This priest thinks the magic in Harry Potter is real, to which we all say, “We wish”
A Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee, has removed copies of Harry Potter books from its shelves and won’t allow any students to read the books on campus. The reason? Rev. Dan Reehil, one of the pastors at the school, thinks the magic in the books is real and kids could use it to conjure up evil spirits as they read.
Here’s the email he sent out to parents that explained his reasoning: “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.”
Rev. Reehil is apparently living in the world all of us have wished we lived in since we were 11 and didn’t receive our Hogwarts letters, making us grapple with the harsh reality that either we were muggles, or Harry Potter wasn’t actually real. Most of us did grow up and accept the latter, but apparently Reehil still believes. Lucky him.
Never mind the fact that if Harry Potter spells were actually real, my brothers and I would have murdered each other with our backyard twig wands and unforgivable curses years ago.
“Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school,” said Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville. “He’s well within his authority to act in that manner.”
Hammel said Reehil’s decision only affects the single school where he works, and told The Tennessean that she thought the Harry Potter books were still on library shelves at other schools in the diocese. Regardless, this ban only applies to school, and kids are still free to read the books at home, she said.
“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 explained. “We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries is age appropriate materials for our classrooms.”
Here’s hoping parents are onboard, because studies have shown that aside from it being a fantastic, entertaining story about life, loss, hope, and defending good, reading Harry Potter actually makes kids better people. A paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that the books’ subtly allegorical take on racism actually makes kids more empathetic to minorities. Then there’s the fact that banning books doesn’t actually accomplish much at all, and you should let your kids be exposed to the more mature, realistic parts of the world that they might encounter by reading.
Spells and curses aren’t real, but the lessons they can learn from Harry Potter are.
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