Riddikulus! Catholic Pastor Bans Harry Potter Books Because They Contain “Actual Curses and Spells”

The Reverend Dan Reehill is the pastor of St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee and he has banned Harry Potter books because he believes that the books contain “actual curses and spells” that “risk conjuring evil spirits.” Reehill is a grown man who thinks that actual magic or evil spirits may be summoned by reading the books. Moreover, he is in charge of a school of children.

Rev. Reehill reportedly had a straight face while issuing the following warning:

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text,” the Reverend Reehill wrote, apparently in all seriousness.

Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told The Tennessean that Reehill has the final word on such matters at his school.

Well, all I can say to kids denied by Rehill the chance to read these books is what Ron Weasley said in “Don’t let the Muggles get you down.”

84 thoughts on “Riddikulus! Catholic Pastor Bans Harry Potter Books Because They Contain “Actual Curses and Spells””

  1. And then there’s my stupid and ill-informed representative, McMorris-Rogers.

    You can’t make up what she says. Jeeze.

  2. Well, all I can say to kids denied by Rehill the chance to read these books is what Ron Weasley said in “Don’t let the Muggles get you down.”

    WTF are you talking about? The only thing Rehill is able to deny these children is the chance to find that book in their private school library, or to bring that book on campus. These children still have parents who have the choice to expose their children to these books, if they disagree with Rehill. They also have the freedom to choose a different school. Sheesh.

    1. OLLY – they can still read them on their parents Kindle or check them out from the library.

  3. Even Wicca doesn’t have “actual curses and spells” – its magical corpus was compiled by an Englishwoman in the mid-twentieth century and made popular by Aleister Crowley. Pure literary invention, Harry Potter books for dirty old folks.

  4. Finally, someone stops this book.

    It is not a good book and the Pastor is correct.

  5. Oh my. A grown man in education thinks magic is real and Harry Potter is a grimoire with spells that actually work.

    Wait. Where is that port key spell again? I would much prefer that over flu powder. And why did Ron have to wear moldy dress robes when his parents are talented witches and wizards who can make a car fly and clean the entire house in absentia? Witches can repair glasses, oculus rep arum, but not update some clothing? Maybe take the purple lace off?

    I guess the key takeaway is…hats off to J K Rowling who penned such, um…believable literature. Gives new meaning to the term, getting lost in the story.

    1. I really wish Hermione’s time-turner actually worked. I would definitely try to get one for myself.

      1. I agree, but only if the aging dilemma was solved.

        Hermione ages at the same rate. So, if she completes 24 hours, and then goes back in time and repeats an hour, then she’s lived 25 hours in a period of time when everyone else has completed 24. This would not be noticeable in a semester, but should she continue, it would appear that she would age or grow up faster than her peers, because of all the time travel. Plus, she almost had a nervous breakdown because she was spending more hours in class and in study than everyone else. She lengthened her day by a few hours and threw off her circadian rhythm.

        It probably should be concerning that I thought about this.

        1. I am already feeling a bit aged with all the running around one does with four kiddos. Imagine the extra time to clean house! I guess I wouldn’t want to age faster over more opportunities to clean, though. 😉

          Gotta try to get a a friendly, volunteer house elf…

      2. Prairie Rose – there was a time when the Time-Turner would have been very handy. Now, I would just have to hand it off to someone who really needs it.

  6. it is the dogma of the Catholic Church and most other socalled “organized religions” that there are unseen personifications of evil aka demons, etc., and that morbid curiosity in them is dangerous to the believer.

    That is what the priest said, and the guy is just doing his job by saying so.

    If you want to get into some other people who believe in summoning demons and other “spirits” there’s plenty around including all these famous people wearing red strings which apparently is a sign from Qaballah which is full of all that stuff.

    I don’t study Qaballah for my part, due to the aforementioned reasons. Folks like Madonna don’t share my caution towards dabbling in the occult.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_string_(Kabbalah)

  7. “Reehill is a grown man who thinks that actual magic or evil spirits may be summoned by reading the books”

    You blog daily on this sewer of yours arguing Twitter results in far worse

    Behold an academic legal purrfessur Tart-ly

    1. I have no idea what this sentence says: “You blog daily on this sewer of yours arguing Twitter results in far worse” — in far worse WHAT? And, is “this sewer” that you are referring to the jonathanturley.org website?

