Christian fascism: Missouri lawmaker Ben Baker has introduced legislation to fine and jail librarians who allow kids to attend drag queen story hour or read gay-friendly, age appropriate material deemed “inappropriate” by conservative Christians like himself.
The Hill reports:
A new bill proposed in Missouri aims to prevent inappropriate sexual content from getting into the hands of kids, but critics are warning it amounts to censoring and could land public librarians in jail.
The bill was introduced earlier this month by Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker (R), who has argued that the measure is meant to protect children when they visit their public libraries.
Baker told local news station KOAM:
The main thing is I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material. Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.
KNWA News reports that Baker was motivated to introduce the legislation because of the supposed danger “Drag Queen Story Hours” represents to children:
However, Carrie Cline, Neosho Newton County Library Director, the local librarian in Baker’s district, says there is no drag queen story hour at the local library.
State Rep. Ben Baker said the bill is aimed at oversight of events like the “drag queen story hours” that he claims are happening at libraries across the country.
Cline went on to say that different people can be offended by different things, noting:
Libraries are very much against censorship in of any kind, we are one of the last institutions left alive where no matter who you are ethnically, religiously, uh politically you are welcomed at the public library.
We believe in your right to view, to see anything you want to see, to read whatever you want to read and we’re not going to get in the way of that, um a good public library has something in it to offend everyone, or we’re not doing our job.
PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, said that the policy was an attempt at “book banning,” declaring:
This is a shockingly transparent attempt to legalize book banning in the state of Missouri. This act is clearly aimed at empowering small groups of parents to appoint themselves as censors over their state’s public libraries. Books wrestling with sexual themes, books uplifting LGBTQIA+ characters, books addressing issues such as sexual assault — all of these books are potentially on the chopping block if this bill is passed.
Bottom line: Christian fascist Ben Baker has introduced legislation to fine and jail librarians who allow kids to attend drag queen story hour or read gay-friendly, age appropriate material deemed “inappropriate” by conservative Christians like himself.