This article originally appeared on Beliefnet in 2001.

This weekend, whether you believe in the Harry Potter's magic or not, you're bound to run up against the fictional preteen's all-consuming power. Televisions, billboards, even your local fast-food joint are already teeming with Potter come-ons. By Saturday, reporters will be accosting blinking Potter fans outside movie theaters to record their judgments. Monday we count the box-office.

This is all the standard hype. Peculiar to Harry, however, is the smattering of stories about Christian fears about Potter and Paganism. "I will not allow my daughter to see this film because I feel it has pagan teachings," writes theblessed7 (See post #275). But rarely are we told how Wiccans and other Pagans feel about being identified with the staff at Hogwarts.

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A tour of the Harry Potter discussions-on which Earth-Based believers are well-represented-shows that Pagans mostly disavow Harry, pointing out, as SilverWinterMoon writes (post #14) "the magic portrayed in Harry Potter...has very little to do with real Witchcraft." Beliefnet member sypress puts it more technically: "The ethics are non-Wiccan: no three-fold law, and certainly no Wiccan Rede! (I love the books, but cringe every time the professors use an animal to demonstrate a nasty spell.)"

Not all Pagans take the guilt-by-association so sedately. "I don't know which is stupider and more offensive," writes Mirror Eyes, "the idea that Wicca is ANYTHING like fantasy, make-believe magic in those books, or the idea that my religion is something that children need to be protected against." If Christians fear the specter of Satanism, say others, they should look to their own religion, not Paganism. "Wiccans don't believe in Satan. Satan is strictly a Christian boogyman," writes anniecat

The Pagans' sensitivity is perhaps understandable, given the amount of Christian

influence they encounter in American culture. Several members on a Pagan board sympathized when callalily picked up a plush duck in a store, only to find it belting out "Amazing Grace." "Toys R Us is NOT a church!" cried Dawnmyshel (post #28) Surrounded by a largely Christian society, Aevren implies, half in jest, shouldn't Pagans be more worried that their children will be converted to Christianity? " has 1,981 different titles about witchcraft, as opposed to the 32,000 titles about Christianity. We shouldn't like those odds at all."

Many evangelicals, however, see themselves as as a minority equally subjected to a larger society. "There is spiritual warfare going on," wrote mumsy5 (post #126). "Those of us who are not lukewarm recognize that kids getting obsessively involved with the whole Harry Potter thing, are subjecting themselves to views and situations that fly in the face of what is good and pure. Harry's supposedly good, but he lies, cheats and steals to get what he wants. Great example."

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