"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Kayla Nichols, the Enid Library, and the Enid News

Enid's Public Library
Kayla Nichols is a mom in Enid who takes responsibility for teaching her children. She is smart, level-headed, and cares not to indoctrinate your children with her Christian values. However, she is clear and direct with anyone who seems to be encroaching on her maternal responsibilities by attempting to indoctrinate Kayla's children with a value system that is not hers.

This leads us to a problem that Kayla Nichols saw last week at the Enid Public Library, a library that Kayla funds with her taxes. She walked into the library and felt that displays promoted a particular brand of morality or secular religion opposite of what she teaches her children. The issue isn't the freedom for others to read, teach, or believe as they choose. The issue is the promotion of a particular set of moral values without equal representation. If the library is for all people, where are the books in the display that reveal the majority moral standard of citizens of Enid who fund the Enid Public Library? 

Kayla wrote a letter to the Enid Public Library,s board of directors and shared it on Facebook.  Activists who encroach on everyone else's freedom by demanding obeisance and acquiescence to their particular point of view were not happy with Kayla's dissent. 

Because some do not have access to Facebook and are unaware of the local controversy, I am publishing Kayla's letter to the library board, her answers to commonly asked questions, and her letter to the Enid News that the newpspaper promised to publish. 

Kayla's Original Letter to the Library Board

June 29, 2021

Re: Enid Public Library
120 West Maine
Enid, OK 73701

To All Concerned:

My name is Kayla Nichols and up until yesterday I had not been a regular patron of the Enid Public Library. I stopped using the library for my book needs many years ago due to frustration over the emphasis on technology, games, and poorly written literature in the children’s section. On June 28, 2021 I walked back into the library and was shocked by the displays I found. I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of Garfield county regarding the way my tax dollars are being used.

Directly past the library entrance was a display full of only pro-LGBTQ+ literature. Moving further on, the books displayed on top of the shelves in the teen section were all pro-LGBTQ in nature. I took the time to read the summaries of these books found on their jackets and was appalled to see how brazenly they were pushing a counter-Christian message onto our youth.

I am not writing to convince you to destroy these books. I do not believe in book banning and am a full supporter of libraries providing access to all books, even those I don’t agree with. I also understand that not all citizens served by our public library hold to my same political and religious views. However, I am asking that the library change their approach to book displays to accurately align with American Library Association protocol as well as state and municipal law. Doing so would ensure that our community is fairly represented. It is incredibly important to understand the difference between a book being available and a book or ideology being promoted (and to children none-the-less) through clever displays and marketing.

The American Library Association states on their website (Religion in Libraries Q&A), “Yes, religion is a legitimate focus of programming insofar as it reflects the interests of the library’s community and furthers the library’s mission. The purpose of such an event should be to inform, educate, and entertain rather than to proselytize or promote one set of religious beliefs over other religious beliefs. Libraries should strive to offer programming that reflects the diversity of religious belief or non-belief in their communities and to ensure that there is no perception that the library favors one religious group over another.” In the same section the ALA goes on to state, “Just as libraries curate their collections to ensure representation, libraries may also highlight resources in their collections, including those with religious themes, as appropriate. The religious resources included in displays should represent the library’s community accurately while being broadly inclusive.” They ended by remarking, “Libraries and librarians should respect the diverse religious traditions of their communities, libraries exist to serve the information needs of all users in their communities. Library policies should be applied equally to shelving of religious books, service to users, or access to religious websites as they would be to any other shelving, service or web access. In addition, privileging one religious tradition over others could violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment.”

I would like to take the opportunity to share the ways in which the displays I saw yesterday do not align with the protocol listed above, much less state and local laws which restrict public agencies from promoting only select political or religious traditions.

1) While the pro-LGBTQ books on display may reflect the views of a portion of our population, they do not in anyway help to further the library’s mission: “The Public Library of Enid and Garfield County provides access to materials and services in a variety of formats to meet the informational and recreational needs of the community. The Library values the dignity of individual beliefs and promotes the literacy and the empowerment of individuals through lifelong learning.” These books are not displayed in order to promote literacy. Everyone on both sides of the aisle is aware of this.

2) None of the books selected for display value the dignity of those who believe this lifestyle to be a sin against our God.

