Extremist GOP candidate vying to lead NC’s diverse schools melts down over people speaking their native languages in public

If you haven’t yet gotten acquainted with North Carolina’s Republican candidate to lead all K-12 schools as our next superintendent, you are in for a rude awakening.

Michele Morrow pulled off the upset victory in this month’s Republican primary, defeating incumbent Catherine Truitt for the right to appear on November’s general election ballot. The unexpected news found a lot of people in North Carolina and across the nation scratching their heads and asking “Who is Michele Morrow?”

Morrow is a staunch critic of North Carolina’s public schools, which she calls “indoctrination centers,” and she homeschools her own children. She attended the Capitol insurrection on January 6, sharing video of herself at the event saying she was there at the request of Donald Trump “to take back America.”

Morrow regularly spouts QAnon conspiracy theories such as one that actor Jim Carrey drinks the blood of children. She calls Islam “evil” and says Muslims should be barred from holding elected office in the United States. She has publicly called for the executions of numerous Democrats including Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Ilhan Omar, Andrew Cuomo, Roy Cooper and Hilary Clinton. She suggested that Barack Obama be shot live on television as a money-making, pay-per-view event.

All of these positions are utterly indefensible, and it appears Morrow understands that’s the case as she recently deactivated the Twitter account she used to post her most violent and bizarre opinions.

But considering the position she is running for, it might be Morrow’s xenophobia that is the most disqualifying.

Morrow shared the video below in 2021 after a particularly traumatic visit to Dollar Tree. In the video she expresses her outrage after hearing four languages other than English while shopping at Dollar Tree, saying “I have never seen this many people that don’t speak English at one time in a Dollar Tree” and adding the unsubstantiated theory that they may have been “bused here from the border.” Morrow also throws in a little transphobia for good measure, saying there were men at the Dollar Tree who were “not dressed like men.”

She end-punctuates her rant with an oddly mismatched comment invoking “the hope of Jesus,” who I’m pretty sure didn’t speak English OR wear pants.

See for yourself:

Michele Morrow probably won’t be happy to hear this, but North Carolina’s public schools are quite diverse and becoming more so.

According to this year’s data, we have 162,778 English learners in our schools, representing an increase of 10% over last year. There are 389 languages spoken in homes across North Carolina, 267 just in Wake County where Morrow resides.

North Carolina ranks fifth in the nation for number of Dual Language Immersion programs. We also offer numerous full Language Immersion programs where children learn math, science and social studies all in another language, developing remarkable fluency in that language even before reaching middle school.

For example, students at Mecklenburg County’s K-8 South Academy of International Languages (SAIL) study French, Chinese, German or Japanese and have the option of adding Spanish in middle school. Many participate in school exchange programs with other countries where they are able to use the language skills they’ve acquired at SAIL, experience the richness of another culture, and build lifelong friendships with children on the other side of the world.

Like many North Carolinians, SAIL families recognize the ability to speak more than one language as a strength, not something to be feared or ridiculed. They embrace diversity as an opportunity to learn and better understand the perspectives of others. They understand that all of us are members of a global community.

The Department of Public Instruction, which Michele Morrow will lead if she wins the November election, currently shares that sentiment.

DPI’s official stance is that North Carolina’s language diversity “fosters mutual understanding” and provides a “rich multicultural tapestry within the state’s educational landscape.”

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Imagine how the Department of Public Instruction’s position could change with Morrow at the helm.

North Carolina’s public voucher dollars are funding Christian Nationalist indoctrination in schools

Shortly after he took over as North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor in 2021, current Republican candidate for governor Mark Robinson launched a task force to root out indoctrination in our public schools.

Robinson claimed indoctrination was a widespread problem and set up an online portal to solicit complaints about educators from the public.  The majority of the submissions Robinson received were from people who took issue with his politically-motivated witch hunt and saw an opportunity to roast him over it.

As for the actual complaints about educators, Robinson published those online without substantiating a single one and didn’t bother to redact names of educators or worksites.  Those complaints were dominated by white racial resentment (remember, this was at the height of the fake outrage over critical race theory) and included suggestions such as canceling Black History Month and not talking so much about slavery because it’s “getting old.”

In terms of actual indoctrination unearthed, Robinson’s witch hunt was a complete nothing burger.

Fast forward a couple of years to North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly flipping a legislator, stealing a supermajority, then tripling funding for school vouchers.

