It was Election night of 2012. Ohio had just been called for Obama, meaning that he had effectively been re-elected President of the United States. Here was a man who I openly and strongly dislike. A man who has allowed policies that will lead to fines for organizations (including Catholic organizations) who do not provide contraception coverage for their employees, despite the fact that contraceptives are against Church teachings (and always have been). I sat there, watching the news, watching the people rejoicing, and wondered how this could have happened.
I slowly made my way to bed that night in utter disbelief, and wondering where to go and what to do from here. I crawled into bed and wanted to watch a movie that somehow related to the events that just took place, and yet would give me hope. I wanted to watch something rather dark, something that matched the tone that I felt was written all over my face. I turned to my Harry Potter collection, thinking that I could relate to Harry and his struggles against the Dark Lord. I popped in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, and thanks be to God that I did.
As I watched, I was amazed at how much the stories overlapped. Am I saying that Obama is Lord Voldemort and that he is going to kill everyone who disagrees with him? Am I saying that Obama is the anti-Christ? Am I writing to tell you that the world is coming to an end and the Church as we know it has met her end? No stinking way. But, there is much wisdom to be gained from the story of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
At the end of the fourth installment in the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort comes back in the flesh. When the Order of the Phoenix begins, no one believes Harry’s account of Lord Voldemort’s return. The papers are calling Harry and Dumbledore liars for saying that the Dark Lord has returned. Sound familiar? “The Catholic Church hates women and wants to outlaw contraception for everyone.” That’s a headline or a line in an article that could be easily found.
Harry begins to feel alone. He confides in Luna Lovegood one night and she brilliantly responds, “I suppose that’s how he wants you to feel…Well if I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it’s just you alone you’re not as much of a threat.” Exactly the strategy at hand. Make people feel as if they are alone, as if their voices don’t matter, or as though their supposed friends aren’t really there for them.
Then there is the character of Dolores Umbridge. Watching her in the movie makes your skin
want to crawl. Watch the scene below, pay special attention to how she responds to logical opposition. (You can skip ahead to a minute or so in.)
She responds with passion, yes, but also rage. She believes that she is right and anyone who disagrees with her (and by extension, the Ministry of Magic), in her own words, “deserves to be punished.” (Read: provide contraception for your employees, even if it goes against you 2000 year old teachings, or be punished with fines.) [Also…secure…safe…risk free…sound like birth control promises to anyone else?]
There are a great number of overlaps that I see when watching that movie. Umbridge makes any number of rules at the drop of a hat, and posts them for all to be followed, or else. Harry and Dumbledore are made to look like fools, and anyone who dares to follow them exist underground…slowly building up an army of resistance.
And in this all, I found hope. The Weasley twins put on a display of magic that inspires hope in their classmates. Umbridge is carried off by the centaurs. Dumbledore’s Army rises up, they do battle against the Death Eaters within the walls of the Ministry of Magic, in the Department of Mysteries no less. At the end of the movie the Dark Lord is not defeated, but Fudge and the rest of the cronies at the Ministry of Magic see that Lord Voldemort is indeed back. Harry and Dumbledore are vindicated, and the army out to defeat the Dark Lord grows.
There are deaths in this battle. I still cry when Sirius dies. But even though tragedy may strike, the call to fight, to stand up for what we believe in, even if we ready our troops underground, is real. Am I saying that it is time for a full-scale, all out war against Obama and his policies? Well, you won’t find me bombing the White House, but you will find me standing up for my beliefs and for Mother Church. If that is what his re-election comes to, you better believe that I’ll be in the Order of the Phoenix. The Phoenix may seem to disappear, but she always rises again, victorious.