Book Rumor: Bush administration denied J.K. Rowling medal because Harry Potter books “encouraged witchcraft”

98

Sep 24, 2009

Posted by Melissa Anelli

The new book SPEECH-LESS: Tales of a White House Survivor, a behind-the-scenes account of life in the George W. Bush presidential administration (published by Crown Books), has an interesting nugget for Harry Potter fans, as a reader has pointed out: according to the book’s author, Matthew Latimer, J.K. Rowling’s name was once in consideration for a presidential medal but was rescinded because the books “encouraged witchcraft.” The relevant text is on page 201 of the book and reads:

[President Bush's chief speechwriter] Marc [Thiessen] liked to encourage a broad range of opinions from others, so long as theirs agreed with his. When Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I suggested that the president might at least consider awarding Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Marc objected with the genteel diplomacy he was known for. ‘That’s crazy!’ he thundered. …This was the same sort of narrow thinking that led people in the White House to actually object to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States from January 2001 to January 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national
interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other
significant public or private endeavors
.” It is not always given to an American: during the Bush administration, presidential medal recipients included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

During the Bush administration, the president and his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, were very vocal about their like for the Harry Potter books; Laura Bush called them her “favorite”: “It was like finding a great mystery writer and having that whole body of work to read at once. I really loved them,” she said.

You can purchase the book here.





186 Responses to Book Rumor: Bush administration denied J.K. Rowling medal because Harry Potter books “encouraged witchcraft”

Avatar ImageJTEL99 says: Anybody who thinks the HP books encourage witchcraft has not read them. There are actually alot of *Christian* themes in these books! >_<Avatar ImageNoble Birth Descending says: Magic is a science in Harry Potter, not a worship of the occult. Deathly Hallows was one of the most spiritually moving books I've ever read, bringing me closer to Jesus than I have ever been before.Avatar ImagePhoenixLament23 says: As if I needed more reasons to dislike my fellow Texan.... :( It's ok though, I doubt J.K. Rowling would have been proud to have a medal from George... Avatar Image-MischiefManaged- says: Epic fail. **googles the infamous Jean-Luc Picard facepalm pic and attaches it to the reply**Avatar ImageeiVega says: This is a little confusing...who exactly was denying Rowling the honor? It looks like the speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, considered that narrow-minded. It just say Bush Administration, but not who. Especially if both the President and the First Lady liked the books, then who was the one who shot it down? Who on staff actually had a strong enough voice to convince ALL these people not to give her the award? This is suggestive without actual information. That's frustrating.Avatar ImageThio says: I'm so tired of this kind of thinking towards the Harry Potter series that I don't even have the strength to say just how stupid this is...Avatar Imageselene21 says: that's just funny, I love harry potter and I've never done witchcraft jajajajajajaAvatar ImageReader511 says: It's unfortunate that one (or a handful) of unnamed people in the Bush administration would be so narrow-minded. (Honestly, this is a tame comment for me, as I DESPISED Bush's residency in the White House.)Avatar ImageMatea says: huh. who cares about your medal? keep it.Avatar ImageThorgrim Greipr says: Has anyone ever thought that Bush and Voldemort were one and the same?????Avatar Imageaereichert says: Like so many other rumors, this is probably absolute fiction. Just because it is in a book does not make it true. By having this nugget in his book, the author is getting free publicity without having to worry about providing factual evidence. The Bush administration (like every presidency) had enough problems, inventing controversy to sell more books and enrage a fanbase is petty. Bashing Bush has become a popular national pasttime. I think it is time we moved onto more more contructive issues.Avatar Imageplacebowiz says: oh hahaAvatar ImageBlatcher914 says: I agree with eiVega, the excerpt really does not give us much to go on , in terms of who it was that was truly denying her the medal.However I do find myself deeply saddened, as I do with any story of this kind that the narrow-minded mentality still exists.Avatar Imagepfowlerp says: Talk about stupidity!!Avatar ImageFloridianFlounder95 says: I'm not even going to say anything. George Bush and his entire family is a disgrace to the United States, and it worries me that people actually VOTED FOR HIM and that some people think everything HE DID was not HIS FAULT. Holy demon frick of hell I hate that whole administration. Avatar Imagelutherjw says: I agree wholeheartedly with Daisy Dodderidge. Was just about to say the same thing.Avatar Imageginnyrose says: see this what happens when you let muggles in to power Avatar Imagetrontech says: Citizens of the U.S. who would intentionally read a book have long known that the occupant of the White House is merely acting out a role in a much larger disaster. H.G.W. Bush wasn't a good actor, let alone a connisseur of literature. He couldn't even create coherent sentences when caught off guard! His opinion, or the opinions of the nearby idiots, are not to be taken seriously...unless their opinion