One night recently school age children lined up at theatres at midnight to see the latest Harry Potter movie. Some were wearing Harry Potter outfits and others were dressed or marked to appear like other characters in Harry Potter stories. What is the attraction? Where were the parents? Where were the Christians?  Where were the Christian pastors?

Parents have accepted the excuse that Harry Potter is merely children’s fantasy, and therefore is harmless. Elementary teachers have been sold the same story and that the books are helpful in getting students interested in reading.

In fact, Harry Potter is a well-researched and thought-out introduction to the occult and witchcraft. It is couched in fantasy language, and children’s literature, and made to be humorous and beautifully written. It is extremely provocative reading and opens up children to want to have the next one.

We are told that this is the final installment of the Harry Potter series. Where do the kids go from here for their next thrill? Each year, thousands of teens are turning their backs on Christianity, and joining witches’ covens, in order to learn spells, so as to pass school exams, attract boyfriends or girlfriends, or get rich. Those who have sufficient discernment to understand the spiritual ramifications of Harry Potter describe it as “Witchcraft repackaged.”

Adults involved in the occult credit Harry Potter with “sparking an interest” in magic and spells. The secretary of the Magic Circle Young Magicians’ Club is quoted saying: “Those who say Harry Potter’s Books do not teach witchcraft don’t understand that one of the essentials of witchcraft is that there is no good or evil. There is no right or wrong. It is, as you perceive it. So there’s a sort of relativism, that in your situation if you do one thing or in my situation if I do a different thing, we’re both doing the right thing even if it’s wrong. There are no absolutes … However, throughout the book, Harry is rewarded when he deliberately lies, or deliberately does something wrong; instead of the teachers expelling him, he is rewarded.”

The U. S. publisher of the Harry Potter series is Scholastic, Inc. They are the largest publisher of children’s books in the world and reach more than 32 million children each year. Scholastic’s website helps integrate Harry Potter materials into classroom activities. Teachers are encouraged to read Harry Potter materials aloud in the classroom. The religion of witchcraft, repackaged through Harry Potter, is given honorable status and the strategic position in public schools. At the same time, the reading of Bible-based material is banned in American schools.

On certain occasions, elementary schools have students dress as Harry Potter characters, and march through the halls. This allows little Sally to be a witch for a day and little Johnny to pretend he is Harry Potter, the hero of the series.

In middle and high schools, the students move on from fantasy to the real thing. During the early 1990’s I was substituting for a librarian in a Greenville County High School. I had been told by one of the students that there was a “How To Cast Spells” book on witchcraft in the library, but it was never on the shelf. When a student turned it in, another would be there to check it out. One day while I was working at the desk, two female students approached the desk with the book on witchcraft. One was turning it in and another wanted to check it out immediately. It was never allowed to be placed on the shelf because the students feared that a Christian teacher would spot it and have it removed.

Good and evil are real, and Harry Potter can be an entry point to the spiritual world that involves the essence of evil.

President Jimmy Carter introduced the occult into the top levels of the federal government. As a reluctant participant at the time, I can assure parents that dabbling in the occult is definitely not suitable for child’s play.

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Mike Scruggs