Bush Officials Objected To Awarding Medal To J.K. Rowling Because Harry Potter Books Promote Witchcraft

From Think Progress:

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil award, and is given to individuals who have contributed to: 1) the security or national interests of the United States, 2) world peace, or 3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

In his new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer reveals how politicized the revered Presidential Medal of Freedom became during the Bush administration.

Latimer writes that administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing “encouraged witchcraft” (p. 201):


  1. to be fair, i have met a ridiculous quantity of girls who proudly claim to be wiccan recently, though most of them were in the late 20’s early 30’s, but … a big chunk of harry potter’s demographic is females in this age range.

    so who knows.

    consider that the average person is kinda dumb and will do whatever they think other people will consider them cool for doing and BAM! you have the bush officials actually making sense about this.

  2. err – even if there is some evidence that they did encourage witchcraft, that isn’t reason to exclude them from a medal or award. A writer like CS Lewis or Rick Warren would be acceptable by the “no witchcraft” criterion, despite obviously influencing people into their own cult.
    However, did the Harry Potter books really do anything that met the criteria of that medal? This seems like a misapplied award anyway

  3. Err – and what would be wrong with being Wiccan? Oh, that pesky “freedom of religion” shit.

    Has George Lucas ever been given an award like this? Because Luke knows, he’s the prophet of the Jedi religion which some people ascribe to…

  4. Feelings about the movies aside – Lucas created a religion. Should he be lauded because he is an advocate of a non-christian way of life?

  5. Ugh, Wiccans are quite possibly the most annoying people on the individual level. And I’ve never met one that didn’t have a collage of the lamest possible bumper stickers covering the back end of their car. It’s like they started LARPing and forgot how to stop.
    As a group I don’t mind them at all. They generally keep to their own and I’ve never been approached by one claiming they wanted to save my soul.
    I do think Rowling deserved the medal though. Anyone who can get today’s American youth to read a book, much less a series of them, deserves some kind of award. Even that Twilight dreck.

  6. hi amanda, i was commenting more on the trendiness aspect.
    if it’s something you’ve been completely devoted to for years and years and/or will continue to be devoted to for years and years than kudos to you.

  7. Imagine a world where Witchcraft actually worked. How chaotic would that world be? People turning into a spot of goo on the sidewalk right in front of you because someone just cast a spell on them …etc. How fun would that be!

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