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 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?

  2. #2 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.

  3. #3 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.”

  4. #4 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.

  5. #5 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?

  6. #6 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.

  7. #7 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…

  8. #8 ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    do you weigh the same as a duck, Julie?

  9. #9 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.

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    it seems she actually believes that someone can cast spells.

    too much LSD. Maybe she grows her own grain?

  11. #11 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).

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