An Iowa man posted video on Facebook Friday as he tossed children’s and young adult library books with LGBTQ themes into a fire.
“You won’t be peddling this one anymore,” Paul Dorr said in the 30-minute video, as he tossed a picture book into the fire. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves and repent.”
Dorr said he burned the books in part as a response to the second-annual LGBTQ pride festival in Orange City, Iowa, over the weekend, the Sioux City Journal reports. Dorr is director of Rescue the Perishing, a pro-life and anti-gay group in northwest Iowa, according to the newspaper. Dorr also said he was upset about “classroom sex talk” — an apparent reference to sexual education in schools — as well as churches that embrace homosexuality.
Orange City’s library said it’s looking into potential legal action following the incident, the Des Moines Register reports.
Civil liberties advocates also responded with alarm.
“Frankly, I found it disgusting. We are disturbed to see this,” said Mark Stringer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, according to the Register. “Burning books from a public library is a clear attempt to shut down the open sharing and discussion of ideas. It’s one person, or maybe a group, deciding that they’re the gatekeeper of ideas for the rest of the public.”
Dorr tossed four Orange City Public Library books into the flames, according to the Sioux City Journal: “Two Boys Kissing,” “This Day in June,” “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” and “Families, Families, Families!”
For most of the video, Dorr explains his opposition to the sexual revolution, to homosexuality and to abortion. He’s sitting next a fire pit on a sunny day with a body of water behind him. At times, Dorr’s voice is barely audible over the wind.
But about 25 minutes into the video, Dorr starts to pull out the books he’s apparently checked out from the library, and explains why he thinks they’re inappropriate.
“It’s a parade of all kinds of lesbian people,” Dorr says as he holds up one children’s book. “It’s all very light and cheerful.”
Then he throws the book into the fire.
“You will not be checking that one out to kids,” Dorr says.
Another book — “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” — Dorr criticizes for its message on gender.
“This book is the one that’s often read by the drag queens across America,” Dorr says. “This copy will not be being read anywhere here in Orange City.”
After burning the book, Dorr pulls out an actual tangerine dress and burns that, video shows.
“With that, let us all repent,” he says. “Let us turn back to Christ.”
Those who put together Orange City’s pride events released a statement condemning the video.
“It is disappointing to see folks break the law in a community where we believe abiding by the law keeps everyone safe,” the organizers said, according to the Sioux City Journal. “We are thankful for the LGBTQ+ community here in NW Iowa for setting a positive example of building community in light of those who do violent, illegal things to prove a point.”
Some comments on the Facebook video were supportive of Dorr.
“Praise God for your witness, Paul Dorr! God bless you and your family! You are lights in the darkness,” one user wrote.
Others were less enthusiastic.
“I hope God holds you accountable for your judgement,” another user said.