I see fundamentalists are complaining about Harry Potter again. This happens every time a new Potter appears. The claim is that there are several scriptural proscriptions against wizards, unicorns and flying broomsticks. Some groups are planning book burnings or, if denied a fire permit, book stompings.
It is easy to make fun of these groups, but they appear to be sincere. In fact I have no argument with their position. They are free to believe as they wish and burn whatever they want within the confines of municipal fire codes. Isn't that what America is all about?
Quite frankly, though, I think by picking on such an innocuous target as Harry Potter they are just making it more difficult to act when a real problem appears.
For example I was browsing through a newly opened children's bookstore the other day when I noticed a slender volume called "Hey, Kids! Let's Worship At The Feet Of Satan" on a shelf near the door. When I pointed out to the clerk, who was sitting at the counter busily stuffing envelopes, that I didn't think this was appropriate reading material for children he gave me a scornful look. "Ever heard of the First Amendment, buddy?", he said, putting a letter into an envelope.
"I believe in the First Amendment as much as anyone. I just don't think children should be exposed to a book called 'Hey, Kids! Let’s Worship At The Feet Of Satan' or, well, this one right here on the counter - 'Beelzebub And The Blustery Day'".
"That's not for me or you to say", he hissed as he quickly wrote an address on the envelope. I think it was 666 something. "What are you? Some kind of fanatic?"
"I don't have to be a fanatic to know that a child shouldn't be reading books called - look at these, stacked right here on the floor - 'Demons, Demons, And More Demons' or 'Lucifer Has Two Minions'."
"Well, there's nothing you can do about it, pal", he said, quickly licking the envelope with an extremely long and remarkably flexible tongue. He shifted slightly on his stool, as if he had been sitting on something uncomfortable and looked up with bloodshot eyes. "Is there?"
"Nope, nothing I can do about that", I said backing slowly away, trying to decide if his tongue was actually forked or was that just a trick of the light. "Nothing at all I can do about that." I turned and half-ran out to the street and didn't stop until I was several blocks away. I didn't sleep well that night.
When I walked by the next day it looked like the store had gone out of business. If it had ever been in business at all. The door was secured with a rusty padlock and the windows had accumulated what seemed to me to be much more that 24 hours worth of dust.
I'm sure there must be an explanation for all this, but it's much too mystical for me to figure out.
I mean, what do I look like? A wizard?