3) The very fact that the books on display were all pro-LGBTQ makes it extremely clear the purpose was not to entertain or inform. The displays were set up in order to proselytize and promote one set of religious beliefs over another set of religious beliefs. If this were not the case, the displays would have had a balance of books including those aimed at discussing the sinfulness of this lifestyle and support groups for those choosing to leave the LGBTQ+ lifestyle.

4) I am sure the librarians are aware that Enid is a community filled with many Bible believing Christians who are against the LGBTQ agenda. The displays I saw did not in anyway accurately represent the diversity of beliefs our community has on this issue. The books represented only one side of the issue and one portion of our community.

5) According to the American Library Association themselves, privileging one religious tradition over another violates the first amendment. What is occurring in our library is not only unwise or unappreciated, it is illegal. ask that the library stop using their displays to present only one side of political or religious topics.
I ask that immediately upon receipt of this letter, any remaining LGBTQ (or other political/religious) books be either removed from the displays or balanced out by books representing other sides of the issue in accordance with the diverse population you serve. I ask that the Enid Public Library follow the law and not embroil themselves in the promotion of select religious and political ideas. From now on I will regularly visit the library to verify that the displays are unbiased and accurately represent our community. I will be contacting all Enid Library Board members about this issue. Please do the right thing and keep religious and political activism out of our public library!

Sincerely,
Kayla

 

Kayla's Responses to the Most Common Questions Asked Her

 

1)      Are you a hate-filled, retarded *** with abused children? (*This is just one of the names those who disagreed called Kayla on social media). 

 

I am not retarded or any of the other profane words you were curious about. My kids are happy and well treated. I am not filled with hate for LGBTQ people.

 

2)       How can you possibly love a person AND declare their LGBTQ lifestyle a sin?

 

People are much more than their sexuality. They are not defined by who they have sex with or their genitalia. I struggle with being impatient and prideful. My husband loves me. He does not love my sins. I am more than my sins and so are LGBTQ people.

 3)       Is it hateful to call the LGBTQ lifestyle a sin?

 

It would be hateful to genuinely believe that a person is engaging in a behavior which separates them from the blessings of God and brings ill consequences and say nothing. You can scoff at this notion as absurd if you do not believe in God and His Word, but you must agree that the Christian is truly not trying to be hateful. They are doing what they feel is the most loving thing for that person. Still, we know we will be called hateful for this practice. We expect this. Christians have been persecuted for this very thing for millenia. And yet, Christ has asked us to speak truth. The Bible says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable…” (Leviticus 20:13).  As a follower of Christ, I follow the Bible. I hold it as divine truth. I must do this even if what it says offends others. If I do not, I am no follower of His. This brings me to my next point.

 4)      What does LGBTQ+ have to do with religion?

 

The LGBTQ lifestyle is a religious issue.  There is a definite case that could be made illustrating how the belief systems and practices of the LGBTQ community constitute a religion. However, this is certainly not an idea that is easy to prove to the public and was not the intent of my letter. My intent was to show that the LGBTQ lifestyle is a religious issue for Christians. The holy book for our religion directly instructs us on what we should believe about this practice. It is a religious issue for a large part of our community even if it is not a religious issue for all.

 

5)      How can you use statements from the American Library Association when the same organization directly promotes Pride celebrations in other sections of their literature?

 

That is an excellent point. The ALA does not even hold to their own beliefs about inclusion and equal representation of religious matters when the LGBTQ agenda is involved.

  6)      Why did you wait until the end of Pride month to write this letter?

 

I never set out to do this. I hadn’t been in the library in years and had not given this issue any real thought. On June 28 I needed somewhere to hang out while waiting between appointments in the downtown area. The library was the perfect choice. What I was met with upon entering spurred me to act. I could not in good conscience ignore what I saw and read. I knew I must not only let my voice be heard, but must inform fellow citizens as to what was going on in our public library.

 

7)      What is your end goal?


         It is three-fold:

 

a)       I want the library and any other publicly funded entity to realize that the taxpayers who support them do not wish for their money to be used to promote certain religious beliefs over others. We should not be forced to fund a celebration of a practice we disagree with on a religious basis. It has nothing to do with access to books on the shelves. It has everything to do with a deliberate attempt by our government to discredit the religion held by a substantial portion of the population they serve.

 

b)      I want to show Christians that they must not stay silent any longer. I want to show them that the prayers of the saints will outweigh the backlash of the opposition. I want to demonstrate courage in hopes that others will follow in my footsteps.

