Dear Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

I hope you’re doing well.

You might not realize it, but you and I are on the same side. I’m a Christian, and a big fan of freedom of expression. You’re a Muslim, and a big fan of freedom of expression. I mean, okay, I laugh when I base by the cubicle at work where the guy has a Buddy Christ action figure while you had very little to say in condemnation of those who called for a fatwa on the artists behind the Jyllands-Posten pictures. In fairness, though, you did have something to say, and while it was mostly to offer solace to the Muslims aggrieved by the pictures, there was some ambiguity there, some indication that you thought that the whole controversy was really pretty pointless.

I support your community center, and I support your exercise of your civil rights in pushing forward for it even in the face of controversy. It takes courage to do something like this, and I applaud you for it.



So, like the ouroboros, the conservative evangelical movement has begun to eat its tail. For those who don’t feel like doing a quick web search, the ouroboros is typically shown as a serpent coiled in a perfect circle, mouth firmly gripping the end of its tail. It’s a rather potent symbol of the cyclical nature of life, the universe, and everything. The old gnostics took apart the symbol to a near-ludicrous extreme, defining each stage of the ouroboros’ self-consumption in detail. In this analysis, the moment when the mouth meets the tail represents the destruction of the old and the creation of something new. And, in this case, not at all improved.

I don’t buy into all of that Jungian archetypal stuff, at least not at the retail prices, but it’s pretty clear that this is a tail-meet-mouth moment. I’m referring, of course, to Conservapedia’s Conservative Bible Project.

Is it heretical? Probably. Is it hysterical? Yes, on several levels. It’s also, in my opinion, inevitable. It was bound to happen eventually and, in fact, I’m surprised it took this long.

It might surprise some of my readers, both of you, to know that I do not prescribe to the typical definition of “biblical literalist” as used in the evangelical community. Within that group, a literalist is is one who believes that every single letter, word and bit of punctuation in the Bible is there on purpose. That there is no real punctuation in two of the languages the Bible’s translated from aside. If there is a clear contradiction of fact in the text then the answer is obvious – God works in mysterious ways.

I’m not sure how this works with the terrible math between the books of the Kings and the books of the Chronicles, where armies lose and gain troops as a remarkable rate, nor do I know how this explains the times when the Bible clearly teaches that the sun rotates around the Earth. These are simple errors of fact that prevent the text of Scripture from being treated as 100% internally consistent. You just can’t do it and, I’d argue, you shouldn’t, and that it’s silly to try.

The Bible has various places where it says that it has all that you need to give a good and useful life, with which I wholeheartedly agree, and in various places say that it’s a bad idea to edit it for content, or to remove anything, but . . . well, let me introduce you to a little fundie lingo. Two of the most common words when describing the infallibility of the Bible are, well, “infallible” and “inerrant.”

You’re not going to find those words in Scripture. You’re going to see particular epistles or particular ideas referred to as “true” or “correct,” usually using Greek relating these ideas to that of being plumbed true, as in a wall under construction, or being “sincere,” holding up under pressure use. What’s important here is that Greek has plenty of ways to say “factually correct” and the Bible rarely if ever uses these and almost never when referring to a large portion of text, let alone the entirety of the text.

One of the texts most commonly used to back up the idea that Scripture is without error is from Matthew: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Even a lapsed Jew knows that “the Law” is a reference to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, and even the most ardent biblical critic would say that those five books are, if not completely without error, then at least extraordinarily similar to the text as originally written. For thousands of years, Jewish scribes have prided themselves on how accurately they copy those texts. Not only that, but that’s only an argument for the textual purity of those books, not the accuracy of the information they contain.

So, that’s me giving you my background, what I think and what I believe and why I believe it. Given that I don’t believe that the Bible is inerrant or infallible, at least not as the people of the Conservapedia understand it, why should I be offended by what they’re doing? I mean, if Scripture isn’t 100% reliable, then what’s the harm?

First of all, it’s that they’re consciously bringing a bias to the text. It’s not the first time that translators have set out on a mission to make the Bible what they want it to be, but every time it’s ended up being a bad idea. The three translations most commonly in use today – the King James, the New International Version and the New American Standard – use different techniques for translation, but none of those techniques involve a political or even a philosophical bias. The closest you get are the reports – just reports, mind you, and ones that don’t make a whole lot of sense given the text we ended up with – that King James tried to make sure that his translation was definitively pro-monarchy.

Let’s say that four hundred years from now, the inhabitants of Ceti Alpha come to earth and find the rules for American football. They set about playing the game, based on the rules which are, regrettably, devoid of illustrations. The game that will result will look different depending on how some individual rules are interpreted, but unless Ceti Alphans have a radically different physiology from Terrans, we’d at least recognize the game and most football fans would think it’s kind of awesome.

If, on the other hand, the Ceti Alphans are pacifists who shun physical contact, Terran football fans with be annoyed, justifiably, with the resulting mess of a game. This is what the Conservapedia is threatening us with – not just something that’s reinterpreted, but something that’s perverted away from what it’s supposed to be.

It’s more than that, though. Imagine that the Ceti Alphans not only change the rules of the game, but that they insist that what they have come up with are the True Rules.

Now imagine that we’re not talking about a rather crappy scifi/sports metaphor, but someone talking about the book that I use to help me find out how I ought to live my life. Imagine that someone is telling me that when Christ says “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire1 which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me,” Christ is making an argument for supply-side economics, not social justice. It’s a thumb in my eye, which I resent, but it is, moreover, a thumb in God’s eye, and I hate it.

1Incidentally, this is one of the few places where people are described as being sent into “eternal” fire. In other, places, people are described as being tossed into a furnace or lake of fire, which is commensurate with Jewish tradition – Hell isn’t eternal unless you’re a real bastard. Actually, even here the Christians are crueler than Jewish tradition. Most modern rabbinical teachings indicate that someone bad enough that they can never leave Hell is consumed by the flames and destroyed utterly. I can talk more about the lack of support for eternal biblical punishment if there’s any interest or anyone has anything to add to my knowledge.

A Letter From Your Nanny: You’re Driving Me Crazy

Now, I’ve heard you and a lot of your friends talking about me, “the nanny state,” as though it’s an entirely bad thing and, well, I think it’s time we clear the air.

