Christian apologist John Mark Reynolds answers no:
Recently, J.K. Rowling announced to the world that one of her characters, the heroic mentor of Harry Potter, Dumbledore was gay.
Nonsense. There is no evidence of it in the books and the books (at this point) are all that matter. I have always thought the books deeply Christian not because Rowling told me so (which she recently confirmed), but because the text is full of Christian images and ideas. She had a chance to give Dumbledore a boyfriend, but she muffed it. I refuse to denigrate friendship by reading every close one as sexual . . . and she gave us nothing else.
No offense to an excellent author, but Dumbledore no longer belongs only to Rowling. He also belongs to her readers who have been given a series of books in which Rowling was free to say what she wanted to say. She wrote about Christianity openly by Book Seven, but if Dumbledore was gay, she decided to hide it. She hid it so well that there is no evidence of it.
I must say, I hadn’t noticed any explicitly Christian images and ideas in the books. Anyone know what Reynolds is talking about? I suspect we are seeing here the annoying tendency of many Christians to describe any sort of decent behavior by a fictional character as a Christian theme.
But how about the part about Dumbledore? There actually is an interesting philosophical question here. In what sense can we talk about fictional characters having various attributes, beliefs or characteristics? Do fictional characters have any existence outside the minds of their creators?
Fascinating questions, but not ones I care to explore just now. Instead I would like to roll my eyes at the antics of someone trying desperately to persuade us that his passion on this question has nothing to do with his disgust for homosexuality:
Rowling, after all, did not say that Dumbledore was gay. She said merely that she had always thought of Dumbledore as gay, a different thing. If Reynolds had written a short, humorous piece suggesting that Rowling was thinking about him wrong, then he could be found not guilty on the charge of making a fool of himself. Instead he writes things like this:
Lest one think that I say this only because homosexuality bothers me, then let me compare it to another situation. Suppose that Rowling now claimed that Dumbledore and Mcgonigal had a passionate relationship. Since there is no reason in the text to know this is true, or to find it relevant to the story arc as we have it, Rowling’s opinions of the headmaster’s heterosexual affairs matter very little in terms of understanding the books as they are. There is as much evidence of this (after all) as of Dumbledore’s homosexuality.
That Reynolds has laughably misspelled Professor McGonagall‘s last name does not help his credibility. But just in case you missed the point, Reynolds later wrties this:
I do not react this way because Rowling has said something I find personally distasteful. I do find homosexual behavior contrary to nature and the laws of God. However, I do not find the tendency to homosexual behavior shocking or particularly distasteful. We live in an imperfect world and if Dumbledore lived a celibate life giving himself to his work, then he is a perfect (fictional) model of how to deal with disordered affections.
Right. No doubt Reynolds would have written the same surly, truculent, humorless essay if Rowling had revealed that Dumbledore liked to play chess, even though there is no mention of that in the books either.
When someone says it’s not about the money, you can be sure that in reality it is, indeed, about the money. And when someone says it’s not about the gay, then, my friends, it’s totally about the gay.
After reading this essay, my boundless admiration for J.K. Rowling has gone up even higher.