Dobson Petrified of Potter
I was reading the headlines in yet another fundie “news” source, this one is called “The Church Report”, when I came across this headline: “Dobson Clarifies Comments on Harry Potter”.
Usually, when you see a headline like that, it means that somebody was quoted by a newspaper as making a thoroughly insipid comment that caused great embarrassment to the quotee and his followers. This is usually followed by a non-retraction retraction, whereby the person tries to convince us all that what he said isn’t nearly as retarded as it first sounded, and that he actually meant the opposite.
Since James Dobson is one of the most thoroughly evil men alive today, I thought “Wow! He must be trying to tone down some anti-Harry Potter statement he made. Maybe he’s not quite as backward, superstitious, and fearful of the modern world as I had been led to believe. I must read this article!”
The article starts out promising enough:
In what has been called an “error” in a story that appeared last Friday in the Washington Post, Focus on the [Fundie] founder, Dr, James Dobson, acted quickly Monday to make his thoughts clear on the boy wizard.
OK. So far so good. The article is following the standard damage control formula. Dobson must want us to know that he’s not so retarded that he’s afraid of a fictitious wizard in a made-up story of magical events. The article continues:
Dobson, responding to the newspaper article that wrote “Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Potter books,” pointed out that this “is the exact opposite”.
In a statement released on the Focus on the Family web site, Dobson went on to say that, “We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry products.”
Wait! Dobson, you dolt! You’re doing the exact opposite! Your clarification statement is supposed to make you look less extreme, not more!
The statement went on to point out that his rationale for this is related to the “magical character, witches, wizards and goblins in the Harry Potter stories.
Geeeez!! It’s a freaking novel! It’s fiction! The magic in those stories is no more real than Sylvia Browne! Kids aren’t going to read a story about a wizard and then run out and join a coven any more than James Dobson is going to look at a picture of a sheep and want to get frisky with it.
(or at least I hope not. It seems like every week or two another fundie’s secret sex life is exposed. Just to be safe, maybe you’d better lock up your livestock.)
Anyway, the root cause of this crazy view of Harry Potter is that James Dobson and the rest of his ilk live in a very scary place. They (figuratively) hide under their beds, cowering in fear of what Carl Sagan described as the “demon-haunted world”.
Rationalists like me and (hopefully) you, live full, vibrant lives. We know what’s real and what isn’t. There are enough real things that can hurt us, and we fear and avoid those. But it’s a big world full of amazing sights, sounds, tastes, and ideas to discover and explore. We don’t fear our world; we embrace it.
But James Dobson lives in a world of fear. His fundamental belief, the very core idea of his entire life, is the literal and inerrant story told in the Bible. In his worldview, magic and sorcery are real! The Bible tells of people running around causing magical mayhem. Magic is real to him, so of course he wouldn’t want to mess with it, even in play (e.g., Harry Potter).
What a sad, stifling, and scary existence that must be.