Conservative Christian author, Kirk Cameron, has been rejected by roughly 50 public libraries on the basis of his religious beliefs, according to information released by his publisher, Brave Books. The Rochambeau Public Library in Providence, Rhode Island, for instance, openly dismissed Cameron’s request to share his new children’s book, “As You Grow,” saying, “We are a very queer-friendly library. Our messaging does not align.” The City Heights/Weingart Branch Library in San Diego, California, noted, “Because of how diverse our community is, I don’t know how many people you would get.”
Others simply rejected the request saying the program just wasn’t something they were interested in. Indianapolis Public Library, for example, argued they had a strategic plan in place for their book reading events noting they are “really looking at authors who are diverse. Authors of color. That’s really been our focus.” They continued stating they are focusing on racial equity after Cameron’s publisher pointed out the Christian-themed book is itself diverse.
Cameron responded to the rejections by saying, “Publicly funded libraries are green-lighting ‘gender marker and name change clinics’ while denying a story time that would involve the reading of a book that teaches biblical wisdom. How much more clear can it get?” He is, of course, correct. The rejections received were extremely transparent as the issuers personally objected to the perceived message of Cameron’s book and said no.
The immediate reaction from many conservatives, naturally, is to recognize the stark contrast between LGBT-themed events at public libraries and the difficulty Cameron is having sharing his children’s title. The San Diego library, for example, hosts many LGBT-themed events and organizes with LGBT organizations, including hosting a ‘queer’ book club. On its website, it states, “Telling our stories, highlighting the rich diversity … Those themes that are so important of love, acceptance and inclusion and seeing yourself represented in the books that are reading.” It is obvious those in charge of these libraries have an agenda.
Yet, is it fair to compare the two situations, arguing that if drag queen story hours are a problem in a publicly funded library, so are religious-themed events? The difference is in who is making the decision. For example, Republican Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker introduced the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, HB 2044, designed to empower parental decision-making in the community toward public events. A Rasmussen report in November 2022 found that 60 percent of American adults find “drag queen story hour” inappropriate for children.
There is a clear difference between members of the community (who financially support public libraries with their tax dollars) objecting to certain events being hosted by the library and the personal agenda of the individuals who manage the library dictating how the institution is run. Kirk Cameron cannot host an event because a select few running the library’s day-to-day operations do not want his message to be heard. This is especially true in progressive-dominant areas where the distinction between professionals and activists is impossible to determine and they feel entitled to discriminate.
When the explicitly pornographic book, “Gender Queer,” was exposed as being obviously inappropriate for students in public schools, Republicans were accused of “banning” books. Citing concerns over community rejection of certain titles in public schools and libraries, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association, noted, “The primary target still is school libraries and school librarians, K-12 teachers, but we are seeing this bleed over to public libraries.”
CNN argued, “to a wide array of civil rights, civil liberties and free expression groups, these restrictions represent an effort to enshrine the values of one particular group of parents — conservative Whites — over the priorities and experiences of an increasingly diverse society.” Vera Eidelman, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, warned, “There is an overarching trend here of interference with the right to learn and the right to access information.”
Yet, the moment that information is perceived to be in opposition to the progressive message, these leaders of free speech are simply “not interested.”
The American Library Association advocates on its website for public libraries to serve “LGBTQIA+” communities more explicitly, arguing:
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peoples’ access to libraries may be limited or prohibited by many issues, including:
• Collections which do not present LGBTQIA+ content or perspectives.
• LGBTQIA+ materials can often be censored under partisan or doctrinal disapproval
• Environments which are not welcoming or inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people and which, through actions by staff or other patrons, may be made unwelcome to LGBTQIA+ people and their families
• Programs which do not address the LGBTQIA+ experience
• Services which are not promoted to LGBTQIA+ populations or in collaborations with local LGBTQIA+ organizations
The left believes they have a moral duty to advocate for certain communities and certain ideologies, which inevitably requires suppression or rejection of content perceived to be in opposition to said communities and ideologies. The mere presence of a conservative Christian perspective is sufficient to warrant concern. The bigotry and prejudice expressed by these leftists simply will not allow them to tolerate even the appearance of being open to such views.