I stole this article from forbes.com. Something to think about...
"Harry Potter and the Ministry of Fire"
by David Serchuk
In August 2003, two Michigan pastors, T.D. Turner Sr. and son T.D. Turner Jr., took a stand against sorcery by burning a Harry Potter book outside their Jesus Non-Denominational Church. The younger Turner, Tommy, says that while he hadn't read the book, the cover alone showed him it promoted wizardry, adding that Potter-related Web sites were gateways to harder stuff. The last straw came when a local girl tried to perform a magic spell. (She was unable, as far as we can tell, to turn anybody into a newt.)
"Parents [have to] realize this is more than a fictional book," says Turner. "It's attached to the occult."
The fire so inflamed parishioners' passions that, according to the Detroit Free Press, some of the 50 spectators proceeded to burn the Book of Mormon, a non-King James edition of the Bible, and even the Dan Aykroyd movie Coneheads. Turner regrets that things got out of control, but adds, "Since the burning, our ministry is growing and can seat another 400 members," he says. "God has been blessing us."
In their disdain for Harry Potter, the Turners are not alone. The boy wizard has inspired fundamentalists all over the U.S. to destroy his books. There have been half a dozen Potter book burnings in the past five years.
In some cases, though, the books weren't actually burned. In two towns, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Lewiston, Maine, local fire stations denied book-burning permits. One pastor, Douglas Taylor of the Jesus Party in Lewiston, undeterred, slashed and destroyed 12 Potter books instead.
"The city warned me they would intervene if I burned [the Potter books]," says Taylor, who held the cuttings in 2001 and 2002, "because of the toxic emissions used by the ink." Taylor points out that he only burns books he purchases. Also, he, like the Turners, is against the government censoring of the books; but unlike the Turners, he read most of one. He takes pride that at both book "cuttings," he allowed his opponents to speak at his microphone and question him. Some protesters even destroyed Bibles. "It didn't bother me at all," he says. "It's the message, not the print on the page."
As to why Taylor chose J.K. Rowling's books instead of something more sinister, the reason is clear: publicity. "Rowling has a world platform. I though I'd step up and share it with her," Taylor says.
Ray Bradbury, however, thinks that Taylor is deluded. The 86-year-old author of the anti-censorship novel Fahrenheit 451 is a passionate advocate of free speech and believes Taylor and his ilk are at best clueless about their actions.
"He [Taylor] doesn't know what witchcraft is," says Bradbury. "It's about wits. There's nothing wrong with the Potter books, because they're not promoting witchcraft. They're promoting being wise."
Regarding Taylor himself, Bradbury is succinct: "He sounds like a stupid man. He just shoots off his mouth, and he should just go somewhere, sit down and shut up."
It's hard to know exactly how many books are burned in the U.S. each year. The group that keeps the best tabs on this, the American Library Association, updates an anti-book burning Web site with links from around the country, but it resists a hard count of books burned. Indeed, Third Reich-style bonfires have never been popular in the U.S., says Judith Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the ALA. "Setting bonfires is either viewed as just stupid or amusing," says Krug. "It's amusing, because [book burners] are too dumb to find other outlets. We get hysterical about sex, yet the general feeling is, 'I won't let some yahoo tell me what to read.'"
However, that is exactly what Americans did through most of late 1800s and early 1900s, when Anthony Comstock reigned supreme as the nation's self-appointed censor. In 1866, Comstock started the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which had as its seal a picture of a top-hatted man burning a pile of books. Incensed by "lewdness," Comstock worked the halls of Congress and in 1873 got passed the "Act of the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use," otherwise known as the Comstock Act. Soon thereafter, Congress made Comstock a special agent of the Post Office, giving him the power to arrest distributors of lewd or unwholesome materials, as judged by him.
Comstock--in a career that didn't end until his death in 1915--claimed he'd destroyed 160 tons of obscene literature and arrested some 3,600 purveyors of prurient material.
Though Comstock's influence has waned, outside the U.S., book burning is still in fashion. In May of this year, protesters in the Philippines and Italy burned copies of The Da Vinci Code to coincide with the release of the film version. In a tragicomic note, the Philippine Daily Inquirer pointed out that due to the high cost of the book, protesters likely only burned three copies of it, adding photocopies to make the pyre higher. In Ceccano, Italy, only one copy of the book was burned, even as protesters hurled tomatoes at the burners.
Perhaps the most famous burning of all time occurred at the Royal Library at Alexandria, Egypt, one of the great repositories of learning in the ancient world, which held 40,000 manuscripts, many irreplaceable. Accounts differ about who ultimately burned the library; some say it was Julius Caesar in 47 or 48 B.C., who torched it inadvertently during battle with his arch-enemy Pompey. Others say the decisive burning occurred in A.D. 642, overseen by Omar, Caliph of Baghdad.
What is not in dispute is that the library burned, taking many of the great works of the ancient world with it. In particular, the playwright Aeschylus' work suffered when the great storehouse burned. Today, just seven of his plays survive, though he wrote 90. The reason? Just one copy of his completed texts existed--they were never reproduced--and they were housed at Alexandria.
But even Aeschylus is lucky compared to the Greek poet Sappho, who lived circa 600 B.C. Famed for her revolutionary approach that expressed feelings of romantic longing, her work was destroyed first by early Christians around the year 400 and later by Pope Gregory VII in 1073, leaving just one complete poem existent.
Of course, the Bible has offended those in power for centuries, and it has been frequently burned. William Tyndale is perhaps little remembered today, but in 1526, he printed the first-ever New Testament in English. The Bishop of London, not happy to see the Word so easily put in the hands of the laity, hunted Tyndale and his books down, burning them where he could. The plot almost worked, as just two copies of the book survived. But survive, and eventually thrive, the books did, even though Tyndale himself did not. He was burned at the stake in 1536. His last words: "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England." But perhaps a more fitting epitaph could be his most famous turn of phrase: "Let there be light."