First of all, I surely can come down too hard at times. I know that, and you do as well. I think we both remember that time that I said that none of you and your friends could drink or I’d send you to the police, and how well that worked out. And some times I have the best of intentions but things just go wrong. I mean, it’s hard to explain the help I gave the Bradys and their friends as anything other than a well-intentioned attempt to keep you and your friends from playing with toys that were just too dangerous – I mean, I’m all for war games, but who needs to fire a hundred Nerf darts a minute. All I did was teach the toy companies to make different toys.

Anyway, the latest thing I’ve heard you badmouth me over is over my insistence that you and your friends clean up your . . . well, that you . . . I mean, this is just too embarrassing for me to even talk about, but I shall try.

Everyone knows that young boys have certain, err, resources that they want to exploit. There are lots of ways that you can exploit these resources. Some of these will do you a great deal of good and some of them, well, they just aren’t nice.

I’m pussyfooting about the bush rather too much, I think. I read that Dr. Phil’s book and he says that you should just be straightforward and honest with people. I know they’re fun, I know that all the cool boys get them, but you’ve got to stop this fascination with “hummers.” I know, I know, I won’t be “the cool nanny” for saying so, but you really must.

I mean, it’s not just a matter of the emissions so much as it is the fact that you get so very many of them when you don’t need to, without even thinking about the consequences. As I said, I know you have needs, resources you need to exploit, but just running around blasting out of your tailpipe any time you please is no way to go about things.

Now, I’m not telling you that you can’t have any hummers, certainly not, but things must be in moderation, dear. I’m going to be bring some girls by that I know you might not think are all that hip or radical or whatever it is you say these days, but you’re just going to have to spend some time with these girls. I mean, Camry is a nice girl from a nice family. I know she looks foreign, but she’s from the U.S., she really is. And, all right, she might not be quite my cup of tea, but you can have Malibu over every once in a while. She’s nice enough. Really, this is for your own good, and I think you know it.

Now, it’s just not fair to say that I’m trying to make all your decisions for you. It’s simply not true. I mean, when I changed your plumbing from copper and lead that made you sick to new pipes that keep you healthy, you didn’t think I was being too much of a nanny, did you? And when I helped you and your friends change from open copper wires to nice, insulated wires because it was safer, you didn’t think that was too much, did you?

Now, go wash your face and hands. I’m making corn for dinner.

Barbershop debate


, , ,

I love my barbershop. After they cut my hair, they shave the scraggles at the base of neck and under my chin with hot lather and a stropped razor, rubbing BurmaShave into the skin afterwards. It leaves me, for a short time at least, with skin as soft and smooth as the underside of my arms. The barbers are all trained by Trina or Doug – Trina does do lady’s hair, but she’s more comfortable taking her shears and clippers to a man’s hair – and they’re all excellent not only at the cutting hair, but at the art of conversation.

I don’t know how I can quite articulate how intimate the act of having one’s hair cut seems to be for the New Hampshire male. It’s remarkable, really. See, most guys in this state, they like their personal space. I don’t mean that they don’t like to be hugged, I mean that most guys around here seem to have a “no-touching” zone that varies between one to two furlongs. So, to sit, with an apron over your arms, and have someone else take a sharp implement to your head, that takes a lot of trust, and being able to easily converse is a big part of it.

I love barbershop conversations. A discussion of the Patriots’ red zone offense can career off on a tangent and before you know it, you’re talking about when the best time is to seed your side lawn if it doesn’t get much sun. Today’s conversation, though, was . . . heated.

Graeme was in for his haircut (I sincerely think that personal space is partly genetic – he loves getting his hair cut and has been known to run up to perfect strangers and ask them to rub the back of his head where it’s freshly shorn because “It feels cool”) and the barber, Trina, asked what we were doing that weekend. Graeme told her our plans for the day, some of which he’d yet to share with me, and then said that the next day we were going to our church. He slipped up a bit, though, and gave the name of the church school rather than the church itself.

One of the new barbers, Alan, chimed in with the name of the church soon enough – he’s a native of the town our church is in and the church is involved enough in the community that most have at least heard of it.

One of the customers chimed in that he was glad to hear I was getting my boys a Christian education as he hates that his boys have to hear about evolution at their local school, particularly that “nonsense about carbon dating.”

Turns out the kid in the chair next to him is studying radiometric dating methods at the local U. That’s when things got . . . interesting.

The man, whose name I never heard, gave creationist anecdote after creationist anecdote, toeing the party line and scarcely letting the younger man, Nick, get in a word edgewise. At one point he said, “If you say that there’s evidence that Earth was made more than ten thousand years ago, you’re telling a lie to the face of your creator.”

Eventually, the older man started running out steam and Nick moved from biology, where the man had a story for everything, to astronomy, hoping to find a weakness. The man parried with the defense I’ve come to expect, the classic young earthian, “Earth was made and put into the heavens so that it looks like it’s millions of years old.”

I’d been letting them go after each other for the most part – Brandon was with us, and a two year old in a barber shop can get into a remarkable amount of trouble – but I couldn’t help but interject here. It was a short question.

“So God’s a liar?”

The man turned so quickly his barber nearly took off his right ear and bellowed, full out bellowed, “What did you just say.”

I responded calmly. “You said that if someone says there’s evidence the Earth was made more than ten thousand years ago, you’re telling a lie. If God made it look at though the Earth was made more than ten thousand years ago but putting it into a cosmos that was already billions of years ago, he’s trying to deceive us, isn’t he?”

The man blustered at that, unable to come up with a response. He went back to his haircut, which was almost done. As he left, he stared at me, eyes full of hate, and threatened me with prayer on my behalf. It’s a strange thing, but it’s not the first time for me.

Nick finished up around the same time Brandon did, but we paid first. As I was going up the stairs, Nick called out to me to stop. I did and we walked out together. He introduced himself and as we stood in the balmy April sun he shook my hand and said, “It’s good to see someone who really knows how to put those religious mouthbreathers in their place.”

I let go of his hand.

It was rude, the way that I did it, but I couldn’t help it.

There are days when I feel like I’m standing in No Man’s Land, shells flying overhead, in a uniform foreign to everyone else on the battlefied.

Where does this come from, this insistence that one side or the other must be right? That there can be no God because his most vocal believers are poor rhetoricians and lousy logicians? That science is a lie when it has given us to much that even the most ardent creationist gladly accepts?

I’m getting tired.

