Pharyngula

Laura Mallory wants to ban the Harry Potter books from public schools, and she took her case to court. This is a perfect example of a mixed message:

At Tuesday’s hearing, Mallory argued in part that witchcraft is a religion practiced by some people and, therefore, the books should be banned because reading them in school violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

“I have a dream that God will be welcomed back in our schools again,” Mallory said. “I think we need him.”

Everyone will be relieved to know that she lost.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 31, 2007

    Well I’m grateful she’s so concerned about not keeping keeping religion out of the school.

  2. #2 Jon
    May 31, 2007

    Pardon me while I sacrifice a goat to Mother Earth for her great victory.

  3. #3 Joe Shelby
    May 31, 2007

    Well, now they can ban them just because they’ve turned into gigantic free advertisements for the new Harry Potter theme park!

  4. #4 sdh
    May 31, 2007

    “I maybe need a whole new case from the ground up,” Mallory said.

    At least this statement suggests some level of self-awareness.

    I sincerely wish that more people understood that reasoning is not the act of stringing coherent sentences together… that there’s something more there.

  5. #5 Steve_C
    May 31, 2007

    Wow. Wonder if her lawyer works pro-bono.

    Do they like losing that much?

    Next she’ll be arguing that science supports atheism. That atheism is a religion therefor science shouldn’t be taught in schools.

  6. #6 Brownian
    May 31, 2007

    According to the article, Mallory “was not represented by an attorney at the hearing.”

    What’s that old saying about the person who is their own lawyer having a fool for a client?

  7. #7 TheJerrylander
    May 31, 2007

    I don’t think we should deny this God guy a fair shot at a good education… I just hope that once they welcome him back it won’t be one of those useless christian academies; just imagine what that will do to that guy’s ego to have somebody tell him that he himself supposedly created it all… better make it a good public school. Oh, and he should probably go and see the school counselor right away since I have heard he has some anger control issues.

    On the other hand, why worry? He will be a no-show anyway, I presume.

  8. #8 DragonScholar
    May 31, 2007

    I might as well say it.
    1) In Harry Potter magic isn’t a religion. If anything it’s comic-book magic with about as much religious content as me using a hairdryer.
    2) That being said, even having religion mentioned in a book is not endorsement of said religion necessarily.
    3) How can she be so concerned about religion being introduced via a book then make her last statement which shows a theological bias?

  9. #9 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    “At Tuesday’s hearing, Mallory argued in part that witchcraft is a religion practiced by some people and, therefore, the books should be banned because reading them in school violates the constitutional separation of church and state.”

    She’s really quite dim, isn’t she? If the court were to have accepted her argument, it would have to ban every book which mentions Christ, God, the Bible, atheism or any other metaphysical idea. Which is pretty much the whole of fiction and philosophy. We don’t need no book learnin’!

  10. #10 Sonja
    May 31, 2007

    The Harry Potter books are clearly categorized as fiction. In this respect Ms. Mallory has correctly equated religious texts to Harry Potter. However, there is no constitutional right to the separation of school and literature.

  11. #11 G. Shelley
    May 31, 2007

    I’m sure she was also campaigning to get religious books she approves of, such as the bible out of her local library and wasn’t being an irrational paranoid hypocrite.

  12. #12 Rick
    May 31, 2007

    I have a question, and maybe somebody reading this could answer it for me. Are religious texts available in school libraries? Can a student check out the Koran or The Bible, for examples?

  13. #13 Jud
    May 31, 2007

    I remember a long time ago from one of those annual American Library Association press releases about that year’s most-banned or most-requested-to-be-banned library books, a quote from a request to ban “Alice in Wonderland” from a school library that shows the problem to be even deeper, I think, than issues of religion:

    “This book asks children to use their imaginations, and children should not be encouraged to use their imaginations.”

    It seems to me such quotes, and discussions about banning Harry Potter books, are really as basic as parents not wanting to lose control over their children, not even a little bit, not even over what they think, as opposed to what they actually do.

