americans

Will more Americans shun Harry Potter?

Will more Americans shun Harry Potter? Daniel Radcliffe is atheist and likes Richard Dawkins

It is no secret that people have long protested not only the Harry Potter books but the movies as well. Many of those people who protest do so with their religious conviction in mind. Back in 1999, an Associated Press writer reported that a group of parents wanted the books kept from classrooms.

One parent, Elizabeth Mounce, was quoted as saying, “‘The books have a serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil.'” At the time, the school principal, Jerry Locke, asked teachers to stop reading the books in classrooms until the issue was resolved. He said, “‘It’s questionable whether every parent wants their child to read or be exposed to books having to do with magic and wizardry.'”

Back in late 2002, there reportedly was an Anti-Harry Potter Conference in Lewiston, Maine. About 100 people attended to watch a minister cut up a copy of a Harry Potter book. They also watched a film that drew parallels between Harry Potter and “‘real'” witchcraft. The minister, Rev. Douglas Taylor, said, “‘I’m against Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz. I’m against any kind of movie or book that has a kind of magical or cultish theme to it.'” (Ahem, what about the Bible?)

Back in 2006, in Atlanta, Laura Mallory was said to think that “Harry Potter [was] something far more sinister than a fictional character.” It was also reported that “as far as [she] is concerned, the books help foster the kind of culture where school shootings take place. She believes that wouldn’t happen if students were reading the Bible instead.” (Has she actually read the Bible? It is rich with violence!)

So, the detest for anything Harry Potter has been well established here in the states. But, now, it seems, religious folk may have yet another reason to hate Harry Potter if all their other reasons weren’t enough. At least Daniel Radcliffe thinks they might.

Though many people have suspected that Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist for some time now, he confirmed it in an interview with Esquire according to a report published on the Telegraph Web site. The Harry Potter star said:

I’m an atheist, but I’m very relaxed about it. I don’t preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch.

He went on to say jokingly:

There we go, Dan, that’s half of America that’s not going to see the next Harry Potter film on the back of that comment.

Unaffiliated? Join The Growing Club

Seems that despite the ever loudening and aggressive Christian right, the American public is becoming less religious.

Many Americans religiously unaffiliated: survey

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When it comes to religion, more and more U.S. adults either have none or do not identify with a particular church, although the country remains highly religious, a survey said on Monday.

The report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found a constantly shifting landscape of religious loyalties, with the Roman Catholic Church losing more adherents than any other single U.S. religious group.

One in 10 Americans now describes himself as a former Catholic, it found, although that church’s membership is constantly being replenished by immigrants, particularly Latinos.

Despite predictions that the United States would follow Europe’s path toward secularization, the U.S. population “remains highly religious in its beliefs and practices,” the survey concluded.

But John Green, a senior researcher with the Pew Forum, told reporters American religion appears headed for more diversity, with the likelihood the country will be “less Protestant and less Christian” in the future than it is now.

The survey, based on interviews with more than 36,000 U.S. adults, found 78.4 percent of the population identify themselves as Christian. Of U.S. adults in general, it said 51.3 percent were Protestant, 23.9 percent Catholic, 1.7 percent Mormon, 0.7 percent Jehovah’s Witness and less than 0.3 percent each Greek or Russian Orthodox.

“The biggest gains due to changes in religious affiliation have been among those who say they are not affiliated with any particular religious group or tradition,” the survey found.