Harry Potter


"Wizard warning for young Christian minds"

by Stephanie Peatling ("Sydney Morning Herald," March 22, 2001)

Not everyone is under the spell of publishing phenomenon Harry Potter, with the head of a coalition of nearly 100 Christian schools about to write to parents cautioning them about the books.
The Rev Robert Frisken, the head of Christian Community Schools Ltd, does not want the stories about the trainee wizard banned but suggests the books should carry warning stickers before they are placed in school libraries.
While the stories do concentrate on magic, Mr Frisken said he was more concerned about the "inversion of morality".
"The ordinary person is typified as being bad because they have no powers, and heroes are the people who are using the occult. Good finds itself in the occult, which is an inversion of morality for many Christian people."
Mr Frisken will this month send letters to parents in each of the 90 independent member schools across Australia, 50 of which are in NSW, asking them to consider the issues raised in the stories and discuss them with their children.
The four Harry Potter books have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and remain near the top of international bestseller lists three years after the first one appeared.
There are three more scheduled to appear, and a highly anticipated film of the first instalment, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, will be released at the end of the year.
But the books have become a controversial addition to classrooms in America, with figures from the American Library
Association indicating they were the most challenged books of 1999. Efforts to restrict their use or remove them from classrooms and school libraries were reported in 19 states.
In Australia the books were banned from the Christian Outreach College on Queensland's Sunshine Coast earlier this year. The Bega Valley Christian College on the NSW South Coast has decided against stocking the books in its library.
Mrs Jill Ireland, a member of the school's education committee, said the schools "regarded it as reasonable for parents to question the books".
"We can't stop people reading them but we are pushing harder for people to think critically about them," Mrs Ireland said.