A Republican state representative’s wife has been taking books out of free library boxes and replacing them bibles and other Christian-themed writings, Newsweek reported.
Arkansas State Representative Stephen Meeks‘ wife, Jennifer Meeks, announced her campaign to switch out the book in a post to Facebook, saying she has been “swapping out books in little free libraries for awhile.”
“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 wrote.
Speaking to Newsweek, Rep. Meeks said his wife swaps out the books with non-religious books too, adding that there’s nothing wrong with what she’s doing.
“That’s what the purpose of these [free library boxes] are for,” he said.
As Newsweek points out, there are no rules on what books can be placed in the boxes, but the Little Free Library (LFL) is a non-profit that favors diversity in reading “representing BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other diverse voices to promote understanding, empathy, and inclusion,” and employs a “take a book, share a book” honor system.
In her Facebook post, Jennifer Meeks said that from what she’s seen, “a lot of these books and other things don’t align with our Christian values. Today I saw a bunch of Pride stuff in one.”
LFL Executive Director Greig Metzger told Newsweek that when a person “removes books from a Little Free Library that don’t match up with their personal beliefs, they silence critical voices that deserve to be heard.”
“Sadly, this kind of behavior overwhelmingly targets BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors,” he added.
But according to Rep. Meeks, his wife’s words are being taken out of context.
“Somebody on the left took that and interpreted it as my wife going all over central Arkansas, pulling Pride books out of these little libraries and replacing them with bibles and nothing is further from the truth,” he told Newsweek. “My wife would not do that. She would not advocate for that. She would be opposed to that.”
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