The owner of the small bookstore in Syracuse whose story went viral in January after he decided to shutter his business for a day to protest New York’s recently signed abortion law is leaving the Empire State and heading to Texas.
Jon Speed announced his decision to close The Book Scout on Facebook Thursday. In his post, the small business owner said he “will no longer support this tyranny,” referring to the state’s continued embrace of abortion.
During a phone interview Thursday with Faithwire, Speed said he is planning a going-out-of-business sale in September with the hopes of moving himself and his family to Texas in November, where he will serve as an elder at First Baptist Church of Briar in Azle, the same congregation that originally sent him to Syracuse to plant a sister church. He will also oversee the Texas church’s abortion clinic and evangelism ministries.
Speed told Faithwire earlier this year he closed his bookstore for one day to send a message to Democratic legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) after he signed into law a bill codifying access to late-term abortion in the state.
At the time, the bookstore owner said he opposes abortion because he is a Christian who “understand[s] that murder is wrong.” Since then, Speed has dedicated much — if not most — of his time to the pro-life movement and is no longer able to balance his advocacy, his business, and his family obligations.
“I had to start reevaluating my life,” Speed said, later adding he just hasn’t had the time to put into his bookstore because he’s been busy with advocacy work. “It’s a matter of priorities,” he noted.
Aware some might see his decision to go to Texas as him “giving up” on New York, Speed said he believes it would take a “miracle” for the state to change course on abortion.
Speed explained part of the reason he is moving to the Lone Star State is because it’s “kind of in danger of going purple.” After all, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) barely eked out a win last November over Democratic competitor Beto O’Rourke, who is now seeking his party’s nomination for president.
The conservative business owner also said he just hasn’t felt at home in Syracuse, remembering when Cuomo declared in 2014 that conservatives “have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
“I think maybe he may be right,” Speed said.
In order to overcome the issue of abortion, Speed explained, people must be willing to — as the founders said — lay down “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
“It’s a Gospel-centered idea,” he added.
While his brick-and-mortar bookstore is closing, Speed said he will continue to run The Book Scout as an online store. Beginning in September, all of his in-store books will cost $1 for hardcovers and $0.50 for paperbacks.