  14. #14 forsen
    May 31, 2007

    I just felt an irresistible inclination to exchange the Harry Potter books at my local library for Aleister Crowley tracts.

  15. #15 RobertC
    May 31, 2007

    These people are simply unable to separate fact and fantasy-whether it is extremist christianity, or witchcraft… The cynical side of me thinks they are making up these stories to try to sue for damages, but as someone who lived in Loganville, GA at one point (no, really….), I honestly think these people believe in supernatural good vs. evil, and are so prone to suggestion that they think the witchcraft in Harry Potter is real and dangerous.

    http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=32&url_article_id=14155&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2

    “At Thursday’s hearing, Mallory spoke against the books along with four other parents and students. One of them was Stacy Thomas, a mother of five, who said reading the “Harry Potter” series made her daughter turn to witchcraft, ultimately causing their Christian family to lose friends, finances and their reputation.
    Her daughter, Jordan Fusch, 15, testified that she began experimenting with tarot cards, curses and seances after reading the books.
    “As a former witch, I can tell you that witchcraft is not fantasy. … I felt I could not escape the clutches of witchcraft,” Fusch said. “It has taken several years of counseling to get to where I was before witchcraft and reading ‘Harry Potter’ books.” “

  16. #16 Steve Sutton
    May 31, 2007

    Witchcraft is a religion?

  17. #17 Steve_C
    May 31, 2007

    She’s kookoo.

    http://www.hisvoicetoday.org/mythtruth.htm

    How can people believe this vapid nonsense?

  18. #18 Bob O'H
    May 31, 2007

    forsen @14 – no, just change the dust covers.

    Bob

  19. #19 CJColucci
    May 31, 2007

    “I have a question, and maybe somebody reading this could answer it for me. Are religious texts available in school libraries? Can a student check out the Koran or The Bible, for examples?”

    Rick: No legal reason they couldn’t be available. Whether the library actually stocks them is another matter, which might have to do with budgets or incompetent school board lawyers.

  20. #20 G. Shelley
    May 31, 2007

    I imagine libraries are allowed to accept donations, so the chances of their not being one due to financial concerns are around zero.

  21. #21 Steve_C
    May 31, 2007

    Wicca actually is a religion. It’s a kinda new agey benign pagan naturalist thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca

  22. #22 Darrell E
    May 31, 2007

    “This book asks children to use their imaginations, and children should not be encouraged to use their imaginations.”

    That is just awful, pathetic, retarded, ignorant, asinine, and particularly fuckwitted. I despair to think that the mental and moral midget who made this statement has reproduced.

  23. #23 J-Dog
    May 31, 2007

    I have a slogan for Wiccans:
    “Wicca – Just As Stupid As Mainline Religions!”

    Mother Earth = Mother Mary = Mother of all Battles = Crap

    HTH!:)

  24. #24 forsen
    May 31, 2007

    Bob: heheh, that’s even better. It would be the priceless to see the look on Malloy’s face as her daughter opened a “Harry Potter” book and was met by “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

  25. #25 Kristine
    May 31, 2007

    Wicca actually is a religion. It’s a kinda new agey benign pagan naturalist thing.

    Oooh, don’t call it New Age! No, no, no! 😉 You’ll start an argument.

    Wiccans cannot stand Shirley MacLaine, or crystals, or “If a car hits me it’s my fault” woozers. They are much more liter-erary, in the mould of the Romantic Poets or the Transcendentalists, say. (Oh dear, I sense another censorship effort looming.)

    And how does Kristine know this? *Shimmy*

  26. #26 Jim
    May 31, 2007

    Lets blame something for our problems, nothing else handy lets blame the Harry Potter books. She is evidently weak minded and very weak willed to let a fantasy convert her to witchcraft. to become a true Wiccan takes years of study and dedication. calling one self a witch does not make a person one “A witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order live wisely and well,without harm to others and in harmony with nature”. She was not a witch she was deluding herself.

  27. #27 Gobear
    May 31, 2007

    I wonder if these fools in Georgia have read their Dickens. From “Hard Times”, chapter 2:

    “‘Girl number twenty,’ said the gentleman, smiling in the calm strength of knowledge.

