A Fall from Great Heights

Harry Potter has become less powerful as a Christian resource since JK Rowling has announced the gay status of Albus Dumbledore.

The resurrection themes are sOOOOOO strong, that it had been a happy hope-filled set of months since the conclusion of the series.

I had tried to ignore the ire in her voice as I had heard her refer so negatively to the Christians that have disliked the series due to “magic.”  But she has pushed further, saying that this will make fundamentalists even less likely to like her works.

I am not a fundamentalist.  And I don’t dislike homosexuals [don’t misread that sentence – I do care for homosexual people].

But this work which has been such a nice way to see christianity publicly written to millions, is suddenly tarnished with something so problematic.

It is not that it is bad to have a gay character.  It is that it serves as a PROMOTION of an immoral practice…



5 Responses to A Fall from Great Heights

  1. Axaday says:

    I don’t think Harry Potter books promote homosexuality. It appears to me that Rowling decided Dumbledore was gay somewhere along the way as she developed the character and it helped her develop the story, but she never put it in the story. Perhaps because she thought it would hurt sales. Perhaps because she thought writing it in would make it a promotion. Someone simply asked at an appearance if Dumbledore had ever been in love and she went ahead and gave her thoughts, which are probably doing to be in the backstory encyclopedia she is preparing. It doesn’t have anything to do with the story.

    It really doesn’t even say being gay is good. It just says good people can be gay and they can. One of the themes of Book 7 was that Dumbledore was not the perfect ultimate wizard that he had been believed to be. He was human and he made some errors in judgment and him having an old flame for the young Grendelwald helps explain why it took him so long to go and fight him as he should have done.

  2. saintluke says:

    Yes, Jonathan, you are right on several counts, important ones – especially things that I have thought of myself, in hopeful defense of Rowling’s orthodoxy.

    What I mean more clearly is not that Dumbledore couldn’t be both gay and good; he can.

    It was that she seemed (out of the books) to be using a platform (AFTER the question) to promote what on the surface looks good (tolerance for homosexual people in society). I’m all for that. On the other hand, what seems to be happening is that she has a viewpoint, which she is happy to reveal which she said she would have revealed years ago if she had known the response to it. That worldview is generally that of “promotion of the rights of homosexual persons” which doesn’t mean the right to live as a human, but the right to marry homosexually. So it goes from being protective of people to promotive of forbidden behavior.

    It becomes heterodoxy.

    I doubt if she means or would ever say that homosexuality was a “flaw” of Dumbledore’s. [To be clear to the stray reader – I don’t think homosexual inclination is any worse that inclination to pornography or to wanting food all the time – the biblically defined sin is to act upon these tendancies and to distort the way we are called to live as God’s creatures].

    SO what I meant was not that the books are in and of themselves bad books, but that the author’s intention, from long ago, has been to include an acceptance of homosexuality as a part of normal culture.

    Do you think this is maybe the case?

  3. RickCapezza says:

    I’ve seen two great perspectives on this:

    First, there was no indication of sexual activity. There is no indication that he became sexually active with another man after he repented. If he has the inclination and doesn’t act on it, that’s quite Christian. There are plenty of GREAT Christians that have had this struggle. Who’s to say she doesn’t have Henri Nouwen in mind?

    From a second perspective, more in line with current literary criticisms, the text is all there is and none of it says he’s gay. His sexuality is not relevant to the story. Dumbledore has no real existence apart from the text. There’s no secret life for anyone to expose. There’s nothing at all behind the text. He’s only who he is as he is presented in the text. What Rowling “imagines” is really inconsequential. What matters is the text.

  4. saintluke says:

    I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE BOOKS, but about the possibility that the author is just another liberal Anglican who is happy to help the LGBT cause.

    So, I think I should clarify again. I KNOW there is not activity //in the books// that displays homosexuality.

    I am surprised at the very postmodern reading that removes authoral intention from a work. Especially when we are talking of a book that is in the realm of Tolkein/Lewis.

    1) Because we generally (with books like this) accept the //corpus// (e.g. Every side comment Tolkein ever made about LOTR in an encyclopedic way) to be TRUE about the “world of LOTR”.

    and since we know that

    2) Rowling has long since wowed the world with the promise of yet more HP lore from the pages of just such an encyclopedia.

    and since

    3) She has left the //positive reaction// to the HS item at just that, a positive reaction that she would have put out long ago had she known just how positive it would have been.

    I think therefore, that we have to say, the Harry Potter phenomenon as a thing… as a form… as a force… is now culturally waving a thumbs up for homosexuality from the Rowling fiat.

    I know that Dumbledore has flaws, but he is a tragic character whom we pity. And I don’t think she intends us to be compassionate about his “sin struggle” the way that the Bible wants us to be.

  5. Axaday says:

    I don’t think she ever intended to make acceptance of homosexuality a part of Harry Potter. If she did, I think she would have found a way to make it more overt in the story. I haven’t paid close attention, but I also don’t see that she’s pushing this at all. To the best of my knowledge, she has only answered questions about it. I don’t think she wanted it to be a big deal.

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