 

c)       I want to protect children in our community from having public officials feed them the lie that their identity is wrapped up in their sexuality and that a life of sin will lead to happiness and fulfillment. These issues are for parents to address, not public librarians, public school teachers or anyone else being paid a public salary.

 

8)      Can you fully explain the legal basis for your letter?

 

I am a simple mother. I do not claim to be a lawyer, nor do I have the skill to argue this in court. I am an educated citizen, however, and understand my rights under the establishment clause of the First Amendment. I also understand that municipalities and states are subject to the Constitution and spell this out in their own laws. If public schools are not legally allowed to lead prayers which favor one particular religion, public libraries should not be legally allowed to promote displays and programs which disfavor that same religion. Is my legal argument sound? Would it win in court if challenged? I do not know, but I still must stand up for what I believe is right.


 

Kayla's Letter to the Enid Newspaper


After being told by the newspaper that a second news story would run (Correction: The reporter who contacted Kayla only after the original story never promised a news story, that was an assumption, and our apologies to the newspaper.),  Kayla received word from the paper that no additional news story would occur. The reporter/editor asked that Kayla write an editorial letter (maximum 300 words). Kayla's July 4, 2021, letter to the Enid News and Eagle is below.

On the afternoon of June 28, I walked into the public library and was shocked at what I found. This is a small selection of the many books that were carefully chosen and displayed at children’s eye level near the entrance and in the teen’s section.             

“Maggie is fifteen and has spent basically every summer of her life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls…After a split second of innocent physical contact during a lice inspection, Maggie falls into gut-twisting love with Erin, an older, wiser, and, most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor.” [Honor Girl; Maggie Thrash] 

“Macho drag king, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies will move Nina both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be…” [Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens; Tanya Boteju] 

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.” [George; Alex Gino] 

Morgan (male): “…I’m trapped in this mixed-up body, in this wrong life…Maybe one day I’ll be ready to become the person I am inside. To become her…Six years of birthdays reveal Eric and Morgan’s destiny as they come together, drift apart, fall in love…” [Birthday; Meredith Russo] 

All the books on display were pro-LGBTQ in nature. It was not neutral or balanced; it was directly promoting one belief system over another. Many in our community do not wish to be forced to pay for the promotion and celebration of beliefs and practices which our own religion tells us to abhor. My original letter as well as answers to my most common questions can be found at www.wadeburleson.org. If I am to be hated, let it be based on the truth and entirety of what I have written. 

Kayla Nichols

I am appreciative of people like Kayla Nichols. Her desires are clear. She has no interest in controlling how you think, what you teach your kids, or how you live your life. 

This mother is simply saying, "Hands off when it comes to indoctrinating my children. That's my job."

21 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

If Enid selects a ‘Citizen of the Year’, Kayla Nichols would have the honor.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Yes. I agree. Interestingly, there are many others just like Kayla in Enid.

It's a great place to live.

Happy 4th, Rex, to you and your lovely bride!

Christiane said...

When people are 'convicted' spiritually that they have sinned, that I can understand as the work of the Holy Spirit acting on their consciences.

I also think 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do' has great meaning that we have not fully understood.

The culture wars are in full swing, but that is another story set apart from the changing of hearts and minds. Sadly, the evangelical ethos, so precious to the Church's witness, has become entangled with the much more controversial culture wars in ways that have made communication and dialogue difficult for 'kingdom work' and SOMEHOW this has further divided people into opposing 'tribes'. . .

I don't know the way forward to something more healing other than the way of humility before the Lord, and using the 'fruit' of the Holy Spirit in pointing people to Christ which is recommended by St. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians, chapter 5, this:
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

I don't know how this might help in the situation in Enid, but it's never too late when people are entering into the timelessness of the work of the kingdom of God. Thing is, when the work of the kingdom proceeds, the outcome is always something far more beneficial to all concerned. Why? Because use of the 'fruit of the Holy Spirit' acts in ways that can overcome our human failings of pride and hubris, and this allows a calmness and peace which makes it possible for the Holy Spirit to enter where before was only upset and confrontation.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

My niece, Karen Deupree texted:

Can you believe people shot all those fireworks in honor of yawls anniversary?


:)

Wade Burleson said...

Happy anniversary Rex!

Christiane, I agree. We all need more love!

