It turned tense as the members debated the recent spate of book-bannings. Mullin demanded that witnesses answer if they thought the child's book about race had a better lesson in it than "Jesus Loves Me."
Mullin read a section of "Our Skin" which stated White people invented "a thing called race" and began sorting people based on color. He then read the lyrics to "Jesus Loves Me."
“If you don’t want to answer my question, that’s fine. Let’s move on down the panel. Which one is better to be taught? This book or the ‘Jesus Loves Me’ lyrics, that say everybody’s skin doesn’t matter. They’re all precious in his sight,” Mullin yelled.
He claimed "Our Skin" was a book being used to "blame" White people for racism.
Cheryl Morman, who serves as the president of the Virginia Alliance for Family Child Care Associations, told Mullin she believed Jesus was important, but he cut her off.
“So, which one is better?” he demanded.
“But the reality is —” she continued.
Mullin asked his question again as Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) stepped in, asking him to "let her answer the question, please."
She attempted to speak, but he talked over her again.
"That doesn't answer my question. You're not answering my question. If you don't want to answer my question, that's fine," Mullin shouted.
"The reality is —" she began again before he cut her off.
“I don’t want reality! I’m asking the question! Which one is better? That's exactly what it is,” Mullin said.
The committee members began to laugh, joined in by others in the room.
“Got it on tape,” one unidentified member chuckled.
Mullin quickly tried to clean up the reality statement by saying he misspoke, rambling on that to him "Jesus is always first."
Several states, most notably Florida, have instigated book bans in schools or libraries for publications deemed inappropriate.
Watch the moment in the Senate hearing at this link.
Oklahoma Republican admits 'I don't want reality' in Senate hearing