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In a desperate plea for attention and a pathetic attempt to market his new children’s book, Christian evangelist and former TV star Kirk Cameron claims libraries are censoring him even while welcoming drag queens and hosting LGBTQ-friendly events.

Cameron’s publishers at Brave Books told FOX that they reached out to 50 public libraries to see if they would sponsor events in which Cameron would read his book to kids. They wanted the libraries to advertise the events on their websites and market the readings as they do other children’s events. Naturally, many of them said no.

The Rochambeau Public Library in Providence, Rhode Island, for instance, told Cameron and his book publisher by phone, “No, we will pass on having you run a program in our space.”

“We are a very queer-friendly library. Our messaging does not align,” the library worker also told Brave Books. 

Brave Books, as part of its extensive outreach to libraries for Kirk Cameron’s new book, also contacted the City Heights/Weingart Branch Library in San Diego, California, hoping to be able to schedule Cameron for a story-hour program.

But the library representative told Cameron’s publisher, “I don’t think that’s something that we would do.” 

It goes on like this for a while. And it’s not surprising. Cameron’s new book, As You Grow, is a faith-based book that suggests you need God to be moral. Cameron himself is an anti-LGBTQ Creationist who uses his platform to push bigotry and misinformation. Public libraries are under no obligation to use their resources to promote people or books that send those messages. Having a drag queen read a story about inclusion and acceptance? Not a problem! (Why would it be?)

But here’s why Cameron’s attempt at calling this censorship fails: Some of those same libraries that didn’t want to promote his events had no problem whatsoever allowing Cameron to reserve meeting space and host his own reading. That’s what plenty of people do! At my local library, large meeting spaces and smaller conference rooms are available to rent for a reasonable fee while smaller study rooms are free for anyone with a library card.

Cameron could have taken that option. He didn’t. There’s no victimhood in that.

The FOX article even noted that libraries offered that option to Cameron!

When the publisher asked the [Rochambeau Public Library] official about filling out the proper form to apply for a story-hour slot, the individual replied, “You can fill out the form to reserve space, to run the program in our space — but we won’t run your program.” 

Exactly! Cameron could always rent space and hold his event at libraries, but the libraries have no legal mandate to spend staff time doing promotional work on his behalf. They do this sort of thing all the time, by the way! Suppose a new author wants a library to promote his reading, but there’s no indication the book is popular or that people in the community would attend the event. The library can say no! It takes a lot of staff time to run any kind of program, and if an event isn’t interesting or doesn’t align with the library’s mission, it can just refuse to participate.

That’s not illegal. That’s literally how libraries operate. They can make their public spaces available to everyone who wants to rent them, but they do not have to green-light every single programming request that comes into the system. That includes requests from the Crocoduck guy.

The FOX piece attempts to create a dichotomy between the rejection of Cameron’s Bible-based kids’ book and the acceptance of Drag Queen Story Hours, safe spaces for LGBTQ teens, a “teen queer book club,” and legal aid clinics for trans people who need help changing their paperwork. But those aren’t polar opposites! The former suggests to kids that only Christians have a moral foundation; the latter events help marginalized people feel welcome and accepted. The LGBTQ people aren’t sitting around trashing Christians. In fact, some of them may be Christians themselves. But we know damn well what Cameron and his colleagues say about the other side.

Furthermore, we don’t know what the “pitch” was like to those libraries. Cameron had far more to gain, publicity-wise, by getting rejected than by having any of the libraries say yes, so it would be useful to know what his people claimed he was trying to do. The fact that Cameron mentions 50 libraries while the FOX piece only references five of them and mostly quotes low-level staffers suggests there’s no real story here at all.

The entire article basically repeats this idea several times over: Library A said they wouldn’t promote Cameron’s event, but Library A also helps LGBTQ kids. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

Yes. Yes I can.

But with the conservative propaganda network taking the bait, Cameron’s publishers ran with their lie:

Trent Talbot, founder and CEO of the Texas-based Brave Books, said in a statement to Fox News Digital, “It is devastating to discover that many of our publicly funded libraries have now become indoctrination centers that refuse to allow biblical wisdom to be taught to our children.

He added, “The woke left understands that morality is instilled by the age of 10, and they want their morality to win, not the morality that the Bible teaches.”

Those same “indoctrination centers” have no shortage of Christian books and bibles on their shelves. Talbot doesn’t give a damn about Christian books. He just wants to sell his product and he knows the sort of Christians who might buy it are too dumb to recognize his bullshit argument.

He’s just spreading a lie that conservative Christians love telling themselves. These libraries aren’t refusing to “allow biblical wisdom to be taught to our children.” They’re saying no to promoting the events themselves while giving Cameron ample opportunities to rent their space to do whatever the hell he wants.

Even more pathetic is how Brave Books claimed Kirk Cameron should fit in with one library’s mission to promote racial equity and diversity because, basically, white is a color and Christianity is a religion.

The individual [from the Indianapolis Public Library] added, “Generally when we have author visits, those are coordinated through our departments. We really have a push. We have a strategic plan in place, so we are really looking at authors who are diverse. Authors of color. That’s really been our focus.”

When Brave Books pointed out that Cameron’s book contributes in its own way to a diverse collection of ideas, beliefs and stories, the library representative replied, “Well, we are focusing on racial equity.”

The people who think the racial rainbow goes from white to off-white believe racial equity means platforming Kirk Cameron. It’s just desperation for a guy whose book isn’t good enough to get attention any other way.

The irony is that if Cameron’s book meets their usual criteria, these libraries would have no problem making it available on their shelves for anyone who wants to check it out. Just as they do with all other books. Instead of pointing that out, however, the FOX piece by Maureen Mackey spends several paragraphs explaining that local governments help fund libraries, giving right-wing extremists more fuel to whine about indoctrination and persecution.

Kirk Cameron isn’t going to take the moral high road and explain why that narrative is wrong. Maybe he should read his own book.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.