When a Moral Victory is also a Defeat: The Cancellation of a Library’s “Drag 101” Event.

This week we have found ourselves in a situation where while there might have been a victory for good morals in society, it was absolutely not a victory for those who are in the moral right.

On June 5, 2019, the Deleware County District Library was planning on holding an event they titled “Drag 101” featuring a performer that goes by the name Selena T. West who was named “Miss Gay Ohio America” in 2012. The even was described as “Curious about the art of drag and no idea where to start? Come learn the basics with former Miss Gay Ohio America and local queen, Selena T. West!” It said that during the even they would “learn about the application of makeup and creating characters, as well as the history of drag.” It concluded with its target audience stating “All genders welcome! Teens only, please.”

We say they were planning, however, because the event has been cancelled. According to local radio station WOSU, the system received “hundreds of phone calls and emails” about the event, both of the positive and negative variety. Some of them were well-reasoned objections like one from Melissa Ackison, a candidate for US Senate, who stated, “My first concern was, ‘Are there background checks for this program, and how are they vetting candidates who come in for something like this?”

The Library responded by saying that they believed that the event was more closely related to theater than anything controversial. They also stated that teenagers had been actively requesting this type of event.

So why was it cancelled? According to the library, a small number of the emails and phone calls were seen a veiled threats and when staff met with the Delaware City Police Department and Delaware County Sheriff’s Office they decided to cancel the event due to safety concerns. The Library has responded that it intend to “continue to serve as a safe space for the entire community – not just the majority or the minority. Please continue using the library to engage your curiosity, expand your opportunities, and improve your quality of life.”

Now, obviously we know that the Bible speaks against the lifestyle of homosexuality and of men dressing and acting as women. We see in Leviticus that “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garmant.” In addition, I Corinthians 11 explains that men and woman ought to be distinct when it says “Doth not nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him?”

Finally, we know that homosexuality is a sin as the Bible tell us not only that all sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is sinful, but also in Romans 1:26-27 we see “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not be done.”

So we can clearly see that this is the kind of activity that God would not condone and that the church should absolutely not support. That does not, however, mean that this is a victory for the side of virtue and good morals.

At the end of the day this event was not cancelled because of good morals or Godly conviction. It was not cancelled with repentance or with people turning their heart to God. It was cancelled because men and women felt the need to threaten acts of violence and hatred in response to the event. We must not allow this to be so.

The response of Christians to sin is to show love, to show mercy, to show grace, and to offer forgiveness. Never let us be the voice that responds with violence and anger and hatred. No, this was not a morally just event. Yes, it was absolutely a sinful event and a sign that our society is not in step with God. But all human societies are out of step with God, if we were in perfect step with God we’d be in Eden. Our job is not to police the world, our job is to be a light to the world.

So let us be a light church! Let us stand up for what is true and right and good and show God’s love, like the love He showed to the woman caught in adultery. Let our response be to cry out for repentance and whether that cry is heard and obeyed or not, let our offer be to go and sin no more.