      1. Anonymous – since the poster’s avatar references Buddhist reliquary, funerary, or other sacred art, only to insult the host of the blog, it starts off on a shaky foundation. I doubt this was typed by a monk taking a break from vows to troll.

  8. I’m not familiar with the contents in the Harry Potter books, but the issue raised in the column reminded me of objections that have been raised in public schools over certain material and activities in public school classrooms.
    In ancient times, prior to the internet taking over, I would frequent a variety of bookstores.
    Especially when traveling. There seemed to be more “New Age” type of bookstores sprouting up, with inventories geared toward Wiccan beliefs and rituals and similar material appealing to other “New Age” kinds of religion.
    While these are non-mainstream religions, organized Wiccan religious establishments are entitled o the same tax exempt status and protections under the First Amendment as more traditional religions.
    I was once at a school board meeting where a lawyer, probably the most liberal lawyer in a town with about 100 lawyers, cautioned the school board about incorporating certain practices involving specific rituals for casting spells, etc.
    He mentioned that if a teacher was leading a class in The Lord’s Prayer, there would be no question that it would be a violation of the Establishment Clause, as determined by the Supreme Court in the decisions involving school prayer.
    He said that there was no difference in directing students to sit in a circle and having them practise how to cast a spell, given that these are elements from legally recognized religions.
    In essence, he was saying that you can’t just draw the line on prohibiting practices of mainstream religions, then pretend that you “New Age”- type of religious practices don’t face the same restrictions in the classroom.

    1. Anonymous – the Harry Potter series were paranormal fantasy young adult books. Magic was not presented as a religion, nor was it Wiccan. Rather, they present an imaginary world where some people are born with magical abilities, which could be used for good or ill, just like any other talent, depending upon character and free will.

      If an adult was going to complain about the books, it would be more rational to point out that the oblivious adults in the story refuse to listen to children, who carry on to hide dangerous secrets and risk their lives. On the other hand, the books also illustrate that children are capable of courage, and that war on ones soil affects even children. It’s a good starting point to talk to children about communicating troubles to their parents, and for parents to be aware of what’s going on in their children’s lives. Perhaps the menace might be depression, bullying, suicidal thoughts, drugs, toxic relationships, or sex. There are metaphors and extrapolations to be made with real life.

      Or, you could just view them as entertainment and enjoy them as they are.

      1. Thanks, Karen S. As I said, I’m not familiar with Harry Potter books. It just reminded me of the other situation I mentioned, which involved teacher- directed classroom exercises involving casting spells, etc.
        In that case, the rituals that were performed with young school children as part of classroom exercises did raise the “religion in school” objections.

        1. Anonymous – I heard the first 5 books read by Jim Dale while on a two-week trip through the West. I got intrigued by the characters, plots, settings, etc. Personally, I think the priest of over-reacting and should take a Valium. I do not remember any spells being accurately laid out in the book. 🙂

          1. I’m guessing that it’s note the books themselves, but the direction in which they might lead. Just a guess.

            1. Anonymous – the students and faculty cast (successfully and unsuccessfully) a lot of spell, many to hilarious results. My guess is the good father has not read the books (they are 600-800 pages each) and is just going by what he has read or heard.

              1. I don’t agree with “the good father.” (Maybe he’s had some experiences of which we are unaware. Still…, it’s ridiculous.)

                1. Anonymous – about the “good father” thing. It is a common term used by Catholics, of which I am no longer. Sometimes you fall back on bad habits. 😉

            1. Prairie Rose – didn’t Ron have a 3rd hand magic wand. 😉 His spells were always problematic.

  9. I’ll bet he won’t even let the students watch Rocky and Bullwinkle (“curses, foiled again!”).

    He’s right about there being “evil spirits,” though. They live in the local liquor store.

  10. Ban Harry Potter in private school or have drag queen story hour in public. Good for these parents choosing private over public.

  11. This pastor sounds more like nuns I had in the 50s, trying to “scare” devils out of people. Conduct like that is the reason my children did not go to Catholic schools.

