By Charles Bonham
Christian Action League
March 2, 2023
“Bigoted, anti-LGBTQ+ extremists” — that’s what North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called members of the General Assembly who support the Parents’ Bill of Rights. According to media reports, he used the phrase in a recent fund-raising solicitation in which he attacked Republicans who sponsored the legislation that would prevent public school teachers from offering lessons on sexuality, sexual activity or gender identity to children in kindergarten through fourth grade.
Passed by the Senate last month, Senate Bill 49 would also ensure that parents are notified of health services offered at their child’s school and any changes in the name or pronoun used by their child unless there are credible concerns that notifying the parents would endanger the child’s safety. It would codify parents’ rights to seek medical or religious exemptions from immunization requirements and would put in place processes to allow them to preview materials used in the classroom and to opt their children out of certain activities.
But rather than empowering parents, Cooper made it abundantly clear that he believes schools should have total control.
“Public school teachers and administrators are the ones who should be determining what and how to teach,” Cooper’s email asserted. “They’re the experts.”
He called supporters of SB49 “radical right-wingers who hold extreme views and want to silence anyone they disagree with.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said Cooper’s accusations reminded him of the Scripture passage in which Israel’s wicked King Ahab called the prophet Elijah the “troublemaker of Israel.” Elijah replied, “It’s not me that’s the troublemaker, it’s you! For you have refused to obey the Lord’s commands and led our nation into idolatry.” (I Kings 18:16-18).
“Governor Cooper refers to Republicans and others who support the Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation as ‘extremists.’ Not true. The Governor and those who attack this legislation are the real extremists,” Creech said.
“To argue that public school teachers and administrators should have more authority than parents over what their children are taught, especially regarding what is moral and immoral, is genuinely extreme. To contend, parents should have no say as to whether their children should be exposed to instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality as early as kindergarten through fourth grade – that is extremism. To argue parents should be kept in the dark about their children’s behaviors and choices without giving them priority to weigh in – that is extremism,” Creech added. “To say, as Cooper did, that advocating or supporting parents’ rights is a ‘capitulation’ to ‘blatant political pandering’ is an argument in favor of educational and state tyranny – that is the real extremism.”
Creech said parents and those who support them in their efforts to assert their rights concerning their children are not “radical right-wingers.”
“Nor are we the ones holding extreme views; it is the Governor and his ‘radical left-wing cohorts’ who would turn the broader scope of the Fifth Commandment on its head,” he said. “The Fifth Commandment is about more than well-behaved children. It’s about the authority of a father and a mother – the authority of the family. Any policy that undermines this order is an extreme one – an assault on the basic building block of society. And that can’t end well.”