COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina House committee has voted to table a bill that would have, in effect, prohibited events such as “Drag Queen Story Hour” from being presented in the state’s public libraries.
According to reports, Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, had proposed a budget amendment that would have required all state-funded libraries to abide by the Standards for Health and Safety Education Act, which currently solely applies to public schools and determines what is “age appropriate” for children.
Smith told the House Ways and Means Committee that in applying the standards, it would therefore not be age appropriate for “four men dressed as women to talk to 3-to-8-year-olds about being transgender and those issues.”
“If it’s not appropriate for our education system, it shouldn’t be appropriate for the library,” Smith said, according to The State.
Under his measure, if a library failed to following the rules, it could lose its funding.
Some of Smith’s colleagues opined that the proposal could be problematic, as it could spark lawsuits over equal access to public buildings.
“The First Amendment protects even speech we don’t like,” stated House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, according to The Greenville News. “Speech that we don’t like taking place in a public place like a library is going to be protected.”
“Did those 3-to-8-year-olds drive themselves?” he asked. “If not, the parents determined what was appropriate for them to hear.”
But Smith argued that “free speech comes with responsibility,” noting that “[y]ou can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and you can’t contribute to the delinquency of a minor.”
Ultimately, the bill was tabled 17-5.
A “Drag Queen Story Hour” sponsored by the group Moms Liberal Happy Hour SC was held on Sunday at the Five Forks branch of the Greenville County Library System, and drew both protest and counter-protest.
Those opposed to the event sang songs, prayed and held signs such as “The Author of gender regulates gender,” “If you choose to go to Hell, don’t try to take our kids with you,” and “Luke 17:2,” which refers to the words of Christ decrying those who would cause the little ones to stumble in sin. Mark Burns, pastor of Harvest Praise & Worship Center in Anderson, preached with a megaphone.
Those in support of the story hour, some of whom came dressed in costume themselves, held signs such as “Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice,” “Love thy neighbor” and “Love is love, God is love, preach love.” Some engaged in chants, and some blew whistles to drown out those speaking against the event or preaching.
The Greenville County Council is now trying to determine how to pay for the security it sent out to the event via the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
According to local television station WYFF, costs total $47,829.82, which include “feeding lunch to 170 people for nearly $1,600 and the purchase of four megaphones for about $100,” as well as the use of “drones and barricades supplied by county codes to cover the event.”
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law of God and being utterly incapable of changing themselves. It is why Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and pass from spiritual death into spiritual life, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus saith unto him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’
Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’”
Ephesians 2:1-3 reads, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience—among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”