Church of Scotland Moderator on Harry Potter

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland has voted Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling as his book of the year in a poll by The Scottish Herald.

The Rt. Rev. David Lacy said of his selection: "I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from some of my Christian brothers and sisters who believe that these books are dangerous and anti-Christian. Sorry, I don’t agree."

|QUOTE|The Harry Potter series, massively popular among children and adults alike, have won criticism from a number of Christians who see the books as being anti-Christian and arousing an interest among young children in the occult.

John Buckeridge, editor of Youthwork, the Christian youth magazine, said previously: "The growing number of books and TV shows like Harry Potter and Sabrina the Teenage Witch encourage an interest in magic as harmless fun.

"However for some young people it could fuel a fascination that leads to dangerous dabbling with occult powers. So what starts out as spooks and spells can lead to psychological and spiritual damage."

The Harry Potter series was also criticised by Carol Matrisciana, author of Gods of the New Age, for couching the occult in fantasy language. She said of the books: "This is a true representation of witchcraft, and the black arts, and black magic. And yet we have people that say this is merely fantasy and harmless reading for our children.

|TOP|"Actually, what makes this more dangerous is that it is couched in fantasy language, and children’s literature, and made to be humorous, and beautifully written and extremely provocative reading, and it just opens up children to want to have the next one. This is what is so harmful."

Rev. Lacy disagrees, however: "I’m glad that youngsters are still being told stories about the victory of good over evil."

He said: "My upbringing was gloriously Christian – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, all Christian. And I was told all the standard fairy stories; I saw them enacted in pantomimes and films. I never imagined they were real.

Rev. Lacy added: "But I knew that they hold a truth. So does Harry Potter. And it’s fun."