ST. MARYS, Kansas (LifeSiteNews) — The public library in St. Marys, Kansas has removed all books with LGBTQ references from its youth section after the city commission demanded their removal as a condition for renewing the library’s lease.
All five members of the city commission, including Matthew Childs, who currently serves as mayor, attend Masses offered by the traditional priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), as does the majority of the population in the city. The SSPX trains priests to offer traditional Latin Masses and to transmit “all of Catholic doctrine and morals as the Church has always defended them,” as the Society’s website explains.
The SSPX promotes morals that were widely adopted by mainstream society before the sexual revolution and the Second Vatican Council. Despite this fact, or perhaps rather because of it, local news outlet Kansas Reflector has referred to the SSPX as “extreme” without elaboration.
The traditional, God-centered and pro-family values upheld by the SSPX in accordance with Catholic teaching are also upheld by the vast majority of Catholics who attend the Society’s Masses, unlike the general population of Catholics today, who largely reject the fullness of Catholic teaching.
Accordingly, the commission has fiercely opposed the availability of pro-LGBTQ reading material for youth in the Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library as a violation of family values, and harmful to the souls of children.
Commissioner Gerard Kleinsmith, who serves as a liaison between the city commission and library advisory committee, earlier this year shared his resolve to keep pro-LGBT reading material off the shelves of the city library.
“My goal is to terminate the lease with the library,” Kleinsmith said during an April commission meeting, Kansas Reflector reported.
“If they want to have their library, so be it. Go do it. Find another building to do it in. … I will not ever vote for any taxpayer money, facilities, anything to be used anywhere that houses this kind of garbage,” Kleinsmith said.
Kleinsmith cited the book “Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition,” a story about a “transgender” teenager, as an example of such objectionable material.
“This author is absolutely wrong. God does not make mistakes,” Kleinsmith said. “God cannot make a mistake. We can make mistakes. Mankind can make a mistake. God cannot make a mistake. … I will do everything I can to fight this kind of garbage.”
The commissioners have been supported by St. Marys residents in their efforts. One local, Stephen Murtha, wrote in a letter to library board members earlier this year, “As we move forward, we would like to see that all LGBTQ+ media — whether audio files, movies, books, activities, etc. — be removed from this branch altogether and from any access, including online ordering and inter-library loans, to any minor through this branch.”
He added that the library’s contents should reflect the values of the Christian majority in the community.
The library’s advisory committee has reportedly identified unacceptable library material by searching the terms “gay,” “transgender,” “lesbian,” “bisexual” and “queer” in the library’s catalog, and then reading through the books flagged by these terms before determining which need to be removed.
They have decided to discard about a dozen books, including “Squad,” “Blood Countess,” “The Great American Whatever,” “Beyond Clueless,” “The Red Scrolls of Magic,” “Infinity Son” and “Icebreaker,” according to Kansas Reflector.
Library director Judith Cremer told the local news outlet that the library’s adult section still contains some LGBTQ books but that there are “probably not” any LGBTQ books left in the youth section.
She believes the removed books are “just describing a reality that is normal now for most people.”
The removed books have reportedly been sent to the regional library’s branch locations in Alma, Alta Vista, Eskridge, Harveyville, Olsburg, Onaga, and Westmoreland.
Mayor Childs had authored a lease renewal clause last year for the library demanding that it not “supply, distribute, loan, encourage, or coerce acceptance of or approval of explicit sexual or racially or socially divisive material, or events (such as ‘drag queen story hours’) that support the LGBTQ+ or critical theory ideology or practice.”
However, the commission ditched the clause after “legal pressure” from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and renewed the lease for one year.