This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A legal team is requesting a federal investigation after an official for the American Library Association was caught recommending how librarians could deprive Christians of their freedom of speech.
And the suggestion has been made that the ALA no longer be qualified to accept federal grants.
WND reported recently that the comments came from Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the association's director of its "Intellectual Freedom" office.
Her advice included how librarians can censor Christians, whose messages they dislike.
Her comments were in response to a book tour by BRAVE Books and author Kirk Cameron to hold story hours in libraries.
Their action was in response to the plague of "drag queen" story hours that already have been held in many libraries, where performers strut their sexuality in front of children and promote to the little ones their alternative sexual lifestyle choices.
Caldwell-Stone said librarians should keep control of their facilities, and claimed the First Amendment "does not require the library to even offer the meeting-room spaces."
"So ... in regard to the Kirk Cameron thing, you are not obligated to offer public meeting-room spaces," she suggested.
She also said libraries could hold their own "events" to shut down Christian messages, or limit rooms only to those who are eligible to hold a library card.
Now Revolver has posted online a letter from Jeremy Dys, of First Liberty Institute, to Crosby Kemper, of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Members of Congress and the attorney general are copied.
"I write to request that the Institute of Museum and Library Services open an investigation into whether the American Library Association has violated a federal law protecting religious liberty and failed to comply with the assurances of nondiscrimination required as a federal grant recipient," the letter charges.
"Our clients author and publish faith-based children’s books. As many authors and publishers have done throughout the history of the United States, our clients partner with individuals at the local community level to read and discuss their books. The practice is quite simple: individual members of the local community request the use of rooms their local public libraries designate for community use to host a story hour. At that story hour, one of Brave Books’ published works is read to those who choose to come to the library to hear the public reading of the book(s). On occasion, Mr. Cameron will join the local organizer and personally read the book he wrote and interact with those who attend the event," it explained.
BRAVE Books right now is working on a plan to have multiple such story hours on August 5.
"Our clients hope 'See You at the Library' will become an annual campaign to encourage literacy, foster discussion on the role of religion in public life, and promote the public’s participation in the local library," the letter said.
But there is opposition, including "evidence of intentional religious discrimination by the American Library Association."
"More concerning, ALA’s director for its Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, appears to base the ALA’s opposition to our clients upon their religious beliefs," the legal team said.
"It should be noted that the ALA is familiar with the concept of local community members hosting various story hours. ALA maintains a page on its website with a lengthy list of resources to aid its members in hosting 'Drag Queen Story Hour.' ALA’s intention in providing such resources is in hopes of 'creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society.' It is therefore confusing that ALA would dedicate significant resources to encouraging 'Drag Queen Story Hour' while at the same time using the weight of its 'Office for Intellectual Freedom' to publicly oppose Kirk Cameron, Brave Books, and members of thousands of local library communities. Such public opposition betrays ALA’s stated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusivity—and should undermine IMLS’s confidence in granting ALA future federal funding."
The letter explains Caldwell-Stone, "bearing the imprimatur of the ALA, went on to encourage the nation’s public libraries to 'construct policies and procedures to deny the use of public libraries to religious users like our clients in the name of 'keep[ing] control of the library.'"
"Caldwell-Stone next encourages the nation’s public librarians to concoct a deception upon the public: 'What if your library decided to offer a whole host of programs in its meeting rooms on August 5th, making it unavailable for the public? That’s another option for you.'"
"Inarguably, Ms. Caldwell-Stone is calling for librarians nationwide to perpetuate a wide-ranging conspiracy, if not a fraud, upon the public, denying local taxpayers access to their public libraries under the guise of 'a whole host of programs.' Ms. Caldwell-Stone and the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom appear openly eager to discriminate against those in the local community who seek only the freedom to receive information from our clients, specifically, the religious information our clients intend to present."
The letter said American taxpayers "should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry." And it said the ALA may not use millions in federal funds to "openly violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and federal regulations. … Openly conspiring to deprive local citizens access to public meeting space to read religious books violates this core constitutional protection."
It pointed out, "Regulations governing grant recipients of the IMLS preclude discrimination by grant recipients on the basis of religion. See 2 C.F.R. § 3187.12 (requiring grant recipients to 'comply with the relevant nondiscrimination statutes and public policy requirements' of federal law). Those who fail to comply with such nondiscrimination provisions, let alone respect the constitutional guarantees of American citizens, should be denied access to taxpayer dollars."
Because it can be found "to have violated its duties under federal law and regulation, it should face debarment and be excluded from future grants," the letter said.