    Sissy blushed, and stood up.

    ‘So you would carpet your room – or your husband’s room, if you were a grown woman, and had a husband – with representations of flowers, would you?’ said the gentleman. ‘Why would you?’

    ‘If you please, sir, I am very fond of flowers,’ returned the girl.

    ‘And is that why you would put tables and chairs upon them, and have people walking over them with heavy boots?’

    ‘It wouldn’t hurt them, sir. They wouldn’t crush and wither, if you please, sir. They would be the pictures of what was very pretty and pleasant, and I would fancy – ‘

    ‘Ay, ay, ay! But you mustn’t fancy,’ cried the gentleman, quite elated by coming so happily to his point. ‘That’s it! You are never to fancy.’

    ‘You are not, Cecilia Jupe,’ Thomas Gradgrind solemnly repeated, ‘to do anything of that kind.’

    ‘Fact, fact, fact!’ said the gentleman. And ‘Fact, fact, fact!’ repeated Thomas Gradgrind.

    ‘You are to be in all things regulated and governed,’ said the gentleman, ‘by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You are not to have, in any object of use or ornament, what would be a contradiction in fact. You don’t walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. You don’t find that foreign birds and butterflies come and perch upon your crockery; you cannot be permitted to paint foreign birds and butterflies upon your crockery. You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,’ said the gentleman, ‘for all these purposes, combinations and modifications (in primary colours) of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste!”

  28. #28 Sean
    May 31, 2007

    This is so right it needs to be said again.

    She’s really quite dim, isn’t she? If the court were to have accepted her argument, it would have to ban every book which mentions Christ, God, the Bible, atheism or any other metaphysical idea.

    Talk about a woman who really did not think through to the logical conclusion of her argument.

  29. #29 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    Everyone will be relieved to know that she lost.

    I’d be even more relieved to know she was getting treatment.

  30. #30 Corey Schlueter
    May 31, 2007

    Surely, they have “Christian-type” books like Lord Of The Rings and Narnia.

  31. #31 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    “Her daughter, Jordan Fusch, 15, testified that she began experimenting with tarot cards, curses and seances after reading the books.”

    I can give up tarot any time I want!

  32. #32 John Danley
    May 31, 2007

    Harry Potter is actually Tim LaHaye’s grandson.

  33. #33 Skemono
    May 31, 2007

    Ah, nobody’s mentioned the best part yet!

    “They don’t want the Easter Bunny’s power,” Mallory said. “The children in our generation want Harry’s power, and they’re getting it.”

    She seems to genuinely believe that children are getting magic power from reading these books.

  34. #34 Sastra
    May 31, 2007

    I have a friend who wanted the Harry Potter books removed from elementary schools because she felt that they were too “intense” for children. An adult is trying to kill a child! This is traumatic stuff, and parents should be the ones deciding whether or not it is appropriate to introduce it, etc. etc.

    As far as I know, she had only tried talking to the teachers, and not considered anything legal. I strongly suspect her sensitivity towards the tender feelings of the wee ones would get short shrift in any case. As I pointed out to her once, fairy tales have always been pretty gruesome. Kids actually like gruesome. And we’re talking 4th and 5th graders here, not the kindergarteners.

    Her argument is secular, of course, but it’s still based on the idea that kids are incredibly impressionable, and incapable of understanding the concept of “fiction.”

  35. #35 frau_im_mond
    May 31, 2007

    Pffht! If magic was real in the way she imagines, Mallory and all her kind would have been turned into toads by now…

  36. #36 dkew
    May 31, 2007

    Is this glacial progress, of sorts? She was making a Constitutional argument (however ridiculous), not a Biblical one. This silly fundie is just looking to censor books that feature witchcraft, rather than murder alleged witches. And she didn’t kill her disobedient daughter, the admitted witch.
    Are there groups that advocate the death penalty for witches, homosexuals, mixed fabrics, disobedient children, planting mixed fields, cattle hybridization, rounding off beards, etc?

