A Tennessee school has banned the Harry Potter books from the school library because officials fear that students reading them will recite the spells and conjure demons, The Tennessean reports.
The immensely-popular series of books from author J.K. Rowling are not welcome inside the walls of St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville. In an email to parents, the Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the school, explained why.
“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.”
Reehill went on to say that he had consulted “several” exorcists, all of whom advised against allowing the books into the pre-K through eighth-grade school for these reasons.
Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, says that, officially, the Catholic Church does not have a position on the Harry Potter books one way or another, instead leaving decisions about their inclusion in schools a matter for the schools’ pastors.
“Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school. He’s well within his authority to act in that manner,” Hammel said.
#NEW: A Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee bans the Harry Potter book series from its library, after its pastor took issue with the books' portrayal of magic which could “risk conjuring evil spirits” when read. #OANN https://t.co/zvLpmPVzhM— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) September 2, 2019
Hammel further said that she hopes that parents of kids enrolled in the school will take a page out of the school’s book and ban the books from their homes as well.
The Harry Potter books, which tell the story of the namesake teenage wizard and the magical community that surrounds him, frequently top the list of the American Library Association‘s most banned and challenged books. As the group reports, school officials, parents, and other parties frequently pressure libraries — school libraries and public libraries alike — to remove the books from their shelves. The most commonly-cited reason for banning the books is the allegation that the books promote Satanism or occultism.
According to Good magazine, most of the opposition to the books comes from evangelical Protestant Christians, and not necessarily Catholics. Indeed, not only have pastors, parents, and other individuals associated with evangelical Christianity attempted to get the books banned from libraries, they’ve staged public book burnings, casting the books into the roaring flames.
Other books that frequently make the Library Association’s most banned or challenged books include the Captain Underpants series and To Kill a Mockingbird, among dozens of others.