Yup November 8, 2011

And it wasn’t even that hard to figure out.

It really does astound me how amazingly bad the discernment of conservative Christians has been–repeatedly. From completely misreading this story to blind zeal for one folk hero after another–and the absolute certitude that disagreement about any of this stuff means that the person who disagrees is not merely mistaken but an Enemy of God–the terrible lack of discernment has been breathtaking. But even more breathtaking is the failure to learn from history. Question the next folk hero and exactly the same thing happens. There is no sense that, “Gee, we made a bad call with Maciel, Euteneuer, Corapi, etc. Perhaps we shouldn’t instantly assume bad faith or membership in a conspiracy when somebody disagrees with us again.” Nope. Once again, the person pointing out the problem or doubting the reflexive tribalism is regarded as an enemy. Weird.

Sorry, but I just spent the weekend listening to Barbara Nicolosi Harrington tearing her hair out about the fact that Catholics have forgotten their own aesthetic, cultural and literary traditions and this stuff is fresh in my mind. She’s described audiences of *Catholics* who can’t tell the difference between porn and Michaelangelo’s David (eww! Nudity!). I heard tales of people accusing Ignatius Press of marketing pornography because they sell a film about St. Edith Stein and it shows Jews being stripped naked and marched into gas chambers. With a culture that barren of anything beyond the most simplistic fundamentalist shibboleths masquerading as “Catholic culture” it’s hardly a surprise that Harry Potter, which ought to have been welcomed with gratitude by Christians, has instead received shameful hostility and ignorant denunciation. The series is, on balance, a great gift rooted in a Christian imagination. If you don’t believe it, please familiarize yourself with the work of John Granger, an Orthodox Christian with a strong background in Lit who is more than able to make the case.

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