U of A Library Promotes Pro-LGBT Movies, Documentaries

On Tuesday the University of Arkansas’ main research library issued a statement highlighting pro-LGBT movies and documentaries the library offers.

In a statement, the library said,

In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, the Mullins Library Multimedia Department has compiled a list of streaming and physical videos available to all students, staff, and faculty. Physical items are available for checkout in the Multimedia Services Room (MULN 463).

The statement goes on to list more than a dozen pro-LGBT movies and documentaries available through the library.

The list includes films like Call Me By Your Name, which has been heavily criticized for its themes and sexual content.

The university library issued similar statements celebrating LGBT Pride Month during June of last year and in 2021.

More and more, we see institutions, government agencies, and corporations in America rushing to celebrate “pride month” and promote homosexual and transgender behavior — and yet there seems to be backlash brewing against the movement among many Americans.

Writing at Breakpoint.org, commentator John Stonestreet recently noted,

Americans feel they are no longer allowed to turn on the TV, open social media, shop for clothes, buy groceries, or walk down the street without being assaulted by sexual propaganda all year round, not just in June. It’s as if a whole segment of the nation is simply unaware that many people feel assaulted, and many others are simply not that interested.

Of course, the U of A library is just the latest library in Arkansas to curate pro-LGBT content.

Libraries in Craighead County, Pulaski County, and elsewhere have included pro-LGBT and sexually explicit material in their library catalogs.

Communities can take steps to remove objectionable material from their local libraries.

Library boards and librarians have leeway to establish selection criteria and make decisions about the kinds of material available on the library’s shelves.

Library patrons generally can use a Material Reconsideration Form to ask libraries to remove inappropriate material.

And voters can call on their elected officials to enact laws protecting children from objectionable material in public libraries.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Photo Credit: Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Federal Lawsuit in Maryland Highlights Importance of Laws Passed in Arkansas

Above: One of the pro-LGBT books presented to students in Maryland.

On May 24, three families — one Muslim, one Roman Catholic, and one Ukrainian Orthodox — filed a lawsuit against Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education.

In March the school district shifted its policy concerning objectionable material, announcing parents would no longer be notified about LGBT content at school and would no longer be allowed to opt their children out of pro-LGBT material.

World News Group writes,

[W]hen the Montgomery County school district introduced pro-LGBT children’s books into its curriculum last year, all three families decided the content of the books didn’t line up with their religious beliefs about sexuality and marriage. Since the state of Maryland and the Montgomery County district both allow students to opt out of instruction related to family life and human sexuality, the parents declined to have their children in class for the readings. But in March, the school board announced that teachers would no longer offer notice about the LGBT material and students could not opt out, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the board [in May].

The lawsuit alleges that the “Pride Storybooks” in question are not age appropriate for children and that the books “promote one-sided transgender ideology, encourage gender transitioning, and focus excessively on romantic infatuation—with no parental notification or opportunity to opt out.”

The complaint filed in court includes photographs and explanations of some of the objectionable material in the books.

For example, the lawsuit alleges that the book Pride Puppy “invites three- and four-year-olds to look for images of things they might find at a pride parade, including an ‘intersex [flag],’ a ‘[drag] king’ and ‘[drag] queen,’ ‘leather,’ ‘underwear,’ and an image of a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker, ‘Marsha P. Johnson.'” It also highlights pro-LGBT books Love, Violet and Born Ready: The True Story Of A Boy Named Penelope.

These “Pride Storybooks” are similar to pro-LGBT books that have caused controversy in libraries in Arkansas.

In fact, the Arkansas State Library System indicates that Born Ready is available at the Crawford County Library System and the Crowley’s Ridge Regional Library.

Pride Puppy is available at the Crowley’s Ridge Regional Library, the Arkansas River Valley Library System, and the North Little Rock Public Library System.

And Love, Violet is available at the Crawford County Library System, the North Little Rock Public Library System, multiple locations in the Central Arkansas Library System, and other libraries in Arkansas.

All of these books target young children.

In Arkansas, lawmakers have taken steps to keep this type of material out of public school classrooms.

For example, Act 237 of 2023 — the LEARNS Act — is the omnibus education law by Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) and Rep. Keith Brooks (R – Little Rock) that helps prohibit critical race theory in Arkansas’ public schools, and it protects elementary students from inappropriate sexual material at school.

Public schools have no business promoting pro-LGBT ideology to children, and schools ought to respect parental rights. This lawsuit in Maryland serves as a reminder of those simple facts.

Guest Column: The Great Book Ban Panic of 2023

Three months ago, an 11-year-old sixth grader from Maine read a passage from a book to his local school board. It described a sexual encounter between two teenage boys. When he found the book in the library of his public school, the librarian asked if he’d like to see other books that were like it, or if he’d like to check out the book’s graphic novel edition. The boy’s father, who also spoke at the school board meeting, was not nearly as calm as his son. Like many parents around the country, he demanded that school officials remove all books with explicit content from his son’s public school library. 

This story is, according to many loud voices right now, part of a “dangerous trend.” Recently, the American Library Association announced an “emergency,” that a record-breaking 1,269 requests had been made in 2022 to remove books from libraries. “Each attempt to ban a book …,” said the Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “represents a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read.”  

Others share this sense of panic. A few days ago, lawmakers in Illinois voted to revoke public funding from libraries that agree to remove books from their shelves due to the author’s “background or views.” 

A closer look at the statistics, however, tells a very different story. As columnist and editor Micah Mattix recently pointed out, 1,269 book removal requests among some 117,000 public libraries are not that many. If only about 1% of American libraries received some kind of removal request last year, not all of which were granted, the real headline is not so much a crisis of book banning, but how little people are reading these days. 

Moreover, about 60% of the requests to remove books were made to libraries at public schools. Asking a public school to make pornography unavailable to fourth graders is not exactly “a direct attack” on every American’s constitutional right to read. A better illustration of that kind of censorship would be what transgender activists have done to the Harry Potter series, calling for bans and public burnings, not because of anything in the books, but because of J.K. Rowling’s views about the existence of women.  

Viewpoint discrimination is not what is behind the removal requests that are worrying the American Library Association. Each of the ALA’s top 10 “most-challenged books of 2022” was challenged for containing sexually explicit material. Their outrage is quite selective.  

No public school library across America is scrambling to include published manifestos of serial killers or rantings of a white supremacy cult leader on their shelves. Nor should they. The right to free expression must always be tempered by a concern for the innocence, health, and well-being of children. That meant, until yesterday at least, that their access to graphic sexual content should be limited by the grownups in the room. 

A better question, if the number of book ban requests has skyrocketed, is why so many sexually explicit books are being published right now, and why so many are aimed at children. Why, for every toddler book published about dinosaurs, dragons, or pajamas, are there five more about alternative families and “the hips on the drag queen” going “swish, swish, swish” (and yes, that is a real title)? 

Parents, don’t be intimidated by these breathless headlines warning of impending doom. Stay vigilant and vocal about protecting the hearts and minds of your children.  

Pastors, please support parents in their efforts to fulfill their God-given calling to their children. They will need it. 

Any long-term solution will involve more than ridding school libraries of bad books. What C.S. Lewis said, that “good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy must be answered,” applies to children’s books, too. He did, after all, produce one of the best children’s series of all time. 

Bad children’s books lie to them, rob them of their innocence, and exploit them into becoming spokespeople for adult causes. Good books tell children the truth about the world and who they are, respecting their age, imagination, and innocence. The difference makes all the difference. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Maria Baer. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.