Of all the things a public library should be advertising, Christianity isn’t on the list. But that’s what been going on in Odem, Texas, where the Odem Public Library has advertised two separate Christian events:
These aren’t activities taking place at the library because some churches rented out space. These are advertisements for local church events.
Rebecca Markert is the attorney with the foundation that wrote those letters.
“They (the library) are in the practice of promoting religious events by religious organizations and churches, and that’s a violation under our constitution. They are a public library. They are not allowed to promote or endorse religious events,” she says.
Library officials claim the sign is actually private property, but that’s a silly claim when it bears the name of the library and sits on public land.
Donna Hutchins has been librarian since 1976. She says the sign is used for all kinds of messages, like public meeting notices or safety tips.
“That sign is for community service. It doesn’t have to be any particular group, and I’m sorry it offended someone, but they’re entitled to their opinion,” she says.
She added the city attorney and council sign off on any message with a religious affiliation.
She also says all events promoted are open to everyone.
Markert, however, says the library shouldn’t be in the religion-promoting business.
Not that librarian Donna Hutchins cares:
“It’s irritating to think that someone would be so petty and try to harm what’s helping the children, helping the citizens. You know, go on to something bigger,” Hutchins says.
That’s the issue right there, isn’t it? Who’s saying Christianity is helping the children? There are plenty of people who believe teaching nonsense to kids and telling them to put their faith in a higher power is a bad idea.
I think we all know the obvious solution to all this. We just need the Satanic Temple to hold an event in Odem. Then we’ll see if city officials are willing to publicize it on the library sign.
(Thanks to Jason for the link)