  12. It’s a private school. They can do whatever they want. Those books are available in the public library if anybody from the school wants to read them. I would think a learned man such as Mr. Turkey would understand such things…

    1. That they can do it doesn’t mean it isn’t dumb. And people are free to point out that it’s dumb.

  13. Reehill is a grown man who thinks that actual magic or evil spirits may be summoned by reading the books. Moreover, he is in charge of a school of children.

    Did it occur to you to call Fr. Rehill and ask him to explain the content and motive for this particular interdict? This is just the sort of story that’s commonly misreported. Among traditionalist priests, there’s considerable anxiety that their adolescent parishioners will dabble in the occult. You’re not responsible for the souls of those parishioners. The priest is.

    1. Why don’t you give Fr. Rehill a call, TIA.

      To think that anyone is responsible for the soul of another is…well…telling…and ridiculous.

      1. It depends on how you look at it. In some ways, we each are responsible for one another. You should take care to not try to corrupt someone else, for instance (like an older kid encouraging a younger kid to do something wrong).

        As the eldest child, I was reminded that I was to behave well not only for myself but to set a good example for all my younger siblings and cousins, too. (Explains a lot, methinks).

  14. The Catholic Church has the best collection of pornography in the world in the Vatican archives. What the heck are they complaining about? I am sure several vloggers will have something to say about this.

    1. The Catholic Church has the best collection of pornography in the world in the Vatican archives.

      ‘Sez who?

        1. Paul C………so you’re saying that after a long day of Hail Mary’s, Our Fathers, and signing checks, the Holy Father kicks back with a private viweing of “Debbie Does Dallas”?

          1. Cindy Bragg – Not sure what Francis is into, however my understanding is the collection is erotica, This comes from a Jesuit who spent several years cataloging the archives.

            1. And one day kids you will retire too, troll a legal blog, cast aspersions and demonstrate religious bigotry to make yourself feelz gud, all the while complaining about your consurvativ principles being mocked by the news media and segments of society

              Heckuva job PS

            2. Paul C……….Actually we really like Jesuits. They taught our daughter at Loyola. One was her French professor from…..the Bronx! But spoke French beautifully.

              1. Cindy Bragg – you should NEVER make a Jesuit Pope. I have been taught by Jesuits and have fond memories of them intellectually, however, my confessor told me he did not believe in the concept of Hell.

                  1. Cindy Bragg – when you distill it down to its finest, you have to go to Confession once a year and do your Easter duty. That is it. 🙂

                1. “have been taught by Jesuits”

                  The Jesuits should sue you for giving them a bad name

                  1. Sylvester Roberts – at least I learned to play bridge and starred in two shows while I was there. 🙂

                    1. Cindy Bragg – The first show was Damn Yankees where I played Applegate (the Devil) and the second was a take-off on West Side Story where I played the role that would have been Tony’s. I sang “Pinochle” I just learned a game called Pinochle.

                    2. Cindy Bragg – some of the cast thought I was better than Ray Walston, but I think they were just biased. 🙂

                    3. Paul C…oh, I`ll bet you were better than Ray! Damn Yankees is such a great show .You must have thrived there.
                      There’s an old BBC series from Scotland with Robert Carlyle called Hamish MacBeth, and they have an episode called “West Coast Story”. season 1 episode 4. People in the village are rehearsing for their production of West Side Story. It’s a really funny and piognant episode. Great show.

                    4. Cindy Bragg – I hardly think I was anywhere near as good as Ray Walston. He was my idol. I loved him in everything he did. I did see a production here in Gilbert and I would have been better than the Applegate they cast, however my voice is shot now and I can no longer sing.
                      I have watched Hamish MacBeth, but I do not remember West Coast Story. I will have to look it up again. 😉

                2. Paul,
                  “my confessor told me he did not believe in the concept of Hell”

                  I am curious. What was his reason? People are pretty good at creating hell on earth for themselves and others, so why not after death?

