Sunday, June 10, 2007

Harry Potter Poses Threat To The Irretrievably Stupid

I'm not a big fan of Harry Potter. I'll admit it. I've seen a couple of the movies, and frankly, I can't figure out what all the fuss is about. The reasons for the mass hysteria surrounding the fictional character could probably be explained by Malcolm Gladwell, but to me they remain elusive.

Nevertheless, if Potter is able to weed religious nuts out of the education system, then more power to him! You see, it seems that Sariya Allan, a teaching assistant in England, refused to allow her 7 year old student to read from a Harry Potter book. Why? Well, of course because she felt she would be "cursed" by hearing of the young wizard's adventures. Allan explained to the obviously bewildered student, "I don't do witchcraft in any form". Good for her! Messing with the fictional otherworldy is no game for mere teaching assistants!

Naturally, Ms. Allan was dismissed. She is now seeking damages of £50,000 for religious discrimination. When asked to elaborate, Allan provided this bit of wisdom:
"I said this because it is known that the subject of the Harry Potter books is white magic, the main character is a wizard who casts spells and uses the supernatural to triumph in various plots throughout the stories. The Holy Bible gives express instruction against some of the practices contained in the book, and I therefore objected to the child reading this book to me."

If anyone else out there feels that the kid in the picture above poses a serious threat to their religion, may I suggest you take a moment to re-evaluate your belief system.

As I said earlier, I'm no fan of Harry Potter. But making an irretrievably stupid teaching assistant disappear from a classroom may just be his best magic trick ever.

Update: Apparently, Sariya Allan is not alone in her lunacy...

Excerpt from "Jesus Camp"


knb said...

I've neither read a Potter book, nor seen a Potter movie. I know that makes me a freak, but there you have it.

I have however read numerous accounts of how some believe this infringes on their belief system. "Magic" is bad.

Who among us did not grow up with the mystery of magic? Too many books to mention, then movies, and TV. We turned out just fine.

It begs the question, what is it about these people who condemn, that they missed in their childhood?

Red Canuck said...

knb - I too have never read any of the Potter books. And the only reason I've seen a couple of the movies is that they happened to be on TV on nights when I had little else to do.

There are so many puzzling aspects to this. Stories like Potter are timeless in that they make up part of the fabric of normal childhood. Did these people not enjoy Walt Disney, or the Smurfs or any other fantastical dalliances of youth?

And people like Allan appear to believe that their actions demonstrate the strength of their beliefs. I would tend to argue the opposite. How strong can your faith be if you feel it threatened by a fictional character from a children's book??

MD said...

I don't consider this person to be "irretrievably stupid" because she subscribes to bizarre religious beliefs. Her problem is that her belief system doesn't allow her to perform her job professionally or appropriately. And if she can't do that, she shouldn't have taken the job.

I think a number of people who have ended up in litigation claiming that their employers have offended their "religious freedom" seem incapable of understanding that they also have the freedom to choose jobs and endeavours that they can actually perform. I can't believe she thinks its reasonable that a 7 year old child needs to suffer to accomodate her religious freedom.

Anonymous said...

I remember years ago the religious wing nuts wanted Huckleberry Fin and Tom Sawyer taken off reading lists as well.

I think they are trying to make the Bible the only book to read.

Some how, I don't think that the beautiful princess stories and good witches and bad witches has twisted my mind.

The Bible certainly has it's share of magic (called miracles), sex and violence.

Red Canuck said...

I don't consider this person to be "irretrievably stupid" because she subscribes to bizarre religious beliefs.

md - Allan is stupid not because of her religious beliefs per se. As Bill Maher has correctly observed, all religions have practices which, to an outside observer, could be construed as bizarre.

She is stupid because:
a) She fears that her belief system can be threatened by a fictional children's character such as Harry Potter.
b) She uses phrases such as "white magic" in a serious way.
c) She feels it appropriate to foist her religious beliefs on a 7 year old student and then herself wails about religious persecution.

If I knew her better, I could probably add to this list. The matter of whether or not she is irretrievably stupid, I shall leave open for debate. But I strongly suspect that someone as deep in the waters of lunacy as she is beyond rescue.

Anonymous said...

I beleve it is completely inexcusable that many people here a insulting this women for simply expressing her believe. If we had more people like her in the world then we certainly would have more open and honest individuals.