There’s one thing that keeps me going. Later on in the afternoon, Graeme, who, so far as I knew, wasn’t even paying attention to the barbershop debate, asked me who was right, the young man or the “shouting man.” I told him that I didn’t know, that some of what each of them said was right. Graeme, who is six and wiser than his father, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sometimes that’s how it goes. It isn’t that one things true and one thing’s fake, it’s that both things are true and both things are fake at the same time. You just do the best you can.”

This is how it was


(The bridge of the Firefly. An exhausted-looking Wash is at the main controls, with Mal just now rising from the secondary. Jayne stands nearby, Vera on his hip and still wearing his space-suit.)

Malcolm: Well, that was just plain disturbin’.

Jayne: Don’t know what you’re talking about. After a coupla years of no space-fightin’, we had ourselves a real battle. Plenty o’ bad ass spaceships.

Wash: Well, there was that tiandu wu yohn ship that went down first. Not too impressive. And that guy, the vaguely Buddhist one – “The One?” The one what?

Jayne: Well . . .

Wash: Ooo, and then there was that cube! I mean, who wants to pilot a cube?

Mal: Cube was scary, Wash, mighty scary. Took just about all those fancy ships with the people in running suit’s to take it out.

Jayne (chuckling): Runnin’ suits. Looked ridiculous, every one of ’em. (rubbing the bruise on his chin) Guy with the crab on his forehead, he was strong enough, though.

Mal: But who ever heard of punchin’ with an open hand? Likely to break your wrist as hurt a man.

Simon (over intercom, nervous): Uhh, captain, how’s everything up there?

Mal: Fine, Simon, you getting’ our prisoners patched up pretty?

Simon: The one with the red shirt didn’t make it. Which is surprising as he hardly even got shot.

(sound of a saw whirring in the background)

Mal: And the green-skinned guy? The robot?

Simon: River’s working on him.

(piercing screams)

Mal: Sounds like that’s going . . . well. I’ll leave you to it.

(turns intercom off)

Kaylee (bounding onto the bridge): Everyone all right up here?

Jayne (motions to poorly bandaged arm): Well, I got shot in the . . .

Kaylee: ‘Kay, good, I’ll just see how Simon’s doing. (turns to leave)

Mal: And River, Book and Inara, right?

Kaylee (distracted): Right shiny, cap’n. (bounds away)

Mal: Zoe, you still out there?

(Cut to exterior shot of the Firefly where Zoe stands, hauling in a blue telephone box on the end of a long cable. Cut to close-up of Zoe’s face beneath her helmet)

Zoe: Yes, captain. Thing’s heavier than it looks, even in zero-g. I’ll get her reeled in soon enough.

Mal (over intercom): Any idea if anyone’s still in there?

Zoe: Looks like feh wu to me, captain, but looks like it might’ve been before this battle anyway. Not much to look at, that’s for sure.

Jayne (muttering): Could say the same about this bucket.

Kaylee (off-screen): I heard that!

(Zoe draws the phone box into Serenity’s loading bay where it falls on its end with a loud thud)

Zoe (over intercom): She’s inside, sir.

Mal: Book, Inara, you guys down there?

(Book and Inara stand near the phone-box. Book has a six-shooter in hand, but at his side. Inarra is unarmed)

Book: We’re here, captain.

(back on the bridge)

Jayne: Still say I should be down there.

Mal: The idea’s to make ’em feel welcome. You ain’t exactly a welcoming face.

Jayne: They was in that battle same as us!

Mal: Yeah, trying to survive is all they did. Never fired a shot.

Wash: Still, don’t know if they’re hostile or not, and you let the preacher and the socialite take point?

Mal (to Jayne): Look, I’m the captain and . . . wait. Wash, did you just agree with Jayne?

Wash: I’m as shocked as you, captain. Shocked to my core.

Mal: I’ll leave you ladies to your love-fest, then. Got guests to meet.

(the phone box, banging, clattering and shouting from inside)

Book (putting his hand on the gun): Hope they’re as peaceful as the captain expects. That doesn’t sound like a . . .

(the tenth Doctor and Donna fall out of the TARDIS, pursued by a cloud of smoke and a shower of sparks)

Doctor (recovering, but still staggered, nearly collides with Book before extending a hand and shaking Book’s vigorously – his crying of falling turns into his introduction): Aaaaaaaaaaand who might you be, then?

Book: Shepherd Book . . .

Doctor: Lovely! (turning to Inara) And you are?

Inara: Inara, wel . . .

Doctor: Lovely! (looking around) Oh, this is a smuggler’s ship, and no mistake. Perfect. Tons of little cubbyholes and hiding places and . . . oh, is that a hover-mule! Look, Donna, a hover-mule!

Donna (arms crossed, catches Inara’s flummoxed expression): Yeah, he’s always like this for the first bit. He’ll run around a while, get all interested. Take a nap eventually and then he’ll be a bit more . . .

Inara: Himself?

Donna: No, no, this is himself, really.

Mal (booking down the stairs): What chwen let our new house-guest play get up on the furniture?

(The Doctor on the hover-mule, pretending to steer, wearing a leather helmet and goggles)

Doctor (leaping off and bounding over to Mal): And you must be the (Mal levels his gun at The Doctor from the hip) captain. Huh. Thought you’d be a friendlier lot than that. Two of you with guns.

(loud clanking from the top of the gangplank – it’s the sound of Jayne cocking Vera)

Doctor: And I think THAT gun counts for three. So you all were part of that strange little war after all? Even though you never fired a shot?

Mal (to Jayne): I said I was coming down, didn’t I tell you to stay . . .

Jayne: No, you didn’t. Wouldn’t’ve listened anyway.

Mal: Jayne, I . . . I’ll deal with you later.

Doctor (clucking): Ah, issues with your crew. Well, I don’t want to get in the way of that, so if you could just point me to a spare berth or (Mal turns his steely gaze back to The Doctor) not. I seem to have arrived at a bad time. Or, more properly, I seem to have been roped into your ship at a bad time.

Inara: If we’re awake, it’s probably a bad time.

Donna: Look, really simple questions. I have three of them. Everyone ready? I’ll even let you know who can answer them. (silence) Right. One: were you lot actually part of all that fighting or just caught up in it same as us? Captain?

Mal: Just caught up in it, I suppose. I mean, we have some that’d like to blow us out of the sky and all, but none of ’em fly ships like the ones we just saw. Question of my own: what brought you lot here?

Donna: Well . . .

