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I shouldn't laugh, I shouldn't laugh... but what the heck, I am anyway.

A parent in Georgia wants the Harry Potter books pulled from the libraries in Gwinnett County Public Schools because she objects to the books' "evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder,evil blood sacrifice, spells and teaching children all of this."

Unfortunately, she hasn't actually read the books because they're very long and she has four kids. Later in the Gwinnett Daily Post article, she's quoted as stating that she doesn't have to read an entire pornographic magazine to know it's obscene. Why does that sound like Jesse Helms?

If that wasn't funny enough:
- she also stated that it would be hypocritical for her to read the Harry Potter books because she doesn't agree with their content;
- described part of her "lots of research" on the topic as online research at Christian message boards and Harry Potter fan sites; and
- in her complaint to the school board, she suggests the books be replaced by the Chronicles of Narnia (don't most school libraries already have them?) or the children's version of the Left Behind series.

Read that again: there's a children's version of the Left Behind series.

But I'm laughing at this woman not because this sounds like a story from The Onion or The Daily Show, but because of her reasons for not reading the books. Do average people quit reading after they have kids? I don't want to associate with people that don't read for pleasure unless they listen to a lot of audiobooks, or at least listen to NPR or something so we have something to talk about other than parenting.

(When I was composing this post, I took an extended tangent about how much I love Sylvia Poggioli and would never kick her out of bed for eating crackers, but I'm pretty sure most of you don't want to know that much about my fantasy life. I could seriously listen to her reading the phone book, though.)

I've had the Foremen's "That Jesse Helms Song" ever since I first heard about this lady. I'd like to rail against federally funded smut with an eight-foot bullwhip... ah, screw it. I think that outraged parents that don't actually read the book(s) they're offended by are funnier than a dog in an Elizabethan collar trying to lick its butt.

My favorite commentary on the story so far:

[in response to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution message board poster that asks whether Christians have any rights at all to not have non-Christian beliefs pushed on them:] "I have heard the Constitution has something to say about free expression and nonestablishment of religion, but I haven't read it, because it is long." -- Michael Schaub, in the Bookslut blog

edit 21 April 2006: the Gwinnett Daily Post followed up on the school board meeting: "Trouble with Harry".


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
Argh....I started to post about this a couple of days ago, but then got embarassed that I live in a neighboring county to this idiot.


Good post on the subject here, with interesting tidbits. Thanks!
Apr. 20th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
Proximity is always interesting.

I was embarassed in high school when parents of my classmates objected to Rabbit, Run as optional summer reading for 12th grade English. I appreciated their concern but was disappointed that they were so perturbed over a book their student was not required to read. (The alternative choice was Catcher in the Rye.)

Your nuts icon is fitting for this topic. (:
Apr. 19th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
I am so fracking SICK of Christianity. /bangs head on wall
Apr. 19th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
Georgia is VERY much like that. Back when I was dating Julie she told me that her (ex) husband had been literally buring her children's fantasy and mythology books because they were "satanic". Apparently he had joined some ultra-conservative, fundamentalist sect and they had regular sessions destroying books and music. The scariest part was that she wasn't upset about it.

Ah, hindsight.
Apr. 20th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Apparently he had joined some ultra-conservative, fundamentalist sect and they had regular sessions destroying books and music. The scariest part was that she wasn't upset about it.

That didn't upset her?!

That's the kind of thing that happens in my nightmares.
Apr. 20th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
She's a creationist, need I say more?
Apr. 20th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)
Were you on my friends' list when I sat on that committee to review the first Harry Potter book as a result of a local minister claiming it had Satanic influences?

THAT was a trip.

And, no, the entire committee voted his wishes down. He wanted not only any district references to HP destroyed, but also the books kids may bring from home to school for "open reading!"
Apr. 20th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
I once had a fundamentalist English teacher. After I'd finished the assignments that I probably could have better spent my time training a monkey to do, I'd whip out a D&D book. She actually demanded I not read them in the classroom. Wish I was a bit more headstrong back then, because it would have been interesting.
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
Oh man, I used to live in that county. How weird!

Some people are beyond idiotic and she is a perfect example.
Apr. 20th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)
You know, I find it ironic that a man who made his first big record deal by biting the head off a live dove in the right company is now Bill O'Reilly's favorite family man.

I noticed a minister in my town driving a late model benz sedan... Looked like 2004-2006. That is a little expensive when you don't live in Germany. I won't say I live in a typical Georgia town, but mine has an estimated population of 6919, five trailer parks, and 19 churches. Sounds like there's a lot of money to be made in this business.
Apr. 20th, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC)
[in response to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution message board poster that asks whether Christians have any rights at all to not have non-Christian beliefs pushed on them:]

How about the 220 years (roughly) that the non-Christians in this country have had Christian beliefs pushed on them? Specifically the Jews and Native Americans, but in recent times also the Muslims, Buddhists, etc. I mean bloody fucking CHRISTMAS and EASTER are government holidays! You can't get much more pro-Christian than having government holidays on those two days, but not on Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, Samhain, Beltane, or any variety of other highest holy days from other religious traditions.

Christianity has been subtly established as the religion of our government for the last 2 centuries despite the First Amendment. It's about time that was being reversed! It's too bad that these whiny, "oppressed" Christians are too blind to see where they've had a government endorsement for centuries in contravention of our laws, and this is simply a move to restore and uphold the Constitution.

Sorry...I'm just sick of the whole "poor, oppressed, straight, white, male Christian" ethos that has become so prevalent in recent years.
Apr. 20th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
To give you an idea of just how far we have drifted, for the first few decades we had Sunday mail delivery, it was a major issue for the loonier christians to get that stopped.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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