A library has banned a church-run playgroup from meeting in their building after fellow-library goers reported that the children were singing about God.
According to the Daily Mail, Noah’s Art playgroup has been meeting at the library in the U.K. for the past eight years, and this is the first time they’ve been approached by the library staff negatively.
The Noah’s Ark playgroup meets weekly in Burgess Hill at the West Sussex town library, where they play, interact, and sing songs at the libraries ‘Rhyme Time.’
Some of the songs, that the library is upset over, includes pieces like: ‘Mr Noah Built An Ark’, which is sung to the tune of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm,’ and God Has Made A Rainbow’, sung to the tune of ‘I Can Sing a Rainbow’.
The decision to ban the playgroup was made by the West Sussex County council, who argued that they wanted all their Rhyme Time sessions to be the same.
According to the spokesperson of the West Sussex County Council, the Rhyme Time sessions are held at all of their libraries, which they want to stay in line with, content-wise.
“Rhyme time sessions are held every week in all West Sussex libraries and are open to everyone including families of any faith or no faith,” a council spokesperson said. “In Burgess Hill, a partnership was formed with a local faith group some years ago before rhyme time sessions were offered across all libraries.”
“We have been very grateful to this group for their support but following feedback from families, we have decided to bring these sessions in line with the other rhyme times in our libraries which are led by staff,” the spokesperson added.
“Families can continue to access faith-based activities in community venues and library staff are very happy to help anyone looking for details of where they can join these.”
A spokesperson for the King’s Church of Mid-Sussex said that they will “continue to do all that we can to serve them and our local community.”
“We are sad that our involvement in Baby Rhyme Time is coming to an end after eight years,” the church spokesperson stated. “It has been a well-loved, free group for people in the local area.”
Although the church said they respect the decision, and the library, many volunteers feel otherwise.
One volunteer, in particular, Charlie Burrell, was particularly horrified at the news.
Burrell, who has been attending the Noah’s Art playgroup with his wife and children for the past four years said that they were upset when they heard their playgroup was banned from the library.
We were told that we are “no longer allowed to perform at Rhyme Time as a couple of songs mention ‘God,” Burrell told the Daily Mail.
“I myself was horrified to hear this news as I have enjoyed their Rhyme Time sessions for years with my children and I know so many other parents have too,” he added. “How can an organization that brings people joy, especially to children, be discriminated against in this way?”
Burrell also pointed out that religions are commonly celebrated by schools and TV channels, which makes it hard for him to comprehend how the playgroup can be offensive.
“I cannot imagine how anyone could find this offensive. All religions and beliefs are rightly celebrated in schools and even on TV channels such as CBeebies. … In fact, isn’t that exactly what a library is for — education?”
The banning comes at a time where the United Kingdom is facing an all-time low population of Christians. Compared to 66 percent three decades ago, the population of Christians in the UK now is just at 38 percent.
Conversely, in the United States, libraries are hosting ‘drag queen storytime,’ where various drag queens lead the children in reading.
Last year, the Houston Public Library hosted and sponsored a “Drag Queen Storytime” event for children at the library.
As previously reported by Faithwire, in reaction to the story hour, a group of self-proclaimed “Christ-followers” filed a lawsuit against both the Houston Public Library and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The group claimed that the storytime infringed upon freedom of religion because of the sole fact that it was hosted by the city of Houston.
Ultimately, a federal judge in Texas rejected the lawsuit.