Doctor: Just passing through, really. We were trying to get to the Tiber Cluster round about seventy million years from now so I could show Donna a real live actual supernova when the primary temporal buffer panel went all wobbly. Before I knew it, we were trapped in time, barely able to move in space, ships zooming all around. We survived as much because of our shields as anything, and even those were failing. Some sort of power drain. Anyway, we pulled through and ended up here. Question two –

(during this exchange, Kaylee leaves medbay and sidles up by the captain)

Donna: I’m asking the questions, Doctor.

Doctor: Right, sorry.

Donna: Question two-

Jayne: Can I shoot ’em yet, captain?

Donna: Question two: If you weren’t fighting in that battle, then are you being so aggressive now only because you’re a bit on edge? Everyone?


Donna: Right. So let’s just pretend that neither of us is particularly in the mood to shoot people and see where we go from there.

Mal (putting his gun down at his side, not holstering): Seems a good plan. Your last question, very talkative new person.

Donna: Three: (apologetically) Captain, mind if we stay here for a bit?

(the crew begin talking at once)

Jayne: . . . runnin’ a gorram daycare . . .

Kaylee: . . . could use a hand with repairs . . .

Book: . . . as a Shepherd, I should say that . . .


Mal: Quiet, the lot of you! This ship is a democracy: one man, one vote. I’m the man, it’s my vote. (turns to The Doctor and Donna) Much obliged to you both for not trying to kill us but we’re full up on crew just now. We get you to a planet, we’ll get you settled but that’s the best we can do.

Doctor (meandering over to Kaylee): Well, I do think that we could come in handy for you captain. For example, did you know that the intake manifold on the primary extrusion engine is going to give way in a week, maybe less? Leave you drifting, that will.

Kaylee: I TOLD you that manifold weren’t right and you wouldn’t listen, said we didn’t have . . .

Mal: Money, that’s right, we don’t have the money, so you’ll have to make do until . . .

Doctor: Make do? Make do? This is a 03-K64 Firefly Mid-Bulk Transport, a classic spacegoing vehicle, preference of scoundrels and anti-authority vagabonds everywhere. You can have all the money in the universe, but if you don’t love this ship, she’ll shake you off like the turning of the worlds. Love her and she’ll keep you flying, let you know what’s wrong before you even notice it. It makes the ship a home.


Mal: Might do to remember that, doc, but that don’t mean I can just magic up the money to pay for a part.

Doctor (to Kaylee): Do you have a Z-91 compression coil, two solid-state cadmium batteries, about thirty inches of copper cable and a pair of tweezers? Aluminum tweezers?

Kaylee: Don’t know about the tweezers, but . . .

Doctor (intensely): Listen. The tweezers are important.

Inara (putting up her hand): I think I have a spare.

Doctor: Fantastic! Problem solved. I can make your manifold for you! When I’m not trying to fix up my ship, of course.

Kaylee: Can we keep him, please!

Jayne: Lio coh jwei ji neong hur ho deh yung dug buhn ja j’wohn . . .

Donna: Oi! Your mum know you talk like that!

Jayne (surprised): She’s the one that gorram taught me.

Donna: Cheeky little . . .

(the crew talks up again, this time louder, ending with Mal shouting them down again, overlapping with Wash, who’s just shown up)

Wash: I have to go to the baaathroom.

Mal: Everyone settle!

Jayne (to Wash): What?

Wash: I wanted to get in on the whining. Am I too late for the whining? Damn, I always miss the good stuff . . .

Doctor: Hobart Washburn!

Wash: Uh, yeah . . .

Doctor: THE Hobart Washburn!

Wash: W . . .

Doctor: Your run through the ion cloud on the Geserel IV rogue moon just before the fall of the Parliament – it’s the stuff of legend.

Wash: Well, I never . . .

Doctor: Well, no, you haven’t. Not yet. But you will. And it’s fantastic.

Wash (to Mal): I vote we keep him. I like people who like me. It’s a weakness.

Doctor: You lot do seem altogether less . . .

(River and Simon come out of medbay. River is holding a mechanical arm, still twitching, with tatters of green skin and black and yellowish cloth)

River: Broken doll, strings cut, no more dancing.

Doctor: scary than I thought . . . you . . . might.

(River sees The Doctor and immediately falls to the ground, hands over her head)

River: The storm, the waves, the crashing sea, salt in my eyes, in my EYES, Simon.

(Simon and the Doctor run to her at the same time as River continues to babble)

River: Stream runs to the lake river runs to the ocean ocean comes over me drowing, storm-driven tempest-tossed I don’t want your cloven pine anymore get thee behind me Sycorax Miranda Miranda make me a stone the dark behind it all the eyes the eyes with no eyes no heart no head just hate exterminate extirpate extricate the weave and weft the curds and whey have curdled you were gone gone so long ago and so far from now torn apart the war the gathering storm you’re the last the last but you aren’t supposed to be at all. (sobbing)

Doctor (using his sonic screwdriver): Oh, my goodness, her brain. Neural stripping. Alterations of a kind I’ve never . . . I’d call this barbaric but it was done with great skill. They raped her mind and left the core of her naked and exposed. I’d heard of experiments like this, never seen one close-up before. Horror beyond imagination. (insensely) I should very much like to find out who’s behind this.

Simon: We were just heading somewhere where I hoped we could find out more about her condition, see about healing her.

Doctor: I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. There’s no healing this kind of damage, not in this century, not with what you have. Can’t heal her mind, but there might be hope left for her spirit. Not for a while yet, but it may come.

Simon: Who are you?

Doctor: The Doctor. And you?

Simon: Simon Tam.

Doctor: Of course! So that makes the rest of you (points in turn) Zoe Washburn, Jayne Cobb, Kaylee Frye and that makes you (grabs Mal’s hand so suddenly that Mal drops his gun) Major Malcolm Reynolds.

Mal: Captain. Just a captain.

Doctor: Right! Getting ahead of myself again. Well, anyway, captain, how about it? Your crew seems to want me on board and now you know I have ill intent toward the Alliance. What’s not to love?

Mal (looking around): You can stay until your ship’s fixed, not a day more.

(Jayne walks away, not bothering to hide his disgust)

Doctor: Captain, I believe this may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Mal (stalking back up to the bridge): Wong ba duhn, why can’t nothin’ go smooth?

(The others begin to move away)

Kaylee: Stop by the engine room when you can. I’ll get you those parts you were lookin’ for.

Doctor: Oh, sure, fabulous.

