Shortly after the controversial ban on the graphic novel Maus by a Tennessee school board, a book burning of Harry Potter and Twilight books was held on Wednesday night in the state, led by a controversial right-wing pastor, according to multiple media sources.
The pastor, Greg Locke, who has a large social media following and is known for being a staunch Trump supporter, considers the books to be "demonic." His Facebook page, as of Saturday morning, has 2.2 million followers. His TikTok account has nearly 570K, and his Instagram has 214K. He was permanently suspended from Twitter in September for spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, NBC News reports.
According to The Guardian, a large crowd cheered at the event as books were burned. The gathering was also livestreamed on Facebook.
Locke wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that "we are well aware what we are stepping into. Bring it all. Stop allowing demonic influences into your home."
“I ain’t messing with witches no more, I ain’t messing with witchcraft… I ain’t messing with demons… I’ll call all of them out in the name of Jesus Christ," Locke said before the burning took place.
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An Instagram post by Locke on Tuesday read "bring all your Harry Potter stuff. Laugh all you will haters. I don’t care. IT’S WITCHCRAFT 100%. All your Twilight books and movies. That mess is full of spells, demonism, shape-shifting and occultism.
"We’re exposing the Kingdom of Darkness for what it is. It’s time for people to be delivered," he continued. He also invited participants to destroy "Ouija boards, idol statues and spellbooks." He said he had both a "Constitutional and Biblical right" to host the burning.
One commentor on his Instagram post wrote: "Yeah this is def a cult."
Locke had said last July that he would kick people from his congregation if they wore a mask and that masks are "banned from his service," CNN reported.