Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't Bother Me With Facts, My Mind is Made Up

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
-- William G. McAdoo

This quote is never more true than when disagreeing with someone who bases their opinion on their particular interpretations of what they believe is an "inerrant" Bible, rather than on reason.

Laura Mallory, a mother from Gwinnett County, Georgia spent the better part of 2006 attempting to have the popular Harry Potter book series removed from school libraries. She asserts that the books
are "evil" propaganda aimed at indoctrinating youngsters into witchcraft. Using this yardstick, many other books in the school library would also have to go: The Wizard of Oz, Macbeth, Cinderella, etc etc.

Never mind that she's never read any of the books in order to develop an informed opinion of them, and never mind that the books are clearly labeled as fantasy fiction. And never mind that if she actually read the books, she'd discover many themes that are congruent with core Christian beliefs: good fighting evil, loyalty, friendship, compassion, and so on.

Don't bother her with facts; her mind is made up.
Her opinion of witchcraft is based on her interpretation of Bible verses that state that witchcraft is an "abomination". And one cannot use reason with a person who has the "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" mindset. Facts are irrelevant to a person with blind faith.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that her assertions that the Potter books were actually encouraging people to practice witchcraft or Wicca. We'll even ignore the fact that fantasy ideas of witchcraft and the Pagan practice of Wicca are two very different things.

First of all, what's wrong with promoting Wicca? It is a legitimate faith that is even recognized by the US Armed Forces, which has Wiccan chaplains for Pagan soldiers and sailors.

I'm also sure that the library that she is trying to remove the Potter books from has dozens of books reflecting and/or promoting Christian beliefs. Also having books that promote Wicca or other Pagan beliefs is perfectly proper in a country that espouses freedom of religion.

Let's also not forget that neither fantasy witchcraft/wizardry nor Wicca have to do with "Satanism", as one must have a belief in the Christian ideas of heaven and hell to believe that a being such as Satan even exists.

Mallory is, of course, entitled to her opinions and her worldview for herself and to make decisions about the reading habits of her minor children. But no more than that. She has absolutely no business trying to decide what other people's children may read or what ideas they are exposed to.

Ultimately, however, her fruitless campaign will only serve to get more people to read the Harry Potter books, than discourage them. There's nothing better for book sales than attempts to censor them because most Americans believe in freedom, not censorship.


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