Donna: Well, that went well.

Doctor: Yeah, rather. We’ll be a week or two here, I’m afraid. TARDIS is pretty well knocked out of commission but I think I can fix her. We get along well, the two of us.

Donna: Yeah, I noticed. Sure it’s smart to let on to this lot? Bunch of petty criminals the lot of of ’em.

Doctor: Oh, that. You know those parts I asked for? (Donna nods) Not for a manifold, though I can make that easily enough from what we have on our ship. No, that’s for a memory eraser. Wipe out the memory of this whole battle from the crew, and anything to do with us. Best that way.

Donna: Really? What about the girl?

Doctor: Oh, we’ll get to the bottom of that, don’t you worry. But I can’t bring this lot into that much danger. (claps hands) Well, to work?

Donna: Of course!

(Exeunt omnes)

This going to be ridiculously short, considering how long it’s been since my last blog entry, but I really need to get this off my chest.

Angel is cancelled. Firefly is cancelled. Touching Evil is cancelled. Ditto Eyes, Cupid, Brimstone, Farscape and half a dozen perfectly good shows.

Charmed is going into its eighth season. Eighth. That’s the number after seven, after six, after five . . . several numbers higher than the show ever deserved to go on for. It makes me want to throw out my TV. And I might do that, except Veronica Mars is going into its second season . . .

I know there’s a way to post reviews and stuff, but sometimes I’m unwilling to learn new things because it discomfits me. So deal with it.

Anyway, the album currently playing, Jimmy Eat World latest, “Futures,” is a rock-solid rock/pop album. Excellent, excellent stuff. There’s a lot to like here, but if you don’t believe me, give a listen to “Work,” “Kill” and “The World You Know.” That last song is . . . strangely addicting. I know I’m probably way off in thinking this, but it feels to me like it has a New Order kind of vibe to it, with a more stripped-down sound.

Only the second volume in my ongoing series, Essays by Stupid People: Snarky Edition, this essays hails from, a sort of amusing, sort of horrifying site. It’s amusing in that these people attain levels of self-delusion that would make the Hale-Bopp suiciders stand up and take notice. It’s horrifying in that, well, it’s just horrifying.

I don’t think I’m quite as ethically clean in challenging this essay as I was in the last one. While I don’t agree with 99.9% of what she has to say, this essay writer’s underlying thought, that Harry Potter is occultic, is one that I don’t have a problem with. It is, it’s just that her application of its occultic nature is so deceitful that I can’t let it slide without comment. Maybe some time in the future I’ll post up some of the writing I did to try and explain why I eventually did post this. In the meantime, the snark goes on. For those who aren’t familiar with my previous entry, read that one and then read this one. Basically, I take the essay line by line and take it to bits. Snark in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1:

It was with fear and a great sense of shame and guilt that I touched the cover of a Harry Potter book for the first time,

(“My Daddy havin’ learned me of the evils of readin’ so early in life.”)

and then forced myself to sit through the movies.

(Yeah, the pacing’s a bit off in the first movie, but the second one moves along pretty well, I thought. Haven’t seen the third. I hear it has some second-act issues, which usually bugs me.)

For weeks I had prayed and asked for guidance, and I hope it was God’s will that I did, and saw with my own eyes what is foisted upon the eyes and minds of our children.

(Unless your children have the money to buy their own movie tickets and are willing to defy you rather openly, no one’s “foisting” anything on them. Don’t blame God for your crappy parenting skills.)

I have heard many bad things about these books and movies, there would be countless instances of witchcraft,

(Okay, you got us there. They are practicing magic, and practicing it a lot. Sort of like that satanic bastard Gandalf.)


(Yeah, but they have British accents, and that makes them cool.)

brewing of drugs made by boiling alive babies pulled from the earth,

(You mean the mandrake root? Yeah, that scene was a bit . . . disturbing, but, lady, if your kids look like that, seriously, stop reproducing. There are already enough flaws in the human genome without you helping. As for the myth, it has a long and storied tradition, and some of the preeminent Christian scholars of the medieval period extolled the virtues of its life-preserving properties. Though more traditionally the babies pulled from the earth were macerated or ground up in a mortar and pestle.)

sexual congress with goats

(Excuse me? Sexual congress with goats? Just trying to throw that one in at the end to blind-side us, huh? Pretty sure I’d remember a goat-sex scene in any novel, let alone Harry Potter.)

and many more things not fit for young readers’ and viewers’ eyes, but what I found was much worse still than I had feared.

(Nicely done. You end your silly litany with something that never happened, and then tell us you read much worse. Considering you read at least one scene that never actually happened, this should be interesting.)

Please do not let your children read these books or watch these movies!

(Based on your say-so? *shakes magic 8-ball* Outcome Unlikely.)

I will now tell you why:

The antagonist in the Harry Potter books is a man called Tom (parody of the Trinity, more about that in the next paragraph)

(I await your insights with bated breath.)

Marvolo (marvels miracles)

(I think we’re missing some punctuation here. “Marvel” and “miracle” do come from the same root, “mirus,” meaning “to wonder at,” but they’re hardly close to being the same word, having moved away from each other about three hundred years after Christ’s resurrection. Associating the two is sort of silly.)

Riddle (referring to the Divine mystery),

(Or referring to the title. Y’know, the bit about the Secrets)

a man who is three as one, in the spiritual shape of an old man (Voldemort, meaning flight of death, a direct reference to the plagues over Egypt),

(Or, if you really paid attention in Latin class, it could also be “vole of death.” I don’t think any of the plagues involving members of the Crecetidae family, but I might be wrong there. The Latin’s not particularly good here, but the verb that could be jerry-rigged into being part of this name refers more to an extremely rapid flight of an arrow or such-like, not to the relatively sedate and ponderous “passing over” of the Angel of Death or any of the other plagues.)

in the body of the young man who lives in the diary (Bible),

(The diary is a Bible? In this very sentence, you were saying that marvel and miracle are the same thing, now we’re expected to think that a diary, a “a daily record of personal activities, reflections, or feelings,” is synonymous with “the sacred scriptures of Christians comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament?” Wow. Tom’s quite a writer. How does he cover the stories about the pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament? Writing as a zygote?)

and as the spirit that guides (as in the first book when he fights the witches for a stone the Sorcerer’s Stone that grants immortality and is in defiance of the punishment for the fall).

