[Fox News] Are taxpayer funds being used to ‘block’ a Kirk Cameron public library event? GOP senators want answers

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For the better part of a year, actor, writer and producer Kirk Cameron has been offering story time events at public libraries across the U.S., reading faith-filled books to children and families and sharing patriotic and family-focused messages.

Hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, have turned up at these events.

This summer, however, an executive with the American Library Association (ALA) told member librarians during its Library 2023 Worldwide Virtual Conference that there are ways to “block” Cameron and others from booking rooms at libraries for his August 5 nationwide story time reading event.

KIRK CAMERON VOWS TO HOLD AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ACCOUNTABLE FOR ‘RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION’

As one idea, the individual suggested members hold a “library-sponsored Pride festival the same day and fill the library with rainbows” to help share messages of “inclusion and diversity.”

On Friday, three Republican senators sent a letter seeking answers on whether the American Library Association is using taxpayer funds to attempt to prevent Americans from reading pro-faith books by Cameron — even as the ALA has welcomed “drag queen” reading events to its libraries.

The letter cited “blatant discrimination against religious publishers.”

The senators’ letter said, in part, “As a recipient of federal funds, the ALA is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to violate the First Amendment. However, it appears the ALA is ignoring this prohibition for the sole purpose of silencing Brave Books while simultaneously also advocating for ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.’”

Brave Books is the publisher of Cameron’s first two children’s books. 

KIRK CAMERON GREETED BY OVERFLOW NEW YORK LIBRARY CROWD FOR MESSAGE OF FAITH, FAMILY, COUNTRY

It has also published books by many other authors, citing its “faith-based children’s books that teach traditional values.” Other authors include Missy Robertson, Bethany Hamilton and Sheriff Mark Lamb of Arizona

Fox News Digital reached out to the American Library Association for comment. 

Led by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the letter sent to Crosby Kemper III, director of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, on Friday asks for details on how the library association has spent money received from the federal government. 

The senators also want current federal funding for the group stopped while its activities are investigated.

The letter said, “The ALA should not be eligible to receive federal funding should an investigation find that the ALA violated the First Amendment rights of Americans.”

Also signing the letter are Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. 

Cameron has been working with First Liberty Institute, the nonprofit Christian conservative legal organization based in Texas, to attempt to hold the ALA accountable for what he believes is discrimination against him and his pro-faith messaging, as Fox News Digital previously reported.

Cameron told Fox News Digital earlier on this issue, “While I’m trying to encourage thousands of Americans to visit public libraries and read wholesome books to their children, the taxpayer-funded American Library Association is not only criticizing me, they are teaching libraries to break the law and conspiring to prevent thousands of families from visiting their own community reading rooms,” in a statement. 

KIRK CAMERON SAYS NEW JERSEY PARENTS ARE FEELING PRESSURE FROM THE LEFT TO TEACH THEIR KIDS ‘WOKE VALUES’

The senators’ July 28 letter also said, “Over the course of several decades, the ALA has received millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars. Ironically, the ALA has been given federal funds for ‘free community engagement training.’” 

It went on, “Public libraries must remain open to the public, and their availability should not be subject to the political whims of the ALA.”

It added, “While disagreements pertaining to ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ in public libraries will assuredly continue, Brave Books deserves the same opportunity to host and organize events in public libraries as other groups, including those that the ALA has taken an aggressive role [in] promoting.”

The senators’ letter — posted on Sen. Rubio’s public website — also noted, “The ALA claims that Brave Books seeks to ‘censor LGBTQIA materials or disparage or silence LGBTQIA library users, [and] exploit the open nature of the library to advance their agenda.’ To the contrary, the ALA is advancing a political agenda, not Brave Books.”

In the online June 8 presentation by the ALA, the head of the group’s Office for Intellectual Freedom told member librarians during the livestreamed conference, “You can limit access to meeting rooms to persons eligible to hold a library card in your community.”

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Or, “you could” prioritize “library-sponsored programs,” she also said.

“Another option” for libraries, she said, would be to hold alternative programs on Aug. 5 — “making it unavailable for the public.”

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