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“Yes” to perverted men in sexualized women’s clothing reading to children. “No” to reading to children about God.
That’s the message that Christian movie star, filmmaker, and author Kirk Cameron is getting loud and clear from public libraries as he tries to promote his recent children’s book, As You Grow, a book that celebrates family and teaches about faith and biblical wisdom.
On Wednesday, December 7, Fox News reported that
“Kirk Cameron cannot reach scores of American children or their families in many U.S. cities via the public library system because over 50 public libraries have either outright rejected him or not responded to requests on his behalf. Many of the same libraries that won’t give Cameron a slot, however, are actively offering ‘drag queen’ story hours or similar programs for kids and young people.”
Why won’t they let him read? Some library officials wouldn’t say, but many made it clear that his Christian kid’s book doesn’t match up with their values. Here is just a sampling of the responses:
But as the report demonstrates, these libraries offer a host of pro-LGBTQ story hours and programming.
When it comes to equal access to public libraries across the United States, it sure looks like Christians are getting second-class treatment.
Now, “Drag Queen Story Hour” has become, simultaneously, something that’s incredibly serious and something of a cultural shibboleth in American politics.
The question of whether drag queens — grown men dressing up in grotesque and sexually perverted mockeries of “women’s clothing” and clown makeup — should be “allowed” to read books to children in public libraries burst onto the scene by means of a 2019 debate between David French and Catholic political commentator Sohrab Ahmari. Someone like French argues that in order for public spaces to be fair and welcoming and “neutral” they must allow things like Drag Queen Story Hour. Against this, Ahmari argued that taking your kids to a drag reading hour at the public library “cannot be sustained without some level of moral approval by the community. Autonomy-maximizing liberalism is normative, in its own twisted way.”
And Ahmari goes on, like a prophet, “The more that conservative liberals like French insist on autonomy, the more they strengthen the bullies’ position. This far with autonomy, they insist, but no farther. But why should the other side stop? Why shouldn’t this new, aggressive vision of maximal autonomy not overtake the old?”
The point here is that the more Drag Queen Story Hour becomes the norm, the allowable expression of autonomy and individual freedom in a “neutral regime,” the less space, ultimately, the other side will get. The other side here being Christians.
Yet defenders of the drag queens endure. In his recent screed against Christian nationalism, Georgetown professor Paul Miller (who works for David French at The Dispatch) amazingly had this to say about Christians versus drag queens in the public library:
“How hard is it to say both drag queens and fundamentalist Christians can both use the library and host events there? This isn’t especially hard, no matter how deep original sin goes, no matter the noetic effects of the fall. And if it is possible, it is also desirable: drag queens are people too, and no matter our views on their sexuality, they are tax-paying citizens and deserve equal treatment under law and thus equal access to public resources.”
How hard is it? Well, as Kirk Cameron is learning the hard way, and by extension, the rest of us, it appears that if you argue that drag queens and Christians should have equal access to public libraries, the reality is that only one of those groups will get access. And it won’t be the Christians.
Ahmari was right. Because neutrality is a myth. Everything is a moral judgment. The libraries had to pick a side in the culture war, just like the rest of us. They chose the “fabulous.” As such, the faithful, like Cameron, are locked out.
From a Christian worldview (and French and Miller do call themselves Christians) the answer here is obvious: Of course, Drag Queen Story Hour shouldn’t be allowed and, of course, Kirk Cameron reading Christian children’s books should. This actually isn’t hard, as Miller says. He just gets it wrong.
The Bible is rather outspoken on the reality that men are men and women are women, and that neither sex should pretend to be the other. Deuteronomy 22:5 says that “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.” This creation-order moral command (not exclusive to Old Testament Israel) is echoed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:4 where he says, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him.”
Cross-dressing for adult drag shows is bad enough. But insisting on the freedom to perform drag in front of kids? And in a public space? And a library at that? Rejecting such a toxic brew of cultural debauchery should be a no-brainer.
Apparently, we have quite a few scarecrows running around trying to tell Christians how to think about faith and politics. How’s that working out for us?
Lest you miss this crucial point, allow me to take out my rhetorical red pen and underline the fact that the battle for cultural supremacy between Christianity and the LGBTQ agenda and radical gender theory is a zero-sum game. One of these religions will have access to the public square and public spaces. One of these religions will get to fly their flag. One of these religions will have its First Amendment rights protected. And one will not.
Choose, therefore, this day, both you and your house, whom you will serve.
Kirk Cameron has chosen wisely. In a recent interview with the Christian Post, Cameron “declared that he will not back down after more than 50 public libraries that host Drag Queen Story Hours rejected or ignored his offer to read his new Christian children’s book, As You Grow.” The Post further reports:
“Despite the blatant discrimination… [Cameron] is unwavering in standing up for Christ and family values amid the cultural darkness, as numerous historic figures did in years and centuries past when they faced far greater challenges. In the face of intolerance against his children’s book, he charged Christians to rise up and combat the culture wars by peacefully not backing down.”
He’s right, Christians absolutely should not back down. Drag Queen Story Hour might sound somewhat silly, but the deeper reality is deadly serious — this is a spiritual war. Clearly, the devil has captured many of the American public libraries. But that doesn’t mean Christians can’t take them back. And let’s not settle for the libraries — let’s get the schools, the colleges, the churches, and the country, too.
Kirk Cameron might not get to read his book in the library, but he can have the last word here in my column. Here is his advice to Christians:
“We need to have heroes rise up out of the cultural darkness and pressure of our time, and begin to apply these same truths in modern America and around the world so that we can see a great awakening again…We need all hands-on deck. The family of faith needs to get off the defense, get on the offense, and when we do, we will join that great cloud of witnesses from the past. We will be part of God’s loving army of compassion that cannot be stopped and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it.”
Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.