Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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Biola prof/IDiot says it doesn't matter if Rowling says Dumbledore is gay

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]star_cabaret)

because Dumbledore is not Gay, which is a lesson in "Taking Stories More Seriously than the Author," written by John Mark Reynolds, a professor at Biola University who's known as a proponent of Intelligent Design. This article was found through Pharyngula. This ties in in a way with the curricula challenges and the whole Christian second culture that tries to function separately from secular culture. I must say, though, that if I tried to analyze something like this in my literature courses, I would've been laughed out of the department.

Recently, J.K. Rowling announced to the world that one of her characters, the heroic mentor of Harry Potter, Dumbledore was gay.

Nonsense. There is no evidence of it in the books and the books (at this point) are all that matter. I have always thought the books deeply Christian not because Rowling told me so (which she recently confirmed), but because the text is full of Christian images and ideas. She had a chance to give Dumbledore a boyfriend, but she muffed it. I refuse to denigrate friendship by reading every close one as sexual . . . and she gave us nothing else.

No offense to an excellent author, but Dumbledore no longer belongs only to Rowling. He also belongs to her readers who have been given a series of books in which Rowling was free to say what she wanted to say. She wrote about Christianity openly by Book Seven, but if Dumbledore was gay, she decided to hide it. She hid it so well that there is no evidence of it.


Rowling chose to hide her “opinion” of Dumbledore’s sexuality until the story arc was done, Dumbledore dead, and his life written. Now her opinions no longer matter, just her text. If she could point to anything in that text that suggests something greater than friendship, mentoring, or a professional relationship, then that would matter. She has not and cannot. She carefully hid the “fact” and now it is too late to introduce it.


What if Rowling writes a guide to her characters in which she gives new “back story” to the characters?

That too will not matter...

I do not react this way because Rowling has said something I find personally distasteful. I do find homosexual behavior contrary to nature and the laws of God. However, I do not find the tendency to homosexual behavior shocking or particularly distasteful. We live in an imperfect world and if Dumbledore lived a celibate life giving himself to his work, then he is a perfect (fictional) model of how to deal with disordered affections.


It does not matter if she had Dumbledore’s failings in mind as she wrote, since she censored it out so heavily as to be of no use in understanding her novel. Unless we are give word’s new meaning, she chose words like “friendship” to describe Dumbledore’s relationships.
This is something of a follow-up to [info]dogemperor's post about waiting for the apoplectic fit. Just to reiterate: there have been basically two extremely-socially-conservative responses to the Harry Potter series: 1) it's evil or, much more rarely, 2) it has Christian themes and we should look for these and ignore the rest. The author of this was one of those "Christian themes" people, and this is his response to the author's latest statement about her character.

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