"Cathedral protesters vow to disrupt Harry Potter"
|London: Christian protesters have vowed to sing hymns and wave banners to disrupt filming if plans to make the first Harry Potter movie at Gloucester Cathedral are given the go-ahead.
The 900-year-old landmark site was chosen as a key location for the making of J K Rowling's first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Gloucester Dean the Very Rev Nicholas Bury has given the making of the movie his blessing.
But religious campaigners have claimed filming the movie in the historic building will defile it and incite witchcraft.
A group of seven Christians have said they are prepared to picket the site with banners and hymn-singing when filming begins later this year.
The protest is being led by Derek and Paula Clare, who run a Christian web site and online religious shop called New Day.
The couple plan to first write to Warner Brothers begging them to rethink their decision to film at the cathedral.
Mr Clare, 45, of Quedgeley in Gloucestershire, said: "We are prepared to stand outside the cathedral with banners if they arrive to film.
"They cannot object to us singing and having banners while sitting in a few strategic spots." Mrs Clare, 37, added: "If Jesus was at the cathedral he would not allow this. People think the Harry Potter books are fun but I cannot imagine him saying it is fun.
"They should not be using the cathedral, which is a house of God. The character of Harry Potter is a wizard encouraging witchcraft and is contrary to the word of God.
"Is this the sort of thing we should be teaching our children? This is defiling the cathedral. Witchcraft is rebellion against God." The film will tell the story of trainee wizard Harry and his battles with arch-enemy Voldemort after he enrols at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Self-confessed Potter fan Mr Bury said earlier he thought the cathedral would make the perfect setting.
He admitted he had read three of the books and thought they were good family entertainment, despite calls from religious officials in America for the books to be banned.
They sparked controversy amid claims they were inciting witchcraft. But Mr Bury thinks the books could be on the same level as C S Lewis's tales of Narnia, which have their roots in Christianity.
He said: "I think the book is a marvellous traditional children's story and excellently written. In the book goodness, honesty and integrity overcome lies and deceit.
"I believe the books are likely to become classic children's stories in the great tradition of C S Lewis's Narnia stories and J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
"It is just the sort of story families should be encouraged to read."