LEWISTON, Maine – A preacher led a group in shredding copies of Harry Potter books on the eve of the release of the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
"I feel like I'm in a cutting mood tonight,'' the Rev. Douglas Taylor told 30 supporters before bringing out the scissors.
Taylor said he had wanted to burn the Potter books in protest, but the city would not issue him a permit. He settled for the book-chopping party Thursday night at the Ramada Inn.
The movie was to open Friday. Adapted from the second of J.K. Rowling's best-selling books, Chamber of Secrets follows Harry through year two at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he has a rematch with the evil conjurer who killed his parents.
"It's no secret that I enjoy what I'm doing right now," Taylor said, ripping up a book. "Hallelujah,'' said supporter Walter Stradt as he tore and tossed a page out.
About 25 Harry Potter fans waved signs in a counter-protest outside the hotel. One of them, wearing a black trench coat and sporting an orange-and-pink mohawk, went inside and told Taylor, "You shouldn't be cutting it up. It's a kid's book.''
Taylor charges the Potter books were full of witchcraft and pagan religion.
"You get involved in this,'' he said, gesturing toward a Potter book. "It's gonna make you dirty."