A Catholic School in Nashville has banned Harry Potter books from its library, because a pastor decided that “the curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells.”
Well, hide your cynicism, because reports suggest that Reverend Dan Reehil from St. Edward Catholic School did not make this highly controversial decision lightly. Before sending JK Rowling’s books into purgatory, he “consulted several exorcists in the US and Rome” who decided that the boy wizard had to go. Has an exorcist ever said ‘Actually, don’t worry about it’ to any question ever?
In an email, Reehil claims: “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact 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.” That will be news to the British author who famously came up with her Potterian gobbledegook while sat in an Edinburgh cafe.
Well, even the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Rebecca Hammel, appeared keen to back away from this one. She’s quoted by CBS as saying that, while the Catholic Church does not have an official position on the magical book and movie series, “each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school… He’s [Reehil] well within his authority to act in that manner.”
The last book in the series was published 12 years ago, so already several generations of St. Edward’s pupils have risked being cursed while Reehil was consulting his exorcists. Can the children still get the books on their iPhones?
Well, the book-banning pastor may not be finished just yet, warning that any other materials “which present a possible threat to our faith will not be promoted by our church or school.”
I wonder what’s next on his list. Disney films, with their other-worldly talking animals? The weird incantations of Dr Seuss’ books? What about the demonic-looking Gruffalo?
The real question is whether children’s education should be entrusted to a fully grown man who believes that magic, miracles and men who can fly in the sky are real, just because it’s written in a book? Oh, wait a minute …
But y’know, despite everything I’ve said, I do believe that this move is in the best interests of all the children studying at St Edward’s, because parents now know that the school poses a far bigger risk to their kids’ future than Voldemort ever could, and they need to get them out of there as fast as possible.