By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
March 4, 2022
A controversial book first published under the name George but now called Melissa will likely stay in two Moore County schools following a recommendation from an advisory committee. Meanwhile Wake County commissioners are eyeing a newly proposed process for dealing with complaints about inappropriate materials after parents there called out Gender Queer: A Memoir as pornographic.
Described by the News & Observer as a story told in a comic-strip format that contains “illustrations involving nudity and erotic scenarios,” Gender Queer was pulled briefly from library shelves but then put back into circulation while Wake County revised its review process to make it more inclusive. Under the plan, which commissioners may take up on Monday evening, a book that is formally challenged would go to a committee for a review and decision.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said anyone who has the authority to decide what goes in front of the eyes of children should take the responsibility seriously, especially in light of Jesus’ words in the book of Matthew.
“In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus so extolled the value of children he used them as an example of how adults can be converted. ‘Unless you become as little children,’ he said. ‘Unless your heart is as impressionable towards the Gospel as a child’s mind is open to what they are shown and taught – unless you demonstrate a child-like faith, you will not enter the kingdom of God.’”
“In this same chapter, Jesus said to receive a child was like receiving Him. To offend a child, that is to make them stumble in faith or in the way of righteousness, is such a grievous sin; our Lord said, ‘It would be better for that individual to have a millstone tied around their neck and drowned in the deepest part of the sea,’” the Rev. Creech said. “Christ makes a wall of fire around the little children – those who touch them, touch the apple of his eye.”
“Those who are polluting school libraries with these books – those who are complicit with the presence of such books – are directly or indirectly doing inestimable harm to the impressionable minds of these youngsters. This sin is so heinous – so great – that its punishment from God will be incredibly severe,” he added.
George, the book causing a stir at McDeeds Creek Elementary and Union Pines High in Moore County, wound up at McDeeds Creek as part of a bulk purchase suggested by a supplier in 2019 when the school opened, according to a recent article in The Pilot newspaper. Carthage resident Jim Pedersen raised the alarm about the novel, which is directed at children but in addition to introducing transgenderism, also includes a description of genitalia, mentions “dirty magazines,” and includes a character who learns how to erase the browsing history on his computer to hide his actions from his parents.
According to the Western Journal, the book Gender Queer is being heavily promoted by two prominent national school library organizations, the School Library Journal and the Young Adult Library Services Association. In fact, YALSA gave the book its Alex Award, an honor reserved for books that have “special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”
Regardless of how appealing they are to teenagers, books with explicit sexual content are raising concern among parents across the nation.
In Florida, Julie Gebhards, disturbed by the books being provided to her 15-year-old daughter, now takes every opportunity to speak out at Hillsborough County School Board meetings, reading aloud from inappropriate books so that board members and those in attendance can hear exactly what students in their district are being exposed to.
“I feel like it’s a wake-up call,” Gebhards told the media. “It’s like, ‘Hey parents, did you know? And if you didn’t know, now you do.’”
More parents are demanding a say in what reading materials their children are given.
Two proposed bills in the Florida Legislature would ensure that committees that advise school boards on the selection or elimination of books would include parents and community members.
The Tampa Bay Times called the battle over books “an outgrowth of a parental rights movement that kicked into high gear during the months-long school masking debate” brought on by Covid last year.
According to Education Week, the number of book challenges last year is expected to be at least double if not triple the number recorded in 2020. Some of the increase is attributed to conservative leaders such as North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who began speaking boldly last fall about the inappropriate and graphic sexual content in some public school materials.
The outcry has led to backlash and accusations of censorship akin to that in Nazi Germany.
“Removing these books from school library shelves and teaching materials is not like the Nazis’ book burning. It’s more like not providing children with polluted water to drink or spoiled food to eat,” Creech said. “It’s more like not allowing them to play around open electrical receptacles – somebody is bound to get seriously injured.”