What connects Harry Potter to Left Behind?

Religion, spirituality, and sacrilege.
May 18 2004 11:45 AM

No Wizard Left Behind

Harry Potter and Left Behind are more alike than you might think.

(Continued from Page 1)

Corrupt authority figures. Liberal Rowling and conservative LaHaye both distrust the government. Harry spends as much time in The Order of Phoenix battling the hapless (or wicked?) Ministry of Magic as he does Voldemort himself. In Left Behind, it's a takeover of world government by the Antichrist that puts the world at peril. In Harry Potter, the adults can't be trusted; in Left Behind, it's the non-Christians.

Political agendas. As the Harry Potter series progresses, it becomes clear that Voldemort and his death-eaters want power for a specific purpose: wiping out Muggles (non-magical families) and mudbloods (mixed families). The books become a plea for tolerance and against the nostalgia for ethnic purity. Hermione's campaign to liberate the house elves is even more transparent in its power-to-the-little-people message.

Advertisement

Left Behind presents a comprehensive conservative Christian agenda. The Antichrist is the secretary-general of the United Nations. He promotes a hit parade of classic liberal causes, including family planning, abortion, global disarmament, amniocentesis, Third World development, assisted suicide, and higher taxes. Yes, the Antichrist is a tax-and-spend liberal. "We will further finance our plans to inject social services into underprivileged countries and make the world playing field equal for everyone," Carpathia declares. Scarrrrrry.

Romance cannot wait. Despite the fact that the heroes in each book are busy waging life-and-death struggles against colossal forces of evil, they still need to attend to their social lives. When he breaks a date with love-interest Cho Chang to meet with Hermione, Cho whimpers that Harry's being insensitive. She views Harry's distractedness as being of the "boys-are-such-creeps" variety rather than the "it-must-be-tough-to-prevent-genocidal-wizards-who-killed-your-parents-from-taking-over-the-world" variety.

But imagine how hard it would be to maintain a courtship on the eve of the apocalypse. Early in the Left Behind series, newsmagazine reporter Buck Williams develops a crush on Chloe Steele, the daughter of series hero Rayford Steele.

"The timing was bad," he noted. "Who pursues a relationship during the end of the world?" So true.

Then there was Rayford's old friend Hattie, a flight attendant who later becomes Carpathia's mistress and gets pregnant, thereby creating a mind-blowing Christian dilemma: Is it OK to have an abortion if the father is the devil? (Answer: no.) What are the obligations of a friend in a situation like this? "What are you going to do, Chloe?" Rayford asks his daughter. "Tell her she's carrying the antichrist's child and that she ought to leave him?" Paging Jerry Springer.

The book has many lines you won't find in a Harlequin romance. One character gives someone a massage shortly before Jesus' return.

"You're tense," she said.

"Aren't you?"

"Relax, love. Messiah is coming."

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.