Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's not Harry Potter's fault

A mother of four from the Atlanta area is asking the Georgia Board of Education to ban the Harry Potter series because it promotes evil and fosters a culture where school shootings happen. Her solution?

Students should instead read the Bible.

Now, besides the obvious separation of church and state issue here, another obvious question arises. How much violence has been associated with the religions since the dawn of mankind? And is it not such closed-mindedness displayed by this woman that is at the root of much of the violence and ignorance we see today and have seen for centuries?

A few illustrations (recent and historic):

  • 19 hijackers claiming allegiance to Allah and Islam crash into buildings to punish people for not worshipping their way.

  • Members of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas protest at the funerals of Iraq war soldiers to show that God is punishing America for homosexuality.

  • Eric Rudolph bombs abortion clinics killing doctors, nurses and others because God is against the killing of unborn children.

  • The Catholic church tortures non-believers during the Spanish Inquisition. (As Jon Stewart so eloquently noted in a recent broadcast "The Catholic church regrets that so many non-believers were so flammable.")

  • The Crusades kill millions in an effort to spread the love of Christ. And Islam is no better -- their holy book advocates spreading their beliefs by the sword.

Could it be that the current wave of violence is provoked not by Harry Potter or any other "secular" missives but by the close-mindedness of religions worldwide that seek to force their particular brand of "goodness" on the world?


Anonymous said...

right on jo jo... isn't it ironic that the very document that is purported as infallable truth can cause so much misinterpretation (to say the least!). BTW i'm talking about the bible and not Harry Potter.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of counter-arguments to the blaming of religion for these deaths, but here's a very specific one: by suppressing the translation of the bible and other prerequisites to protestantism, the spanish inquisition saved far more lives than it cost. Compare the 1-2 thousand who died in Spain during the inquisition to germany, where the jews helped the protestants translate the bible and rise up against church authority: 50% of all germany died in the thirty years' war. (Whether the 30 years' war was actualy a religious war, or whether protestantism was given political cover to provide a pretext for the underlying power play, depends on whom you ask.)

As a protestant, I can't say that I approve of the inquisition, but if you're tallying body counts, it bears keeping in mind that, at a minimum, it put off social reform in Spain and the accompanying death toll in spain until the 20th century.

My mom recommended your blog; it's really good!

-- Todd Lewis