  37. #37 Steve_C
    May 31, 2007

    The reading level is fairly high in the Harry Potter books… any child that could read them on their own should be able to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

    Most of the older Disney Movies were pretty twisted and dark.

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    She seems to genuinely believe that children are getting magic power from reading these books.

    well that WOULD explain their irrational popularity.

    well, that and the excellent advertising campaigns put together by the first two publishing houses.

    I’m waiting for the versions that include all the spell formulas in the appendices, ’cause I just can’t figure out how to cast those spells from reading the text itself.

    I must be stoopid.

    oh, and can someone tell me where to buy “eye of newt”, my local deli seems to be out.

  39. #39 aestheticpisces
    May 31, 2007

    Surely, they have “Christian-type” books like Lord Of The Rings and Narnia.

    You’re kidding, right? While the Chronicles of Narnia were explicitly Christian allegory, the Lord of the Rings was explicitly not. Tolkien, in his last interview before his death, completely denied it (sorry; no cite, and the only one I can find online is a fundie web site). Not christian allegory, not “Christian-type” books, not christian anything. They were written by a deeply religious catholic as a (pagan) mythology for England.

    “I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.” –J.R.R. Tolkien

    aestheticpisces (yeah, I’m a fanboy; wanna make something of it? 😉

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    hmm, since a tolkienite has appeared, I have a question:

    I’ve heard that much of the storyline for the LoTR is actually based on the impressions WWII left on Tolkien.

    What’s the status on that line of thought these days?

  41. #41 Anton Mates
    May 31, 2007

    Her daughter, Jordan Fusch, 15, testified that she began experimenting with tarot cards, curses and seances after reading the books.
    “As a former witch, I can tell you that witchcraft is not fantasy. … I felt I could not escape the clutches of witchcraft,” Fusch said. “It has taken several years of counseling to get to where I was before witchcraft and reading ‘Harry Potter’ books.” “

    Wait, several years? And she’s 15 now? And doing this ruined her entire family? What, did she just jump straight into human sacrifice at 9 or so?

  42. #42 Richard, FCD
    May 31, 2007

    @Rick re public libraries stocking religious material … my local library is currently loaning me the Tibetan Book of the Dead on DVD.

    Funnily enough, when I search their catalog for ‘Koran’ to see what they had, the first item returned was ‘God is not great’ by Mr Hitchens. 🙂

  43. #43 Rey Fox
    May 31, 2007

    “They don’t want the Easter Bunny’s power,” Mallory said. “The children in our generation want Harry’s power, and they’re getting it.”

    Well, the people of my generation could still keep them in line pretty easily with the power of Greyskull.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d like to have the Easter Bunny’s power. One could probably do all sorts of things with the ability to enter millions of homes in one night. And carry a possibly inexhaustable supply of eggs (or, theoretically, non-egg items).

    Somehow I imagine that with Easter power comes Easter responsibility as well, though.

  44. #44 dorid
    May 31, 2007

    Surely, they have “Christian-type” books like Lord Of The Rings and Narnia.

    You’re kidding, right? While the Chronicles of Narnia were explicitly Christian allegory, the Lord of the Rings was explicitly not.

    ROTFL… ah, three years ago my kids had a friend whose mom was trying to convince me that we should pressure the school to ban the Narnia books (there were no Harry Potter books in THIS conservative school library!) because the talking animals were obviously satanic. Sometimes stupidity transcends the obvious.

  45. #45 Richard, FCD
    May 31, 2007

    @Ichthyic

    LoTR is not specifically about WWII. My recollection from my youth (including time spent in Headington next to a wood allegedly the home of Aslan and the hobbits) … was that there are influences from WW II as well as WW I (in which Tolkein fought on the Western Front), as well as the ‘conflict’ between industrialization versus the loss of English countryside.

  46. #46 Monado
    May 31, 2007

    Funny. In Harry Potter’s world, it’s clear that wizardry is a talent, not the result of importuning a spirit for power–unlike religions.

    I suppose she wants to ban cute little stories about Pilgrim settlers, because they’re about religion?

