Natural Law and Protecting the Innocent: On Drag Queen Story Hour, Liberal Democracy, and Public Morality

Below is an excerpt from an article I co-wrote with Andrew Walker for Eikon.

Recently, there has been no small amount of fervor and controversy over the subject of Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) among religious conservatives in the United States. Indeed, the preceding months have seen this controversy develop into something of a firestorm over the future of the conservative movement. It has become an avatar through which conservatives are refracting many issues related to public engagement; among them, determining to what extent the state can privilege certain viewpoints to the exclusion of others. And, ironically, at the center of this controversy lies a moral debate altogether unlikely to divide religious and social conservatives: drag queens reading to children in public libraries. No one engaged in the so-called “French-Ahmari” debates insists that such gross demonstration of personal liberty is actually praiseworthy.

At this point, there is little need to revisit the genesis of the French-Ahmari debate. Nor is there a compelling reason to consider in detail the various points and counterpoints that have been made along the way by both sides. Summaries of each are readily available. Instead, it is desirable to focus solely on the root issue of the debate precisely because the question at the center of this conflagration remains unresolved.

Social conservatives in America are hardly divided over the virtue of grown men dressed in drag reading to children in public libraries. To say the least, our contempt for such an activity is universal. But despite our unity at this juncture, there is an enormous divide over a related question: is it appropriate for government to prohibit such activities in public spaces?

You can read the rest here.