Employees of El Paso County’s Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) raised concerns during last week’s board meeting about Timothy Allen, the newly hired senior director of human resources, and social media posts about LGBTQ people and his connections to conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“Our biggest issue right now is that a senior human resources director position has been filled,” said Jacob Ward, a library assistant and the president of Pikes Peak Library Workers United, the newly formed union. “The problem is that this employee is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] designated hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. A library worker was assaulted in the past due to being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The Club Q shootings shook our entire community, especially LGBTQ+ folk. This HR director stated on April 11th, 2023, quote, ‘Christians generally speculate that as the nation has surrendered more and more to the agenda of the alphabet Mafia, that is the cause of growing depression, criminality, suicides, murders, hate and violence of all types.’ This is dangerous and hateful, calling the LGBTQ+ community the ‘alphabet mafia’ and blaming us for the harm in the world. How could a director like this be trusted with issues that work with regards to identity and other protected classes?”

In addition to Allen’s social media posts, Ward raised concerns about Allen’s ties to the ADF. “This person has strong ties with the ADF and Blackstone Legal Fellowship, which have advocated for the criminalization of homosexual acts in both Texas and abroad, such as in Belize in India. We find an internal threat of someone in such a high position of trust to be dangerous to many of our workers, workers are frightened of this person and the power they hold, being in such a high position of trust. We fear we will be discriminated against and pushed out due to our identities. We fear that the director will harass workers or patrons under the new Colorado definition of harassment, or create policies that open up the library to the district to liability.”

According to the ADF, “Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a leadership training program that brings together exceptional Christian law students and prepares them for careers marked by integrity, excellence, and leadership. In 2011, when Allen graduated from the program, ADF still openly promoted its goal of achieving a Christian theocracy, describing Blackstone thusly: “Alliance Defending Freedom seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.” ADF deleted that line from its website following news coverage of it in 2014.

Since 2000, Alliance Defending Freedom has trained more than 2,600 law students from more than 230 law schools in 30 different countries. Among Blackstone’s faculty are U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“The ADF is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society,” notes the SPLC. “ADF also works to develop ‘religious liberty’ legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion.”

The ADF has been involved in litigation here in Colorado, representing plaintiffs in the Masterpiece Cakeshop and 303 Creative cases, which challenged Colorado’s anti-discrimination statutes. The ADF is also representing Darren Patterson Christian Academy (DPCA), a private Christian school in Buena Vista, in their lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Early Childhood and Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program over the state’s nondiscrimination requirements, particularly in regards to LGBTQ individuals, to receive universal pre-k funds are a form of religious discrimination. Nationally, the ADF is the group behind the overturn of Roe and which is currently representing the plaintiffs suing the FDA in an effort to restrict access to medication abortions.

Prior to his work with PPLD, Allen also worked for Focus on the Family, the evangelical organization that supported a 1992 amendment to the Colorado constitution which stopped local nondiscrimination laws that protected LGBTQ people. While at Focus, Allen authored a pamphlet titled “Digital Pornography Addiction,” which argues that “an epidemic of pornography addiction is affecting teenagers and preteens all over the world.”

Allen is also the author of the self-published novel Walking with Angels: Volume I: Aural’s Gift, a “modern-day Job story” about a teenage girl with “the gift of being able to see into the spirit world.”

Allen declined CTR’s request for an interview following last week’s board meeting. PPLD also declined an emailed request for comment.

Like public schools in Colorado, libraries have become increasingly politicized, with battles waged over LGBTQ content in books and events featuring drag queens. PPLD has been no exception.

In Feb. 2022, PPLD’s head librarian John Spears resigned after the Colorado Springs City Council appointed two conservative members to the library board, bypassing reappointment of the long-serving member Wayne Vanderschuere. The council voted to appoint Aaron Salt, a conservative member of the Academy School District 20 board, who expressed a desire to remove “objectionable” materials in libraries accessible by juveniles, and Erin Bents, also a conservative.

“The process surrounding how these appointments occurred was extremely contentious and pointed to the changes that are happening in our community such as the recent school board elections,” Spears told the Colorado Springs Independent. “It is my hope that the values that define a library such as freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech will continue to be honored. I look forward to moving to a community where they are not under threat.”

In Dec. 2022, Julie Smyth, the curriculum developer and editorial specialist for Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, was appointed to PPLD’s board. According to Baptist News Global, “Summit, which calls itself ‘America’s leading organization equipping young adults,’ emerged from the Red Scare of the 1950s and has hosted summer sessions for 45,000 teens since 1962. Founded by anti-Communist evangelist Billy James Hargis and David Noebel, who wrote books including Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles, Summit was designed to be an ‘anti-communist youth university’ that opposed the ‘liberal establishment.’ Past instructors include John Birch Society founder Robert Welch.”