ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — As hundreds protested nearby, a church group burned Harry Potter and other books.

Jack Brock, the Christ Community Church founder and pastor, said the books burned Sunday were "a masterpiece of satanic deception."

"These books teach children how they can get into witchcraft and become a witch, wizard or warlock," Brock said. Members sang "Amazing Grace" as they threw Potter books, plus some other books and magazines, into the fire.

Across the street, protesters chanting "Stop burning books" stretched in a line a quarter of a mile long.

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"It may be useless but we want (the church) to know the community is not behind them," said Joann Booth, who protested with her four grandchildren. One protester dressed up as Adolf Hitler.

Brock told the congregation that he viewed the attention the church received as a blessing.

"There are those that are doing their best to make us look bad." Brock said. "But because of this, I've been able to preach the gospel around the world."

A letter to the Alamogordo Daily News inviting the community to attend the fire sparked debate in the town of 36,000. On Tuesday, protesters held signs reading "Book burning? Shame on our town" in front of the public library. Inside was a display highlighting the books.

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