By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
July 15, 2021
Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) decried Critical Race Theory at a press conference Wednesday, saying the doctrine “undoes the framework that produced the most successful ongoing experiment in self-government in the history of mankind.”
“I oppose it, and I will combat it with everything that I have,” Berger said, as he announced that the Senate will take up a modified version of House Bill 324 to prohibit schools from promoting discriminatory concepts and pressuring students to view everything through the lens of race. He also filed a measure that would allow Tar Heel voters to consider amending the North Carolina Constitution to end Affirmative Action by declaring that the state “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
To put the amendment on the 2022 primary ballot, a move that would require a three-fifths majority in both the Senate and the House, would show how North Carolina is “affirming our commitment to the principles of the (1964) Civil Rights Act,” Berger said.
On the contrary, he said promoters of Critical Race Theory seek to recast the foundational principles of American society.
“They seek to promote in students a theology, a belief system, that is fundamentally at odds with the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Berger said.
“Children must learn about our state’s racial past and all of its ugliness, including the cruelty of slavery to the 1898 Wilmington massacre to Jim Crow,” he added. But he said they must not be “forced to adopt an ideology that is separate and distinct from history,” one which he said preaches that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”
While opponents to House Bill 324, which was taken up in the Senate Education Committee last week, downplayed the spread of Critical Race Theory in North Carolina public schools, Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson says students are being indoctrinated. His new FACTS Task Force (Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students) is documenting cases and expects to release a report next week.
In an essay shared via his Medium blog and at the press conference, Berger said the key to defending intellectual freedom is threefold, requiring that lawmakers first expressly prohibit overt indoctrination; second, grant parents the right to access classroom materials so they understand curriculum; and finally, keep talking about it.
“This is the only avenue — informing, debating, reasoning — to truly combat an illiberal doctrine,” Berger said, citing the FACTS clearinghouse as an instrument for parents and students to share incidents in schools and signaling that the Senate may hold hearings to learn from both proponents and opponents of the theory.
The revised bill he champions would require schools to notify the state Department of Public Instruction and post detailed information on their website 30 days before any discussion of 13 CRT-related concepts. This would include “curricula, reading lists, seminars, workshops, trainings, or other educational or professional settings.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, applauds Sen. Berger’s commitment to battling Critical Race Theory.
“CRT is anti-Christian in its approach. It does nothing to bring about equal treatment. It’s about the power of one group over another. It doesn’t encourage me to love my neighbor as myself. It demands that I deny my worth because I am of a nationality which may have mistreated someone of their ethnicity,” he said. “The Scriptures instruct, ‘The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.’ Ezekial 18:20.”
Creech said the fact that lawmakers are considering the need for a constitutional amendment to deal with what’s taught in the public schools should be a wake-up call for Christian parents.
“If it all possible, get your children out of the public schools. I respectfully submit that the public school system, though it has many good people who are a part of it, has become an indoctrination center,” he said. “Higher authorities essentially tie the hands of the good people. Christian children need to be either homeschooled or go to a Christian school, lest the public schools make educated pagans out of them. Though I support what Senator Berger is saying and the positive changes he’s trying to make, I think Christians just need to get their youngsters out of there.”