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Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains why many former Potter-bashers are warming to the Hogwarts crew :

In its early years, “Harry Potter” was a litmus test of orthodoxy for some conservative Christians, who expressed concern over its portrayal of witchcraft. A Christian lawyer sued a public library for encouraging young readers to check out the series. Texas Pastor John Hagee called the books a “precursor to witchcraft.” In 2005 a Canadian website published a letter opposing the books written by Pope Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. (In 2009, the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published a favorable review, seeming to reverse course on the series.)

The hysteria has largely died down, and not many religious leaders asked their flocks to avoid the final movie, which opens today. Potter observers cite a few possible reasons for the waning concern, including a natural desire to move on to other entertainment issues, but also an interest in the themes that unfolded.

Christians today are certainly not universally enchanted by the series. Over time, however, more readers have begun to express praise for its honest depiction of fear, loneliness and sacrifice as Harry faces the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Many Christians have cheered the portrayals of loyalty, courage and love, as the main character repeatedly risks his life.

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