The latest Harry Potter book has set records in the U.S., selling five million copies on Saturday alone. Some religious groups say the books promote witchcraft and Satanism. But WHSV found out many churches are using the popularity of the series to their advantage.
With all the hype surrounding the Harry Potter books, it may be easy to lose sight of their message. While some conservative religious groups have even burned the books for their use of witchcraft, others praise them as powerful moral tools.
"They possess some good values, some good Judeo-Christian values like cooperation, like friendship, and honesty," says Father Jim Gallagher of Blessed Sacrament Church about the books.
Gallagher believes there are Christian parallels in the Harry Potter movies as well.
"I like the part where his mother jumps in front of him to protect him from the curse," says Gallagher of one of the films. "And mothers are always doing that in our society to protect their children."
He says those who protest against the books are not seeing the whole picture.
"I think that if someone only looks for the evil, then that's all they will find, but if they look for the good they will find it there as well," explains Gallagher.
And to his mind, any reading is good reading.
"I think it’s wonderful that children are reading books," states Gallagher. "We have a difficult time getting them to do any kind of reading."
Teachers in the area agree.
"When you can get a kid, especially a teenager, an eight grader, who some of them don't even know what a book is, to sit down and read a book that's 300-400, even 700 pages long, I say go for it," says Wendy Mattox, a middle school teacher.
Gallagher says if children have structure from other sources like church and parents, the ideas some people find offensive in the books will likely remain there.