is to send bombs to your country. To whom this crew gives medals is of little concern to me.Avatar Imagevespasian68967 says: Daisy Dodderidge is right on the money. Is there any corroborating evidence or is it just some snippet of information that this book writer threw out with no proof or context? If people are going to be upset when other people throw out these ridiculous charges of witchcraft about Harry Potter, then please give the same break to other people when wild or unprovable claims are made, even if you dislike the people in question. Anybody note the last paragraph where it is noted that the Bushes like the Harry Potter series. Laura Bush's comments on Harry Potter & her fondness for them is on public record; this author's claim is just his claim until he presents some credible evidence. So, please don't get worked up all over this. Avatar Imagejfrancis04 says: Wow...we are still blaming George Bush for things? He likely had absolutely nothing to do with this (even if it is true). Not sure I trust someone who can't even spell "presdient."Avatar ImageA Chocolate Frog says: If that actually occurred, it's really sad. From the excerpt, though, it sounds like this Marc Thiessen guy had some childish issues with respect and integrity. I certainly don't think George W. Bush was a very good President, but I think he's a very good person and at least some of his problems were rooted in trusting bad people. I know Laura Bush really enjoys reading, especially children's lit, and I hope that they might have made a different decision had it really been up to them. And while I'd love to see Jo receive every award and honor she possibly can, it's not like her contributions to the world have gone unnoticed. :)Avatar ImageMiliMalfoy says: This is so stupid. It does not encourage witchcraft. It's a story - not a guidebook. Witchcraft existed long before Harry Potter and if anything; Harry Potter has taught us to love!Avatar ImageFifi says: That's just stupid, weird, absurd...call it anything you like.Avatar ImageNecrotoxin says: I would like to see the sources before everyone jumps on the hate Bush wagon. I would think HP fans would be more objective of information that is being soled for a buck. Rita Skeeter anyone?Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: I strongly doubt that the claims that the author has made in this book are accurate, considering the praise that the Bushes did give the series while they were in the White House. As much glee as we may derive from disparaging the former administration for this purported dismissal and rejection of the series, we must consider the contradictions that would accompany such a gesture. It is obvious to any discerning and rational fan that the Bushes themselves, if this report is true, were not responsible. If anything, it was anxiety of upsetting the fundamentalist Christian base that comprised a substantial basis of the foundation for the support he had in America.Avatar Imageliv-wa says: Oh, Bush! How you thrill us. -.-Avatar Imageazna70 says: What a load of tosh !Avatar Imagepalantiriel says: I'm off to listen to "Dear Laura Mallory (or Harry Potter is Satan)" by Peeved!Avatar Imagemuggle118 says: my dad was the same way ohh about 6 years ago then my mom told him to shut up and let me see the movies and he really liked them Avatar Imagehepburn says: No way! u_u'Avatar ImageGooch says: thats mentalAvatar ImageWON_TWO says: Certain adherents to a certain philosophy and political party in the US, have always found it useful and expedient to avoid letting things like facts get in the way of their phobias, beliefs, and agendas. Avatar ImageHorcruxalej says: So glad he is out of the white house and real potter fans in ha...Avatar ImageBwaySaint says: Oh come on now, where's the proof? So they wait until he's out of office and pull something like this? I highly doubt it and I'm quite disappointed in Leaky in adding to the "Bush-Bashing" ... Let's move on, shall we?? Avatar Imagephoenixes are in ravenclaw says: That's crazy, but then again, nothing suprizes me about politics anymore. Yes they are only looking at the witchcraft, but what about the actual morals of the story such as friendship and being ubeatable when you have love. Whatever....Avatar Imagewandmastercalum says: Talk about being confunded!Avatar Imageaquilus says: I'm amused but... will she still get the award? Avatar ImageScarStruck says: talk about STUPID!!!!!!!!! Avatar ImageNicci Weasley says: Read the books!! There is nothing in them to encourage anything dark or evil!Avatar Imagenewwmoon says: what O.o!? that's crazy!Avatar ImageDoVe_PaTrOnUs says: how would it encourage witchcraft?? the books very clearly differentiate between muggles and witches/wizards. the important thing about the HP books is that they have gotten a lot of kids to love reading, even those who would never read without an assignment. they also help kids and adults alike to accept death during the course of a highly entertaining adventure. Avatar Imagefaubert says: This is a lie. President Bush and the first lady were FANS of Harry Potter. I remember that during one of the White House Christmas parties the President and First Lady had cakes made of Famous scenes from Books and one of the cakes were of Harry Potter and Hedwig. ThiAvatar ImageJackHarkness says: The biggest shock here is the suggestion that George Bush can read ...Avatar ImageDoVe_PaTrOnUs says: oh yeah guys, and did you hear? uncle tom's cabin encourages us to be racist, lord of the flies encourages us to act like lunatics, the transformation encourages us to turn into giant cockroaches, and romeo and juliet encourage us to kill ourselves. lol! i hope mrs. rowling doesn't mind them, she does have more support than criticism. she's got my vote any day!Avatar ImageGanduean-Vampiress