While testifying in support of banning "obscene" books from public schools in Tennessee, country music star John Rich declared that public school teachers and librarians are as bad, if not worse, than pedophiles.
This past January, the McMinn County Board of Education voted to ban Maus,a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel which chronicles author Art Spiegelman's parents' experience surviving the Holocaust, from the eighth grade curriculum.
The board's decision to ban Maus was reportedly owing to concerns regarding "graphic language" and images of nudity.
In addition to making national headlines, the McMinn County Board's decision inspired Republican state representative Scott Cepicky to introduce a bill, HB1944 , to the Tennessee General Assembly.
The bill would prohibit public and charter schools in the state of Tennessee from having "obscene materials or materials harmful to minors" available in public school classrooms and libraries.
Speaking in support of the bill in Nashville this past Wednesday, Rich, half of the country duo Big & Rich, made a shocking declaration regarding public school teachers and librarians who were against the bill.
The Tennessee Holler shared a video of Rich's testimony on their Twitter page.
"What’s the difference between a teacher, educator or librarian putting one of these books like you have on the desk of a student, or a guy in a white van pulling up at the edge of school when school lets out and saying, ‘come on around kids, let me read you this book and show you these pictures?'"
"What’s the difference in those two scenarios?"
"There is a difference, by the way: They can run away from the guy in the white van."
The right-wing country singer had more to say on Twitter, claiming he went "toe to toe with adversaries", and that he and other supporters of this bill were "the firewall between tyranny and freedom."
Rich went on to say that The Tennessee Holler sharing his testimony in an attempt to embarrass him only lit an even bigger fire in his belly, while also daring them to testify.
While Rich's proclamation was met with a certain amount of support from his fanbase, many other Twitter users were less than convinced.
Several were quick to condemn Rich for his ignorant comparison, while also calling out the general hypocrisy of book-banning.
Others questioned if Rich was any kind of authority as to what could be defined as "obscene", considering one of his best known songs encourages women to "Save A Horse, (Ride a Cowboy)."
Owing to time constraints, a vote on the bill won't take place until next week.
Perhaps the most notable feature of HB1944 is that nowhere in the bill does it define what sort of material is considered to be "obscene".