(That wasn’t anything to do with Tom Riddle, and you’ve already said that the spirit is the Vole of Death, but I get what you’re saying. What I don’t understand is why you’re unwilling to consider that this triune entity is more analogous to the profane trinity from the end times. You have Tom Riddle as the charismatic Antichrist, the guiding spirit as the corrupting Whore of Babylon and Voldemort as the powerful, horrifying Beast. And when your children say, “Well, then why can’t the children beat him if he’s evil,” you can explain that it’s because they aren’t using God’s ways to fight him and only God can truly defeat such forces of evil. But that would get in the way of you being self-righteous and would require critical thinking. I apologize. Please continue.)

This Tom Riddle is clearly the God of Christian tradition as other Christian critics of Mrs. Rowling’s books have pointed out.

(Are you referring to the homeless dude I met in Boston who shouted out a similar statement just before peeing on the sidewalk? Because, I gotta say, he made a pretty compelling case right until he whipped his pecker out.)

When Potter first sees Tom Riddle the Son, Tom is described as strangely blurred around the edges, suggesting a halo (p. 330).

(Or suggesting that he was indistinctly seen, which, in context of the book, seems quite likely. Halos tend to be bright and illuminating, creating a clearer image of the object in question than one might otherwise get. That’s how they were used in most art up until around the 19th century, at least. They can be blinding, at times, but rather rarely blurring. Angels and demons tend to stay fairly sharply in focus.)

The reason why Mrs. Rowling calls Jesus Tom is simple.

(Or simplistic. But I’m not about to nitpick.)

In England, the saying every Tom, Dick and Harry is highly popular and in this case alludes to the omnipresence of God in our world.

(Huh? I’m quite familiar with the etymology of that particular phrase, and I can assure you that if it alludes to the omnipresence of God, then this is the first time in recorded history that it has done so, whatever your sources may say.)

This is another attempt to confuse us by presenting a false, mixed up trinity: Tom, the Father;

(Or Tom the Son, as you’ll refer to him later in this very paragraph. It’s not as though I really expect you to demonstrate a consistent internal logic. I’m also curious how someone can be a part of more than one trinity. I’ll have to consult Amy, the Triad Hussy.)

Dick, the Spirit (better known in the series as the ghost Sir Benedict de Mimpsy Porkington, affectively called Nearly-Headless-Dick by the children);

(I can assure you, even with their rather different use of “Dick” as an idiom, no children’s book in the U.S. or the UK would be permitted to have a character called “Nearly Headless Dick.” His name is Nick, in both versions of the book, I’m quite sure. There’s no way I’m googling “nearly headless dick” from work. He’s also a monumentally minor character in the series, as a whole, whereas the Holy Spirit and his satanic counterpart are pretty much the point-men in the coming Apocalypse. And shame on you for not noticing that his name contains the word “porking.”

I’m also curious about what you think the adjective “affectively” means. I think you meant “affectionately.” “Effectively” would also work, in context, but it’d be a poor choice, I’d think.)

and Harry, as the Son, the false Christ.

(Now, here you’re coming about as close as you get to making a valid observation. Harry as Christ-like figure is definitely an interesting topic for debate. I mean, he’s not a particularly malevolent person, in that he rarely, if ever, sets out to do evil, and when he does it’s usually because he gives into his human passions, not because he’s enacting some dastardly plan. Still, he clearly has the potential to become truly evil, which makes me wonder: is this something like what Christ might have been like as a child, without the instruction of the Torah? Was it his human half, educated and socially bound up, that kept his nascent divine power from manifesting as evil? Apart from the Gospel of Thomas, we know nothing of His childhood, and the bit about making birds out of clay and setting them to flight and – well, let’s just say I’m not willing to accept Apocrypha as autobiography. Could Harry evolve into the Antichrist? Well, I don’t think the books would call him that, but it’s clear that he’s closer to being Voldemort than he’s particularly comfortable with, so he could definitely turn to evil. I call that dramatic tension, but I suppose you could call it a sign that Harry is Of The Devil. To each their own.)

Later, Tom the Son will remark that he and Potter are very alike (p. 340), causing more confusion in the heart of the reader.

First of all, confusion in the heart is clinically called “arrhythmia” and is often fatal if left untreated. You mean “confusion in the mind,” as that’s where thoughts happen. It happens fairly often and is ordinarily only fatal if you’re operating heavy machinery. And the villain saying he’s very much like the hero goes back to the book of Job and, while it’s confusing, it’s one of those things that even young children eventually have to learn to cope with.

Lucius Malfoy (meaning of bad/wrong faith, again this is misleading!),

Well, it really means more like “traitorous” or “untrustworthy,” but Rowling’s Latin is more than a little dodgy, so I can understand the confusion. I’m surprised that you didn’t pick up on the meaning of “Lucius.” “Bringer of the light.” Sort of like another Biblical character that I’m sure you’re familiar with.

a respectably dressed family man

Don’t you know that all villains in young adult books have to be either natty dressers or horribly gauche? It’s all about letting them know that conformity is bad, but being ugly is even worse. Oh, and this “family man” treats his sentient house elf as worse than a slave, tortures mortals for fun and tried to kill both Harry and his father several times. He also uses witchcraft as much as anyone else in the book. Pretty sure those aren’t listed as the acts of a good father.

with the pale hair and ethereal looks of an Angel, representing the Angel Gabriel of the Annunciation (Luke 1:31, but with the name of the fallen one in order to confuse Christian readers)

Oh, good, you did catch on to the Lucifer thing eventually. I think. Did you know that Lucifer was often shown with pale hair and ethereal beauty until people confused him with the nature gods? And that the angelic image enjoyed a comeback in the Renaissance? And that the Torah says that Lucifer’s form is comely and attractive? Oh, and Gabriel was usually portrayed with blondish hair, sometimes tending towards brown. You may be thinking of Raphael. I remain curious as to how you justify his use of magic.

gives the girl of a humble home, Ginny Weasley, the diary of Tom Riddle.

My estimation of your reading comprehension just increased.

It is not hard to realize this diary, containing the life history of our Lord Tom the Son, represents both the message that she is to become the Divine vessel, and the Christian Bible, the very base of our faith.

(And there it goes again. First of all, if we’re going to go with a Virgin Mary thing with Ginny here. *pause* Sorry, had to have a quick giggle. If we’re going to go with a Virgin Mary thing with Ginny here, she was an Israelite girl. She could receive the Torah, somewhat modestly, but she’s not about to study the thing as she does for much of the book. So that’s a pretty crappy angel you have in Lucius.

