Yes, neo-conservative Christians, you SHOULD be afraid of Harry Potter- but not for the reason you think.

Yes, I know, this is ground that has been covered before. So why am I writing about it? Why now?

Simple. My Best Beloved sent me a link to an article from Americans Against the Tea Party about how a conservative Christian has rewritten Harry Potter so her children won’t turn into witches. And it made me angry. Spitting tacks angry.

This fear of witchcraft is something I have personal experience of. When I was 11, my parents got involved in my education. More involved than I wanted. But of course I was 11, what could I do?

It was October, in my English class. Season of a bunch of scary masks and stuff in windows that I still had to walk past with my eyes shut because monsters and vampires frightened me. My teacher announced that the following week, we would be working on ‘witch’s spells’. A bit of fun for Halloween. I was excited- creative writing was my favourite. Then I told my parents about it, and they told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be doing that, it was evil. It wasn’t Godly. End result? A letter to my teacher, who gets me to write some other poem, and an 11 year old girl already isolated from her peers gets even more left out.

To my knowledge, none of my class transferred to Hogwarts in their second year. And if they had, I’m certain an English class project wouldn’t have been the reason for it.

(Don’t even get me started on what happened when my parents found out about the end-of-year project my RE teacher had us doing involving making up a religion. That’s another blog post in and of itself.)

Harry Potter isn’t going to turn your kids into witches. But there’s plenty of other things in those books that I can see a Tea Partier like Grace Ann would be afraid of, going on the way she’s written the story.

The books teach us that being afraid of people who are different is very wrong. That being prejudiced against people because of their family background is wrong. That good people give others opportunities to make a good life for themselves, no matter if others might see that person as damaged goods.

Going on ‘Grace Ann’s version of Harry Potter, women are expected to fulfil the traditional roles of wife and mother and must make sure they take time over their appearance. Any woman who doesn’t is ugly. In the actual books, we’re shown women in a variety of capacities. We’re introduced to women who have chosen not to marry, but to have a career, and are both successful and admirable (Professor McGonagall, Madame Maxime). Women who are more interested in the life of the mind than in being pretty- but who still know how to do that if they feel like it (Hermione). We’re also shown women who are flawed, who get angry, who make mistakes, who are only human (Molly Weasley, Fleur Delacour). And we’re shown women who are as capable of evil as any man- Dolores Umbridge, Bellatrix Lestrange. If Grace Ann’s children read the Harry Potter books, they might get the idea that women can be many things outside of a wife and mother. Even more dangerous, they might get the idea that men and women can be friends.

I know, I know, the idea of men and women being friends doesn’t seem that dangerous. But I know married couples at evangelical churches who have been told they must not be friends with the opposite sex, because it’s dangerous for the marriage. I’ve even spent an evening alone in someone’s lounge when staying with such a married couple, while the husband was upstairs and the wife was out, because they had adopted this opinion.

It seems that what Grace Ann wants to teach her children is that they should hate and be afraid of anyone who is different, who doesn’t conform to the narrow stereotype being peddled by Tea Partiers of what people should be. She wants them to believe that not being a Christian, and a very specific kind of Christian, will turn you into a “fornicating, drug-addicted Evolutionist”.

Heaven forbid that Grace Ann’s children would learn to treat everyone with love and acceptance, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done, or who they love, or what they believe. Heaven forbid that they would learn that women and men can choose who they want to be, what they want to do with their lives, that their role in life is not dictated by their gender. Heaven forbid that they learn that there are people who think differently from them and that that does not make those people evil. That people are all different and that’s OK.

Be afraid, Tea Partiers whose children are reading Harry Potter (and be afraid- because you can’t actually stop them reading it- the wonderful thing about libraries is the free access to children’s books for children with or without parental permission) They won’t learn magic. But they might learn to be kind, caring human beings who reach out in love to those who are different and believe in them, instead of shunning them.

I know, I know. Terrifying.

Mid-week joy: Magic. It’s a thing.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view but the forecast is for rain the rest of the week so I plan to enjoy it while I can. The sun, not the rain.

Yep, I started talking about the weather again. You can take the girl out of England…

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Magic! And miracles! And the law of attraction! Whatever you choose to call it, and however you choose to work with the Universe, it’s pretty damn special when it works.

Over on my Pinterest, I’ve got an Affirmation Dream Board. The idea is (based on some Danielle LaPorte thinking) that you pin images and write underneath them an affirmation (an ‘I am’ type, present tense statement of what you want to attract into your life).

I’ll admit, I hadn’t updated it for a while. And by a while I mean not for months and months. Then today I was looking through it and some of my other boards for a secret project about which all will be revealed very soon.

And I found this:

Best Beloved pin

I pinned this long before my Best Beloved and I started the tentative movements towards each other. Way before I started calling him my Best Beloved. But there it is. I’m working on the second part- but definitely getting there.

I guess what I’m trying to say, for today’s mid-week joy, is that these things can and do work. You can and will bring more good things into your life. If I can do it, anyone can.

