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!