Or so I thought when mrs. KV had procured the entire series of Potter films on DVD (up until now. There are a couple of episodes still in the offing, I know!), last holliday season. Much to my pleasant surprise I found the films utterly entertaining and strangely in tune with the character of the season. It brought back the feeling of watching Christmas movies by the lit Christmas tree when yours truly was an 8-year old, back in nineteen-diggety-doo.
And then we watched "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". I am sure that the writer of the series, J.K. Rowling, never intended any of her books to be political pamphlets of some sort. The stories, the writing (in the mean time I have begun plowing my way through the entire book series) is just too good to be mere, turgid political agitprop dressed up as a modern fairy tale. But the 'political' backdrop in "the Order of the Phoenix" bears an uncanny resemblance to the situation we find ourselves in today.
In the "the Order of the Phoenix" the physical existence of Lord Voldemort, the embodiment of evil in the series, is being denied, against all evidence, by the authorities, represented by minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge. So deeply entrenched is the denial, that ever more extreme measures are taken to uphold that denial. Up to and including instating as head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry a nasty piece of work going by the name of mrs. Dolores Umbridge, who it turns out is actually in league with Voldemort.
I won't go into much detail. If you don't know the story buy or rent the DVD or better yet, buy the book! Suffice it to say that I found the similarities with our current predicament striking. On the one hand we have a political elite that is unwilling or unable to recognize the damage that is inflicted by the more strident elements in Islam to Western society. Unwilling to face up to the sinister hold that Islam has gotten on our freedom and our values. And on the other hand the ever more extreme interventions against those that try to make us aware of the danger we are in.
Yesterday saw yet another example of this. Hot on the heels of a post in which I berated the Christianity in the Netherlands for not standing up to evil, we are told that those that support Wilders or share his ideas are no better then Nazis (though I am aware that the timing is most likely purely coincidental).
Some leading light of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN, featured recently on KV) said in a radio interview that "Churches need to speak out against Wilders" (NL) and directly compared Wilders supporters to Dutch national-socialists in the 1930's.
The board of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) wrote a letter to the PVV-fraction in which they express the wish for a consultation with Wilders and members of his fraction about teh controversial anti-Koran file "Fitna". 'That is good', says minister P. J. van Kampen, 'but it seems to me to be equally useful if the PKN and other churches call upon their members to stay away from Wilders.'Much of that evaluating of "Wilders' ideas, that resonate with many christians, in the light of Gods Word" we already brought up in our recent post. To repeat myself:
Ministers should convey that message from the pulpit, according to ds. Van Kampen. "It would be good if the churches would critically evaluate Wilders' ideas, that resonate with many christians, in the light of Gods Word."
The minister from Vlaardingen refers to the pulpit message that the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands conveyed in the thirties. In that message the political opinions of the National Socialist Movement (NSB) were condemned. The church association refused sympathisers access to the Eucharist.
Is the leadership of the PKN actually, sincerely telling us we should be tolerant of the intolerant? To have respect for those that would slit the throat of Wilders and anyone else they do not agree with? To show solidarity to members of a flock that elsewhere persecutes to death christians, jews, hindus, atheists and other 'infidels' alike? Are they trying to teach us that resisting evil (yes: evil) contradicts the gospel? And delivering your people into the hands of a system of belief that is the literal antithesis of the christian faith (and its declared enemy), that such is in line with the gospels?The irony of all this is that minister van Kampen is a notorious killjoy who is on record comdemning Harry Potter books (NL), because they contain magic and dark moods (oooohhh!). In a question and answer session, he states that
There is no reason to want to know the depth of Satan. The Bible never makes the dark interesting.Which basically means that ds. van Kampen embodies ministers Fudge and mrs. Umbridge in one. First he tells us that to understand, come to grips with evil is unintersting, nothing to worry our pretty little heads about. Why he would want to advise against gaining knowledge of evil I really can't fathom. Sun Tzu said 'Know thy enemy'. Jesus tought us how to recognize evil (the fruits and the tree, right?). Besides, the good minister is fibbing. A casual reading of Johns Revelations or Jesus' sermon on things to come in the gospels is enough to prove van Kampens (intentional?) mistake.
Nevertheless van Kampen tells the church to denounce people who try to understand evil and protest against it as being on an equal footing with national-socialists of the thirties of the last century. More over, much like mrs. Umbridge allowing only a theoretical knowledge of Defence Against the Dark Arts, which is even more limited by the fact that she determines the curriculum, van Kampen tells us to shut our brain and try not to root out and understand evil. He knows better what evil is, or so he thinks (I mean, come on. Harry Potter?) and he'll tell us. In the process he is perfectly content to leave us defenseless against the real thing, and threatens to throw us out of the church if we dare to take it upon ourselves to seek wisdom and knowledge in this matter.
But it not only ds. van Kampen. Mrs. Umbridge takes many forms, as Ezra Levant will be able to tell you. And on this side of teh Big Pond we have the EU and its European Commission for Racism and Intolerance as an example.
However, there is a hopeful message in "The Order of the Phoenix". There will come a point when evil is no longer deniable, when it is forced out into the open. Possibly Wilders' Fitna and, more importantly, the reactions to this film will constitute that moment. And maybe, just maybe we will be in a position to retire the Fudges and deal with the petty, little incarnations of mrs. Umbridge in our midst.
The reckoning will come.