By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
March 10, 2023
A North Carolina pastor says he’s on a mission to change what books are allowed in schools and that he wants to help other parents do the same.
Nicholas McNeill, the pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Rennert, N.C., told The Laurinburg Exchange that his quest began when his third-grade daughter — a student in Robeson County — was given a book, Nasreen’s Secret School, which tells the true story of a grandmother in Afghanistan who secretly enrolled her granddaughter in school after the Taliban came to power in the 1990s. McNeill says he opposes the book’s Islamic-focus.
“I want them just to teach my child reading, writing and math,” McNeill said, and “not undo what I’m doing at home.”
The Robeson County board declined the pastor’s request to remove the book.
Yet McNeill soon discovered other books he opposes. One of those was Patient Zero, which also was being read by Robeson County students.
Patient Zero is a non-fiction book that explores how scientists race to stop deadly epidemics. One of the chapters focuses on the AIDS crisis and includes LGBT content.
McNeill formerly taught courses for high school students in Robeson County.
The pastor’s next target was the EL Education K-8 Language Arts Curriculum, which is used in the school system.
“It’s no longer just presenting information,” McNeill told the newspaper. “Now it’s an agenda.”
He hosts meetings with parents and grandparents to help inform them of what is taught in schools. Hundreds have attended, The Laurinburg Exchange reported.
Robeson County school officials have pushed back against McNeill. During a school board meeting, staff said they are required under state standards to teach inclusivity and to introduce children to different cultures, The Exchange said.
“We’re not trying to indoctrinate anybody with anything,” Superintendent Freddie Williamson said during the meeting. “We’re teaching the curriculum, trying to improve the teaching and learning of our students.”
McNeill, though, said the curriculum goes too far. For example, students in third grade are asked to discuss gender stereotypes while reading Peter Pan.
The pastor said he will remove his daughter from the school if it does not change its curriculum.
“To teach our children that you don’t have to be motherly,” McNeill said, “you don’t have to be maternal, that you can be more manly, that you can be anything other than what God made you, I can’t allow that.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said he applauded efforts by faithful pastors to draw attention to the way public schools engage in values manipulation. “Pastor McNeill is 100 percent correct, regardless of what public school administrators say, there is an agenda. I don’t think many parents knew this was going on until the pandemic came, and then they had to give attention to their kids learning at home. I think most of them were shocked to discover what their children were being taught and they became alarmed, especially Christian families,” said Dr. Creech. “Most educators believe public schools exist to make citizens. Well, Hitler believed this, and so did the former atheistic Soviet Union. But this is not the purpose of education for devoted Christian parents. The purpose of education for Christian guardians and parents, first and foremost, is to teach children what will make them grow as servants of the Kingdom of God. They must resist and separate their children from anything that would interfere with this heavy responsibility, which may mean they have only one of two options: reform the public schools or get their children into a private Christian school or homeschooling.”