Links of Joy: Witchbaby edition

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilestreetlife/5946319814/in/photolist-a4srHq-A1Q6c-4v2z6X-5Ja7rc-5KPeEc-9momvJ-kgEBNR-m8k7FP-f9sRmZ-9GroU2-drkeaz-4KZiVR-a7XvQ-8BnfeW-byfVsq-fp9VRx-6Jw3Pm-pnLtD-4C4T8f-fcnqee-6qKPtC-7iP9BW-fYGQ7h-5VuYC7-6gL5wV-e76NmE-51yLAe-a2hwox-6LVo3u-5EecKe-ar4qrC-aixxLe-7fpQSs-4pcs2B-eaqgL9-nhaRLE-5HLjAc-6darwk-bfSPEX-caJLSJ-eKkEpX-bTEYTK-kcSfsz-dEwiP7-bHTo3c-kZr69P-7CFr5m-7sw5Qi-5z4sxh-bCE8sX)

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at Flickr- http://bit.ly/1jU1gBP)

‘Witchbabies’ is the name that folks in the Parlour use to greet the group, and I love it, because Francesca Lia Block– I only came to the Weetzie Bat books 3 or so years ago, along with the rest of her writing, but there’s just something about the dreamlike quality of the way she writes that resonates with me. I especially enjoyed ‘Necklace of Kisses’ (a sequel to the Dangerous Angels series, set a few years later), though I haven’t yet managed to read ‘Pink Smog’ (a prequel). Did you know there’s now a Dangerous Angels t-shirt? Definitely on my list once I’ve bought furniture for my new room.

Speaking of t-shirts, this one of Artax made me want to go curl up in a ball and weep. I remember the first time I saw the scene in the despair swamp in ‘Neverending Story’ and how upset I was. But having experienced depression, it actually rings pretty true now.

With the Parlour (yes, I know, a bit of a theme for the week), I’ve been looking at tarot decks on Etsy- always dangerous. I love the TaRat deck from Bluedogrose, though I can’t put my finger on why, I just like it. I also like her Blue Dog Rose tarot using pets and domestic animals- the Hierophant is a goldfish! And death, appropriately enough, is a cat (anyone who has lived with cats will tell you this is accurate).

I’d forgotten about the fun and shenanigans of the AntiCraft until my bonus Friday Five from last week, but how can you not love an online craft magazine that had plushie gamer dice patterns and an entire issue devoted to bacon? (I made Baconhenge once. It was delicious.

Obviously with a new room come new decor ideas. I plan to get more seriously into those once I have the furniture, but obviously knitting inspiration is not to be controlled and I have a bit of a thing for throws. This magickal throw from Erssie Major is a lot of fun, but I don’t think I’d make it for me. I do know someone I could make it for though…because what I need, clearly, is another project. Yep.

Have you found anything fun on your internet wanderings? Link to it in the comments!

Links of Joy

We made it to Wednesday! Halfway through the week seems like the perfect time for some of the things that have been making me smile and inspiring me this week.

ListeningNo Prejudice by Pollaponk

First up is Pollapönk, Iceland’s entrants into the Eurovision Song Contest, with their song ‘No Prejudice’. My first thought when I saw them was ‘they’re the Icelandic Bearded Wiggles’- and it turns out I was right! The name, from what I can gather, means ‘boy-punk’. Not only are the two founders of the band both pre-school teachers, they describe the intent of their music as being able to be enjoyed by children and their families. Their first album (says Wikipedia) was actually their final-year project for their teaching degrees. And the guy with the epic beard wearing purple who’s singing backup? He’s a member of the Icelandic Parliament! “We got to get together on this, cross this problem off our list” seems especially resonant given the post I made yesterday.

(If you haven’t caught Conchita Wurst, the Eurovision winner, and her song ‘Rise like a Phoenix’, go look it up and watch that too. I’m including Pollaponk here because they deserve some love too.)

Reading: Riding the Wild Donkeys

This e-book by Leonie Dawson is gold. It’s also free, and quick to read. It’s about something I’ve often struggled with- getting things finished and out into the world.

Part of it is to do with letting go of the perfect vision you have in your mind. I’m not saying that for some projects, striving for perfection (ripping back that inch of knitting that went wrong, unpicking the seam that didn’t work out right, or just plain undoing the whole thing and starting over) isn’t a good thing. I love getting a beautiful finish on projects. BUT for creative ideas, often the best approach is to grab them and ride them until they’re done- maybe they’re not how you originally envisioned them- and lets face it, how many creative projects ever are?- but they’re done, they’re set free, and you can move on.

Some other links that have made me grin:

Is this the most beautiful, crazy wedding ever? Quite probably. And I totally want to have a bad bridesmaid dress party.

I fully want to use these mystical fire crystals next time I’m at a Scout camp for the weekend and there’s a fire pit.

Cornify. So magical. So cheesy. So many unicorns and rainbows. It is to love! It is also like being back in the 90s. Oh, the sparkly sparkly gifs.