September 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It is somewhat strange that the conservative civil war currently raging between the classical liberals (represented by the National Review’s David French) and the “illiberals” (represented by the New York Post’s Sohrab Ahmari) seems to be largely centred around Drag Queen Story Hour (colloquially referred to as DQSH). While it is not surprising that Ahamari calls it a cultural crisis—Al Mohler and a string of other high profile religious figures fully agree with him—it is shocking that many conservative figures seem so blasé about the whole thing.
To be totally fair to David French, he obviously finds Drag Queen Story Hour repulsive, and a sign of a culture in decline. He just believes that DQSH is the price a free society pays for its liberty, and that any attempt to have these events banned from public spaces constitutes a violation of the First Amendment, as well as an encroachment on “viewpoint neutrality,” which ensures that Christians, too, can use these spaces for Bible studies. While that analysis is, by itself, a scathing condemnation of where we’re at—we have to accept drag queens reading stories to children in order to get a Bible study in the same space?—I do not want to get into the substance of the French-Ahmari debate over the role of the state at the moment.
What I want to briefly respond to is the idea that Drag Queen Story Hour isn’t that big of a deal—which many conservatives have been saying of late. Those of us who have been decrying this as an attempt to groom children are written off as alarmists (or worse—fundamentalists!). Those saying that DQSH is nothing to get worked up about are the perfect example of why Ahmari gets so much sympathetic attention when he says that modern conservatism has conserved very little. If we’re willing to have people in obviously sexualized costumes read stories to little children in order to influence them in favor of the LGBT agenda, then where exactly is the line, anyway? Is there anything we’d get worked up about?
When I wrote my first column on this issue, many people mocked me for it (with the Huffington Post and other outlets positively cackling with glee that DQSH was upsetting some people). This was no different than a clown show, they said, or a Medieval Times-type event, where people show up in fun costumes. And in response to that, I’d like to refer my critics to Drag Queen Story Hour’s official website, where they explain the purpose of these events:
Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.
Now, I’m sure there are plenty of people who think this is just fine. Maybe there are even those who shrug their shoulders at the fact that sexual predators have been found to take part in these events, or that Drag Queen Story Hours have been scheduled with groups with names like “Glitter Hole.” But there are still those of us with the capacity to be disturbed with the overt promotion of “gender fluidity” to impressionable little children and think that little boys and little girls can do without “unabashedly queer role models” who might even invite kids to roll around on the ground with them. Kids don’t need to be drafted into recreating the world with the LGBT activists, and it is appalling that so few people seem to see any point in protecting children from sexualized material and performances.
Regardless of what you think about the French-Ahmari debate, Drag Queen Story Hour is about promoting specific sexual lifestyles and a specific gender ideology to children. That’s not my analysis—that’s what they say on their website. If that’s not a cultural crisis, and if we’ve become so inured to the nonstop sexualization of everything that we simply shrug and move on, we’ve fallen a lot further and a lot faster than I thought.
Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Dr. Patrick Deneen, a professor at Notre Dame University, who discusses the future of conservatism. The thesis of “Why Liberalism Failed” can be shoved into a nutshell of, “liberalism is failing because liberalism is succeeding.” You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: