Penryn, PA Police VS Harry Potter : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

Our youngest son at Drexel sent us an e-mail link to CNN (entertainment page) today. It seems that the local police department of Penryn, PA (a little West of Philly) has decided that because the local YMCA is sponsoring a Harry Potter books reading for the local kids that the police (all 8 of them) have refused to provide services such as traffic control, security, etc. at a YMCA-sponsored triathalon event this Fall. The police chief says that all 8 officers believe the Harry Potter series of books to be inherently evil and against their personal religious beliefs, ergo their decision. Interesting! As a born-again Christian, I also believe that the Harry Potter books have passages in them which are indeed evil..( the author has admitted that she included real witchcraft "spells" from actual witchcraft texts to make her story "more authentic")..I do not like the idea of millions of small children reading witchcraft spells..nonetheless,, I LOVE the US allows all of us our religious freedoms. Without it, one is left with the Talibam mentality. Police are paid via taxes..their job is to protect and serve the populace at large, with ZERO judgement regarding any citizens religious beliefs. I have decided twice to quit some rather high paying positions over the years rather than compromise my religious beliefs..if these policemen are tired of protecting and defending ALL citizens, then they ought to move along to other careers where their personal opinions are permitted to influenece their judgement. The SECOND we allow anyone in a government capacity to override the Constitution, we are in for a rapid descent into either anarchy or dictatorship. I sent off a note to the PA chapter of the ACLU, just in case they were not already aware of the situation.....I like my rights under the Constitution just as they are...if I do not protect the rights of those whom I disagree with, who will be left to protect my own?????

-- lesley (, January 24, 2002


I agree with you on that point. I don't even want to see legislation passed that prohibits burning of our Flag. While I respect our Flag and would never condone someone burning it as a protest and probably get arrested trying to stop it fron being defiled, I know legislation making it a crime takes away from the freedoms it represents. Life can be a paradox.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, January 24, 2002.

I agree in principle, but disagree in application. I don't think we should have police doing all the public service things they do with traffic****UNLESS**** there is an actual trafic division in the PD. I think places should provide their own controls whenever possible.

Then also, I kind of wonder what this world would be like if individuals couldn't express their dissent. Like what happens if all the police with a strong moral code are forced to quit because they cannot in good conscience continue to do a job that protects the freedoms of sorcery, and requires arrest of sidewalk counselors at abortion mills? hmmmm. Just a thought. Maybe freedom for all?? That would be good!

-- Doreen (, January 25, 2002.

I think maybe you misunderstand what services are being denied YMCA by the police. Most events in need of security and traffic control have to pay for it. They either have to pay the city for the police manpower or directly pay off duty officers to work the event.

However, there are many events that are such a benefit to the communities that all officers VOLUNTEER (without pay)their off duty hours as a community service in addition to their regular paid duies. Just because officers have volunteered to work for free in the past, does not mean they are required to so again.

The YMCA. Young Mens Christian Association? Either take Harry Potter out of it or take Christ's name out of it 'cause he ain't there anymore.

-- Laura (, January 25, 2002.

I don't know what all the hoopla is about anyway. I have several old children's books here and all of them have a lot of stories about witches, fairies, elves, etc. These books were printed in the early 1920's or before. And don't leave out Mother Goose. She taught us "Weir, briar, limber lock. Three geese in a flock. One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest." That is supposed to be a "witches" incantation, although I couldn't possibly tell you for what. I cannot tell the children brought up reading these things turned out so terribly bad. After all, they are the ones that fought WWII, raised at least some of us, etc. It is what is taught in the home of origin that makes the most difference and requires the most effort. And if the police feel so strongly against providing traffic assistance because an institution "promotes" Harry Potter books, I think they should just resign and find other employment. It is their right not to serve in this case, but it is the organization's right to read and otherwise "promote" Harry Potter also. This new bunch of Christians is starting to look an awful lot like the old bunch of Christians that conducted all manners of atrocities in the name of Jehovah and Jesus in Europe several centuries ago. Anytime any religious group absolutely takes over a government, they begin to persecute all the other groups if they can.

-- Green (, January 25, 2002.

