Daddy Dobson Does SO Hate Harry Potter!

Recently I wrote a post about this article in the Washington Post (to which I can't link at the moment because it's at the other site), which discusses some conservative Christians' aversion to Harry Potter because of all the wicked, wicked devil magic. Originally, that article noted that Dr. James Dobson, lord of the Focus on the Family empire, was not anti-Potter, but it has now been updated with a correction: "This article incorrectly said that Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Harry Potter book series. Dobson believes their focus is on the occult and therefore potentially dangerous, said a spokesman."

But just in case anyone was still confused, Daddy Dobson's even posted a statement on his website—Focus on the Family's Chairman responds to recent misinformation in the press—to clear the air about this dastardly misrepresentation of his hatred for Harry Potter.

In a story about Christians' views on the Harry Potter books and films, reporter Jacqueline Salmon wrote that "Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Potter books."

This is the exact opposite of Dr. Dobson's opinion — in fact, he said a few years ago on his daily radio broadcast that "We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products." His rationale for that statement: Magical characters — witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, poltergeists and so on — fill the Harry Potter stories, and given the trend toward witchcraft and New Age ideology in the larger culture, it's difficult to ignore the effects such stories (albeit imaginary) might have on young, impressionable minds.
Totally. Which is why my parents never should have let me read Curious George, so I wouldn't have gotten bitten by all those monkeys with whom I tried to be friends.

You'd think that would have settled the matter, but Daddy Dobson couldn't let the despicable slag who calls herself a journalist get off that easily! There was metaphorical public stoning to be done!

Ms. Salmon has not only acknowledged, but apologized for, the mistake and has promised the Post will correct it Friday. It seems she simply repeated misinformation that appeared in a less high-profile publication; she acknowledged she should have contacted us directly to make sure the assertion was true — and we appreciate her humility and professionalism in saying so.

Yes, what an enormous mistake she made, since the all the Potter reviews on Focus on the Family's pop culture site PluggedIn point out the good things about the books and films (even as they condemn the witchcraft) under headings like "Positive Elements" ("Harry’s parents loved him unconditionally, even sacrificially. The message is clear about the effects of this kind of love.") or "Redemptive Elements" (Irony Alert: "Power hunger and absolute power are seen as corrupting. Some parents who chose to allow their teens to read Phoenix may use the story to explore such concepts as Nazism—Death Eaters believe in allowing only pure-blood wizards to live—and Democracy—the breakdown in balance of power is what allows Cornelius Fudge and Delores Umbridge to make a mess of things."). What kind of horrible journalist would construe that as "praise," huh?!

The WaPo should have told Focus on the Family to shove their demands for a correction up their collective ass. Instead, Dobson's played them like a piano—allowing him to make a big production about how he's been misrepresented while his pop culture site retains its much more reasonable reviews of books many of his followers expect him to outright condemn.

[H/T DD at TT.]

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