Fifteen years after its first volume's initial publication, "Harry Potter" is still being banned in some communities on charges of promoting "un-Christian" values.
Medowie Christian School, a co-ed K-10 school in New South Wales, Australia, affiliated with the Medowie Baptist Community Church, is the latest school to take issue with the popular fantasy series; the Potter series has not only been banned from its library, but students participating in a recent parade for "Book Week" were forbidden to dress up as witches or warlocks, reported the Kiama Independent.
Principal Samantha Van de Mortel said such costumes would be incompatible with the school's founding principles.
In a message to parents from the school's website, Van de Mortel described Medowie, founded in 1995, as an institution built upon a unifying vision "to grow compassionate and courageous global citizens with truth and wisdom in Christ."
Medowie assigns each class one of 13 "biblically based" values, including love, trust, excellence, community, mission, empowerment, the Gospel, honor, leadership, responsibility, grace, commitment, and freedom.
Van de Mortel had this to say about the prohibition: "We just don't believe that's something we want to promote. We promote a Christian focus."
She added that some of the costumes from local retail stores, which are now preparing for Halloween, are frightening and grotesque, and the school was concerned about scaring the younger children. "Frankly, we do not want any of our younger students or their siblings feeling frightened, intimidated or uncomfortable during any school activities," said Van de Mortel.
Although there were no Harrys, Rons, or Hermiones in the parade, fantasy was not entirely absent: Some of the costumes present included Anakin Skywalker from "Star Wars," the Mad Hatter, from Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," and the Gingerbread Man.
Bobbie Antonic, a local parent whose children are not enrolled in Medowie, said she considered the ban to be censorship. "I was just blown away bit it. It's just bizarre," said Antonic, who brought up the topic on Twitter. "Books are not reality."
But educators at Medowie are not the only ones concerned about the message of "Harry Potter." "Harry Potter" made the top spot on the American Library Association's 2006 list of the most challenged books of the 21st century. According to the ALA, the grounds on which it has been challenged over the years have included the following: "occult/Satanism," "religious viewpoint," "violence" and "anti-family."
Emma Watson, who stars in the coming film "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and earned her fame in the Potter film series as the bookish Hermione Granger, recently told the Sun that her role brought her expressions of spiritual concern from anonymous fans. "Finding our Harry Potter films un-Christian, people think I need to be guided and send me The Bible," said Watson. "I now have a collection of 20."