Is Harry Potter Evil?

Recently, a Catholic school in Nashville, has banned Harry Potter books from their libary.

Dan Reehil, one of the pastors at the school, claims the books include both good and evil magic.  He also claims there are spells in the books and if they are spoken by a human, it can conjure evil spirits.

Pastor Reehil says he has consulted several exorcists in the U.S. and Rome, and it was recommended to remove the books.

He says, "These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact, is a clever deception.  The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.

The original Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling, were published between 1997 and 2007.  The books have gained global success with over 500 million books being sold.  Eight "Harry Potter" films have been released.  The books also spurred Universal Studios to create Harry Potter attractions.

But the books have also sparked debates about whether the books are evil or harmless.  Many Christians believe the Bible speaks clearly about staying away from such "evil."  They fear that Harry Potter may lead children away from God and into the occult. 

Personally, I am okay with the series.  My son has read all of the books and our family has seen all of the movies.  I believe in being consistent with our beliefs and practices.  If I take a stand against Harry Potter, then I should also take a stand against J.R. Tolkien's the "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" books and movies.  I should also take a stand against C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  And let's not forget "The Wizard of Oz."  All of these books have elements of "witches" and "sorcery."

As Christian leaders, we must be prepared to articulate why or why not we endorse secular writings and spin off movies. 

I have always tried to take the following approach as a leader in a local church setting.

There are 3 groups of parents/families in every ministry:

  • Very Conservative (compared to the rest of the church)
  • Average (middle of the road )
  • Liberal (compared to the rest of the church)
Normally, when you have an issue like Harry Potter, you will get the most feedback and push back from the very conservative families.  They will ask you to take a public stand against the elements they consider harmful or dangerous.  
The average family is okay with the said books and movies.  They will take a stand against outright, in your face evil, but they don't see any danger in reading Harry Potter and other books that they just deem fantasy entertainment. 
The last group of parents are the baby Christian parents.  They are new believers or people who had no religious background before making a commitment to Christ.  They are just trying to figure out how to read their Bible, much less take a stand against a book series. 
I have always tried to program based on the needs of the average family.  So in this case, this would be the families that are okay with the books and movies.  

That doesn't mean you should ignore the opinions of the conservative families.  Listen to them.  If you disagree with what they are asking, humbly share why you made your decision.  

So what about you?  Do you think Harry Potter is detrimental to children and families?  Or maybe you're a fan and see nothing wrong with it?  How did you approach this in your church or ministry?  

Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.  Is Harry Potter evil or is it a great source of harmless entertainment?