Thousands of Christians demand Mississippi mayor stop censoring LGBT+ books in their name
More than 15,000 Christians have told anti-LGBT+ mayor Gene McGee to stop censoring queer books after he denied funding to a library.
In January, the Madison County Library System in Mississippi revealed that McGee, the mayor of the city of Ridgeland, had withheld $110,000 in funding until “homosexual materials” were removed from libraries.
Tonja Johnson, executive director for the Madison County Library System, said that McGee told her that the vital payment wouldn’t be issued as the libraries contained books that “went against his Christian beliefs”.
But now, thousands of Christians have said they object to McGee’s stance – and demanded that he reinstate the library’s funding and drop his “effort to censor LGBTQ books”.
“As your fellow Christians, we object to your decision to withhold taxpayer funding from the Madison County Library System over its display of books that tell LGBTQ stories, including books by Christian authors,” says the open letter, signed by more than 15,000 Christians.
“Reading about LGBTQ issues is not a threat to Christianity nor to patrons of a public, secular library. All people, including our LGBTQ neighbours, are made in the image of God, and we are to love and include them just as Jesus did.”
The letter continues by pointing out that McGee is making Christianity look “mean and short-sighted” with his campaign against LGBT+ books, which is “pushing people further away from Christ”.
It concludes: “We ask you to both love your neighbours and to do your civic duty by releasing the library funds and dropping your effort to censor LGBTQ books.”
The Christians rallying behind the library is not the first time that seemingly unlikely allies have stepped up in support of LGBT+ books.
Library facing Gene McGee’s threats over LGBT+ books backed by furry community
Earlier this month, the library’s plight drew the attention of the furry community, who helped it raise the vital cash it needs to remain open.
Soatok, a member of the furry community, decided to take action after seeing a tweet about the library’s predicament.
He contacted the library to find out how he could help, and the library pointed him towards their Friends of the Ridgeland Library fundraising campaign.
Soatok then called on the furry community to help the library out and “tell their mayor to f**k off”, even donating $500 himself.
“The mayor is threatening to withhold $110,000 from the library,” Soatok wrote on Twitter. “This isn’t small potatoes, but it’s within the reach of the amounts raised by furries for charities at conventions all the time.”
The books that reportedly drew the mayor’s ire were a display that included books by a trans pastor and a gay conversion therapy survivor, and the Queer Bible, a collection of essays by LGBT+ authors.
Gene McGee previously told PinkNews that he was “just responding to complaints by citizens about the material being displayed in the library”.