Harry Potter is the New Alcohol

For the past month, I’ve been expecting someone to jump in the comments and chew me out for reading Harry Potter. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened, but I’ve been thinking about what I might say if and when that time comes.

I don’t climb on soapboxes very much, as they tend to be slippery and I prefer keeping my feet on non-skid surfaces. However, it seems to me that Harry Potter is the new alcohol. By that I mean admitting to reading Harry Potter can be somewhat of a taboo Christian freedom that half of evangelicals think is sinful and the other half think is laughable.

This isn’t to say that we have license to go ahead and abuse our freedoms (and I’m not going to go to the other extreme of saying Harry Potter needs to be tucked in the pew next to the Bible and the Trinity Hymnal). Still, it seems one has to be either very anti-Harry or in-your-face-everyone-must-read-Harry. I’m neither.

I talk freely about reading Harry Potter here because I don’t think reading the books is sinful. I think it could very well be a stumbling block for someone, though, so I don’t carry my current copy into church with me. I’m not afraid of having the discussion, but I don’t want to bring about dissension where there is none already.

Having lived more than half of my life on the “Alcohol = Sin” side of that issue, I can spot legalism when I see it. Now in my recovering legalist days, I enjoy a very occasional dip into my once-heavily-debated freedom, but again, I don’t go around flaunting it. This isn’t particularly spiritual, but mostly because I have the alcoholic tolerance of a two-year-old.

That said, and with regard to reading J. K. Rowling’s oft-debated creation, I just enjoy really good literature. And I’m so glad I can say with full assurance that Harry Potter is just that and nothing more.