There was a time, in the not too distant past, when JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series was banned from the libraries and book sales of many a Christian school. Remember those good ol’ days?
“Too scary to read,” they said.
“Too much into the occult for kids,” we were told.
“Too full of witches and demons and other assorted nasties,” it was asserted.
So the books were dutifully banned in many a conservative Christian school for the pre-occupational health and safety of our children. It was a definite “won’t somebody please think of the children!” moment by the Reverend Lovejoy’s wife (ancient The Simpsons reference anyone?).
Remember those times? Those sweet innocent times when we were the ones who were going to be accused of being book burners? I wrote about the fact recently that we should not be such, and that our very decision not to be a cancel culture would set us apart from the ideologues.
And how the progressives scorned us back in the day. They would look at conservative Christian schools and mock them for not being able to handle a reality that the schools and their boards didn’t agree with. Give them reality, was the cry! Stop protecting them from truth.
And how many of us who had actually studied literature groaned at this. Groaned, wondering why Christians couldn’t see how a moral universe like the one Rowling had created, was being viewed by other Christians as somehow immoral. After all, it was simply off-the-peg Christian morality, along the lines of CS Lewis (who somehow, strangely, also got himself banned for the word “witch”, as if evil was itself capable of personhood).
Well, let’s flip all that. The same progressives, who have now progressed to the point of insanity and insisting that two plus two equals five, are now calling for the burning of Rowling’s books, because there’s an evil witch involved in them after all – JK Rowling herself!
And what witchery is Rowling guilty of that is so Salemesque to result in the call for her hanging by the neo-pagan Puritans? She simply asserted, in a tweet, in the face of a ludicrous judgement handed down in the UK, that to call a man a woman, and to insist that be the case, is itself ludicrous:
The tweet is in response to a UK tribunal ruling between a woman, Maya Forstater, who lost her job for stating that there are two sexes and that the differences are immutable. Now you may disagree with that, but so what. Should she lose her job over that?
The tribunal not only thought she should, but that she had lost her moral centre by stating it. It declared that her views are “not worthy of respect in a democratic society.” You can read the entire judgement here.
Not worthy of respect in a democratic society. Think about that for a while. To simply state what has been considered reality for millennia, and which most feminists have asserted until all of five minutes ago, is deeply disturbing. Or mad, as Douglas Murray pointed out in his excellent The Madness of Crowds. Rowling has simply responded to this madness by referencing in her tweet the same moral universe, the same “this is that” correlation written into the created order, that her books have always affirmed.
Can you still respect a trans person in this moral universe? Of course you can and you’d better, given they are made in the image of God. Do you have to agree with them publicly? No – and that’s the point of living in a diverse society in this moral universe.
Living in a diverse society is not about eating at the local Sri Lankan restaurant in an inner suburban street and raving about how multicultural it all is. It’s about living side by side with those who hold deep ideological and practical differences and being able to do so without losing your emotional and psychological plot. Yet we’re giving that ground up – or having it taken from under us by ridiculous judgement such as this – all of the time.
This “not worthy of respect” judgement is an astonishing statement in and of itself. It sets a clear precedent that to demur on this issue in the public square will be met with judicial hostility. And in a clear move that the judge has unleashed the hounds, sure enough, JK Rowling was meet with actual hostility. In fact, as I’ve constantly said, the ground work was done culturally, because politics and law are always downstream of culture.
You can read what Brendan O’Neill reports about it in Spiked, as the name calling by trans activists is brutal, obscene and not the language this blog will utilise. Trans activists aren’t so broken that they can’t abuse people in the foulest, most disgusting manner. Or maybe that’s precisely proof that they are so broken.
I said it two years back, but the sexual agenda is never a slippery slope, it’s always a precipice. One judgement or ruling changes everything instantly. And this sets the tone for what is going to come.
Rowling is now out on a lonely limb. And it will be lonely. Even Mark “Skywalker” Hamill showed himself to be spineless and shifted over to the dark side of the Force at the speed of light, after first liking her tweet, then taking it down when challenged and apologising. Hamill may have been a star in Star Wars, but he’s a red dwarf in the turf wars of the TERF Wars. Emperor Palpatine had his measure all along.
The reactions are increasingly bizarre, with Harry Potter fans weeping online and saying that Hogwarts was a safe place for them growing up and is now unsafe. I dunno, but after seeing so many of the movies, I didn’t think it was the safest place to be anyway. In fact that’s why the Christian schools were banning the books in the first place, remember?
Things have flipped for sure. Can the madness keep going or will it eventually run out of steam? Yes, like all mad things it will eventually run out of steam, because left to their own devices, bad ideas don’t work. Yet that’s the thing: the mad things won’t be left to their own devices. They’ll be propped up, staked, tethered and cosseted to ensure that the winds of reality don’t get to sweep them away. And in the process a lot of people on either side are going to be hurt.
Murray is right. It is not the madness of the individual – literally the “idiot” – that is our problem, it is the madness of the swelling crowd, a crowd of wailing banshees the likes of which Rowling could not conjure up from her vivid imagination.
Rowling has been ambivalent to say the least about Christianity in the past, even if her runaway success has piggy-backed on the moral framework that the gospel gave to the world. She is now finding that the very structure that gave her success, when taken away, may well result in her cultural downfall. And she may find that we are the port in the storm she needs, given that we are committed to the correlation of language and reality.
Half a billion copies of her books have been printed. Surely it would take decades to burn them all. You’d need a government department given over to book burning and suppression of ideas deemed “not worthy of respect” in our glorious democratic society. Now there’s an idea and it has been done before.
But for now? What small thing can we do? Well, get those Christian schools to start stocking up on Harry Potter quick smart if they are not already. Read those books to every child and ensure they know from fiction what a universe looks like when it has a trustworthy moral framework, because increasingly the one they inhabit on a daily basis does not.