Harry Potter is dangerous? The beloved book series by author J.K. Rowling about a young wizard and his friends has been taken off library shelves at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville because the school’s pastor believes the books’ magical spells are real.
Rev. Dan Reehil, the pastor of the school serving kindergarten through eighth grade, removed the books from circulation because of “recommendations of exorcists in United States and Rome,” according to CNN on Tuesday.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true,” Reehil said in an e-mail originally published by the Tennessean on Saturday. “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the texts.”
Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, confirmed that Reehil’s email about removing the books is real, and says that while the Catholic Church doesn’t have an official position on the Harry Potter books, the school’s pastor has the final say, according to the Tennessean and CNN.
St. Edward Catholic School, Hammel, Reehil and Rowling didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The school’s move might surprise fans, but it’s worth noting that the Harry Potter book series tops the list of most challenged books in the United States in the 21st century, according to The American Library Association. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.