On another forum where I posted this, a gentleman replied that these services were vounteered in the past by that police department..unpaid, on their own time, that case, I withdraw my remarks.......we ALL pick and choose whom we eill support with our volunteer efforts don't we? This was not meant to get into a Christian VS Harry Potter debate, but to illustrate that despite strong views on the part of some folks such as myself regarding the inherent evil of anything...the Constitutional rights of the individuals come first..otherwise, we ALL would lose those precious freedoms to worship as we choose in this country.

-- lesley (, January 25, 2002.

Not to mention that early fairy tales (you can now get politically correct ones which are, well, insipid) were designed to frighten children into obeying their parents and not wandering off without permission.

I have not read the HP books, but it has been my experience that whenever you "demonize" something, so you speak, all you do is make it that much more attractive to the very element of society that you DON'T want it exposed to in the first place. And it doesn't help that many who condemn (or praise) haven't read something in the first place--they listen to their friends, or their church, or reviews instead of honestly making up their own minds on a subject.

-- GT (, January 25, 2002.

Meant "so to speak", not "so you speak".

-- GT (, January 25, 2002.

I just got back from visiting my grandkids in Floriduh. I haven't seen so much tv since i got rid of my "set", back in 1973. These kids watched 'toons and stuff ALL DAY!

If you folks are worried about Harry Potter (and I've never read it, though my honey has read the first volume and doesn't see any big deal), how about all the sorcery, dragons, blood and guts violence, etc. on the 'tunes? Is that a problem for you?

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 25, 2002.

I am REALLY glad to hear that this isn't actually any kind of a Constitutional issue!! Yeah;). I have no desire to live in a theocracy at all, but I would happily take a Constitutional Republic like we are supposed to have where the law applies to all and the protections as well. Did I mention I was happy?

Welcome back, Joj. As to tv, I can't say. Don't have it.

-- Doreen (, January 25, 2002.

When my 5 kids were small and when we had more than a few foster kids at home, TV was a very limited item in our home since the majority of what it has to offer is garbage IMHO. My children were not permitted to watch TV programs which demeaned parents (Simpsons) or offered gratuitous violence (LOTS of the cartoons)..there is a vast difference in my book from Wile Coyote getting whacked on the head by road runner than Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I never have dissallowed a book, magazine, movie or animated offering, CD, etc. which I have not seen or read or listened to myself.I grew up reading the REAL fairy tales which are horrendous as well as watching and enjoying fanatsy films such as Dumbo, Snow White, etc. I part company with those of my Christian friends who do not approve of children's fantasy of any kind, but I can understand how they feel. I am opposed to "modern" fantasy which appears more reality need to show the children spilled guts on the ground to make a point of violence..The inclusion of real witchcraft spells in the Harry Potter books makes my skin crawl, since I have just as firm a belief in the very real existance of the devil as I do in God. Aside from the prescence of those, I have no problem myself with the book. Witchcraft spells are NOT innocent words..satan and his buddies can indeed be conjured up and IMHO are laughing out loud at the stupidity of folks who do not find him a threat. So, there are many, many Christians who oppose this series of books and any childrens' fantasy material. Those who do not perceive them to be a threat to their children will never understand the reasoning of those of us who do. I have seen what TV has to offer our children: Malcom in the Middle, Friends, Drew Carey, all absolute trash..there are some wonderful children's shows on PBS which are quite nice and do not find the need to expose little kids to blood and guts or hold up parents as idiots who should be day my teen-age son came home from the mall with something tucked away under his was a CD made by Snoop Doggy Dog..the cover had a picture of a penis..the CD went immediately back to the store with my very embarassed son and ME. Did this harm his tiny intellect? Did this put him into therapy? Nope...just as he was not permitted to watch trash on TV, he was certainly not permitted to bring it into the house. He is now a Junior with a 3.8 average at Drexel University who was speaking to me Sunday about all the trash on TV for kids..LOL...The things of the world are not for our children..we present them with that fact at an early age in most cases..their focus is on eternity rather than what is on TV.

-- lesley (, January 25, 2002.

I think there is a very real problem today with the lack of distinction between what is real and what is fantasy. People don't get shot and then get up and catch the bad guy anyway. Good guys do wear black -- just ask the police. And everyone can be a hero -- just ask the firefighters of Oklahoma and New York.