    Please, everyone donate to your local library the Philip Pullman trilogy The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass. I have a feeling they’ve escaped banning attempts and national publicity only because no God-botherer has bothered to read them yet.

  47. #47 Monado
    May 31, 2007
  48. #48 mena
    May 31, 2007

    Weird synchronicity-I was reading a thread with dementors in the title and then went over to yahoo news and this was on that welcome page, nice and huge. I don’t know who was hardest hit by the dementor, Kirk Cameron or the people who wrote some of those replies!

  49. #49 Coragyps
    May 31, 2007

    I know nothing about Wicca and such woo. Do the Potter books have anything at all to to with real Wiccan belief or practice?

    Ann I read, back when I read LoTR in the 60’s, that most of it was written and sent in installments to Tolkien’s son, who was in the British Army in North Africa. During WWII – which leaves “inspired by” still an open question.

  50. #50 LeeLeeOne
    May 31, 2007

    Just a quick observation – sorry if this is a repeat… but an established religion would perhaps need to qualify for tax exemption status, right? Is there any atheist organization anywhere on this planet that actually applies and qualifies for a tax exempt status? Also, is not religion a belief in SOMETHING and not a belief in NOTHING?

  51. #51 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    Just a quick observation – sorry if this is a repeat… but an established religion would perhaps need to qualify for tax exemption status, right? Is there any atheist organization anywhere on this planet that actually applies and qualifies for a tax exempt status?

    yes, but the difference is that religious exemptions are handled differently than a standard 501c3 for a non-profit organization.

    Also, is not religion a belief in SOMETHING and not a belief in NOTHING?

    if you reword the last half of that to: “a lack of belief in X” then yeah, otherwise, “belief” in something, even if defined as “nothing”, still implies religion.

    I could see a religion based on a “belief” in nihilism. In fact, if you’re a sci fi fan, you might remember the “Nietschians” in the TV show “Andromeda”.

    now a LACK of belief, OTOH…

  52. #52 John C. Randoph
    May 31, 2007

    What’s Latin for “Fuck off, you bible-thumping whacko”?

    -jcr

  53. #53 Kseniya
    May 31, 2007

    Tolkien insisted that LOTR was not an allegory of WWII. But here is an interesting piece about the effects his own war experiences may have had on his writing.

    As for Harry Potter, I can’t think of a less theistic approach to magic in popular fiction. It’s completely non-religious… At no point do any of the characters call upon spirits, gods, or demons. Magic seems to be based on some naturally-occuring energy that can be channeled, shaped, or manipulated by those with the appropriate talents. (Cf Xanth.) Contrast with conventional sorcery such as the witchcraft in Buffy, which clearly relies on appeals to higher (or should I say lower, darker) powers.

    As for the occurance of magic in other popular literature, TV and film, well… needless to say, it’s everywhere. Kids like magic. So to grown-ups. It’s entertaining. But some people think it’s real, and it is they for whom we pray. *smirk*

  54. #54 RavenT
    May 31, 2007

    Wait, several years? And she’s 15 now? And doing this ruined her entire family? What, did she just jump straight into human sacrifice at 9 or so?

    I suspect *something* that changed her outlook and her relations with her family began a few years ago, but it probably wasn’t just reading books. From context, I also suspect her mom’s not the type you want to talk frankly and honestly to about those changes, either. /wild-ass-endocrinological-speculation

    Then again, I just came out of a discussion about bear estrus behavior, so you know what they say about when you’ve got a hammer, all that–so you should take my uninformed guess with a grain of saltpeter.

  55. #55 Moses
    May 31, 2007

    Posted by: LeeLeeOne

    Just a quick observation – sorry if this is a repeat… but an established religion would perhaps need to qualify for tax exemption status, right? Is there any atheist organization anywhere on this planet that actually applies and qualifies for a tax exempt status? Also, is not religion a belief in SOMETHING and not a belief in NOTHING?

    Actually they would fall under Sec. 501(c)(3) which covers religious, scientific, literary, educational and some other types of organizations.

