LANSDALE, Pa. — A prayer gathering and rally is scheduled for Saturday outside of a Pennsylvania library in response to a “Drag Queen Story Fun Time” for children that will feature a man who goes by the stage name “Annie Christ”—a play-on-words of Anti-Christ.
“Trusted officials and library staff are promoting a foul-mouthed adult entertainer named ‘Annie Christ’ (a discriminative attack on Christianity) as a role model to our small children, and we must take action. Why is our library taking on such a politically controversial issue—especially when receiving our tax dollars?” asks the page for the prayer gathering.
According to reports, Eric Torres of Philadelphia chose the name “Annie Christ” for his stage name out of his “love of gothic themes, horror movies, and bands such as NIN.” His Instagram page features a mix of photos from his everyday life as Eric—such as his interest in mudding—and his alter persona as a drag performer—some of which are gory, some with grandiose wigs and makeup, and one where Torres painted an upside down cross on his forehead.
One video posted to YouTube shows “Annie Christ” performing to the song “You Can Touch My [Breasts],” with men in attendance reaching out and doing so.
Torres is scheduled to read to children at the Lansdale Public Library on Saturday for “Drag Queen Story Fun Time”. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it was Torres who reached out the library to reserve a room for the event. The library, after conducting a background check, agreed.
Library director Tom Meyer told the outlet that he has received a number of calls of complaint, but also remarked that he believes the event has much support and will perhaps exceed capacity.
“There’s definitely more complaints about this than any other event we’ve done,” he stated. “But the amount of support for having it is also overwhelming.”
“One of the tenets of our mission here is to celebrate cultural diversity in the community, and I think a lot of the parents are interested in that and also the message of the story time, about acceptance and inclusion,” Meyer remarked.
Lansdale Mayor Garry Herbert and Councilman Leon Angelichio also defended the children’s event with Annie Christ.
“I feel that the purpose of the event is to promote acceptance and equality, and that’s a message that we should be teaching to our children all the time,” Herbert told North Penn Now. “So I have no problem with the event, and I have no problem with the protesters that want to peacefully protest an event that they disagree with.”
“I am proud to stand behind our library as an organization that provides opportunities in its public spaces for all groups, regardless of their origin, age, background or views. The mission of our library is to offer opportunities to challenge censorship, not to bow down to it,” Angelichio said.
“To bow down to a protest founded in fear would absolutely tarnish the strides we’ve taken in Lansdale to be a community where everyone is welcome.”
Angelichio was referring to a “human relations” ordinance that was passed by city council last year. It reads:
“The Borough Council of the Borough of Lansdale hereby declares it to be the public policy of the Borough to foster equality and equal opportunity for all citizens, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or use of guide or support animals because of blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals, or because of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in all matters effecting employment, housing and commercial property and public accommodation, and to safeguard the right of all persons to remain free of discrimination or discriminatory practices in any of the foregoing aspects of their lives.”
However, prayer gathering and rally organizer Steve Piotrowski believes that the event is discriminatory against Christians. He points to a drawing on Torres’ Instagram that features an upside-down cross with the word “Christ,” as well as several pentagrams.
“Here is a picture of Annie Christ attacking Christianity while promoting Satanism,” he wrote. “This is wrong, this is hateful, this is discrimination, and we are calling for local community leaders, residents, religious institutions, and business owners to speak up against it.”
A petition has been launched to call for the cancellation of the event. Conversely, supporters of the story hour have classified the opposition as “hate,” and claim that Christians should not judge.
“Most hate in this world seem to be from the people who claim to love Jesus the most! What happen to do not judge?” one commenter wrote.
Piotrowski says that he doesn’t hate Torres, but disagrees with such an event being for children.
“I want ‘Annie Christ’ to know that we love him, and we don’t hate him, but we do not approve of what he is doing on Saturday,” he told reporters. “We want to lovingly let ‘Annie Christ’ know that there is a way to receive eternal joy, and his identity can be found without confusion, but only in Jesus Christ.”
The Pennsylvania Pastors Network has likewise expressed concern about the story time.
“The fact that we have even been forced to address such a matter as a story time for children provided by men dressed in drag is a tragic commentary on our culture,” Executive Director Gary Dull told Charisma News. “We pray for clarity, truth and the protection of children in this dire situation.”
Torres plans to read the books “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed” and “Sparkle Boy” to children.