The Wichita Falls, Texas, City Council has delayed a vote on a new policy governing controversial books at the public library after finding strong opposition from local citizens.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church last year demanded the removal of Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate when a parishioner checked them out of the library last year and brought them to his attention.
Jeffress confiscated the gay-themed books and refused to return them, later paying $54 in fines. The books were replaced by the library but moved from the children's section to the juvenile section. (Jeffress also pledged to take the issue before the council and promised to unseat council members who opposed removing the books -- a threat which brought criticism from Americans United. See "Churches, Politics and the IRS," September 1998 Church & State).
In December City Councilman Bill Altman, a member of Jeffress' church, proposed creating a new policy that would require the library to place any book intended for children under 12 on restricted access if 100 card-holders signed a petition requesting it. Only people age 13 and older could request books from the restricted...