Fundamentalist Christian blogger Paul Dorr live-streamed himself burning a number of LGBTQ-themed library books in Orange City, Iowa, in October of 2018.
Dorr, a self-appointed advocate for his Northwestern Iowa community, burned the books in protest of the Orange City Library Board’s “foul, sexual reality,” which he believes is being forced upon younger generations. After condemning the library board during his Facebook Live event last year, he filmed himself burning four library books in a metal barrel.
On Tuesday, August 6, the Sioux County District Court found Dorr guilty of fifth-degree criminal mischief, according to Pink News. Dorr was charged with a $65 fine, the minimum fine for the crime he committed. With court costs, he is expected to pay $125 in total; the maximum fine for his case would have been $625.
Image Via NWestIowa.com
Dorr claims he burned the books in order to honor his God and to shield the children of his community from contamination by queer-friendly books. He argues that the court prosecuted him unfairly for his personal beliefs, according to the Des Moines Register.
In response to the verdict in Dorr’s case, the ACLU of Iowa released an official statement yesterday condemning Dorr for destroying library property — not for having unpopular beliefs:
Mr. Dorr has a right to his beliefs, and the First Amendment protects his right to express those beliefs. But the issue here is not this man’s beliefs, nor his speech—it is the destruction of library property.
Burning public library books is the destruction of ideas, and that’s reprehensible. The destruction of books from a public library is a clear attempt to shut down the open sharing and discussion of ideas. No one person or even group should decide that they are the gatekeepers of ideas for the rest of the public.
Further, we stand by the LGBTQ community in Orange City and the public library that serves them. We all have the right to be free from discrimination and bias on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at the library. The library was right to stock these important books, which reflect the LGBTQ population in Orange City.
Image Via Amazon
Dorr is the director of a religious group called Rescuing the Perishing. He burned the books during Orange City’s Pride Festival.
The four books Dorr burned were Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan, This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Balacchino, and Families, Families, Families, by Suzanne Lang.
Featured Image Via Pink News.