< >To get this out in the open, I have been a little offended by some of the conversations on the religions of the people in the Harry Potter books. Just to get everyone on the straight-forward, I am agnostic - meaning that I have no religion, but I am not against religion, and I am unsure - for the reason that my ancestors gave up Judaism in the early nineteen hundreds because of the religious hatred (or I would probably be Jewish or not even alive, since my father is a Baptist). They even changed their names so they wouldn't be considered Jewish, if you can believe that.
< >Now, I am sorry if this offends anyone, I don't want to offend or anger anyone - I would really hate it, if I did - but it just might happen because I am not religious and have opinions on all religions. If this offends you, again, I am very sorry. I know that I cannot please everyone.
< >All right, as most of you may know, there have been many debates on which religion Harry belongs to. Is he Pagan? Is he Wiccan? Is he Jewish? Is he Christian? Someone even said they would have to stop reading Harry if he was Pagan.
< >Now, excuse me, but doesn't that seem a little racist? No, I worded myself wrong. Doesn't that seem a little prejudiced? I don't want to hurt the person who said this, but I was taken very aback when I read that. I mean, come on, can't we all just get along, despite our religions and beliefs? Do we not live in a time for peace between religions?
< >Not every person is bad, whether they be Christian or Pagan or Wiccan or Atheist, or whatever they may be. I have very good friends that vary from Atheists to Wiccan to Christian to Catholic to Jewish and I have relatives that are Catholic, Christian, and Wiccan, all on one side of my family, and if any ever insulted any of them, I would defend them all the way, because I have a respect for other religions and my friends and family, despite the fact I will argue with any of them whether or not their religion is logical. All of them have good arguments back and we have debates, which, actually, bring us closer together.
< >Going back to Harry, the fact - it seems to me, anyway - that Ms. Rowling does not want to offend people, so a religion is not given to the character(s). She does not want Harry only to appeal to the Pagans or the Christians or the Jews, etc.
< >You may fight, saying "There's Christmas and Easter!" Well, here's the [somewhat sad] fact: Christmas and Easter are not what they used to be. All it is now to a lot of people (or kids, at least) is a fat man and a magical rabbit with candy, presents, and colored eggs. You don't exactly see anyone celebrating Palm Sunday or Ash Wednesday or anything like that at Hogwarts, do you?
< >"Well, what about the origins of Christianity of some things in the books?" Well, there's also the ancient Greek and Roman origins of some things, too. And what about alchemy? Not exactly Christianity, is it, now?
< >"Pagans worship the Devil, though! And if Harry is an Atheist - " Ahem. Excuse me, but I SERIOUSLY doubt if you ever met a Pagan or had a friend that turned to the Pagan religion that they would say, "Oh, if you're not Pagan, I'm going to send the Devil after you! MUWAHAHAHAHA!!! Brimstone! Brimstone!" I also highly doubt that an Atheist is going to chase you down the street yelling, "God sucks! Atheists rule! God isn't real, you stupid idiot!" Yes, they have gatherings and meetings and some can be quite mean, but the people I know aren't. They wouldn't chase you or yell or kill you because you believe in God, or Buddha, or the Devil. They respect people's decisions and get on with their lives, the way everyone nowadays should, but don't always do.
< >You may say, "Well, that's the people you know!" Well, yes. They are. There's no point in arguing with that. A simple question with a simple answer. And I already said some can be ruthless, but not all.
< >Now, there is a WONDERFUL Pagan website on the Internet called "Witch Way Galleries". I complimented the webmaster - yes, telling them I was agnostic - and I got an E-mail reply back with a very polite, "Thank you." The person seems very nice, despite whatever you may think about Pagans.
< >Thus, all of what I said comes down to one word: Respect. Would you still respect Harry if he was a Pagan, or an Agnostic or a Jew? Or would you say, "Oh, since he follows that religion, I can't read him anymore." That's just horrible, to me. Someone would stop reading and respecting a role model in their life because of his or her beliefs is blasphemy to me.
< >A good, Catholic friend of mine just a few weeks ago told me she respects me more for looking for logic in life than some of those who claim to be Christian, Catholic, Jewish, etc., but their actions and curtness show that they are clearly not. See, everyone? Respect.
< >Of course, some religions shun Paganism and Wicca. And probably quite a few parents question if Harry is Pagan, because that is bad to them, and so I'll advise the kids who are worried what their parents think: Let your parents read the books. That may - or may not - show them that Harry Potter seemingly has no open religion at the time. If they still are firm about you not reading Harry Potter, obey them. They are only doing what they think is right for you.
< >Someone said if they did this, just to get the books out of a school library and read it between periods and such. NO. No way. This could be viewed as a sin and disobedience to your parents, and some parents are a little . . . er . . . excessive in areas such as religion, and you shouldn't go against your parents wishes, unless you have a very, very good reason to do so, and it shouldn't be over a book.
< >I know some of you may be upset if you have to let go of Harry Potter, but you can always read Harry Potter later in life, though it may disappointing and distressing to you at the moment. I advise that you listen to your parents and respect their decisions, even if you disagree with them.
< >But, alas, if you can never give up Harry, you could maybe tell your parents in a better way than this crude example: "Innocent until proven 'guilty.'" I'm not sure how your parents would take that, but it is a mere example for the "despretans." To me, in my eyes, Harry has no religion, but he's not agnostic or athiest. He may be the same in yours, but not your parents. Respect their decision, whatever it may be.
< >In conclusion, I believe that we should respect all religions, no matter how much they differ from our own, but, alas, this is my opinion. I hope this opens up eyes, or, at least, help people in need of suggestions to the question above.
< >Remember, it all comes down to respect and acceptance.
< >The Harry Potter books and other trademarks are © by Ms. Joanne Kathleen Rowling, Little Literacy Agency, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Arthur A. Levine, & Warner Brothers. All rights reserved.
< >This website and all work is © 1999-2002 Chako'Lanna Inc. and its designer, Gypsy Silverleaf. All character art is © 2001-2002 Meg Kerin unless otherwise stated. Use of information and/or art is strictly prohibited unless written permission has been given.