Roughly four years ago, amid controversies swirling over Drag Queen Story Hour at Anchorage’s Loussac Library, a group of Christians began holding their own regular events to teach children about God’s love.
While it’s been several years since drag queens last performed for toddlers at the library, the Good News Club continues to offer stories, songs and conversations based on the Bible.
Like the now discontinued drag queen story hours, the Bible club is an officially sponsored library event. According to the library’s policies, sponsorship “does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants, and program topics, speakers and resources are not excluded from programs because of possible controversy.”
The Good News Club began in 2019 after Anchorage residents voiced concern about the library’s decision to partner with drag queens for events that promoted cross dressing and so-called “gender fluidity” to young children.
Good News Club organizers wanted equal time to share their message. At first, they were required to rent out the facility, unlike the sponsored drag queen performances. Eventually, however, the library agreed to provide equal opportunity to the Bible club, and it has been officially recognized as a community partner for several years. As such, the club is allowed to schedule events, free of charge, while the library lists their gatherings on its public events page.
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Good News Club utilizes material from Child Evangelism Fellowship, an international organization that offers short programs designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children. The programs are provided in homes, public schools and community centers all over the world.
According to the Child Evangelism Fellowship website, Good News Clubs have met freely in public settings for some time. In 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Good News Clubs v. Milford Central School that Good News Clubs had the right to meet in public schools on the same terms as other community groups.
The next Good News Club gathering is on Wednesday, Feb 8, from noon to 12:30 p.m. in the Learning Commons area. The family-friendly club is free and open to the public with an emphasis on infants, toddlers and preschool age children.