AN ACCRINGTON vicar is warning Harry Potter fans to beware of hidden occult messages buried within the last book of the series.
The Rev Kevin Logan, of Christ Church, Accrington, is worried that the JK Rowling blockbuster, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will encourage the vulnerable and under-aged to become curious about the "dangerous" world of paganism.
He said: "Harry Potter is depicted as a modern-day Jesus Christ saviour figure in a public relations campaign to promote witchcraft and the occult."
Mr Logan is currently updating his own 1987 book, Paganism and the Occult, which looks at the drawbacks, the suffering and pain of people dabbling in these areas, for a third reprint.
He wants to open up a national debate on the subject, which he started by writing an article in a national church newspaper.
He said: "For those who have braved the finale of Deathly Hallows, we Christians need to start communicating. It's time to talk or write."
Mr Logan admits that the Potter books promote virtues such as loyalty, friendship, honesty and trust.
But he says they also encourage kids to be curious in an area that God forbids.
He writes: "It is an encouragement to the vulnerable and under-aged to learn more of paganism and the occult which, for people ministering in this area, have a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.
"Harry Potter chooses to die in a bid to defeat evil, so that others can live in peace and happiness, just like our saviour did.
"But the question has to be asked, is it worth telling young people about our real saviour, Jesus Christ, while we run the risk of losing their souls to witchcraft because of stories like these?
"I find it hard to understand how 21st century man with all his technology seems to be turning towards superstition.
"My grandkids and the children I teach have only to enter into Google one of the many words from Rowling and they pass through well-known doorways to danger.
"Words like witchcraft, witches, Potter and spells introduce them to dangerous spiritual worlds where stories end and painful real life takes over."
Mr Logan invites your comments addressed to The Vicarage, 3 Bentcliffe Gardens, Accrington, phone 235089 or email: email@example.com