(NEW YORK)—In response to calls this month for the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia to reconsider renting its facilities to the organization Moms For Liberty for a private event, PEN America issued the following statement:

PEN America supports the museum’s decision not to cancel their contractual agreement based on opposition to Moms For Liberty’s views. For an educational institution like the Museum to position itself as a venue open to  a wide range of ideologies and viewpoints is a defensible position, and one that contributes to a diverse and pluralistic society. 

Moms For Liberty play a central role in promoting efforts to ban books, to suppress ideas and information in schools, to erase LGBTQ+ identities from bookshelves and classrooms, and to distort the teaching of history. Reports of the organization encouraging harassment or firing of teachers and librarians are especially disturbing. Moms for Liberty has propagated falsehoods and stoked fear and bigotry to advance restrictions on the freedom to read and learn, including by mischaracterizing books as “pornographic literature,” and its members have been connected to incidents of harassment of parents, school board members, and educators.

But the antidote to those who seek to suppress open discourse cannot be to embrace their wrong-headed and pernicious tactics. Private institutions must have the leeway to adopt policies related to renting space that reflect their mission and values. While those who disagree with their decisions are free to protest, calls on an institution that styles itself as open to all viewpoints to void an agreement on the basis of ideology should be rejected for the sake of protecting the rights of expression and assembly of all.

We must confront head-on the attacks on public education, democracy, and equality that Moms For Liberty has spearheaded. But we must do so without resort to suppressive tactics.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit PEN.org

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057