says: yea i agree that was stupidAvatar ImageGanduean-Vampiress says: yea i agree that was stupidAvatar Imagealegria35 says: If GWB really said that, he is really a dumb ass.. he doesnt know what he is saying...Avatar ImageLisbry says: Stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. And I hear a lot of stupid things. Avatar Imagelexuslovesweasleys says: i thought his stupidity would be gone when he was done playing president................. guess i was wrong Avatar ImageParkinsonpansy says: and people ask me why i never liked the bush administration!!! i bet obama will give her the award!Avatar Imageroonwit says: I agree with Kirk. If there is any truth in this report, it is more likely that some White House people were reluctant to consider JKR for the medal because of how such an award might have been seen by Bush's supporters amongst the Fundamentalist Christians rather than by any actual belief that the books encouraged witchcraft. Note that the book doesn't actually say that the issue was a significant factor in any decision, how senior people with such views were nor how widespread those views were.Avatar Imagegryffindor1991 says: how dumb. she shouldve gotten the medal. "the harry potter books encourage witchcraft" what a load of rubbish!!!!! Merlins beard!!! haha :DAvatar ImageHermione Elizabeth says: All this is just plain STUPID! Sorry but I'm not one who clearly believes everything she reads about stuff like this..... Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: tsk tsk tsk. :(Avatar Imagemjkalldaway says: She deserves the medal. I mean, come on Bush even though HP has become a religion, that's no reason to shun JKR because her book is about wizards! I suppose that if Bush had the chance he would also not give Rick Riordan a medal because the Percy Jackson series shows worship in different religons or gods. That's stupid and pointless. I hope Obama gives it to her.Avatar Imagebiiigbob says: The awards J. K. does have far outweigh a possible Presidential medal that may or may not have been considered for her anyway. Avatar Imagehermionenluna says: wow they're dumb.Avatar Imagenipintheair says: That's stupid. I don't think the Harry Potter books encourage witchcraft. There's no way that we'll be able to do those abilities.Avatar ImageLisee_Lu says: all i can say is ignorance.. and bigotry. And yes, you DO actually have to read the books before passing judgement.Avatar Imagemollywobble says: I have to agree with several other posters. Even though I strongly disapproved of the Bush Administration (hardcore liberal here), I don't think we should take this statement as fact. I don't believe the author even intended it to be shared as a fact. It reads more like an offhanded comment. We don't know who he is referring to, whether he actually heard it himself, or if its hearsay. Kind of surprised a random comment in a book would get posted as "fact" here on Leaky. Avatar Imageizziewitch says: I really don't believe this is true (and that's coming from someone who was definitely anti-Bush). If both Bushes liked HP, why would they allow someone to block Jo's award?Avatar ImageRodiniusBlack says: Oh whatever! How rude, she has put some hard effort into these books. Obviously the US is maybe.. jealous?Avatar Imagesimos says: This is just a rumor people!Avatar ImageHBPFan says: Oh for crying out loud, please let this be just a silly rumour!! Can't bear reading such ridiculous things like this!Avatar ImageHBPFan says: Sorry, meant "rumor"..got carried away!Avatar Imageblue_rogue says: BooooooooooAvatar ImageEeyore says: Well, honestly, is anyone surprised that the Bush administration would stoop so low? Considering some of the blatanly Christian messages that were sent to the troops. . . And yes, it would be nice if we could move on. However, I think it's important for people to know just how insidious Bush and those who surrounded him were for the eight years they ran amok.Avatar ImagetheREALGinnyWeasley says: GOD!!! Oh well we don't need your dumb metal. We have all the fans to know that HP is amazing.Avatar Imagekikib says: It is hard to find this credible. What "people in the White House"? My BS flag is waving...Avatar ImageRowling Stones says: i dislike president bush but i do think its just a rumorAvatar ImageLauraKeaton says: I see a great way for President Obama to get his approval ratings up...at least among Harry Potter fans. And I'm sure his daughters would love to meet Jo (I'm assuming their fans, does anyone actually know?)Avatar Imagemewthree says: let him say it to us with his own mouth first.Avatar ImageBeckster235 says: gotta love our picks for presidents in the usa right guys? ...but like rowling stones i think this is just another rumor bush got stuck withAvatar ImageBeckster235 says: gotta love our picks for presidents in the usa right guys? ...but like rowling stones i think this is just another rumor bush got stuck withAvatar Imagesuperman82 says: That would be our ex president for you. You'd think it was Death Eaters & not pretzels that attacked him.Avatar ImageRavenclaw98 says: OH wow talk about idoits!Avatar ImageCatherine says: what the heck? okay this is why i didnt like Bush--HE CONTRIDICTED HIMSELF TO MUCH! he and his wife said they liked the books, but wouldnt give Jo an award because he and his administration thought that they promoted witch craft? those to apposing answers totally dont make anysense coming from the same person! and witch craft, realy, seriously, people are so ignorant, i cant even type how that upsets me so much!!!! Avatar Imagedavid1228 says: Today my religion teacher was talking about Harry Potter. She talked for about 10 minutes about the religious themes in the books. Anyone who thinks the books encourage withcraft has clearly not read them.Avatar ImageSelgy Gaunt says: Glad Obama likes HP! or his kids do at least! A girl who used to be in my class wasn't allowed to read it but i think she watched some of the movies. Avatar Imagesunlitdays says: wait, if bush and his wife liked the books, why didnt it get a medal?Avatar ImageLemonFaerie says: *@Daisy Dodderidge* "Like so many other rumors, this is probably absolute fiction. Just because it is in a book does not make it true. By having this nugget in his book, the author is getting free publicity without having to worry about providing factual evidence. The Bush administration (like every presidency) had enough problems, inventing controversy to sell more books and enrage a fanbase is petty. Bashing Bush has become a popular national pasttime. I think it is time we moved onto more more contructive issues." Well said. As HP fans, it's time we remember to recognize that prejudicial statements go both ways and not all of us are on the same "side" of the political street. Love for HP and the messages in the books transcends politics and petty rhetoric. It should transcend the fandom, as well. Acceptance is supposed to be our watch-word. Let's treat each other, and all people, gently, regardless of what political party or religion or anything else one is affiliated with. There are good and bad in all groups, and the actions of the few do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or feelings of the rest.Avatar ImageDiamondWings says: =|Avatar Imagewrightrox says: gits, bloody gits the whole lot of themAvatar ImageEnricoDc says: "Harry Potter books encourage witchcraft" ? Those who said that never really reads the books, they just judge it base on what they see in the movies.Avatar ImageeiVega says: This feels more like a publicity stunt for the book. It's sad that Leaky posted it. If there were more actual facts about the process of the award and who ACTUALLY decided to turn her down, then I would be interested. This is just confusing and misleading and not worth getting worked up about.Avatar ImageKara000 says: All I have to say is 'Oh god'Avatar ImageProfKnight says: oh boy lets find another way to attack a man who tried to serve his country in the best way he saw fit. I think Ms. Rowling has many awards and accomplishments so that this would seem quite trivial...oh wellAvatar ImageMercyMercy says: That is the dumbest thing I've heard in a long while. Honestly, what's wrong with some people?Avatar ImageMelissa Anelli says: Hey guys, rumor is actually *in the title* - it's not posted as a fact. :) The person who wrote it did work in the nucleus of the white house, so whether he's being truthful or not it's not a totally un-credible source. Worthy of being reported as a *rumor*. Thanks for remaining civil or at least trying to - you'll notice we went to pains to point out that the Bush administration praised HP in the past. Thanks guys, m Avatar Imagelunaisawesome says: ditto what mai {beatnik owl} said "that was retarded."Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: It is important to understand that the Bush's indeed DID like the HP books. It is also important to understand that they probably were never even appraised that Jo was being considered for an award. The Bush White House was only exceeded in staff paranoia and craziness by the Nixon White House. It is quite possible that this will be relegated to the status of an unprovable rumor. But, I maintain it certainly fits in with the character of several of the staff members who would be in a position to review such an award before passing it along to the "boss" with a positive recommendation.Avatar ImageDaate says: how very sad she must be.....what a loss, an endorsement of any kind from the bush administration. Avatar Imagebookgirl3000 says: this makes me so mad!Avatar Imagezeitgeber says: I'm a Christian, and very big on never falling into stuff like that. I read the Sorcerer's Stone back when I was nine (before the massive craze was going on), and it NEVER occurred to me that HP was any different (except, of course, for the quality of the writing) than any other fantasy book I had on my shelves. It's not a good card to play to say it's just fiction, because, fiction or no fiction, what you read influences you...but I was never in any way encouraged to look into the occult because of Harry Potter. Magic in HP is more of a superpower, along the lines of Justice League or something equally harmless. I don't have any opinions on the whole medal thing, except that it doesn't sound like it's true at all. Any kind of obviously biased book like that needs to have solid facts behind it to sell any opinion. But it makes me laugh to see some people go off on the evils of Harry Potter and endorse other certain fantasy books with lesser writing quality and questionable teenage morals...a particular series that shall not be named here for fear of starting a mob-revolt. Avatar Imagebettb says: Un-be-lieve-a-ble. No, wait, I TOTALLY believe it. These guys were ridiculous -- the ones that are left still are. Good riddance. Hope you had the time of your life.Avatar ImageShinyPineapple says: ugh i hate people like that!!!!Avatar Imageeagleblue says: I don't really believe this.Avatar ImageTassana Burrfoot says: All I can say is... wow.Avatar ImageSpitFyre says: I don't get why everyone's beating up Bush. It was his speech writer that said it! Avatar ImageDrome says: Okay? -_-''Avatar Imagepotterforpresident says: Well that's a giant ball of crap... people who've objected to honouring J.K. Rowling have clearly not read the books. Harry Potter doesn't even encourage the kind of "witchcraft" they're afraid of (I say "afraid of" because it's stupid). If they did, I would not be here typing this. I would be off making voodoo dolls for people that annoy me. Though it is uplifting to say that every First