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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to the book's author, Matthew Latimer, J.K. Rowling's name was once in consideration for a presidential medal but was rescinded because the books "encouraged witchcraft."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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113 Points

wow! I cant beieve that! She so deserved that award! N hello? Wicca (“witchcraft”) is a recognized religion in the U.S.! How dare they revoke considering her just based on the “encoraging wtchcraft”fact. Its a fantasy books, duh theres gonna be magic in it! >.<

Posted by Phoebe of Gryffindor on September 29, 2009, 06:30 PM report to moderator
6690 Points

i hate that whole “witch craft” debate, it’s ridiculous! ppl who are afraid of liking something they thought they might not have and are afraid of actually reading something that makes them broaden their point of view are the ppl behind this…i actually forget half the time that the story has anything to do with witches and wizards…oh well, missing out and screwing up their own kids… lol

Posted by levi-OH-sa, not levio-SA [neville♥myhero] on September 29, 2009, 07:09 PM report to moderator
176 Points

This is obviously just a ploy to get attention for his book. Who cares about a freakin US medal? Cashing in on HP like everybody else, this one. She’s accomplished enough, she doesn’t need some little coin. _

Posted by Azkaban Dietitian on September 30, 2009, 08:18 AM report to moderator

It looks like the BBC has spotted the story

Posted by roonwit on September 30, 2009, 11:03 AM report to moderator
1642 Points

So lame .. What the …..
Oh my lord ! Have mercy on his soul. !

Posted by Bella'love ^HISS^ on October 01, 2009, 08:37 AM report to moderator
1535 Points

The books don’t say something about cursing, poisoning, doing voodoo stuff on people. But maybe that’s what he thinks, and that’s why he doesn’t want to give the award. . .

Bush, you just have to read to understand. . . . .

Posted by ginevrapotter07 on October 03, 2009, 09:09 AM report to moderator
85 Points

I don’t buy this. Everyone loves to vilify Bush, it’s a favorite pasttime of many across this country, but alot of what people accuse him is unfounded. I find this hard to believe b/c Laura Bush is a lover of all books. When she sponsored a huge literacy event at the White House, she had all six (at the time) Harry Potter books on the forefront of the display. This guy just hates Bush and will probably say anything to make him look bad and what better than to bad mouth a popular series and author like Jo Rowling.

Posted by kleigh629 on October 03, 2009, 03:51 PM report to moderator
1549 Points

now thats stupid. and discriminating may i add?
so what if i go somewhere then i find a stick then say ‘crucio’ to anyone i see?

hp books are good and a hit wait scratch that. hp books are the BEST, AMAZING and SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS books. and jk totally deserves that medal.

Posted by vampressISap0tter *ROAR* on October 04, 2009, 02:03 AM report to moderator
42 Points

As we know from reading Harry, A History, there are people who actually believe that Harry Potter stories are evil. However, for now, I will let this stand as a rumor – perhaps a metaphorical statement by the author – and leave it at that. Whether President Bush gave JK Rowling a medal or not does not change the effect the books have had on the world. I am pleased to hear that Laura Bush was a fan.

Posted by TheOldHeadmaster on October 04, 2009, 10:27 PM report to moderator
121 Points

Chocolate frogs to eiVega. Speech writers, indeed. Our world consists of words and we each believe differently to some degrees. Take away the media and angsty wording. Read between the lines. There are demons and then there are demons. Light and Darkness. We all possess each element.

Posted by Genine_Malfoy on October 09, 2009, 06:25 PM report to moderator
33 Points

Hopefully this is just a rumor. I cant stand to think that people could be this close minded about literature.

Posted by HPbrokensilence on October 19, 2009, 12:38 PM report to moderator
169 Points

The audacity! And even if it did encourage witchcraft (and therefore wicca and pagan) which are ways of life in their own right and shouldn’t be prejudiced against. The mans an idiot

Posted by revolution.needed on November 16, 2009, 03:14 PM report to moderator
234 Points

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! This is NOT right!

Posted by twilightharryrox on November 19, 2009, 05:54 PM report to moderator
234 Points

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! This is NOT right!

Posted by twilightharryrox on November 19, 2009, 05:54 PM report to moderator
10161 Points

That is just ridiculous.

Like they even read. And if they do, clearly they don’t see beyond whats there and analyze whats between the lines.

Posted by SlyBones on November 21, 2009, 08:38 PM report to moderator
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