  56. #56 Julie Stahlhut
    May 31, 2007

    Damn. I tried to put a curse on my English teacher in seventh grade, but nothing happened. I must have been doing it wrong. Too bad they didn’t have Harry Potter books in those days. Maybe I could have learned enough to make my teacher stub his toe or something.

    Come to think of it — I’ll bet he’s stubbed his toe at least a few times since 1968. My evil powers worked! Muhahahahahahhaaahaha!

  57. #57 ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    do you weigh the same as a duck, Julie?

  58. #58 One Eyed Jack
    May 31, 2007

    I suppose we would have to ban Macbeth as well.

    OEJ

  59. #59 Hank Roberts
    May 31, 2007

    What, besides Mammon, _do_ Muggles worship?

  60. #60 Ray S
    May 31, 2007

    I’m sad to say I actually live in the same county as this woman. Why she has her kids in a public school given her extreme beliefs is beyond me. She’s now actually lost this case 7 times, starting with the local classroom, through the school, county and state boards of education and now in superior court. She now claims she may go to federal court. From the many articles I’ve read, some written by her, it seems she actually believes that someone can cast spells. If not using the actual words from the Harry Potter series, then by being encouraged by it to find the real witchcraft manuals.

    Of course she actually believes someone once could walk on water too.

  61. #61 Elf Eye
    May 31, 2007

    “…I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.”

    The quotation comes from Tolkien’s Preface to the 2nd edition of LoTR. In the same preface, he downplays any influence that WW II might have had, writing that the fundamental elements of the narrative were established before 1939 and were unaltered by subsequent events. LoTR is, he declares “neither allegorical nor topical.”

  62. #62 Azkyroth
    May 31, 2007

    Wicca actually is a religion. It’s a kinda new agey benign pagan naturalist thing.

    I think Wicca is more accurately described as an adoption of some of the archetypes and trappings of pre-Christian pagan religions welded to the logical endpoint of salad-bar theology, personally.

  63. #63 Azkyroth
    May 31, 2007

    I have a friend who wanted the Harry Potter books removed from elementary schools because she felt that they were too “intense” for children. An adult is trying to kill a child! This is traumatic stuff, and parents should be the ones deciding whether or not it is appropriate to introduce it, etc. etc.

    As far as I know, she had only tried talking to the teachers, and not considered anything legal. I strongly suspect her sensitivity towards the tender feelings of the wee ones would get short shrift in any case. As I pointed out to her once, fairy tales have always been pretty gruesome. Kids actually like gruesome. And we’re talking 4th and 5th graders here, not the kindergarteners.

    Her argument is secular, of course, but it’s still based on the idea that kids are incredibly impressionable, and incapable of understanding the concept of “fiction.”

    Sastra: I suggest you print this out for her.

  64. #64 pleco
    May 31, 2007

    Too bad she didn’t win. If she had, then we wouldn’t have to worry about any creationism/ID books, the Bible, the Koran, etc. being in a school classroom. Of course, there would be no science, and English is used by religious texts, so I guess all that would be left is good ol’ Math!

  65. #65 Azkyroth
    May 31, 2007

    Too bad she didn’t win. If she had, then we wouldn’t have to worry about any creationism/ID books, the Bible, the Koran, etc. being in a school classroom. Of course, there would be no science, and English is used by religious texts, so I guess all that would be left is good ol’ Math!

    Nope.

  66. #66 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    it seems she actually believes that someone can cast spells.

    too much LSD. Maybe she grows her own grain?

  67. #67 Larry
    May 31, 2007

    Just goes to show you that the old saying You can’t fix stupid is even more true today. The really sad thing here, however, is that she has evidently had time to breed.