Family of the United States are fans of the Harry Potter books. :)Avatar Imagelau399 says: This is just propaganda to put down the Bush administration. PleaseeeeeeeAvatar Imagedeadtree says: I wouldn't be surprised, given the administration we're talking about. At least that's over and done with. Good riddance to bad rubbish!Avatar Imagespiritbound says: That's fricking ridiculous! All that HP has done for this world in terms of getting kids to pick up a book and they go and say it promotes witchcraft. It's called imagination, kids tend to like it! Gees what a rip off. Avatar ImageJane_Potter says: That is just RIDICULOUS!!! If Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft all the Harry Potter fans would join witchcraft meaning that the half population of earth would be wizards and witches.... And HELLO Harry Potter isn't the only story talking about witchcraft......Avatar Imageshellybasson says: What a retard. (LOL) There must be millions of witches running around over the world...Avatar ImageHmrc5 says: Nothing that we can't expect from them... encouring witchcratf... But JKRowling doesn't need any more prizes for her work! She truly knows her worth and we all love all!Avatar ImageFawkesyou says: I find it disturbing that this site will not post one word of a rumor about any single cast, crew, editor, author etc. remotely connected with HP but has no problem posting this in big bold letters......Avatar Imagemadman1277 says: Wow people who say it is bad havent read them Avatar ImageSnapesSilverDoe says: rubbish! Its rumour I don't believe itAvatar Imagecallicott3 says: If you read, carefully, you will note that it was not President Bush who objected, but his "advisors"...As stated..."they [Mr and Mrs Bush] were very vocal, about their like for the Harry Potter books;Laura called them her favorite". It is amazing, to me [as a citizen of the US] how a hand full of "advisors" can taint something as wonderful as a Presidential Medal...making it look like it was the President's decision..BAH!Avatar Imageultraviolet says: what a pile of frogspawn! do they really think were going to go out moonbathing naked? harry potter portraits a more innocent wandwaving type of magic anything, hardly anything to get concerned about... ...and also...i agree with Noble Birth Decending, that the books have actually made me closer to Jesus than i was before them. In Hindsight, JKRowling has turned many millions of children into people who are interested in reading, she deserved a knighthood never mind a bloody medal!Avatar Imageweasleygirl101 says: What is the deal with people who think HP encourages witchcraft? If they read the books they would know it DOESN'T! All of this is so stupid!Avatar Imagetraci1978 says: this seems silly, also does the US govenment give out lots of medals to non americans? I don't know. Plus like alot of people have said there isn't much to go on. Avatar ImageMidnightSun321 says: outragous.Avatar Imagehorsepatronus64 says: oh AS IFAvatar Imagebudb says: er, folks? first, its a throw away snippet, and not worth getting excited about. second, Latimer is simply giving us one of the first "tell all the dirty laundry" books about the Bush II administration, and frankly its not as important as the ones that will emerge about the decisions concerning the Afghan and Iraqi wars, the treatment of Colin Powell, and so on. The real insult evident in the anecdote concerns Ted Kennedy, not JKR. It has been, even in the most divisive of times, for US political opponents to recognize each others contributions, even and especially if they disagreed. For Ted Kennedy to be intentionally dissed was/is a disgrace. If the decision was made at a low level, which is what this very short snippet suggests, then that tells us more about how power and authority was exercised during the Bush II administration than anything else. Also, please don't forget that a small but very vocal and very financially important segment of the support of the US republican party does come from those who perceive the HP world as a threat to their "values". Avatar Imagecowhampshiremoo says: Come on people, this obviously wasn't Bush denying her the medal. He had said how much he likes the books. It was just a crazy speechwriter who was...well, crazy.Avatar Imagebudb says: Waving hi to Mollywobbles, Confederate Lady, Headmistress.....and in general to all, sorry if I missed anyone in particular! Melissa, I must admit, the shift over to MyLeaky and requiring log-ins has thankfully and dramatically cut down on some of the more unpleasant conversations that we saw in the past. A good move on the part of Leaky! However, may I ask all of my fellow HP fans to read Leaky's original news articles (not just this one, but any that are posted!) closely before sharing their thoughts? Too often there is a huge disconnect between the information in the articles and the responses some of you are hastily sharing.Avatar Imageloonymoonyy says: okay seriously thats just stupid. Just because people read twilight doesn't mean they are going to run out and start doing withch craft. its a fictational book for goodness sake, and a very awesome book by the way :)Avatar ImageAutumnWizard says: Boo to Bush, not a fan!Avatar Imagehumbert0 says: looool sure sure.... But one thing is for sure: guns lead to war and they are being made all the time!Avatar ImageXyra44 says: I agree with eiVega. Award winners are chosen by committee and then given to the chief of staff and president for final approval. I would bet, since both former president bush and his wife and most likely their daughters enjoyed the books, JK would have been approved if it were a direct decision. Whoever it was with an alternative agenda was on the committee and JK never got to the final list.Avatar ImageWingardium Leviosa says: That's