Minister speaks up after library reverses course on ‘Pastor Story Hour’ offering Christian take on gender

Massachusetts minister Kendall Lankford is commenting on the Chelmsford Public Library walking back its cancellation of “Pastor Story Hour” after battling with them and experiencing severe blowback over promoting a Christian view on gender.

When the teaching pastor of The Shepherd’s Church initially contacted the library requesting the story hour, he was instructed on the process for securing a room for his reading and filled out an online form. The event was approved a few hours later. The library would go on to cancel it after there was an uproar concerning the reading, according to Fox News.

After the story hour was rescheduled following the cancellation, protests erupted outside the library as activists railed against Christians, the pastor, and his church.

Lankford was inspired to hold the story hour after witnessing the popularity of drag queen story hours across the nation. He wanted to give a Christian perspective on gender and planned to read the books “God Made Boys and Girls” and “Jesus and My Gender.” The books are meant to depict that both men and women are equal and intrinsically good, but also different.

“I didn’t use the word intersectional or Critical Race Theory, but that’s the world we live in. Where if you’re a boy you have less victim status than a girl. I was trying to show them — it’s a good thing that you were made a boy. It’s a good thing that you were made a girl,” Lankford noted. “Every single child in the room got that, it’s the adults that are confused.”

The minister was subject to a number of abusive, angry comments on the phone as well as on social media. He was accused of homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry. People demanded that he cancel the event and his church was branded as a “hate group.” Lankford was even compared to Hitler. Others claimed that by teaching biblical Christianity, his church was engaging in child abuse.

He was ripped for a blog post that referred to drag queens as “adult perverts with a penchant for sexualizing children.” The pastor told Fox News Digital that he stands by his words and won’t back down.

“We’ve gotten to a place in society where we can’t even have any meaningful discussions anymore without someone throwing a temper tantrum. The adults have left it seems, and we’re in a country full of toddlers — and I don’t say that to be inflammatory or mean,” the pastor said in his interview with Fox News.

“If we’re truly a pluralistic society, and we have tolerance for all views then we ought to be able to talk about those views in a meaningful way,” Lankford added.

After hearing about the attacks on the pastor, the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) offered its services. At first, he didn’t think he would need their help. But that would soon change.

The day before the story hour was to take place, Lankford received an email notifying him that it was canceled. He was told it was due to “violations of the library’s meeting room and acceptable behavior policies,” which states that “proselytizing” is not allowed.

MFI refuted the charges calling them “patently false.”

At that point, the pastor asked MFI for help. They proceeded to send a demand letter to the library contending that the center had violated its own policies by allowing anyone to book public meeting rooms. The group also asserted that the library violated Lankford’s federal, and state constitutional rights related to free speech and religious liberty.

https://twitter.com/MAFamilyInst/status/1613950630208442371

Less than four hours later, Lankford was notified that the event was back on.

Chelmsford Public Library also told Fox News Digital that the library had always been an “advocate” and “protector” of the right to free speech as well as the “respectful and kind treatment of others.”

“We believe the library needs to be a public space where every member of our community feels valued and welcome,” the library stated. “We now recognize that our disappointment that actions taken subsequent to the approval of the reservation, and communications immediately before the event, seemed to violate some details of library policy and directs hate at members of our community played too large a role in our decision, to the detriment of our commitment to everyone’s right to free speech.”

After evidently conferring with the library’s attorney, Lankford received an apology.

“We are unequivocally committed to providing this space for Pastor Lankford to hold his event as scheduled,” they proclaimed.

“We’re doing this because we love Jesus. Raising our children is important to us and living publicly as Christians is important to us. So, for our faith in Christ, this is natural for us to do something like a Pastor Story Hour. The only thing I really regret is that it took us this long to figure out this is something we needed to do,” the pastor stated when asked why he was holding the story hour.

“If the drag queens can book a public space and read to children then why wouldn’t we take the opportunity to share our truth with children in a public way,” he argued.

When it was suggested he hold the event at his church and not the public library, Lankford said it would defeat the purpose of the story hour.

“You can tell us to go hole up in our churches but what you’re essentially telling us is that our faith doesn’t belong in the public square, and I reject that notion,” he declared. “We have just as much right to be Christians on Monday and Tuesday as we do privately on Sunday.”

He also stated that Christians have retreated from the public square for far too long and that needs to change.

The event went off without a hitch and was well-attended. Christian parents and children say they look forward to more “Pastor Story Hours,” according to Lankford. He intends to rent the room every month but he is concerned the library may block him from doing so.

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