  68. #68 Kagehi
    May 31, 2007

    I own a set of Tarot cards, does that count? lol

    Reminds me of a song by a decidedly anarchist Filk singer named Leslie Fish, who also sadly is probably one of those believers in “alternate” religions, like Wicca:

    Teacher, teacher, you know what you’ll find.
    They want their thumbprints stamped on everyone’s mind.
    The kids suspect it and resent it like hell,
    And all too often they’ll suspect you as well.
    Teacher, teacher, tell me how can you teach
    When all the grownups only want you to preach?
    How can you teach the kids to think for themselves
    With all the censors stealing books off of shelves?

    http://www.sigitas.com/artist_l/leslie_fish_lyrics/teacher_teacher_lyrics.html

    Needless to say, I don’t exactly agree with her anti-government stances (the song comes from a cold war set about what people would do *after* the end of the world. The government isn’t the problem, its the idiots trying to preach through it. She also has one on Evolution too:

    http://www.sigitas.com/artist_l/leslie_fish_lyrics/better_than_who_lyrics.html

    Now, you really want to piss off these nuts, how about passing on recommendations for, “The Deryni Chronicles”, and more specifically “Deryni Magic”, by Katherine Kurtz. The later of which combines genetics (the abilities are a *trait* passed on from generation to generation), pagan and Catholic ritual, *and* a variation on old world religion. Basically, its Witchcraft + Xianism. lol I would think if they ever made a movie or TV series out of it, it would make their reaction to Harry Potter look like a minor case of the hiccups.

    Though, it would be even funnier if they embraced it.

  69. #69 kellbelle1020
    May 31, 2007

    “She was making a Constitutional argument (however ridiculous), not a Biblical one”

    No, she was using a constitutional *justification* for a biblical argument, because this country is still (for now) secular enough that a blatant “ban everything that goes against christianity” would get thrown out of court before it even got there.

    I would be willing to bet anything she would be adamantly opposed to the separation of church and state constitutional argument used to rid the schools of christianity.

  70. #70 Scholar
    June 1, 2007

    If she is heavier than a duck, and she does not float, then she is a witch.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    June 1, 2007

    got that wrong…

    it’s:

    if she weighs the same as a duck

    then she’s made of wood

    and therefore

    a witch

    (even if she IS wearing a fake nose).

  72. #72 Steven
    June 1, 2007

    Kids all around America claiming that MATHS is their religion and it doesn’t belong in schools. I can see it now.

  73. #73 Randy Owens
    June 1, 2007

    dkew:

    And she didn’t kill her disobedient daughter, the admitted witch.

    While it’s ambiguous in the quoted part, I think the daughter in question is her acquaintance’s daughter.

    At Thursday’s hearing, Mallory spoke against the books along with four other parents and students. One of them was Stacy Thomas, a mother of five, who said reading the “Harry Potter” series made her daughter turn to witchcraft, ultimately causing their Christian family to lose friends, finances and their reputation.
    Her daughter, Jordan Fusch, 15, testified that she began experimenting with tarot cards, curses and seances after reading the books.

  74. #74 speedwell
    June 1, 2007

    I own a set of Tarot cards, does that count? lol

    I collect Tarot decks. I’m not into the woo stuff. I started thinking about Tarot when my animator fiance was taking his class in cinematic storytelling and they were talking up the influence of myth on Star Wars. Tarot is kind of like one of those create-your-own-story books. The art can be incredibly competent and thoughful. And it’s the cheapest form of fine art collecting I know of.

    My cleaning lady, who is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, is not too thrilled about them, though, and demands that I put them away when she comes over. I never thought I’d be a skeptical atheist defending my hand-picked Tarot collection from a superstitious moron who believes in them, but there you go.

  75. #75 FSM!
    June 1, 2007

    This is great. I live in Georgia, and have read about this crazy woman since she started. I noticed that specific example of her hypocrisy when I read that article in the newspaper. I’m pretty sure she also said it promotes the wiccan religion.

  76. #76 Pablo
    June 1, 2007

    1) As many have noted, the biggest problem here is that these people actually think magic (like that in Harry Potter) is REAL. I’ve seen a comment something like, “Rowling includes real Wiccan curses in the book.”

    No, the Wiccan curses she has included in the book aren’t _real_ either. And she borrows a lot of aspects from mythology, such as the sphinx and the baselisk. That doesn’t make a baselisk real, either.