the Bush Administration for you.Avatar Imagecghambright says: WHOA WHOA WHOA!!! I'm too pissed even to comprehend this! WTF?!! That's okay. It's no secret some of the people running our country are DUMB!...or at least they used to be. So this is not a surprise at all. At least the current president can recognize a brilliant book series and WOMAN when he sees one! Avatar Imagecghambright says: @loonymoonyy: WHY in the world would you mention twilight?!! it has nothing to do with this...I can only hope you meant Harry Potter. Avatar ImageMimblewimble13 says: "However, may I ask all of my fellow HP fans to read Leaky’s original news articles (not just this one, but any that are posted!) closely before sharing their thoughts? Too often there is a huge disconnect between the information in the articles and the responses some of you are hastily sharing." --Posted by budb I agree budb, geez, some people are so thick. It clearly states in the article that JK Rowling refused to give a medal to Bush's speechwriter because she thought he was promoting witchcraft. How much clearer can it get? : )Avatar Imagedcsbelle says: I though including a link to purchase that book was amusing. Maybe President Obama will rectify that incredibly ignorant error.Avatar Imagedcsbelle says: I have to agree with budb that passing over Sen. Kennedy for the medal was more of an egregious error than bypassing Jo. He spent his entire adult life working on behalf of the people in the US.Avatar Imagebudb says: dcsbelle and mimlewimble13, its always nice to see that some do actually read the postings....and mimble has perfectly captured the issue! good one!Avatar Imagegemini_black says: Oh my gosh! Who cares! That's so stupid!Avatar Imagemollywobble says: budb, good to see you. Hope you're well. I agree that the most shocking part of that paragraph had nothing to do with Harry Potter. Nice point. In terms of my original post, I should not have said Leaky posted this as "fact." I misspoke. As Melissa pointed out, it does say "rumor" in the headlines. However, I still feel this was an offhanded comment made by the author, not something that the author intended or expected to defend. I'm just surprised to see a random line in a book on the front page of Leaky. Yes it is surprising (well not really: it's the Bush administration for goodness sakes), but I would hope there was more substance to it before being posted. ...but, when it comes down to it, I don't run Leaky. Melissa, Sue and the crew are perfectly entitled to post whatever they want how they want. Avatar Imageoldenoughtoknowbetter says: Stupidity at its finest... The George W. Bush AdministrationAvatar ImageBoyWithALightningScar says: That's a very lame reason and a false one at that.Avatar Imagejalawood says: Whats? Of course, Jo has loads of medals/honors already, but that's because she deserves them! Harry doesn't encourage witchcraft, it encourages the practical use of science in daily life!Avatar Imageblue4t says: I love the HP series and I like Rowling, but I don't really see how she would deserve a Presidental medal just for her series getting kids to read. It'd be cool if she got one, but it's not bad that she doesn't. I sincerely doubt if she was up for a medal that Bush denied it with reasons that her series promotes witchcraft. I think this is just another way to tarnish his name. Avatar Imageiamminerva says: Wait a minute...Bush and the Mrs like the HP books but the narrow-minded, clueless, ignorant speechwriter says "no" to giving JKR a medal because of the unfortunately-still-perpetuated lie about the books teaching witchcraft? Did Bush ever find out about this? I'm thinking probably not. Well, that administration was staffed with idiots. I guess the speechwriter was just another one. Avatar Imagemuggle..andproudofit says: What???!!! Harry does Not promote or encourage witchcraft! Besides the books are about like ,growing up and finding out who you are and what you have to do no matter how hard or easy it is! it just has magic thrown in !!! Avatar ImageNicoleC76 says: Well, iamminerva, It probably wouldn't have mattered if Bush had found out about it. It's not like he can veto opinions. I doubt he really liked the books. He probably did because so many of the public did. It wasn't hard to see how popular the series was and still is. It's like the fact that he believes whole-heartedly in every belief his religion held. It's very rare to find someone who truely believes in every belief. A lot of people will believe in most, but disagree on some. Or believe in some and disagree with most. But most, if not all, of those who hold true to all beliefs usually do so because when they were asked the question, "Why do you believe in that?" the only answer they can come up with is "Because that's the way I was raised." They never thought different. They never question and it leads to the type of ignorance we see right here when the award was denied. The first thing they hear about a subject is the only thing they'll ever consider about it.Avatar Imagedanaskeeter says: For all of the people who are criticizing George Bush because of this, they would find something to criticize anyway. He wasn't even mentioned in the excerpt from the book--it said the "people in the White House." The book sounds like a disgruntled employee just trying to make a few dollars by criticizing Bush, and he knows plenty of people will buy the book if he does that!Avatar ImageNicoleC76 says: At blue4t, Yes she does have tons of awards and it is another way to tarnish his name(personaly I think it has more to do with making us feel guilty and consider our choices a little more carefully), but she got kids to read agian. The kids in my elementary school wouldn't pick up a book to stop the apocolypse. We had this program, that is still