                  1. Prairie Rose – Hell comes late as a concept and as a Jesuit he just did not believe in it.

      1. What is indisputed is that the papal bathroom has a 1500s erotica fresco by Raphael. It is also true that the Vatican has archives whose contents are not open to the public, aside from the acknowledgement of works covering over a thousand years. There have been numerous accusations over hundreds of years that the collection holds pornography. Considering the erotic art in the pope’s bathroom that was finally admitted to, it is entirely likely that there is similar art in the archives. Such art is not in the Vatican public museum, and if it’s in the archives, the Holy See’s not talking. I don’t think it’s provable or disprovable without opening the archives to inspection, which I would rather like to see on the basis of the astounding amount of history contained therein.

        https://abcnews.go.com/International/secret-rooms-passageways-erotic-frescoes-vatican/story?id=21238559

        “Perhaps the most intriguing secret of the Vatican is, surprisingly, a bathroom — decorated in erotic frescoes — in the papal apartments. According to Tony Perrottet, author of “A Journey Through the Historic Underbelly of Europe,” this bathroom was painted in 1516 by the Renaissance master Raphael and is called the Stufetta della Bibbiena, the “small heated room of Cardinal Bibbiena,” the official who commissioned the work.

        “It had been painted over and then restored. Its existence was denied. Art historians had heard of it, but photos of it from the 1930s were murky and dark,” said Perrottet. Gaining entry to this bathroom was Perrottet’s greatest challenge while researching his book, he said.

        Denied at first, Perrottet pleaded his case, and a bishop rejuggled the pope’s schedule so that Perrottet could be quickly snuck in for a brief visit.

        PHOTO: Artists copy of a Renaissance engraving by one of Raphaels students, Marcantonio Raimondi, from the Stufetta. The draping over the nymphs thighs was discreetly added. Today, one key area of the satyrs anatomy has been damaged. Tony Perrottet
        Artist’s copy of a Renaissance engraving by one of Raphael’s students, Marcantonio Raimondi, from the Stufetta. The draping over the nymph’s thighs was discreetly added. Today, one key area of the satyr’s anatomy has been damaged.more +
        “It was very exciting,” he said. “One of the clerics took me in for five minutes. The room was filled with erotic frescoes. I saw Venus naked doing her hair by the lake, her legs akimbo, and I had to get to the monsignor to step aside to see the most famous one — Pan pleasuring himself.” Perrottet was not allowed to take photographs but made a few drawings.”

        1. An archive is an archive and a library is a library and a museum is a museum. They collect different things. This is not that difficult.

            1. Here is a nifty idea for that old retired conservative attorney troll in your life who have stated their wives are left leaning. Get one now Paul while supplies last! Its not like you’ll even miss her

              💣

              https://nypost.com/2019/09/04/student-charged-with-hate-crime-for-leaving-noose-in-dorm-elevator/

              Student charged with hate crime for leaving noose in dorm elevator
              By Lee Brown

              A 19-year-old University of Illinois student has been charged with a hate crime for leaving a noose in a residence hall elevator.

              Math student Andrew Smith tied the noose with rope he found on the Urbana-Champaign campus, prosecutors said at his arraignment.

              It was found in an elevator at 1 a.m. Sunday, with outraged social media posts quickly going viral among students.

              The sophomore was busted after a friend who saw him tie the noose reported him to school authorities, Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink told the hearing.

              Smith, of Normal, was arrested Monday and charged the next day with felony hate crime and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

              Alferink said Smith told university police that he “only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions” and — even after seeing the online outrage — didn’t think it was severe enough to turn himself in.

              Smith pleaded not guilty and was released on $5,000 bond, according to the Chicago Tribune. His next hearing is Oct. 22.

              “The university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias, or prejudice,” school spokeswoman Robin Kaler said, with students being offered help from support staff if needed.

            2. I imagine the Vatican archives would contain illustrated manuscripts, writings, even sketches. I have not been inside the archives, not being a cat burglar, but I have seen the Vatican museum, Sistine chapel, etc. My visit was years ago, but I seem to recall that Michelangelo painted his own enemies in hell’s torment. Don’t piss off an artist or a writer.

              But of course the collection itself might contain more frescos not open to the public, which may, or may not, be painted over, as well as canvases. However, the archives would, presumably, contain paper based media like sketches, literature, or illuminated manuscripts.

              I can’t say whether the rumors are true or not. I think they get revisited with scandals, such as orgies at seminaries and the debauching of nuns, which actually happened. I think Pope Francis should focus on getting his house in order before embarking on social justice crusades. Perhaps the laity need more authority or access.

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