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Diocese of North Carolina bishops: Critical Race Theory bill sets state on the wrong path

Diocese of North Carolina bishops: Critical Race Theory bill sets state on the wrong path

An op-ed appearing in the News-Observer:


As bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, we provide spiritual leadership to almost 50,000 of our state’s residents. This is a diverse assemblage, people of all ages, born in this state and transplanted to it, people who work in the fields, people who teach in our many schools and universities, small business owners, and executives of our many corporations.

Parishioners in our diocese also include descendants of people who were enslaved and descendants of enslavers, indigenous people whose land was stolen from them, and descendants of those who displaced them.

House Bill 324 would put new rules on public school lessons concerning race and history, including prohibiting concepts like Critical Race Theory. Our deep concern is that the dangerous narrative surrounding this bill will prevent a full account of our history from being told and understood.

Regardless of its language about dignity and equality, HB 324, appears intended to make people of European descent comfortable while ignoring the systems of oppression that they deployed against those of African and Native American descent.

Structural racism is interwoven throughout our history and continues to impact us, in our current context.

Efforts to suppress honest, thorough, authentically representative instruction run counter to the core tenets of our faith. Our faith formation is based on the principle that faith has need of the whole truth, the full story. This value shapes the beliefs of our parishioners from their first days in church school through the sacraments and sermons.In his teaching Jesus reminds us that love of neighbor is one of the ways we express our faith, and our love for God. When we fail to love our neighbor we are called to acknowledge this, and to ask for God’s help.This means that we tell the truth, that we admit when we are wrong and seek forgiveness from a place of true remorse and a desire to do better, and that we see the face of God in all people.

We must not be swept up in a larger movement that denies an accurate telling of how we came to be a state and a nation. Instead, we must do the hard work of repenting of our past and leading North Carolina into a healthier, transparent future.

House Bill 324 as well as the efforts and rhetoric surrounding it have set us on the wrong path. It plays to people’s worst instincts. It wants to sweep the real history of this nation, particularly its injustices, under the rug.

As faith leaders, we pray that North Carolina’s elected leaders will choose to adhere to a scholarly, evidence-based understanding of our collective past.

In this moment, filled with hatred and distrust, this is the only way that we can build a truly equitable and just future. We must reject HB 324, which despite its high-sounding rhetoric is, in reality, just a way to protect and perpetuate social injustice.

The Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple is Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

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[…] our previous post, we re-published Diocese of North Carolina bishops: Critical Race Theory bill sets state on the wrong pa…. In North Carolina, as elsewhere, a brouhaha over Critical Race Theory has been created to stir the […]

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