-- Christine in OK (, January 25, 2002.

Lesley, you're not saying you think people can really conjure up the devil are you? A lot of people pray for riches, etc., but don't get them. The alchemists failed to turn lead into gold. I am not saying that there is not evil in the world, but if mere words caused things to happen this world would be in a lot sorrier shape than it is.

There is good and bad in all TV, even PBS, depending upon what city you live in (for example, what is shown on San Francisco PBS is vastly different from what is shown on a "Bible Belt" PBS station).

There is good and bad in religions as well (especially in "interpretation" of "sacred" texts). Part of growing up is weeding out the bad from the good, hopefully with just the right amount of guidance, not too much and not too little.

-- GT (, January 25, 2002.

You betcha I am saying that a person can conjure up the devil. I have personally seen the effects of doing this and believe it with all of my being. Evil is real, satan is very real..toying about with things which represent evil invites evil.

-- lesley (, January 25, 2002.

Amen Lesley!!!!!!!!!! I have seen & prayed for way tooo many people--- who thought satan worshiping was just something fun -or who knows what---to do with others/ until they found out the truth!!! It is nothing/--- to not be very, very serious about!!!! I could say a whole lot more ---but I won't!!!! All I can say /is it is nothing I want any part of--& I praise God I have Jesus in me /when these people were begging for help as satan had his grips on them!

-- Sonda in Ks. (sgbruce@birch.nets), January 25, 2002.

Thanks for your take folks. I'm glad I offed the tv when i was a young man; i think most of the stuff on it is trash too, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

Wifey and I usually try to find something to watch when we stay at hotels, but usually give up in disgust. Not because it's "indecent' or "immoral". It's just so stupid!

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 25, 2002.

Wicca and Satanism are two VERY different things. Neither one of them appears in the Harry Potter novels.

-- Sherri C (, January 28, 2002.

Ditto what Sherri C said.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (, January 29, 2002.

So my honey just read Harry Potter. She loved it, and wants me to read it. Should I fear for her soul? My soul?

I just reread The Fellowship of the Ring, after seeing the movie. I loved the movie, and I really enjoyed rereading the book after almost thirty years! (am I baaaaad?)

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 31, 2002.

No Joj, you are not bad if you liked the Fellowship Of The Ring movie, at least I hope not as several of my friends are associated with making the film and a lot of the scenery is from around here!

-- john hill (, January 31, 2002.

So, John. I envy you for living in Middle Earth!

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 31, 2002.

Yeah it certainly feels like Middle Earth some days!

-- john hill (, February 01, 2002.

Do ya think maybe some of these folks are from Mordor?

-- joj (jump@off.c), February 01, 2002.

You have me JOJ, I have not read the books!

-- john hill (, February 02, 2002.

I have a big problem with the reply the officers gave. Anybody who has read the Harry Potter books will realise that they are not evil books. The messages delivered in the books are full of compassion, friendliness, understanding, compromise, and life lessons. I wish the people who condem Harry Potter could understand how ignorant they appear to those of us who have read the books and seen the movies with an open mind. I don't judge people for their choice of religion, parentng methods or reading materials. By denying children a wonderful series of well-writen books because the have a magical theme shows that some peopple are stubborn and set in their close-minded ways. J.K. Rowling is not trying to make children worship the devil, or practice the Wicca religion, or "cast spells." She is simply trying to stimulate the imaginations of the masses. At 21 years old I just finished reading the first four books of the series and am eagerly awaiting the release of the fifth. My imaginationg wanders to worlds where i can fly on a broom or turn into somebody else or turn my cat into a container of orange juice. I know that these things will never happen, but it's an amazing feeling to close your eyes and feel yourself flying over a Quiddich field next to Harry Potter. I am asking that people quit looking at the situation as a religious issue. It is an issue of close-minded, ignorant, and judgemental people keeping themselves and their children from experiencing a mental stimulation that can't even come close to any book I've read. Please think on this. Use your imagination. That's why God gave it to you. Thank you.

-- Jessica (, June 11, 2003.

Jessica whats your name---when you die tell G-d you did the right thing defending harry potter books. No evil there well not much. bob.

-- bob (, June 11, 2003.

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