this is all fantasy need to splash some cold water on their faces. In the world today there ARE people who call themselves witches and wizards (i.e. Wiccans, etc.). And there are people who think they are morally wrong (fundamental Christians)! So we are clearly NOT in the realm of fantasy at all. we are in the realm of PROPAGANDA aimed at CHILDREN!"

The proof for this is a series of extracts from the book where Mr. Dursley complains about modern fashions and motorbikes. The author then shows that he has his finger on the pulse of contemporary popular culture when he complains

"Anyone who has been street witnessing to young adults practicing Wicca, etc. knows that they believe fundamental Christians are unhappy people."

Erm, I don't think that's what they meant by "sad".

Still, he completely fails to notice that the Dursleys are the only Muggles depicted this way, and thinks that the books teach children to hate Muggles even though those children are Muggles!

To convince us that the Dursleys really do represent fundies, we are treated to some more quotes about the need for haircuts and Harry not being allowed to watch TV (quietly failing to mention that Dudley is allowed to do whatever he wants and even has more than one TV in his rooms). Towards the end of part 1, they condemn other authors who lead children into the occult such as C.S. Lewis!

But perhaps it's all more sinister than we thought. The Cutting Edge material aims to demonstrate that an evil New World Order is establishing itself and goes to great lengths to provide what they see as evidence. For some, there is no need for such detail - the meaning of Harry Potter is obvious to the likes of Pastor Harry, Church of Philadelphia-Internet author of the web site Escape 666 - Bible Prophecy Revealed

I fear I cannot fairly summarise the content of "Harry Potter's Christmas" from this site. Again, it assumes that the US title for the book and film is the proper one and condemns "sorcery", and also makes it obvious that the author hasn't seen the film or read the books. Here is a snippet, originally in several colours on black:

"Harry Potter wears an Occult Symbol of The Lightening Bolt on his forehead.
The Lightening Bolt is an Occult Symbol for Lucifer (Satan). Hitler's "SS" wore The Symbol of The Double Lightning Bolt on their dreaded uniform. Most people do not know that Hitler worshiped Lucifer and followed His Plan for A Master Race.
Harry Potter shows that having an Occult Symbol tattooed upon Your Forehead is something that is good and cool to have.
The Bible Warns of a Future Luciferic Initiation that Involves A Satanic Symbol Tattooed upon your Forehead and A Computer Microchip Implanted in your hand."
Girl reading

Discuss Harry Potter and Fundies