An Alabama library is being accused of religious discrimination for abruptly canceling a book reading event featuring Christian actor and author Kirk Cameron.
Officials with the Huntsville-Madison County Library announced Thursday that the event featuring Cameron and another Brave Books author, Riley Gaines, and organized by Moms For Liberty was initially set to take place on Aug. 5 in a meeting room at the library.
But after officials say the “See You at the Library” event’s organizers reported 20 people would be at the reading, the library “learned that event organizers are now expecting over 300 people, a number that far exceeds any meeting room capacity within the Huntsville-Madison County Library System,” according to spokesperson Jay Hixon.
According to Hixon, the library consulted with Madison City police, fire and other officials and “explored options to make the event logistically possible.”
In a statement, the city of Madison said organizers with Moms for Liberty “failed to apply for an event permit in advance, and it was determined that City resources cannot support an event of this size on such short notice.”
Consequently, the library said they “will be unable to host the event,” and on Wednesday, officials notified both Moms for Liberty and Brave Books that the “venue is no longer available.”
The following day, attorneys with First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty legal organization, sent a letter to Cindy Hewitt, executive director for Huntsville-Madison County Libraries, urging her to reverse the decision.
The letter signed by First Liberty senior counsel Jeremy Dys alleged Hewitt canceled the event over “security concerns” linked to a “potential protest.”
“We write to inform you that, should you persist in the cancellation of this event, you will have engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional religious viewpoint and content discrimination in violation of the Alabama Constitution and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” wrote Dys.
Further arguing that it “strains credulity to cancel an event that may be over capacity when library staff could simply operate on a first-come, first-serve basis,” the letter said Hewitt “censored our client.”
It’s unclear whether the city met First Liberty’s deadline of reversing their decision by noon Friday. A request for clarification from The Christian Post was not immediately returned as of Friday afternoon.
Cameron and Brave Books, his publishing company, have been hosting story hour events at various libraries throughout the country, inviting people to attend and hear the actor read his children’s book, As You Grow. The Christian-themed book teaches children about the biblical concept of the fruits of the Spirit.
And while he’s seen some pushback from a few libraries and their personnel — including the Indianapolis Public Library, which has denied allegations that it discriminated against Cameron by denying his request to host a story hour — the former “Left Behind” and “Growing Pains” actor became emotional at another event in New Jersey in May.
Hosting his tenth story hour event at the Cherry Hill Library, Cameron cried “tears of gratitude and hope” as parents and children who were waiting in line for the event began to sing songs of worship and praise.
“When the overflow group of families … started their own worship service — think beautiful voices of children and strong declarations from moms and dads, hands raised, singing sacred songs of thankfulness and praises to God — filling the lobby, the staircase and expanding into the upper room [of the two-story library], I got emotional and began to cry,” Cameron told Fox News.
In December 2022, Cameron revealed that over 50 public libraries declined to run a story hour program for the actor to read his book despite having hosted controversial drag queen story hour events.
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