    2) As for the inherent evil of magic, Rowling has in fact addressed that explicitly in the book. She points out with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer that both the good and bad forces in the book use magic (I don’t remember how she described the look on Fudge’s face when he told the muggle minister, “Yes, but the other side can do magic, too.”, but ISTR it was somewhat sympathetic; however, I also STR that Scrimjaw’s expression was more of disgust). In this way, magic is merely a tool, much the same as how both the good guys and bad guys can have guns in a cop story.

    3) I am curious about the student who started doing tarot after reading HP, given how ANTI-OCCULT it is. Things like tarot, tea leaves, and crystal balls are treated as part of the fraudulant aspects of Sybil Trelawny, the Divination teacher. Yeah, Trelawny has her moments of real prophesy, but none of it is occult based, and it is described as resulting from an “inner eye” and not from things like tarot cards and astrology. Moreover, whereas the centaurs are highly superstitious (and do what could be called astrology), note that they scoff at human notions. In general, Rowling totally rips on popular occult. If this girl is getting into tarot after reading HP, then she is doing it on her own accord and not because of anything in the book.

  77. #77 dogmeatib
    June 1, 2007

    I’m sorry, I have to disagree that this was a constitutional rather than religious issue, this statement says it all:

    “I have a dream that God will be welcomed back in our schools again,” Mallory said. “I think we need him.”

    I think her goal is to fight anything “un-Christian” in school. I think we should encourage her, it probably keeps her from attacking evolution and science curriculum, or at least takes up some of her time.

  78. #78 Frumious B
    June 1, 2007

    I suspect *something* that changed her outlook and her relations with her family began a few years ago

    I’m guessing puberty.

  79. #79 George
    June 1, 2007

    I think that people like Mallory have a very real fear of magic. Their own faith requires constant magical thinking, and denying what their eyes see and what science tells us (or what little science they understand). So I can see how their kids would easily confuse HP for reality.

    She wouldn’t happen to have any relatives named Dursley, would she?

  80. #80 Parris Hughes
    June 1, 2007

    The sad part is that this is like her 5th attempt at this; we have to keep watching this nut-case on the evening news over and over. And she’s appealing the latest ruling as well. **sigh**

  81. #81 Theo Bromine
    June 1, 2007

    She wouldn’t happen to have any relatives named Dursley, would she?

    Was anyone else struck by the similarity in names for people that fancy themselves to be a Potter nemesis? It’s a miniscule evilutionary step from Mallory to Malfoy (just move that “r” to be superimposed on the 2nd “l” – magic!)

  82. #82 Keith Douglas
    June 1, 2007

    Rey Fox: In some versions of the mythology, the Easter Bunny has to, er, produce the eggs out of his own body. Are you sure you want that responsibility?

  83. #83 Wobert
    June 1, 2007

    I suppose it’s to be expected from a muggle, what next, a register for mutants?

  84. #84 Ron Sullivan
    June 2, 2007

    In some versions of the mythology, the Easter Bunny has to, er, produce the eggs out of his own body.

    Wouldn’t those be more like Easter raisins?

  85. #85 Anton Mates
    June 2, 2007

    I suspect *something* that changed her outlook and her relations with her family began a few years ago, but it probably wasn’t just reading books. From context, I also suspect her mom’s not the type you want to talk frankly and honestly to about those changes, either. /wild-ass-endocrinological-speculation

    Ah, I get it. She became yet another avid consumer of Potter slash, and her mother walked in at an inopportune moment.

    “WHAT in the name of the Seven-Horned Seven-Eyed Zombie Lamb are you DOING!?”

    “Uh…magic, mom!”

  86. #86 Chinchillazilla
    June 2, 2007

    Are religious texts available in school libraries? Can a student check out the Koran or The Bible, for examples?

    My school has two Bibles to check out, and a huge one in the reference section (I’m pretty sure it’s only there because it doesn’t fit on the other shelves). Haven’t checked on the Koran, but I do know of at least one teacher who has one in her room she lets people borrow.

    I’m not even going to touch on crazy Harry Potter lady.

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