British toy retailer Gary Grant believes in something greater than the Harry Potter phenomenon: his faith. Grant, co-owner of the country's largest independent chain of toy stores, The Entertainer, will not stock merchandise tied to the Harry Potter film due to be released next month because the Christian owner is concerned that children will be drawn into the occult, "The (London) Daily Telegraph" reported.

"I am not happy to turn what is good reading into role play," said Grant, 43, whose stance could cost the company's 28 stores thousands in lost sales. "My concern is that children start off with something quite innocent which can get out of hand. As a parent I do not want them drawn into Ouija boards and the occult. I have to be happy with what I stock. I have to uphold my Christian values in my private and my public life. Jesus for me is not just Sundays."

A Christian for 10 years, Grant, who has been in the toy industry since 1981, said he hasn't allowed Halloween and any other occult-themed products since becoming a believer. "The Bible is quite clear," he said. "Avoid that which even appears evil. It doesn't say avoid only that which is evil."

The "Telegraph" said that, in contrast, a new book by a leading Church of England theologian argues that Harry Potter "has the magic key to the Christian life." Francis Bridger writes that the boy wizard's battle with the evil Lord Voldemort reflects profound themes such as redemption and atonement. "The Spirituality of Harry Potter," to be published next month, claims the stories should be welcomed as a new way to "open the door" to the gospel.

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