To: LPL Board of Control; Lafayette City-Parish Council; Lafayette City-Parish Mayor/President
By promoting and hosting the Drag Queen Story Time (DQST), the Lafayette Public Library (LPL) stands in opposition to its own established policies regarding advocacy and promotions. According to the LPL’s Bulletin Boards, Exhibits, and Displays Policy, the LPL has established the following guidelines:
Exhibits and Displays
8. […] materials that advocate the beliefs, views, or doctrines of any denomination, sect, or group over that of another will not be displayed.
7. Space for religious proselytizing or religious announcements and personal notices or communications will not be provided.
If these are the guidelines that the taxpaying patrons who fund the library must follow, shouldn’t the library follow the same guidelines for its promotions and activities? Yes, the LPL should operate under the same guidelines as it requires its patrons, by whom and for whom it exists.
Let’s examine the guidelines presented above.
Regarding #8 above: Taxpaying patrons are not allowed to post materials in the library that “advocate the beliefs, views, or doctrines of any denomination, sect, or group over that of another.
Regarding #7 above: “Space for religious proselytizing […] will not be provided. ”Proselytizing, according to Merriam-Webster.com, means to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause. If religious proselytizing is not allowed, no proselytizing should be allowed.
By hosting and advertising a DQST, the LPL is advocating controversial views and beliefs over that of another, in direct violation of its own guidelines. Furthermore, the LPL has chosen to use taxpayer dollars to promote a personal bias to inject sexualization into a program for preschoolers.
Why isn’t Delta Lambda Phi hosting their own story time at their fraternity house or some other private venue? Why isn’t the DQST a private event, excluded from LPL promotional resources, with Delta Lambda Phi utilizing a LPL private meeting room, as is fitting under LPL guidelines, to hold what Teresa Elberson admits to be a “controversial” story time? I found my answer when watching Mrs. Elberson’s interviews.
In an interview on KATC TV 3, Teresa Elberson explains why the LPL is hosting and promoting the DQST: “My family had to go through this over the past two years. I’ve had to change my way of thinking.”
It is evident by Mrs. Elberson’s words in her interviews and the actions she has taken as the Director of the LPL that she wants everyone to “change” their “way of thinking” to adjust to her new way of thinking. And, to accomplish this, she’s decided the LPL should host a DQST. That’s called proselytizing, folks… at the taxpayer funded LPL, of which patrons are forbidden to proselytize.
I have to ask: How was it decided that Teresa Elberson is the authority on deciding the proper “way to think” on this issue? What credentials does she possess to be granted that authority? Outside of her personal experience, how much scientific research has she conducted to validate her opinion?
My family, too, has shed many tears over this subject. Despite our painful experiences, and unlike Mrs. Elberson, however, we have not changed our way of thinking. You see, my family has members who have chosen to live an alternative lifestyle and some that have chosen to leave that same alternative lifestyle which they once embraced. I wonder how Mrs. Elberson would advise my family regarding the latter case. If my family had changed its way of thinking when family members chose to live an alternative lifestyle, as Mrs. Elberson has suggested is needed, what should we do with our way of thinking now that a member has chosen to leave that alternative lifestyle? Ah, have we opened Pandora’s Box? It appears the LPL, in fact, has.
In an act of transparency since the DQST is still on the LPL’s calendar, the LPL should change the verbiage in its policies to the following: “the LPL will not allow exhibits or displays that advocate the beliefs, views, or doctrines of any denomination, sect, or group over that of another, nor will it provide space for […] proselytizing….unless it’s Mrs. Elberson’s cause.”.
Teresa Elberson’s own words and actions reveal that she has used her position of authority to push an agenda that is personal to her. In so doing, Teresa Elberson, as Director of the LPL, has violated the rules set forth by the LPL. Therefore, the Board of Control, the City-Parish Council, and the City-Parish Mayor/President should take immediate action by canceling the DQST so as not to violate LPL guidelines AND should immediately implement an effective mechanism to ensure this abuse of authority cannot happen again.
Lafayette Parish Citizen Subject to LPL Rules
As of this writing, the Lafayette City/Parish council has taken no position on the very divisive issue that was created by the board they appointed. If you have not yet participated in our online petition asking for them to weigh in, be sure to do so now.