St. Luke reads in the wilderness, circa 1508.

St. Luke reads a nice heterosexual Gospel tract, circa 1508. Artist Lucas van Leyden.

Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty

A Gospel Tract Is A Nice Idea Too: Saving Little Free Libraries From "Bad" Books and Praise Jesus

Give it up for Zealot of the Week Jennifer 'Karen' Meeks, who took it upon her pious self to scurry around her Arkansas neighborhood's Little Free Libraries, remove "bad" books that "don't align with Christian values" - mostly, eww, "Pride stuff" - and put in "good" books, aka Bibles. Her GOP lawmaker husband says "leftists" are lying and his wife is just nobly replacing worn-out books with newer ones, which means he's already breaking 2 Commandments - stealing and lying - so God help him.

"I have been swapping out books in little free libraries for awhile," the enterprising Ms. Meeks - sorry, she probably prefers Mrs. - announced on Facebook, possibly ill-advisedly, earlier this month. "A lot of these books and other things don’t align with Christian values," she wrote. "Today, I saw a bunch of Pride stuff in one. There’s a group of leftists, especially in Conway, who are very active in keeping little libraries well stocked. I have seen good books, terrible books, toiletries, and needles (yes, needles)...Recently I have been picking up free Bibles at flea markets and thrift stores. Sometimes I find good devotion books or kids’ Bible stories at a good price to add. Or just great books, and a gospel tract is a nice idea too." She went on, "This is a (sic) opportunity for the silent majority to be salt and light in our communities." She's presumably referencing Matt. 5:13, in which, "Our Savior calls His disciples the 'salt of the earth' and the 'light of the world,'" two substances that transform food or darkness much as the church can transform society - especially if there are creepy sexy-time books lurking around in your blasphemous neighborhood.

Little Free Libraries is a non-profit promoting neighborhood book exchanges and literacy under a "take a book, share a book" honor system where people can freely borrow and donate books. They encourage "stewards" to curate boxes "in a way that best serves their community" with books that "enlighten readers, nurture empathy, and open (up) diverse perspectives." Under that rubric, censorship is taboo: "When an individual removes books (that) don't match up with their personal beliefs, they silence critical voices that deserve to be heard" - often LGBTQ and people of color. Ditto, said Meeks' "group of leftists" keeping libraries stocked - the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice - who happily chimed in, "Thank you Mrs. Meeks, that would be us!" They said they continue to offer "life-saving" books, food, toiletries, reproductive health care and naloxone for queer kids not out to their parents, teens who need Plan B for an unwanted pregnancy, the "good neighbor preventing an overdose." "Keep removing them, Jennifer," they wrote. "But we will never stop coming right back (to show) love and decency will always win." They also added that the Meeks' "voting records and actions speak for themselves."

That would be Stephen voting for a bill criminalizing librarians for distributing material deemed "obscene"; trying (unsuccessfully) to remove "explicit materials" from libraries and cut their funds; voting for an anti-trans "bathroom bill," an abortion ban, a heartbeat bill, to allow guns at universities and churches, to have Bible instruction in public schools etc. After local outrage, his wife's proud post about deciding what books other people should/shouldn't read was deleted - hubris remorse? - but anyway Meeks said it was "a complete lie" by a "leftist" group she was "removing books that she disagrees with..My wife would not do that," even though she herself wrote she'd "taken out a bad one and left a good one in its place." Also, the post went public because someone "betrayed her" hoping to get "political dirt" on him; his wife is "adding Christian-related books as well as history, science and other books," sometimes removing "a worn-out history book" to replace it with a nicer one; as Christians "we too should be stocking Bibles, devotionals, things like that" to "give people more choice," and "I think everybody would agree having more choice is a good thing," except when it comes to, you know, your own body or health care or voting or beliefs or... Also, his wife "did not want to discuss the matter." Cowards, liars, bigots all.

"Judge not, that you be not judged." - Matthew 7:1

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