Opting Out of Occult Books
That Violate Religious Principles
My fifth-grade daughter's assigned novel for class has incantations from a
pagan religion. I don't want her to read it.
Children's books with occult content
have been around for centuries. From the wicked witches of fairy tales to the occultic
content of the Harry Potter media
spectacle, they depict things that are specifically termed "wrong" in religions
such as Judaism and Christianity.
It is important for parents to "opt
out" their children from harmful literature to send a message to school
officials, that parents care as much about what goes into their child's mind
and heart, as they do about what goes into their child's stomach at lunchtime.
Focusing on occultic content:
Some books and stories portray characters
as "good," even if they practice
witchcraft and do other objectionable things, if the result of their
actions is good. That violates clear religious teachings that the ends never
justify evil means.
There are educators who push
channeling, spirit guides, astrology, ghosts, mandalas, reincarnation,
yin-yang, and other religious beliefs and occultic content and practices,
probably not realizing that those things are condemned by the Bible and off
base for the majority of their students, who are likely to be from Christian
It is highly possible that school
officials are not aware of the specific do's and don'ts in the various
religions of the students in their school. Even many Christian educators don't
realize that the Bible condemns sorcery, necromancy, astrology and other fairly
common New Age practices in the modern world. If you know that your child's
teacher, the counselor or the principal are nominal Christians or Jews, you
might want to include a Bible citation or two for their benefit. (For books
that promote witchcraft, Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10, 1 Samuel 15:23, 2 Chronicles
33:6, Galatians 5:20, and many more.)
The dangers of occult games such as
"Dungeons and Dragons" are well-documented. They have been linked to copycat
risk-taking behaviors, including substance abuse and crime. If occult games are
introduced in schools, it should be easy to get them thrown out.
It's more difficult with schoolbooks
assigned by a teacher. Academic freedom clouds the issue, even if there is occultism,
profanity, violence or inappropriate sexuality in the assigned reading. No one
likes censorship, and there's room for tolerance for diverse perspectives on
these matters. But officials and other parents need to know about bad
Opting your child out of an
objectionable book, and into one with the same academic purposes but no
troubling content, is a good solution.
Ask at the school office for the
school's office opt-out form for objectionable curriculum. If they don't have
one, you can obtain an opt-out form from the Pacific Justice Institute, www.pacificjustice.org See "Request
an Opt-Out Form" at the bottom of the "Schools" section.
Suggest that your school make copies
of that form available to other parents from now on, and educate your fellow
parents about the duty to opt out a child from objectionable curriculum, and
how to do it.
You might want to photocopy brief
passages of the book that raise your objections, and quietly and professionally
circulate them to other parents, school staff and elected school-board members.
Don't raise a stink, threaten a lawsuit, or undermine any teacher's authority
by going over anybody's head to the district level. Just opt out your own
child, tell others if you wish, but hope that your example is an effective
Some of the books that frequently
draw complaints about occult content include The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, The
Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and the Harry Potter series by Linda K. Rowling.
Parents who have studied books like
these make a compelling case that there are better books available with the
same educational value that don't offend mainstream sensibilities or parental
autonomy. Ask your school librarian, a public librarian, or a local bookstore
to help you identify better books that provide the same positive lessons
without the objectionable content.
If people criticize you and say that
you would like to "censor" folk tales that feature witches, point out that
those old folk tales are fine because they ALWAYS portray the witch as bad, and
NEVER glorify or give precise wording of spells or step-by-step instructions of
occultic practices, as the recent books do, that are so provocative and easy
for vulnerable children to copycat.
One final point: it could be said
that books about the occult, magic and witchcraft waste time because they fail
to teach children real-world, useful skills, logic, problem-solving or critical
Homework: See Like Lambs to the Slaughter: Your Child and the Occult, by Johanna
Michaelsen, Harvest House, 1989, which has good advice for parents in the back
. . . also The Seduction of Our Children:
Protecting Kids From Satanism, New Age and The Occult by Neil T. Anderson
and Steve Russo, 1991.