Pastor Kendall Lankford has received approval to continue hosting “Pastor Story Hour” at The Chelmsford Public Library in Massachusetts, after initially being suspended due to complaints, according to The Christian Post. Lankford has hosted “Pastor Story Hour” on Friday mornings to teach children about the Lord, and he started the event in response to “Drag Queen Story Hours” being hosted in libraries across the country.
The Chelmsford Public Library initially approved Lankford to host his story hour in one of their meeting rooms, but later revoked his reservation due to public pushback attacking the library for being “unsafe” due to its “hateful” messaging. Although the library announced that it was simply allowing Lankford to use one of their rooms and allowing people to go at their own will, some were still outraged.
The library released the following statement on Facebook: “Use of a library meeting room by a nonprofit does not indicate endorsement by the library. We support your individual choices as to what to attend and do not advertise or promote any non-library meetings on the library calendar.” In response, public comments called Pastor Story Hour an example of “blatant discrimination, homophobia, bigotry, transphobia.”
After canceling Pastor Story Hour as a result of the pushback, legal counsel advised the library that their action was wrong, and the reservation for Lankford was reinstated. The library later wrote that they value freedom of speech and recognized that their action against Lankford was not in line with the library’s principles of kindness, respect, and free speech.
As Americans across the country are dealing with Drag Queen Story Hours, pastors are stepping up to join the public space where their voices can be heard too. Since Kirk Cameron’s recent headline-making experience in which his request for a story hour to read his faith-based book, As You Grow, was denied by most libraries, the efforts of others like Lankford have gotten more attention. As pastors across the country put themselves out there to spread God’s Word and God’s love, Americans may find some reassurance that future generations will maintain their values and respect for religion.