Disclaimer: I don't own Reader's Digest or any of the letters sent to them. I did not write this letter, you can find it for yourself in the issue mentioned. The name of the author of this letter has been removed for the sake of humanity. This letter has been reproduced in full. I do not own Harry Potter, Scholastic, Bloomsbury Publishing, or JK Rowling, I have no idea why anybody would think so.
Letter from a reader of Reader's Digest, February 2001, on the fact that RD put JK Rowling on the cover of December 2000:
"I am shocked that Reader's Digest would put someone like JK Rowling on the cover without more investigation about what she really believes. Harry Potter is doing much to further the evil in this world through spells and incantations. It saddens me that parents prefer to look the other way when something is 'popular'. "
I read your letter in the Reader's Digest this afternoon, and I understand your complaint. Yes, Harry Potter is the work of the devil. It is evil, and unjust to Christianity and many other religions. It is dark, and full of mysterious witchcraft that could frighten young children and convert healthy, religious, media-consuming Americans into the most dangerous thing of all: avid readers.
Yes, it is dangerous, for it teaches children to love to read, which is a crime in itself. When children did not want to read, and instead chose to sit and watch cartoons and not further their education and vocabulary with these books, teachers put together lessons for the students and reading levels began to rise.
This is an outrage! Our national consensus of literacy doesn't matter, but whether or not books are the work of the devil does! We should spend more time worrying and protecting our children from books by putting them in front of the computer or television than we should teaching them skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.
And we should never give the children what they want, either. When kids write in to magazines and newspapers with gleeful exclamations of, "Harry Potter is so cool!" and "Harry Potter rules!", we should sternly scold them for reading such trash and force them to read something else.
Indeed, you are also quite correct in reprimanding parents for turning their heads against the sins of witchcraft and paying attention to their children, reading with them and spending more time with them, rather than ignoring them to watch TV themselves.
Our country would be much better off as a nation of incompetent individuals rather than an embodiment of socially-adept and intelligent family-goers. It just makes more sense that way. Who would want to spend more time with their children, anyway?
And about all those incantations? I sincerely and whole-heartedly agree. Literary characters who live in paper and ink can do evil in this world with fictitious magic and made up spells, it's true. Who knows, maybe one of the children will get ahold of a "wand" and begin casting "spells" on her teachers?
In conclusion, you are completely right and just in everything you say. I thank you for your letter and hope to see more complaints from you in the future.