Blessings!

Celeste said...

Jesus warned (Matthew 7:15), “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” I would argue that for years, Christians have rolled over — “what adults do in the privacy of their own homes…… it is wrong but it doesn’t impact me.”

Paul warns in Acts 20 28-30 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

I ask, how is this LGBTQ movement different than a false prophet, a wolf in sheep’s clothing? We are repeatedly told that if we criticize, we are hateful. Through the movement of gay pride, is there not a normalization of what most used to consider not appropriate and against the teachings of God? What is the purpose of sex? In the wild kingdom sex is for procreation. In humans, it is for that, but also for a profound connection with another human being. I am lacking words — but the perverted form of sex is often about power, control and degradation (pornography, masochism, rape, etc.) Sex without love is lust. I am not suggesting that a gay couple can not have true love, but the militant, political LGBTQ movement does not seem to be about that.

When we have gay pride month and move a celebration of LGBTQ into the library and into shelves of the children and youth section, it normalizes that lifestyle. It injects that into our children. Like I wrote the other day, we live in a society that labels “Baby It’s Cold Outside” a celebration of rape culture but celebrates WAP and allows children to hear and sing that story of women selling sex for power.

I have read several descriptions of the new educators injecting sex into very early education -- at a time when most would not consider it appropriate. It is also an introduction to the spectrum of sex. A health educator in NY taught a group of 6 year olds about masturbation and juniors about different forms of porn. In a setting that is not education, people would have called the authorities for promoting porn or for sexual abuse of a child, but because it occurred in a school, because we have saturated our culture with sex good, bad, odd, queer it is allowed. Is this not the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Does a parent not have the duty to protect their children from this?

I listened to a chilling podcast today -- describing how this early awareness of sex is actually helping pedophiles. We used to teach children not to let anyone to "touch down there" but now children are being taught that is OK at an early age, and the wrong adult can then twist that to groom a child for their own perverse needs. The COVID lockdowns became easy pickings for the pedophiles..... unintended consequences. We need more love but also should always be on guard for the wolves - being on guard is our duty.

Christiane said...

When I taught in the public schools, we had programs for parents to advise them of predator activity on-line, signs of bullying, and other warning signs that signaled a heightened need for the parents' supervision and attention.

This was a decade ago before I retired. I understand that now things have got much worse for parents and for children, so I can appreciate the anxiety expressed by any mother who would keep their children safe from predators and people of ill-will.

There were 'reasons' two-thousand years ago for this prayer:
"libera nos a malo" (deliver us from evil)
and there are reasons today for that same prayer.

But what is noticed today is the extent to which predators will go to infiltrate churches and school settings so as to have access to the children. Sometimes the places you think you can trust and among the most dangerous of all. Sadly, we also know that trusted members of families can also prey on young children in some situations, and this seems the most difficult area of all for parents to navigate. It helps if parents can volunteer to serve in their childrens' schools. It helps to meet the teachers early-on and establish a rapport with them so the teachers will be comfortable letting you know any signs of concern or changes in your child's behavior that indicate a possible problem. It helps to get educated on how best to supervise your child's on-line presence.
There is no respite from vigilance, but all too often, some 'have hold of the wrong horror' and overlook the real nightmares that come for their children in the daytime.

Bene said...

Wonder what the response of the Library Board will be.

Does the Enid Library have Christmas/Easter displays? Ramadan? Diwali? Vesik?

Does the library celebrate the American Humane Society? American history? Oklahoma history? Earth sciences, cultural festivals etc?

Do LGBTQ residents in Enid pay taxes that support the library?

I am sorry that Kayla was attacked online.
The history of Pride is about social/cultural/economic oppression and violence. It was about decriminalization, removal from the DSM manual, the sum of a human being being more than sexuality, human and legal rights.

Kayla didn't say whether her children saw the display. If they did and were curious, this could be a profound age appropriate teachable moment. Stonewall. Christopher Street. LGBTQ who have made significant contributions to the world. Why she believes what she does.

LGBTQ lifestyle is a derogatory term used for vilification. It stems from the belief there is no diversity in the way LGBTQ people live their lives and that they must be cured from their orientation.

Saying LGBTQ 'lifestyle' is a religion is incorrect.
The following criteria define a religion:

a) belief in a supernatural deity or deities
b) sacred spaces, places, times, objects
c( ritual acts
d) moral code
e) communication with deity or deities ie: prayer
f) social group bonding with above
g) religious feelings

It will be interesting to see how the Library Board responds to Kayla's fears and concerns.




