Expand outside personal views

Published 5:34 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

I serve as Associate Priest at Christ Episcopal Church in Austin. I attended the Library Board meeting last week and rose to speak in support of the Story Hour proposal that the Library has planned.

I confess I am a bit disturbed by how that event was covered by our local newspaper. I could not help but notice that a large part of the article was given over to those opposing the Story Hour but very little room was given to those who articulated support, including myself. A full paragraph was given to quoting a woman who repeatedly called the gay community “perverts” and “perversion” and intimated that there was probably some kind of collective conspiracy to ‘recruit’ children. These comments are entirely controverted by all known facts and statistics. She concluded by asserting that “everyone here knows it”; a type of argument utilized by children when trying to defend an indefensible decision!

Only one person who spoke for the proposal was highlighted in the article. There were two speakers before her – one was a young woman who cited actual statistics that demonstrated that, statistically, children are safer with a storytelling drag queen than being in church on Sunday morning (no drag queens have been convicted of pedophilia in recent months, but 13% of those convicted are clergy of one denomination or another). I then spoke and highlighted the fact that gay persons are also tax payers like everyone else and the library is a public institution. I then addressed the issue of quoting Old Testament scripture out of context. After I spoke, a woman got up to mention an intimidating letter from an opponent of the proposal that had been circulating. None of the above remarks made it into the article nor was any indication given that others stood up in favor other than the one person who got a brief mention.

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Perhaps inadvertently, the paper seems to be giving oxygen to those who are opposed to this type of free expression (the story hour). I would like to encourage this paper and all citizens to venture outside of their own personal ‘echo chambers’ and start respectfully listening to and representing both sides equally. I will note that the entire proceedings at the Library Board were conducted with good manners and dignity. Three cheers to all concerned!

Rev. George M. Favell, 

Associate Priest, 

Christ Episcopal Church, Austin MN