And how does the Torah fit into this book, exactly? I mean, it’s only about Tom. Where’s the equivalent of the Talmud in the diary? Did he spend the formative years of his life writing out holy law in his diary?

Oh, and Ginny’s not short for Virginia

The Angel Malfoy, with modesty that befits his kind, does not touch the revered and frightened girl but puts the diary in the girl’s cauldron, representive of her womb.

(Ladies, if anyone, no matter how modest or angelic, attempts to insert foreign objects into your genitals without permission, contact the authorities. Oh, and in the world where this novel takes place, Malfoy’s dropping the book in the cauldron will eventually cause Ginny to die unless someone does something about it, and he drops it into her cauldron after plowing into her in a crowded market. That’s not typical angelic behaviour towards innocent girls.)

The innocent Ginny confides in the diary, asking it questions, and the diary advises her, guides her, like the Holy Scripture. About the diary she says, I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in … It’s like having a friend I can carry around in my pocket (p. 335). Isn’t this the way we wish our children would think about the Holy Scripture?

(Sort of. Kind of hope that my son’s copy of the Bible doesn’t include the bits that’ll cause him to accidentally father an evil megalomaniacal wizard, though.)

Ginny continues to ask Tom for guidance, until she, under the malevolent and seductive influence of the anti-Christ figure, Harry Potter, bearing the mark of the beast on his front, rejects it and it falls into his hands.

(The mark of the beast? Oh, right, the lightning bolt. How is that a mark of the beast? I’ve always thought of it more as the mark of Thor. Which would be much cooler, if Harry’s supposed to be Thor. Seriously, that’d be awesome. Smiting trolls with Mjolnir and stuff.)

The little girl writes Potter a poem: His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, He is truly divine, the hero who conquered the dark(sic) lord. Once more a blasphemous attempt to turn the tables around and represent witchcraft, a dark force Christianity has faced and fought since the dark ages, as benevolent, and make God out to be something dark and fearful to us.

(And here I thought it was just a bit of doggerel. And witchcraft predates Christianity by somewhere between 4000 to an eternity of years, and people of the Book have been fighting it pretty much since the two first met. Yes, it’s often cast as benevolent, a truly horrifying thing to see in a piece of fiction, much like that satanic bastard Gandalf actually being praised for defeating the icky Bal-Rogg with his equally icky magic staff and sword.)

The terms green eyes and pickled toad should be enough to raise the alarm bells in the mind of any true Christian,

(Okay, the pickled toad thing I get, but green eyes? God still has it in for the Irish, does he?)

but our children are not always well versed in the Divine truth of the Bible and defenceless against this sort of Satanic indoctrination.

(Where are pickled toads and green eyes mentioned in Scripture? I mean, I agree, pickled toad’s a thing pretty commonly associated with witchcraft, but unless you have the version of the story of the witch of Endor where she gives Saul a shopping list before summoning Saul’s spirit, the Bible gives pretty short shrift to telling us what objects are evil and which are not, and judging people based on eye colour is just silly.)

Ginny, like our own children, is captured by Potter’s serpent-like green gaze, and maybe his tongue;

Well, considering there’s a fair bit of conversation involved in his getting a hold of the diary, I think we can take the “maybe” out of that sentence. And what a perfidious boy for saving a young girl from certain doom.

Mrs. Rowling gives away in the first book that the boy can talk to snakes, and considering what we already know about Potter, we should not put seducing an innocent girl into original sin past him. Like our own children, it is a lure she cannot resist, and one the Virgin Mary never had to face.

Eh? Our children can’t resist the Devil? And here I thought that bit about there always being a way out of a temptation was pretty clear. Leaving aside the unlikeliness of Harry seducing his best friend’s younger sister with so many other hotties at his school, Harry seems genuinely mortified that he possesses a trait commonly associated with dark magic, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

In this second book in the series, Mrs. Rowling, who for many years studied Satanism and Kabbalah in France and several other secularized old world countries,

Wha?! That’s just . . . bizarre. The lady’s life has been pretty much played out in public, and there’s no real mention of her studying the occult.

represents the Immaculate Conception by Ginny of Tom as rape, of the mind but also of the body, and the Annunciation as a fraud committed against the virgin girl meant to be the bride of the anti-Christ figure Potter.

You clearly haven’t been reading much slash fiction. Draco/Ginny is much more believable, though I’ve always thought Draco/Snape had more panache.

She does this inversion of our ancient truths without blinking an eyelash, and according to some is a representative on earth of the ancient demon Lilith, who was rejected by Adam as a wife for her forwardness and her refusal to take a wifes place.

(Are we talking about Ginny now, or are we still on J.K. as the source of all evil, or is this just you, working out your daddy issues in public? And, incidentally, very nice job of summing up a complex and long-running series of myths and folk-tales as Lilith (who’s never mentioned in the Christian Bible except parenthetically) being responsible for the whole mess.)

Before the conception of Tom Riddle, the Son, is completed, Potter pierces the Bible Ginny holds with the fang of a serpent-like poisonous monster, burns it, and reclaims his unconscious bride (the scene bears resemblance to the one in Rosemary’s Baby since Ginny is also wearing a black robe and her legs are uncovered) while Tom is denied becoming flesh to save the world from Potter and his followers.

(Did you miss the part where Voldemort’s coming back to destroy all Muggles? Because if that’s saving the world, dear Lord, I hope the Jews are right.

Oh, and the monster’s a basilisk, whose poison was said to have great healing properties when handled properly. They’re also said to be birthed when a rooster lays an egg in a dung heap. Thus signifying that we’re reading fiction.)

A phoenix, favourite symbol of Freemasons like Hilary Clinton, a bird born from fire and with feathers the color of hellish flames, red, gold, orange and yellow (not coincidentally also the colors of Potter’s house in the school) comes to Potter’s aid.

(The phoenix is a popular critter in many world mythologies, in some variation or another. And, incidentally most flames glow red, orange or yellow. It’s what flames do, in Hell or elsewhere. It’s all part of the exothermic reaction thing.)

Not surprisingly, Ginny weeps silently after being ‘rescued’ by Potter, for deep inside she knows that now she will face a fate worse than death, and that she is lost (p. 350).

(Wow, I so didn’t get that interior motivation from her thanking Harry for saving her from certain death.)

