We are approaching a new election year in which issues of ethics and morality abound. In our local community, resonating in the minds of some, are questions that arose last June with the drag queen story hour at the Lexington Park library.
In our American way of life, morality is deemed by many as linked to a “religious” perspective and thus must be separated from decisions touching on public policy.
Nevertheless, secular entities, such as library boards and many others, will never be “off the hook” in having to decide whether or not groups asking to use their space represent or seek to promulgate principles at odds with a community’s sense of morals. One can easily imagine extreme cases, where most people would agree that some group, even within the law, would raise such a level of controversy that they should be denied a public forum. Other instances are not so easy to decide.
With the separation of church and state, there is no higher appeal than that majority rule governs morality. Secular entities, such as the library board, should at least recognize, then, that whatever criteria and presuppositions they bring to decisions on the use of their space, they are exercising a role as arbiters of public morality. Churches do that, too, but tend to have millennia of experience and consistency behind them.