Freshwater: Is Hogwarts a religious school?

Those who are unfamiliar with issues sometimes raised by religious fundamentalists may be excused for finding the question that is the title of this post a little weird. But out here in Knox County, Ohio, home of the Freshwater affair, it could turn out to be a serious question.

Accountability in the Media is a blog that comments mainly on local doings here in Knox County. Its author, a fundamentalist Christian, is a strong supporter of John Freshwater. He regularly videotapes Board of Education meetings, and has posted numerous videos on Youtube. (Those who are morbidly interested can see me in one.)

In December 2011, Accountability wrote about Freshwater’s appeal of the decision of the Court of Common Pleas upholding Freshwater’s termination. As an aside in that post, Accountability published a photo of the Hogwarts coat of arms on a banner hanging in the middle school library where school board meetings are held, and captioned the photo

(The Mount Vernon Board of Education met recently below a poster that could be interpreted as being of a religious nature: The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry coat of arms.)

I can’t tell you how amusing it is to see a fundamentalist Christian implicitly equating the Bible with a work of fiction, and how much fun I’ll have with that if the author of Accountability and his co-religionists push that notion. I suppose it’s possible that Accountability was engaging in humor here, but given that there is a history of fundamentalist religious hysteria over Harry Potter (see, e.g., here for an example and here for an overview), I wouldn’t be amazed to learn that Accountability is serious.