SCARBOROUGH: “Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire” opens at midnight tonight. And “Muggles” are lining up already, including my younger son.
The fourth “Potter” movie in the series, rated PG-13, shows Harry competing in wizardry competitions, but some really are fearing right now that it could promote the occult to children.
With me now are Tommy Turner, a Michigan pastor who believes the “Potter” franchise is bad. And Karen Holt, she is the editor of “Publishers Weekly.”
Pastor, let‘s go to you first.
Obviously, I have got children that have watched all of these movies.
You think it‘s a bad idea. Why?
TOMMY TURNER, PASTOR: Yes, I do, Joe.
The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from the faith. We need to realize there is a strong delusion being sent that is deceiving the nation. And the Bible teaches us that idolater and sorcerers will have their part in a lake of fire. And we need to come alive and say I‘m not going to allow my door, the door to be opened to my child‘s heart to be deceived from this strong delusion from the enemy.
SCARBOROUGH: So, do you think if my son goes to see this movie, he will be more likely, despite the fact he goes to church and he is a Christian, do you think he will be more likely to be enticed to join a cult or to study the occult?
TURNER: Yes, Joe.
What you feed grows. Trash in, trash out. We have to build our lives on the rock Jesus. And if we‘re not building our lives on faith, whatever comes will blow us over. We need to be strong in who we are, in our character, who we believe in. And the answer is yes, because if you go to a “Harry Potter” Web site and look at all of the links that hook you up to the occult, we need to realize we are facing real spirits of the demon world, following Lucifer, (INAUDIBLE) and so on and so forth.
The spirit world is real. So, we don‘t want to teach our children that it is fun, it‘s OK. It‘s very serious and very dangerous, and we must take alert to this activity.
SCARBOROUGH: Karen Holt, is “Harry Potter” dangerous to America‘s children?
KAREN HOLT, “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”: No. I mean, fantasy and magic have been a part of children‘s literature since there‘s been children‘s literature. I mean, we all grew up with Snow White and Cinderella. I don‘t think it turned any of us into occultists.
SCARBOROUGH: So, talk about why this movie and these books are so overwhelmingly successful, when every time a new book or new movie comes out, you hear a lot of these same criticisms, that it does go into the occult, that it studies the darker side of spirituality.
Well, it‘s just a big target. I don‘t think there‘s anything unusual about these books, except that they‘re incredibly popular, and so it makes it a high-profile target for these groups that would actually like to eliminate, I think, anything that didn‘t fit with their religious beliefs.
SCARBOROUGH: Pastor Turner, do you agree with that?
TURNER: I would like to tell her that she is also under a strong delusion, that the word of God prophesied that all these things will come to pass.
Remember, there is a lake of fire that the unbeliever, the sorcerers and the idolaters will end up in. Do you want your children to face that or do you want to protect them from what we know is going to come to pass?
HOLT: Well, as I said, I think fantasy and magic have been part of children‘s literature forever.
And, you know, I don‘t know, is there an epidemic in this country of children becoming satanists, of children turning to the occult? If there is, I don‘t know about it. What I do know is that reading is on the decline in this country. And that is a serious problem. The NEA did a study last year showing that fewer and fewer adults are reading literature.
Less than about a third of adult men actually read any sort of literature at all. So, again, I don‘t know. Maybe there is an epidemic of satanism. I don‘t see it. What we do know is that reading is in trouble and that this is one way to help.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to have to leave it there.
Thank you, Pastor. Thank you, Karen Holt. Greatly appreciate you being here.