The story begins with this paragraph:
The public library in a small Iowa farming town has been embroiled in a monthslong controversy spurred by anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, attempts to censor books with progressive and LGBTQ themes and the alleged harassment of LGBTQ staff members.
So the media has decided already who the villains are and who began this battle. It began with the pastor and bigots. They are the ones with the agenda and their petty bigotry has resulted in the loss of jobs and the closing of the library in this little community -- thus depriving everyone of the resources of the library.
However, it is certainly NOT an agenda to:
- Initiate a summer reading challenge that had encouraged patrons to read books by people of color and LGBTQ authors, or
- The hiring of a new library director who had helped facilitate Marion’s first LGBTQ Pride event, including a drag queen storytime event and a parade around the library, or
- A plan to establish gender-neutral bathrooms in the building, or
- The choice to feature a display of [resources promoting] the LGBTQ agenda.
I do not know the Pastor or his wife or the congregation he serves but I have been through Vinton, Iowa. However, I do not claim to know much about that small town either. It is situated halfway between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids which says absolutely nothing to most of the world. But it is in Iowa and this state has a strange mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism in its politics. I have little interest in trying to dissect the internal culture of Iowa small town life but I do think it is curious that from the get go, the voices for traditional marriage and a conservative view of LGBTQ and gender issues are automatically the ones with an agenda. While the one who encourages reading LGBTQ authors in a summer reading program or who chooses a director who had helped facilitate a LGBTQ pride event, drag queen story time, and who promotes gender neutral bathrooms has no agenda at all. Really? I mean, you cannot make this up.
If you are reading this story reported by NBC, you are being told who the bigot is and who the heroes are and it ain't those who hold to traditional sexual identity and marriage and who expect the public library, funded by public money, to have at least the appearance of neutrality in the culture wars. Nope, the media has decided on which side it stands and, perhaps, has become the driving force in this debate. I can tell you right now that they will probably win because the opponents of such activism have neither the resources nor the access to defend their positions much less control the debate the way NBC has.
Coming to a small town near you. . . or maybe already there!
The strange mixture of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism that characterizes much of the Scandinavian and German upper Midwest is due to the region’s traditional cultural homogeneity. If everyone is culturally similar, it’s fairly easy to combine fiscal responsibility with social concern for the wellbeing of one’s neighbors. The young, adults who are disadvantaged for various reasons, and the elderly are those members of society who need the most help. Since humans find themselves in each of these stations in life at different times, it’s fairly easy to appeal to a community’s sense of moral and religious obligation to politically institutionalize care for one’s neighbors.
When a community becomes less homogeneous, it becomes more difficult to maintain a sense of communal responsibility for one’s neighbors, since those neighbors may appear to be outside of or even antithetical to the common culture and faith of the majority. The LCMS response to homosexuality is at present one of doubling down on biblical opposition, which is markedly different than the ELCA’s position of approbation. Looking to the national culture, which is frankly not Christian, for sympathy is a fool’s errand for the LCMS. Hoping that many will not scorn and avoid the LCMS as bigoted is wishful thinking as well. The LCMS is in rapid descent numerically precisely because the battle over biblical inerrancy was lost in the West long ago. Like Thomas Jefferson long ago. What should be encouraged from LCMS pulpits however, is compassion and active love for neighbor without sacrificing the primacy of God’s Word. The temperament and leadership of the Synod at present seems in contrast more inclined to applaud a traditional rigidity in approach, which turns pretty much everyone off. This has always been the knock against Missouri by her detractors, that her character is in practice combative, self-righteous, and uncaring. And so with our current leaders’ largely misguided concern with conservative politics and liturgical particulars, the unfortunate descent of Missouri will continue.
In her August 12, 2019, column, "Iowa Incident Reveals Small Town Strategy of "LGBT" Activists," Mission:America President Linda Harvey warned:
"Get ready, America. Local libraries and city councils are being appropriated by 'LGBTQ' activists because you are considered low-hanging fruit....
"Homosexuality is unhealthy, immoral and sinful. Trying to change genders is not only an affront to Almighty God’s marvelous and beautiful creation, it’s impossible. This is what books should be saying to kids....
"This is the truth that pastors should proclaim passionately in the face of a culture saturated with harmful sexual lies. Where are the cooler yet courageous heads in a town like Orange City, Iowa?
"Small town America, prepare yourselves."
In her September 16, 2019 column, "'Banned Books Week' Protects Low Quality Trash," Harvey writes about the annual efforts of the traitorous "American Library Association and its army of leftist library drones to plant a territorial flag in the literary sand."
A May 17, 2022, Vinton Today article has complete statements made at this year's Vinton library board meetings, including the statement by Brooke Kruckenberg, at the March 9, 2022, meeting, in which she said (in part):
"As a member of this community, I want to express my concerns of where I've observed the direction of our public library heading over the past couple of years. It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept into our children's section of the library. I don't believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.
"Although I am not here to ask you to remove anyone from their staffing positions, I would strongly encourage you to listen to the families, like ourselves, who are distancing themselves from the liberal agenda that seems to be happening at the library. If a liberal agenda is not the intention of the library, I ask you to please consider that this is the impression that many families are viewing it as. There has been a subtle, yet noticeable display of the LGBTQ agenda through the choices of books on display, the cross dressing of employees, Facebook posts and the question of non-gender bathrooms being considered on tonight's agenda."
According to a July 20, 2022, article, "Library temporarily closes after resignations over LGBTQ+ book challenges":
"The Vinton Public Library, serving a community of fewer than 5,000 people, announced in a Facebook post on July 8 that the library would be closed 'until further notice.' The move came just after the library’s director — and its only full-time employee — resigned. It’s the third time in just two years the position has been left vacant.
"The library re-opened on Monday with limited hours while the town searches for a new director."
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