A look back at religious opposition to J.K. Rowling’s stories — and what it says about the era.
So what if you didn’t grow up immersed in the wizarding world of Harry Potter?
For plenty of Americans — especially millennials, who were children when the books first came to the US — that’s an almost unimaginable hypothetical. The books shaped the imagination of millions of children, who flocked to midnight release parties, dressed as Harry and Hermione and Ron for Halloween, watched the movies, and even now frame their understanding of real-world political events in terms of Hogwarts and He Who Must Not Be Named.
But a sizable chunk of the same age cohort didn’t read the books at all.
That wasn’t because they just weren’t into books, or because they didn’t know about Harry Potter. It was because in some religious communities — particularly among conservative evangelicals, but also some Catholics and Muslims — the Harry Potter series was viewed on a spectrum that ranged from suspicion to outright opposition.
To some, the reasons may be obvious; to others, that makes no sense. But the phenomenon of conservative Christian opposition to Harry Potter succinctly encapsulates many of the forces that were at play within that group two decades ago — and illuminates a whole group of young adults who felt excluded from the world around them.
One of the biggest sources of Harry Potter opposition came from Focus on the Family
I’m among the millennials who grew up not reading J.K. Rowling’s novels or watching the films for religious reasons. While writing this article, I’ve had hundreds of conversations through social media and in person with adults across