Some churches use Harry Potter to spread Christian message

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2002

LONDON (AP) -- He's been attacked by evangelical Christians as glamorizing the occult, but young wizard Harry Potter could be a powerful means of spreading the gospel, an ecumenical church group said.

A new booklet published recently by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland cites J.K. Rowling's best-selling books as a good way of illustrating important themes like the battle between good and evil.

The Harry Potter books ''ask people to look again at the selfish material world and the presence within it of Christian values -- truth, love and, supremely, self-giving and sacrifice,'' says the booklet, which accompanies a book on mission entitled ''Presence and Prophesy.''

''Christianity is not 'vanquished' or irrelevant,'' said the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, bishop of Rochester, who chairs the group which produced the booklet.

'''Presence and Prophecy' shows that we can use everything that we learn to help others recognize that Christianity is a living faith.''

Rowling's books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, have been attacked by some Christians in Britain and the United States as a dangerous influence on children because of their focus on wizards and magic.

The second Potter film, ''Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets,'' opens in cinemas in Britain and the United States on Nov. 15.

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