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.
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.