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In-Depth: Burning books in Tennessee, Texas pushes to keep certain books off shelves

Tennessee Pastor Greg Locke had a church set fire books like Harry Potter and Twilight.
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Greg Abbott
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Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 23:17:59-05

In November Greg Abbott told state agencies to develop standards to block books with "overtly sexual" content in schools.

Two books removed by schools recently were based on LGBTQ characters. One of the books includes a graphic illustration and the other includes depictions of sex.

The political fight started when Keller Independent School District“Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe.

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, from Fort Worth, who chairs the Texas House’s General Investigating Committee, made a 16-page list of roughly 850 book titles he said might make students feel “discomfort.”

Greg Abbott
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 8, 2021, file photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference where he signed two energy-related bills, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Context: Fears over Texas schools teaching critical race theory and other issues related to race and sexuality lead to the book bans.

The debates on books are not just in Texas but across the U.S. Parents and librarians have been fighting back in protest.

Religion and Books

A conservative backlash started in the early 2000s after a Harry Potter book series, which some Christians believe shows a satanic depiction of witchcraft. That fueled a surge of book banning attempts in Texas, according to the ACLU data.

Wednesday a live stream from Pastor Greg Locke showed hands in the air along with the singing of modern worship music.

“We are well aware of what we are stepping into. Bring it all. Stop allowing demonic influences into your home,” pastor and pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Greg Locke wrote on the Facebook post that's been removed.

READ: Why can't we all just get along? Conspiracy theories, politics & COVID-19 misinformation dividing families

After a minute and a half, Pastor Greg Locke walks on stage at the Tennessee service.

"Give him a shout in the church," Locke screams, "Shout to the lord he is worthy of our praise."

On stage under a tent Locke starts to scream "The Devil doesn't win," and the audience yells.

Pastor Greg Locke is the Founding and Lead Pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee just outside of Nashville.

He's known for his support of former President Donald Trump, conservative views, and denial that COVID-19 was a true pandemic.

"I've got every witch and every mason hating this church," said Pastor Greg Locke.

He begins to scream that he's not messing with witchcraft or demons any longer. And what would normally be communion was replaced by burning books like Twilight and Harry Potter. The church invited those who attended to bring items to throw in a giant fire.

We've got it handled, they ain't put our fire out tonight

According to Locke, the local fire department already made a threat to put the fire out.

"The church has the right to burn cultive materials that they deem are a threat to their religious rights and freedoms."

He went on to say that Homeland Security was on the property and he didn't know why.

If they would get their lazy butts down to the border and participate they way their suppose to be and protect this nation and leave a church alone for trying to stand up and cast out devils and see people saved we might turn this nation around.

After a sermon the church went and started burning books, t-shirts, and some other items that were considered "demonic."

On Friday, the videos started to trend on social media.

History of Book Burning

A state-sponsored book burning in China 213 BC, is the first on record according to Matthew Fishburn, the author of Burning Books. The burning was put in place by Qin Shi Huang, the Chinese emperor who also started the Great Wall and the Terracotta army.

READ: Misinformation, Propaganda & Conspiracy Theories lead to tragic events in history

Book burning also brings back memories of Nazis in the days of the Holocaust.

On May 10, 1933, university students burn upwards of 25,000 “un-German” books in Berlin’s Opera Square. Some 40,000 people gather to hear Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address: “No to decadence and moral corruption!”

What's next?

Many groups are against the banning of books. Students go to school boards and express how they feel.

Some school librarians fed up with book bans are organizing and fighting back.

The American Library Association is providing legal guidance and support to libraries impacted by the "dramatic uptick" of attempts to remove books concerning LGBTQ issues and people of color.

All sides don't seem to be backing down.