active in this region today, named Accelerated Reading(AR). It required children to read books and test upon them. They would earn points based on the amount offered for that specific book and how well they did on the test. A certain amount of points were required to pass each grade level. It made sound okay, but when you look at the kids from this region you lost hope. I have enjoyed reading before I joined the scholary force and so I was burdened with carrying them until my sixth grade year. I found out later that it's an actual crime to do so, but the teachers knew the students and encouraged it by turning a blind eye and they would even come over and try to help me. Plus you should really check out the damage he did to the educational system with the "no child left behind" act. He should give her an award for helping to pick the pieces up from that disaster. Even if it was unintentionally. I don't know if you realize the real importantance reading has.Avatar Imagedaisy bell says: it's just a book..if the white house really thinks it encourages people to witchcraft, it's non-sense..all who have read harry potter books, we all knew that most of the characters value the secrecy of their status as witches and wizards.i do not see something in the book that would encourage people to do witchcraft..most people do love harry potter simply because they admire the entire harry potter books and not that they were being encourage to do witchcraft..Avatar ImageGinny Weasley Potter says: That is just crazy!!! JK Rowling does lots of charity work too and Harry Potter does NOT encourage witchcraft!!1Avatar ImageLeeann says: Not cool. She should have gotten the award.Avatar ImageHagrid 713 says: This seems a little sketchyAvatar Imagemolly43 says: Perhaps the new president, President Obama, will allow the medal as he has read all of her books to his children and has already had JK Rowling come to the White House. Avatar ImageFereverto says: How quick you are to believe a statement about someone you don't like, even though the proof is that the Bush's loved the Harry Potter books. Grow up kiddies.Avatar ImageBrosia23 says: This does not surprise me, no matter how wrong it is. I worked with someone that actually started avoiding me because I was excited about the latest release coming up. She refused to allow her children to read the evil inside (her actual words). No one that has actually read the books ever says that they are all about witchcraft. They are about the eternal battle of good vs evil, the little guy fighting for what is right, and how it is not always easy but it is better than the alternative.Avatar Imagebudb says: Had a thought, and did a quick check of the previous postings this morning just to be sure....I may have missed this in someone's earlier message, apologies if I did.... in the spirit of "let's lighten things up", didn't it occur to anyone to compare Thiessen, the speechwriter who allegedly made the Kennedy decision, to our favorite detestable bureaucrat, Dolores Umbridge? Also, going by the short snippet available, the exact wording is "people in the White House" objected to JKR receiving an award. In other words, multiple unnamed Umbridges!!!! Umbridges are everywhere, in all political parties, in all businesses and schools and every social situation. ....and as we know the real danger is when Umbridges are able to achieve unchecked power. we need to remember that Melissa, the Leaky Staff, and many fans are devoted to finding and sharing every little scrap of HP related information, rumor, images, events, and so on...that's why we bother to come to this site, isn't it? Well, that and the dazzling conversations we enjoy with one another. The source of the news posting was an unnamed TLC reader, and Melissa passed it along, since she shares and knows our insatiable desire for every little bit of HP information. ...thanks to all involved who make every effort to keep Leaky the most informative HP fan site! Now, when will Amazon.com FINALLY offer HBP for pre-order? bit odd that they have the two ultimate collections already listed, but not HBP, dontchathink? something very strange there.... working with some rumors I have heard, I think here in the US Walmart is trying to get an exclusive right to distribute HBP for one week before its available through other venders, but I cannot confirm this. ;-)Avatar ImageRubyHagrid says: so annoying....Avatar ImagePhoebe of Gryffindor says: wow! I cant beieve that! She so deserved that award! N hello? Wicca ("witchcraft") is a recognized religion in the U.S.! How dare they revoke considering her just based on the "encoraging wtchcraft"fact. Its a fantasy books, duh theres gonna be magic in it! >.<Avatar Imagelevi-OH-sa not levio-SA says: i hate that whole "witch craft" debate, it's ridiculous! ppl who are afraid of liking something they thought they might not have and are afraid of actually reading something that makes them broaden their point of view are the ppl behind this...i actually forget half the time that the story has anything to do with witches and wizards...oh well, missing out and screwing up their own kids... lolAvatar ImageThe Azkaban Dietitian says: This is obviously just a ploy to get attention for his book. Who cares about a freakin US medal? Cashing in on HP like everybody else, this one. She's accomplished enough, she doesn't need some little coin. -_-Avatar Imageroonwit says: It looks like the BBC has spotted the story http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8282356.stmAvatar ImageMariaKeis says: So lame .. What the ..... Oh my lord ! Have mercy on his soul. !Avatar Imageginevrapotter07 says: The books don't say something about cursing, poisoning, doing voodoo stuff on people. But maybe that's what he thinks, and that's why he doesn't want to give the