State AG: ‘Our Libraries Are Not a Place for Satan to Sit’
“Porn disguised as education.” That’s how parents are describing the flood of graphic books dotting shelves across America’s libraries and schools. Thanks to wide-scale investigations in states like Florida, moms and dads are finally getting a full picture of the amount of filth available to their children. This is “an absolute battle between good and evil,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) told a group of pastors in Baton Rouge on Friday.
At the gathering, hosted by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the state’s top law enforcer agreed that the parents who are storming school board meetings have plenty to be upset about. “Evil and the devil doubled down,” Landry insisted, pointing to the incredible victory for life when the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last June. “Now that [the Left] can’t stain those children before they’re born … they’re working on them while they’re alive.”
Landry described how the internet has been swallowed whole by people trying to sexually exploit children or mainstream pornography to younger audiences. And as far as he’s concerned, these battles over radical sex ed and library books have a direct connection to the crimes his office sees daily. Normalizing sex is the first step, Landry believes. “…The way you exploit a child is, first, you have to convince that child in their innocence that what they’re doing is not wrong. And that’s desensitivity.”
Like a lot of public officials, he started hearing from more and more parents about the things they were finding in their libraries, especially over the last six months. “They were concerned,” and as those phone calls and emails started to pile up, Landry quietly decided to launch his own investigation. “I wanted to see what’s actually in our libraries. What they brought back to me,” he shook his head, “was disturbing.” The material was so raw and so graphic, “it’s hard for me to come to an explanation of it.”
Worst of all, Landry says, he felt powerless to do anything about it. His lawyers insisted that nothing about the books made them illegal. But after a lot of debate and internal discussion, his team came to the conclusion that the most powerful weapon they had were Louisianans. “We live in a great representative republic,” he insisted, “And I believe if you arm people and you educate them, they will absolutely do the right thing.”
Under Landry’s leadership, the Louisiana Department of Justice put together a task force and released a report, “Protecting Innocence,” which basically said, “‘This is what we found. This is what the law says today. This is how our libraries were created. And if you want to affect change in those libraries it is actually up to you.’ The power belongs to the people in this country. We’ve forgotten that.”
The First Amendment may protect a book’s right to be on those library shelves, Landry explained, but that doesn’t mean anyone should have “unfettered access to [it].” The report is his way of empowering legislators, parish council members, parents, or concerned citizens to ensure “that those books don’t fall into the hands of an innocent child.”
The state doesn’t call for banning the books or censoring voices. But just as kids aren’t allowed to go to R-rated movies or download certain apps, Landry said, states and local communities should be able to add “guardrails” for children. Libraries, especially, should have a “heightened expectation” of that. “They’re a place where we want kids to go and learn and explore.”
At the end of the day, the attorney general argued, “Our libraries are not a place for Satan to sit. Those libraries belong to you. They belong to the public. And so I absolutely encourage you to go to our website and download the report. Share it with people who are concerned. …I think the biggest mistake we make—and by we, I mean on the government side—is that we don’t do enough to tell citizens what their rights are and how they can affect government. But of course, those in power like to leave you in the dark, because that’s how they stay in power. And then we stay chained.”
“We have to be smart enough to understand the cunningness of evil and to be able to maneuver and continue to put ourselves in a position where we win again and again and again,” Landry concluded.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.