The movie ends with Potter and his mentor, a master in the Satanic art of shape shifting, humiliating the Angel of the Annunciation.

(You mean Lucius, the guy named after the Devil, who keeps slaves, kills mortals and wants nothing more than to bring back to power a guy who wants to destroy the world, and casts at least a many spells throughout the book as the “evil” shapeshifting Dumbledore? That Malfoy?

In a particularly distasteful and lewd display, Potter tries to tempt the rightfully furious Angel by raising his pant leg and showing him his nude ankle.

(That’s so Victorian I’m not quite sure how to respond. And since, in the book, it’s made absolutely clear why his nude ankle is such a stinger, I’m not sure what other item of attire wouldn’t have earned your ire. His hat, I suppose, if he wore one.)

In this way the Harry Potter books contribute to the hidden gay agenda.

(I shall be on the alert for gay people removing my socks to end slavery. Didn’t realize that was a part of Their conspiracy.)

When this temptation is refused, he has a malignant house spirit who embodies all the evils of stem-cell research curse the angel down.

(1. You really need to assume that when you make statements to the effect that a house-elf, a long-standing mythological character dating back at least to pre-Roman Cornwall, is an example of the evils of modern genetic research, that we have no clue what the hell you’re talking about.

2. In the book, as in the movie, the house-elf acts of his own volition, though Harry does encourage him to do and say as he feels.

3. How can someone who lived in absolute servitude possibly be construed as “malignant”? House-elves do laundry and cook meals and such. If such domestic tasks are to be considered “malignant,” that doesn’t say much for the art of homemaking, now, does it?)

In the book Blood in Vein, notorious Satanist Brian Hodge puts the blasphemous words, “There are many gods. There are many sons conceived by rape,” as an answer to the question, What of your being the Son of God? into the mouth of Jesus (p. 271 of the paperback). This is common practice among Satanists, representing God as one of a multitude so we will lose direction, and perverting the birth of our Saviour in rituals where they invert crosses, spill the blood of roosters, have goats rape virgins, and eat newborns. And we now see that they will stop at nothing.

(Where did the sudden mention of polytheism come from? If anything, the Harry Potter books propose a book without gods at all, which is spiritism, not polytheism. And there are no inverted crosses, bloodied roosters, goat-raped virgins or newborn recipes in these books, nor are they even implied except as things that Voldemort might do, so why bother mentioning any of this? At all? Oh, right, you’re attempting to foment righteous ire, even if you have to close your mind to do so.)

Throughout every next book in the series, Our Lord Voldemort/God tries to smite Potter and, according to Mrs. Rowling, every time he fails, reinforcing gullible readers’ confidence in the power of evil.

(Voldemort is trying to kill everyone. Everybody. Dead. And, given his vicious efforts to remain on the material plane, he clearly doesn’t think there’s much of an afterlife if there is one at all, so don’t feed me some malarkey about how he’s going to kill the Muggles for their own good. If you’ve read the books, you know that his followers certainly aren’t aware of that. They take every opportunity to badger, humiliate and otherwise attack them. Which, admittedly, isn’t that radically different from how most evangelicals treat non-evangelicals, so maybe you have a point after all.

Now, I’m not saying that Harry’s use of magic is an act of good, except that in the context of the body of fiction of which it’s a part, it is not intended as an act of evil, and if we’re to accept her not-real world, we need to accept that.)

Potter’s godfather, the ancient Egyptian demon Sirius (better know to us as Satan, or Potter’s [GOD] ie true father, historically Set) who also takes the shape of a large black dog, and is described as both beautiful and violent by Mrs Rowling, appears in three of the books and returns physically to the underworld when Potter turns sixteen and is no longer in need of his protection. One wonders if the infernal nuptials of Potter’s mother Lily, also named after Lilith, and this dog will be described in any of the following books.

(Sirius, the celestial body, is also known as the Dogstar, whose guitarist is Keanu Reeves. In the move The Devil’s Advocate, Keanu is the son of the Devil. That’s as close as you get here. In fact, the star’s sometimes associated with Isis, wife of the fellow dismembered and scattered by Set. Of course, since Lucius clearly represents a good angel because he has a horribly evil name, you’d probably have no trouble believing that Sirius is evil because he has a name of one of the opposite numbers of a demonic entity.

And, by the way, you’ll be shocked to know that Lily’s name means . . . Lilly. As in the flower. That’s Latin, and has etymological roots with words relating to delicateness and beauty. Lilith, on the other hand, means “of the night,” and comes from Arabic. Two completely different words. Really.)

Nothing good can come of this. Our country is now beleaguered in the Harry Potter merchandize, colorfully, festively almost announcing the arrival of the anti-Christ. The worst product available to corrupt our youth was Potter’s vibrating broomstick, now taken off the market under pressure of Christian parents because it taught young girls how to abuse themselves and awoke their interest in the sins of the flesh. This is damage that cannot be undone.

(Masturbation is self-abuse? Wow, that’s just precious and stupid. It was taken off the market, by the way, because more than just Christian parents realized its . . . implications, and because of issues with the battery pack and things getting caught in the vibrating parts of the broom. I made it through that with a straight face. Yay me.)

Our own President and his wife have let this evil into the White House and have boasted Harry Potter themed Christmas decorations!

(Ah, yes, and I understand their Christmas feast was a fresh-roasted Baptist, drizzled with orange sauce. Personally, I’ve never liked cooked Baptist. Too fatty. Now the Amish, them’s good eating.)

The Vatican, not coincidentally located in the centre of Europe,

(Have you actually checked a map? Or, like, history?)

has sided with the Satanists and proclaimed Harry Potter harmless; once again the Catholic Church forsakes the Christ and sides with those who would pull us down with them into eternal damnation.

(Not with you on the Harry Potter thing, but as for the Catholic Church siding with the Devil . . . I got nothing against you there. I don’t credit them with as much conscious villainy as you do, though.)

It may be already too late to save our world, but we can save our souls and refuse the ticket for a one-way trip to hell Potter provides.

(Or at least buy your ticket at a serious discount. Honestly, I saw some guy paying cover price for a Harry Potter book. Cover price! There’s just no excuse.)

It is never too late to cancel your trip.

(Well, not unless you’re being tempted by a guy with a snake for a tongue and frog-eyes right? Remember that bit? Up a page or so . . . oh, never mind.)

God bless you and be with you always

(And you too, ma’am. I get the impression you need his blessing really, really badly.)