The world renowned beloved Harry Potter book series has been pulled from the library shelves of St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, evidently for fear that students will conjure “evil spirits” upon reading the wizard-centric series.
Rev. Dan Reehil laid out his objections to the books in an email obtained by the Tennessean.
“The Harry Potter series of books have been removed from the St. Edward school library for several reasons. These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” Reehil wrote in an email, which was obtained by The Tennessean.
“The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the texts.”
Rev. Dan Reehil said it’s not just the books’ magical properties, he also claimed the misadventures of Harry Potter and his friends “promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire.”
Reehil’s decision to remove the books from circulation came on the recommendations of exorcists in United States and Rome, according to the e-mail.
The core books, published between 1997 and 2007, were written by J.K. Rowling and spurred a successful movie franchise and a huge following worldwide. Rowling has created additional books and movies within the Harry Potter universe.
The books are considered controversial in some circles, including religious ones.
The Catholic Church does not have an official position on the Harry Potter books, Hammel said. In this situation, the school’s pastor does have the final say, she said.
“Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school,” Hammel said. “He’s well within his authority to act in that manner.”
Hammel said ultimately the decision over whether children should read the books lies with parents rather than the Catholic Church. She said, “While the Catholic Church has expressed no formal position on the books and related movies, many voices in the Church, even at higher levels, have expressed that the subject matter may be appropriate when due consideration is given to the maturity of the reader. We leave these decisions to you [the parents] as your children’s primary educator.”
Social media users were quick to poke fun at the school’s decision.
I speak from experience when i say there is a VERY low risk of conjuring an evil spirit while reading Harry Potter. 1/63 pic.twitter.com/4a9nqaAs9T
— Emily Roehler (@EmilyRoehler) September 3, 2019
Expelliarmus this idea immediately. It’s unChristian to deprive kids of good books. https://t.co/F7BiyOS6RQ
— Martha MacCallum (@marthamaccallum) September 3, 2019
America has schools that ban Harry Potter.
Yep, the books that inspired a whole generation to read—and have been demonstrated to reduce prejudice—are apparently a menace to society. Expelliarmus!
— Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) September 3, 2019
It’s not the first time the books, which follows the lives and daring adventures of young wizards, have come under fire.
From 2000 to 2009, the series topped the most frequently challenged books list, according to the American Library Association.
While there were concerns over the violence and dark tones in the books, the main cause for censorship was for religious reasons, the association said.