Spiritual leaders, local immigration attorney and social worker, to request time for community input, saying event targeting kids 3-5 does not represent local values
CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Over 20 Christian leaders who daily serve Chula Vista's diverse community will hold a news conference at 1:00 PM, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2019, on the steps of City Hall, Building A, to ask the Chula Vista City Council and Library to postpone a planned "Drag Queen Story Time" at a local library branch to allow more time for community input.
The story time, designed for children ages 3-5 and scheduled for Sept. 10 at the Otay Ranch branch of the Chula Vista Public Library, is inappropriate for children and incompatible with community standards, say the clergy, who are working in conjunction with an ethnically diverse statewide network of pastors known as Church United.
"As a father of four young children, serving our community as a pastor, and an active resident of Chula Vista for over 30 years, I cannot support a public taxpayer funded event like Drag Queen Story Hour," said Pastor Amado Huizar, executive pastor of South Bay Pentecostal Church.
"Drag Queen Story Hour is not appropriate for the children of our community and should not be in our public libraries. I value the diverse make up of our great city. However, using drag queens, who are adult entertainers, to target Chula Vista's children is unacceptable. Their acts belong in private clubs and venues, not public areas frequented by children," said Huizar.
Huizar will be joined at the news conference by Bishop Art Hodges, superintendent of the United Pentecostal Churches and senior pastor to South Bay Pentecostal Church, which is two blocks away from the main public library. Hodges represents more than 1,000 people in five distinct Chula Vista congregations as well as 25 churches in the San Diego's South Bay and more than 120 churches across Southern California, representing tens of thousands of constituents.
They'll be joined by their colleague, Filipino Pastor Ariel Mangulabnan. Other speakers at the news conference will be Dr. Dev Lloyd, Ph.D., school Principal of South Bay Christian Academy K-12, attorney Esther Valdes, South Bay pastors Andy Ballon of Grace Tabernacle San Diego, and Pastor Daniel Osegueda of Church United in San Diego County.
Also speaking will be Alexandra Motz, MSW, a trained Child Protective Services social worker and lifelong Chula Vista resident. Motz will offer her expertise from a clinical perspective. "I am aghast that city officials and many adults find age-inappropriate interaction of minors with adult entertainers as acceptable," said Motz, who uses the Otay Ranch Library with her children. "For a publicly funded institution to present inappropriate life choices to minors-who are not developmentally ready to receive this type of information-can be detrimental to their health and to their psychological development; it blurs a child's natural instinct to protect themselves from would-be predators who can use similar techniques to groom them for sexual exploitation," she said.
Specific concerns of the pastors include:
- Inappropriate content: Introducing children as young as three years old to drag queens unnecessarily sexualizes conversations with them and exposes them to inappropriate behavior. Topics dealing with sexuality are best left to parents.
- Community values: Adult-themed entertainment that focuses on sexuality or sexual behaviors does not espouse the values of the thousands of religious community members served by the library system.
- Funding implications: Promoting such behavior in a public venue, with taxpayer money, is equivalent to condoning the message.
- Unsuitable role models: Chula Vista has no shortage of exceptional role models who would serve as upstanding examples for our children without resorting to sexuality, such as first-responders, military personnel, teachers, professional athletes and medical professionals.