There are very few things I love in this life as much as Harry Potter. It is one of the only things — along with my appreciation for our goddesses upon high, the Spice Girls — that I am still as obsessed with as when I was little. You could lose me for hours under a blanket with any of the Harry Potter novels. However not everyone feels the same way, with a priest in Poland burning the Harry Potter books because he was alarmed by the magic, the BBC reports. The Catholic priests burned books that they consider to be sacrilegious, and the Harry Potter series found itself in that category. But this isn’t the first time Harry Potter and religion have hit the headlines.
As the BBC reports, it was the evangelical group, the SMS from Heaven Foundation, that published pictures of the priest burning books in Koszalin, Poland. On Facebook, the group stated that it was justifiable to burn certain things including books under the rules in the Bible condemning magic. A passage from the Bible that the group pointed to to justify their practices is from Acts and says, “many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
The group are named SMS from Heaven Foundation due to the fact that they send their members Christian text messages. There were numerous other objects included in the fire, with the Independent reporting that copies of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series were also burned, along with "a statue of an elephant, a tribal mask and a pink umbrella."
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that the Harry Potter series and religious leaders haven’t seen eye to eye. In fact, the Independent reports that 6 burnings of JK Rowling's iconic texts have been recorded in the U.S. alone since 2001.
While some have embraced the magic as fantasy fun, others have said Harry Potter is a stepping stone to “real world occultism.” Some scholars have made it their lives work to prove how anti-religious Harry Potter and his pals are, while others have attempted to find the deep Christian meanings in the adventures at Hogwarts. As The New Yorker has reported, books such as Harry Potter and the Bible: the Menace Behind the Magick have argued that Satan is hiding in the pages of the much loved children’s series. However, other Christian writers such as Greg Garrett have found a deeply Christian narrative throughout the books. It looks like there is a bigger debate to be had when it comes to the wizarding world, other than what house you would be sorted into.
The actions in Poland were actually criticised by fellow Catholics, too. As the Washington Post reports, the spokesperson for the local diocese where the acts were committed said he “did not like this form of priestly activity, which is wrong.” The newspaper also reports that many critical comments were left under the Facebook post.