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Book Rumor: Bush administration denied J.K. Rowling medal because Harry Potter books "encouraged witchcraft"

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Melissa
September 24, 2009, 02:25 PM

The new book SPEECH-LESS: Tales of a White House Survivor, a behind-the-scenes account of life in the George W. Bush presidential administration (published by Crown Books), has an interesting nugget for Harry Potter fans, as a reader has pointed out: according to the book's author, Matthew Latimer, J.K. Rowling's name was once in consideration for a presidential medal but was rescinded because the books "encouraged witchcraft." The relevant text is on page 201 of the book and reads:

[President Bush's chief speechwriter] Marc [Thiessen] liked to encourage a broad range of opinions from others, so long as theirs agreed with his. When Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I suggested that the president might at least consider awarding Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Marc objected with the genteel diplomacy he was known for. 'That's crazy!' he thundered. ...This was the same sort of narrow thinking that led people in the White House to actually object to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States from January 2001 to January 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." It is not always given to an American: during the Bush administration, presidential medal recipients included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

During the Bush administration, the president and his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, were very vocal about their like for the Harry Potter books; Laura Bush called them her "favorite": "It was like finding a great mystery writer and having that whole body of work to read at once. I really loved them," she said.

You can purchase the book here.

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23764 Points

Anybody who thinks the HP books encourage witchcraft has not read them. There are actually alot of Christian themes in these books! >_<

Posted by PhoenixFlight [ITC!] on September 24, 2009, 02:28 PM report to moderator
660 Points

Magic is a science in Harry Potter, not a worship of the occult. Deathly Hallows was one of the most spiritually moving books I’ve ever read, bringing me closer to Jesus than I have ever been before.

Posted by Noble Birth Descending on September 24, 2009, 02:33 PM report to moderator
30 Points

As if I needed more reasons to dislike my fellow Texan…. :( It’s ok though, I doubt J.K. Rowling would have been proud to have a medal from George…

Posted by PhoenixLament23 on September 24, 2009, 02:38 PM report to moderator
594 Points

Epic fail. googles the infamous Jean-Luc Picard facepalm pic and attaches it to the reply

Posted by MischiefManaged on September 24, 2009, 02:41 PM report to moderator
1067 Points

This is a little confusing…who exactly was denying Rowling the honor? It looks like the speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, considered that narrow-minded. It just say Bush Administration, but not who. Especially if both the President and the First Lady liked the books, then who was the one who shot it down? Who on staff actually had a strong enough voice to convince ALL these people not to give her the award? This is suggestive without actual information. That’s frustrating.

Posted by eiVega on September 24, 2009, 02:42 PM report to moderator
261 Points

I’m so tired of this kind of thinking towards the Harry Potter series that I don’t even have the strength to say just how stupid this is…

Posted by Thio on September 24, 2009, 02:43 PM report to moderator
2113 Points

that’s just funny, I love harry potter and I’ve never done witchcraft jajajajajaja

Posted by selene21 (ROAR) on September 24, 2009, 02:45 PM report to moderator
62 Points

It’s unfortunate that one (or a handful) of unnamed people in the Bush administration would be so narrow-minded. (Honestly, this is a tame comment for me, as I DESPISED Bush’s residency in the White House.)

Posted by Reader511 on September 24, 2009, 02:46 PM report to moderator
1642 Points

huh. who cares about your medal? keep it.

Posted by Matea on September 24, 2009, 02:51 PM report to moderator
27 Points

Has anyone ever thought that Bush and Voldemort were one and the same?

Posted by Thorgrim Greipr on September 24, 2009, 02:52 PM report to moderator
62 Points

Like so many other rumors, this is probably absolute fiction. Just because it is in a book does not make it true. By having this nugget in his book, the author is getting free publicity without having to worry about providing factual evidence. The Bush administration (like every presidency) had enough problems, inventing controversy to sell more books and enrage a fanbase is petty. Bashing Bush has become a popular national pasttime. I think it is time we moved onto more more contructive issues.

Posted by Daisy Dodderidge on September 24, 2009, 02:53 PM report to moderator
4603 Points

oh haha

Posted by placebowiz on September 24, 2009, 02:53 PM report to moderator
1397 Points

I agree with eiVega, the excerpt really does not give us much to go on , in terms of who it was that was truly denying her the medal.However I do find myself deeply saddened, as I do with any story of this kind that the narrow-minded mentality still exists.

Posted by Blatcher(ROAR) on September 24, 2009, 02:54 PM report to moderator
3417 Points

Talk about stupidity!!

Posted by paul_hp_fan [OoM2] *ROAR* on September 24, 2009, 02:57 PM report to moderator
8736 Points

I’m not even going to say anything. George Bush and his entire family is a disgrace to the United States, and it worries me that people actually VOTED FOR HIM and that some people think everything HE DID was not HIS FAULT. Holy demon frick of hell I hate that whole administration.

Posted by Rumbleroarϟ{WBM!}ǝıʞɔnp! on September 24, 2009, 02:57 PM report to moderator
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