Wade Burleson said...

Bene,

Secular humanism is a religion. The individual is god.

a) belief in a supernatural deity or deities - "I believe in me."
b) sacred spaces, places, times, objects - "I will do as I please where I please."
c( ritual acts - "I will demand obeisance and acquiescence from all to what I think."
d) moral code - "Whatever I please."
e) communication with deity or deities ie: prayer - "I talk to myself all the time."
f) social group bonding with above - "Only people that think like me deserve me."
g) religious feelings - "I get chills every time I do what gives me pleasure."

:)

Scott Shaver said...

Christianity transcends "religion" when genuine. Meanwhile, LBGTQ is still grappling with both "religion" and the natural order.

Scott Shaver said...

Man by nature is a religious creature, even to the point of dancing around tree stumps and tossing human heads from Toltec altars.

Bene said...

Hi Wade:

Thanks. Fair enough.
I would posit secular humanism is naturalistic and rejects transcendentalism, but I'd like to stay focused on Kayla and let you be the religious expert.

My key disagreement with Kayla is with the term 'LGBTQ lifestyle'.

I tried to be kind - it is a slur with origins in conservative and religious right circles. It is meant to be derogatory, to divide, to emphasize 'the other', and is a willful and judgmental reinforcement of stereotypes.

It's like saying all Southern Baptists are like Paige Patterson and aspire to his lifestyle.:^)

It would be foolish to assume all gays and lesbians are secular humanists.
It would be foolish to assume there are no Christian gays and lesbians.

Christiane said...

Hello Bene,

you wrote: "I tried to be kind - it is a slur with origins in conservative and religious right circles. It is meant to be derogatory, to divide, to emphasize 'the other', and is a willful and judgmental reinforcement of stereotypes."


It is my understanding also that the term is derogatory but people who are informed only in certain 'bubbles' may not realize that and might use the term without that intent. We cannot know this unless there is some kind of dialogue that helps clarify terms and you at least seem to have wanted to reach out and attempt some kind of respectful dialogue.

I have learnt that terminology among various 'tribal' groupings requires some clarification for sure. Chances are that those who do not intend to be openly derogatory are unaware that they are using such a term if they have no established rapport or relationship with the 'other' community. The 'exclusiveness' and 'isolation' and lack of understanding has compounded misunderstanding greatly.

I give you credit for trying and for honesty. Just some thoughts based on my own experiences with people from different viewpoints. Best wishes.

Bene said...

Thank you Christiane:

I look forward to your comments, you are emotionally, socially and culturally balanced and wise. You love for God shines in your communication.

As you said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Go under the mercy.






Rex Ray said...

Bene,

Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)

Stephen said: “Lord don’t charge them with this sin.” (Acts 7:60 NLT)
Paul said: “May it not be counted against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16 NLT)

Bene, would you agree?

With Jesus, what was done was done in ignorance.
With Stephen and Paul, what was done was not done in ignorance.

Scott Shaver said...

LBGTQ is an acrostic. It identifies both sexual preference and lifestyle. It's not an offense when folks who practice tbe lifestyle use the terminology, consequently I could care less if they find it offensive when others do the same.

Rex Ray said...

Scott Shaver,

Since you have a pretty good opinion, would you mind answering the question I asked Bene?

Scott Shaver said...

Rex: please restate your question. Thanks.

Bene said...

Here Rex:

Kayla wasn't shouted down, she was able to present her concerns as were others and the Enid Library Board will review it's display policy.

https://www.enidnews.com/news/library-board-meeting-first-since-pandemic-veers-to-debate-of-lgbtq-book-display/article_c3bd92fe-e038-11eb-94d2-87acb53982d8.html

Rex Ray said...

7-11-21
Scott and Bene,

I guess I should start over.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34 NLT)

I’d asked Bene: Would you agree with Jesus, what was done was done in ignorance?

Stephen said: “Lord don’t charge them with this sin.” (Acts 7:60 NLT)
Paul said: “May it not be counted against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16 NLT)

I asked Bene: Would you agree what was done to Stephen and Paul, was not done in ignorance?

Bene said...

Rex:

Both willful and ignorant as per Isaiah 53:12.