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GOP gubernatorial candidate says Satan is sitting in libraries

GOP gubernatorial candidate says Satan is sitting in libraries
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Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) described efforts to ban what he has characterized as “sexually explicit” books from public libraries as “an absolute battle between good and evil.”

The Republican who is running for governor and has spearheaded efforts to ban books in the state spoke last Friday at a gathering of pastors hosted by Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBTQ+ Family Research Council, in Baton Rouge.

“Our libraries are not a place for Satan to sit,” Landry said, according to an email from Perkins about the event. “Those libraries belong to you.”

Landry asserted that while the First Amendment protects the availability of books on library shelves, those books should not be available to everyone. He also claimed that “evil and the devil doubled down,” following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, comparing aborting a fetus to letting a child see books he thinks are inappropriate.

“Now that [the Left] can’t stain those children before they’re born… they’re working on them while they’re alive.”

Earlier this month, Landry released a report that included a list of books that his office characterized as “sexually explicit” or inappropriate for children. The list included The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, The Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, and other books by LGBTQ+ authors and writers of color.

Landry has claimed that his efforts, including setting up a tip line for people to report books, are not about banning books or targeting specific groups. Instead, he claims he wants libraries to institute policies so that parents have more control over the books their children can access, according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.

“I welcome parents, guardians, librarians, lawmakers, local officials to read and view this report and decide for themselves and decide if the information it contains, if they believe this sexually explicit material is appropriate for all children,” Landry said at a press conference earlier this month announcing his “Protecting Innocence Report.” “Because what we have in this report is some of the findings of the materials that we found in public libraries in Louisiana.”

Louisiana state Sen. Heather Cloud (R), who joined Landry at the February 7 press conference, has introduced a bill that would require the state’s public libraries to institute a card system that allows parents to indicate what material their children can check out, and to consider “community standards for the population served by the library” when accepting a donation or buying materials. If passed, the law would essentially defund public libraries that do not implement these policies.

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