In a controversy that sounds pumped in from the early 2000s (if not the early 1600s), a Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee has banned the Harry Potter books, citing the counsel of several exorcists. No word on whether not they checked to see whether or not the books floated before doing so.
According to an email obtained by The Tennessean, Reverend Dan Reehil removed all seven books in the Harry Potter series from the St. Edward Catholic School library, citing the advice of several exorcists in the United States and in Rome.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” Reehil wrote. “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.” This will come as a great surprise to those of who spent hours as children trying to leviosa our pets into floating.
Love it or hate it, the students of St. Edward’s aren’t left with much recourse. Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told The Tennessean that “each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school,” Hammel said. “He’s well within his authority to act in that manner.”
During the Pottermania heyday of the early ’00s, the Harry Potter books were regularly criticized by Christian groups for occult material. Rowling herself is a Christian, a fact which she says “‘seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God.”
Offended or not, the books won’t be available to St. Edward students at school, although officials acknowledged they might be able to find them through other means such as, say, any bookstore or library in America.
“Should parents deem that this or any other media to be appropriate we would hope that they would just guide their sons and daughters to understand the content through the lens of our faith,” Hammel said. “We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries is age-appropriate materials for our classrooms.”