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School Kicks Harry Potter Out of Library

Pastor worries about effects of curses and spells
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
Friederike Kunze, 11, of Berlin reads "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in a bookstore in 2003.   (AP Photo/Franka Bruns, File)

(Newser) – After consulting exorcists, a school in Tennessee has pulled the Harry Potter books from its library because of their magical content. In an email, the pastor of St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville said: "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." The school superintendent of the diocese said the Roman Catholic Church has no official stance on J.K. Rowling's series, the Tennessean reports, so the decision is up to the individual pastor. "We really don't get into censorship in such selections," the superintendent said, "other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries is age appropriate materials for our classrooms." St. Edward teaches pre-K through eighth grade.

Religious groups—especially Christian ones—have objected to the content since the first of the books, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, came out in 1997, per the Telegraph. The books have been accused of glorifying paganism and prohibited in the United Arab Emirates schools as un-Islamic. The series appeared in an exhibition of banned books at the National Library of Scotland, which noted that the US edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has been No. 1 on the American Library Association's list of books censored by schools and libraries. The Nashville diocese superintendent said the church wants parents to decide whether children can read the books. "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," she said. (Read more Harry Potter stories.)

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