By Eleora A. Grace
Christian Action League
November 10, 2023
Founded on the principle of religious freedom, America continues to stand as a beacon of hope, providing every man, woman, and child the opportunity to freely exercise their right to peaceably assemble. The First Amendment serves as the guardian of this precious right and the Bill of Rights reinforces its protection.
Yet, history echoes in the intensifying war in the Middle East, casting shadows that fuel a concerning battle within our own borders. As calls for violence escalate among Jewish and Muslim communities, the fundamental right to peaceable assembly is at risk. While always necessitating protection, places of worship find themselves in greater need amid persecution.
Fortunately, lawmakers recognize this urgency and are increasingly advocating for additional funding to enhance the security of these sacred spaces. Governor Roy Cooper seems to share these concerns at a national level.
Cooper, along with other Democratic governors, signed a joint letter this week to leaders in Congress, urging for additional funds to enhance security at places of worship. This action is part of a broader effort to address concerns about potential threats against Jewish and Muslim communities, particularly in light of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The governors are advocating for increased funding for the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which currently allocates $305 million to assist nonprofits in securing their facilities against potential attacks.
But Gov. Cooper’s efforts on this issue reveal a clear and disturbing inconsistency.
During the 2023 Legislative session, there was a significant stride made in safeguarding worshipers as North Carolina legislators restored Second Amendment Rights to its citizens with the passage of Senate Bill 41, titled “Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections.”
It is quite noteworthy that Governor Cooper had previously vetoed this bill, obstructing constitutional rights for years. His repeated vetoes of legislation aimed at protecting churches in North Carolina, specifically those associated with Christian schools in 2020, 2021, and 2023, raise questions about the coherence of his stance.
Dr. Mark Creech, the Executive Director of the Christian Action League states, “It’s heartening to see Governor Roy Cooper advocating for the security of Jewish and Muslim places of worship, as they deserve protection in these challenging times. However, it’s important to address the apparent inconsistency in his stance. While he champions the safety of some religious institutions on a national level, it raises questions about his decisions closer to home. Governor Cooper’s repeated vetoes of bipartisan legislation that could have safeguarded churches in North Carolina, more specifically, those affiliated with Christian schools, seems contradictory. We must strive for equal protection and security for all religious congregations in our state. We should be guided by a commitment to ensuring the safety of every faith community, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations.”
Dr. Creech continued, “But that has never been Cooper’s position if you look at his track record. Thank God, this year the Republican super majority overrode his third veto of legislation to allow churches located on a campus with a private school to protect themselves from some mentally and spiritually deranged individual bent on shedding the innocent blood of worshipers in conservative evangelical churches. The inconsistency is blatant and reveals a hostility, even a hateful bias on his part.”