award. . . Bush, you just have to read to understand. . . . . Avatar Imagekleigh629 says: I don't buy this. Everyone loves to vilify Bush, it's a favorite pasttime of many across this country, but alot of what people accuse him is unfounded. I find this hard to believe b/c Laura Bush is a lover of all books. When she sponsored a huge literacy event at the White House, she had all six (at the time) Harry Potter books on the forefront of the display. This guy just hates Bush and will probably say anything to make him look bad and what better than to bad mouth a popular series and author like Jo Rowling. Avatar ImagevampressISap0tter says: now thats stupid. and discriminating may i add? so what if i go somewhere then i find a stick then say 'crucio' to anyone i see? hp books are good and a hit wait scratch that. hp books are the BEST, AMAZING and SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS books. and jk totally deserves that medal.Avatar ImageTheOldHeadmaster says: As we know from reading Harry, A History, there are people who actually believe that Harry Potter stories are evil. However, for now, I will let this stand as a rumor - perhaps a metaphorical statement by the author - and leave it at that. Whether President Bush gave JK Rowling a medal or not does not change the effect the books have had on the world. I am pleased to hear that Laura Bush was a fan. Avatar ImageGenine_Malfoy says: Chocolate frogs to eiVega. Speech writers, indeed. Our world consists of words and we each believe differently to some degrees. Take away the media and angsty wording. Read between the lines. There are demons and then there are demons. Light and Darkness. We all possess each element.Avatar ImageHPbrokensilence says: Hopefully this is just a rumor. I cant stand to think that people could be this close minded about literature. Avatar Imagerevolution.needed says: The audacity! And even if it did encourage witchcraft (and therefore wicca and pagan) which are ways of life in their own right and shouldn't be prejudiced against. The mans an idiotAvatar Imagetwilightharryrox says: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! This is NOT right!Avatar Imagetwilightharryrox says: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! This is NOT right!Avatar ImageSlyBones says: That is just ridiculous. Like they even read. And if they do, clearly they don't see beyond whats there and analyze whats between the lines. Avatar Imageexpelliarmus9 says: in the Harry Potter world, they don't practice witchcraft or encourage it, they are witches/ wizards. It's a part of their daily livesAvatar Imageanya7890 says: i have a eeling that george bush`s iq isnt that highAvatar Imagejen.cao3 says: LOL WUT? I've read Harry Potter for three times and NEVER have attempted witchcraft. Seriously.. people should understand that there's more to magic in the book. It's FANTASY. AND I LOVE THE BOOKS. Harry Potter series explains about love and friendship as well. We have yet to find one who tried to get out a magic one and zap someone for real. Witchcraft my back foot. :(Avatar ImageLoveTomRiddle says: I mean like GOSH!!!Avatar Imagelasjflkjsggd says: Like so many other rumors, this is probably absolute fiction. www@dvdmsn@comAvatar ImageKimeraStorm says: Don't blame Bush! It was Marc [Thiessen]... GWB LIKED the books! Avatar ImageInfiniteBoggarts says: This amused me :)Avatar ImageLoveTomRiddle says: Oh ho, he's making everyone hate him now! How could he do something like that? Talk about absurd and stupidity, I can't believe people voted for a Harry Potter hater!Avatar ImagePhoenix Fire101 says: This is might be fake. You can't trust everything you see. Besides, there are some very Christian themes in it.Avatar ImagePhoenix Fire101 says: And for all of you insulting him: Just stop it. It doesn't matter. He is no longer president. Everyone has opinions. And it's pretty scary that you know how intelligiant he is. O_oAvatar Imagehp931 says: HHAT THE BLOODY HELLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Avatar ImagePorter Unseen says: So what "IF" (Not saying they do, I am a huge HP fan :P) they did promote witchcraft?! Isn't the U.S.A supposed to be a free country?!Avatar ImagePorter Unseen says: So what "IF" (Not saying they do, I am a huge HP fan :P) they did promote witchcraft?! Isn't the U.S.A supposed to be a free country?!Avatar Imageccking says: I hate the people who believe these book inspire witchcraft!!! They're completely daft, and have clearly never attempted to read the books!! Just seen the spells in the movies. They probably don't even know the difference between charms and unforgivables. Avatar Imageccking says: I hate the people who believe these book inspire witchcraft!!! They're completely daft, and have clearly never attempted to read the books!! Just seen the spells in the movies. They probably don't even know the difference between charms and unforgivables. Avatar Imageccking says: I hate the people who believe these book inspire witchcraft!!! They're completely daft, and have clearly never attempted to read the books!! Just seen the spells in the movies. They probably don't even know the difference between charms and unforgivables. Avatar Imageccking says: I hate the people who believe these book inspire witchcraft!!! They're completely daft, and have clearly never attempted to read the books!! Just seen the spells in the movies. They probably don't even know the difference between charms and unforgivables. Avatar Imageccking says: I hate the people who believe these book inspire witchcraft!!! They're completely daft, and have clearly never attempted to read the books!! Just seen the spells in the movies. They probably don't even know the difference between charms and unforgivables.

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