Catholic priests in northern Poland recently burned books that they considered to be sacrilegious. These books even included the immensely popular fiction novel series Harry Potter.
The Harry Potter books was written by renowned author J.K. Rowling for children. It is based on a boy wizard's adventure through a world of magic where there are endless possibilities. It is known to be one of the most popular book series' across the world among children and adults alike. The book also constantly shows how good always wins over evil, no matter what the odds are. Well, the priests in Poland didn't see it that way. An evangelical group, the SMS from Heaven Foundation, recently published pictures of the priests burning all the books they thought were sacrilegious. The burning collection included the Harry Potter books as well. The burning took place in the city of Gdansk.
The pictures were shared on Facebook earlier this week. The post reads "We Obey the Word" in Polish. In the post, the group said that it was justifiable to burn books under the rules in the Bible that condemn magic. The passage from the Bible that the group pointed at to justify their practices is from Acts and says, "many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver."
The group often send their members' very preachy Christian messages. The fire also included copies of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series along with "a statue of an elephant, a tribal mask and a pink umbrella." as reported by BBC. Another passage, from Deuteronomy, says, "Burn the images of their gods. Don't desire the silver or the gold that is on them and take it for yourself, or you will be trapped by it. That is detestable to the Lord your God."
Harry Potter books are known to be the most popular fiction works in publishing history! The book series has sold over 500 million copies worldwide. However, there are some Christians who are against the fact that magic is the central factor in the book series. They support the good versus evil and other ideologies that are present in the series but are against the use of magic to depict it. Poland's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government adopt traditional Catholic values and the Church has a huge influence in Polish society.
Harry Potter books burned by Polish priests alarmed by magic https://t.co/kji3MCkDbh— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 1, 2019
However, last month the church released a report that documented the sexual abuse of young children by around 400 priests between the years 1990 and 2018. This didn't really turn a lot of things around. Another point to be noted is that it isn't the first time in history that the Harry Potter books have locked horns with religious leaders. Reports show that six such burnings of books from the Harry Potter series were recorded in 2001 alone. Such things happen every other year but they have never affected sales or changed people's perception of the novels.
There are large populations of both Harry Potter series supporters and haters. We all know that the population of "Potterheads" is huge and there are a lot of others who might not be fanatics but do embrace the fantasy fun. However, there is a large section of people who see the series as a stepping stone to "real world occultism." There are some scholars around the world who have made it their goal to prove how the fantasy book series is anti-religious. There are also those who make attempts to find deep Christian meaning within the books.
Can someone remind them it's a work of fiction— Ken Bowie (@KRBowie) April 1, 2019
As reported by The New Yorker, books such as Harry Potter and the Bible: the Menace Behind the Magick have argued that Satan is hiding in the pages of the much-loved children’s series. On the other hand, there are scholars such as Greg Garrett who have found a very deep Christian meaning within the book series. He is of the opinion that the entire series has a Christian narrative. People need to stop dividing everything based on religion. The book was never written with the intention of being religious or anti-religious.
They’ve left the 19th and joined the 20th century then. What is next they odject to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones?— Paul Brennan (@worthinghornet) April 1, 2019
The actions taken by the priests in Poland were heavily criticized by Catholics, too. As the Washington Post reports, the spokesperson for the local diocese where the acts were committed said he “did not like this form of priestly activity, which is wrong.” The Facebook post was not received very well, either. One user said, I have not met anyone yet who would rape, murder and steal in the name of Harry Potter. In the name of the Bible, yes. Bad news, gentlemen! Another quotes the German poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in 1823: "Where books are burned, in the end, people will also be burned." The Heine quote is seen as prophetic because the Nazis made a great show of burning so-called "decadent" books in the 1930s.
A Catholic group in Poland organised a public burning of books and other objects, including Hindu symbols and Harry Potter and Twilight stories. They then posted photos of the event on Facebook.— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) March 31, 2019
Report here: https://t.co/yoCm4oMYjo pic.twitter.com/7YFNwo3x4J