With billions of dollars now on tap for North Carolina’s private schools, and 88.2% of those dollars going to religious schools, scrutiny is rising over exactly what our taxes are supporting.

Private schools are legally able to discriminate against children, and many of North Carolina’s Christian schools deny admissions to students based on religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or learning disabilities.

For example, Fayetteville Christian School, which pocketed nearly $2 million in voucher dollars this school year, expressly bans students who practice specific religions like Islam and Buddhism, and they also bar LGBTQ+ students–whom they brand “perverted”–from attending.

North Raleigh Christian Academy won’t accept children with IQs below 90 and will not serve students who require IEPs (a document which outlines how a school will provide support to children with disabilities).

If this public funding of widespread discriminatory school practices rubs you the wrong way, I have bad news for you.

It gets worse.

That harmful indoctrination Mark Robinson was howling about a couple years ago in his disingenuous attempt to generate political momentum?  Turns out it’s real.  It just isn’t happening in the traditional public schools Robinson was targeting.

The Daniel Christian Academy is a private school in Concord, NC.  This school has received public dollars through school vouchers every year since Republicans launched the controversial Opportunity Scholarship voucher program in 2014-15 for a grand total of $585,776.

Daniel Academy’s mission is to “raise the next generation of leaders who will transform the heart of our nation” by equipping students “to enter the Seven Mountains of Influence.”

The Seven Mountains of Influence (also referred to as the Seven Mountains of Dominion or the Seven Mountains Mandate) refers to seven areas of society:  religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business.  Dominionists who follow this doctrine believe that they are mandated by God to control all seven of society’s “mountains,” and that doing so will trigger the end times.

The Seven Mountains philosophy has been around since the 70s, but it came to prominence about ten years ago with the publication of Lance Wallnau’s book Invading Babylon:  The Seven Mountains Mandate.  Wallnau touts himself as a consultant who “inspires visions of tomorrow with the clarity of today—connecting ideas to action,” and his book teaches that dominionists must “understand [their] role in society” and “release God’s will in [their] sphere of influence.”

Wallnau does caution his followers that messaging about taking control over all seven areas of society on behalf of God might freak out non dominionists, saying in 2011 that “If you’re talking to a secular audience, you don’t talk about having dominion over them. This … language of takeover, it doesn’t actually help.”

Daniel Academy doesn’t use that kind of inflammatory rhetoric about dominionism in public, although it’s clear the Seven Mountains are behind their stated goal of raising “the next generation of leaders who will transform the heart of our nation.”

Nicole Barnes, Daniel Academy’s Dean of Administration & Spiritual Development, confirmed by email that Wallnau’s doctrine is at the center of its approach to the Seven Mountains, telling me “As a school we have taken the 7 Mountains of Influence, teaching by Lance Wallnau, and have broken it down for the students to comprehend.”

So why should North Carolinians care that their tax dollars are subsidizing this sort of indoctrination of children through private school vouchers?

I posed that question to Frederick Clarkson, a research analyst who has studied the confluence of politics and religion for more than three decades and lately has been focusing on the violent underbelly of Christian nationalists who want to achieve Christian dominion of the United States at all costs.  Here’s what Clarkson said:

North Carolina taxpayers should be concerned that they are helping to underwrite an academy for training children to become  warriors against not only the rights of others, but against democracy and its institutions.  The idea of the Seven Mountain Mandate is for Christians of the right sort to take dominion — which is to say power and influence — over the most important sectors of society. It is theocratic in orientation and its vision is forever. 

This is not something that is about liberals and conservatives . Most Christians including most evangelicals, Catholics, and mainline Protestants are deemed not just insufficiently Christian, but may be viewed as infested with demons, and standing in the way of the advancement of the Kingdom of God on Earth. And they will need to be dealt with.

Back in 2021, when Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson released his nothing burger of a report on indoctrination in public schools, he said it was his “attempt to stop the abuse of the teaching profession by a few who are using that profession to put undue pressure on young minds,” adding that students don’t come to school to be indoctrinated and “this is about ending that.”

Robinson recently won his primary race for governor and stands a decent chance of taking over North Carolina’s office next year.  Since North Carolina voters deserve a clear understanding of what our candidates stand for, now would be a great time for Robinson to reiterate that he believes the use of public dollars to support indoctrination is wrong, and that if schools want to influence students to be warriors for God fighting to control every facet of society–possibly taking out some demon-infested folks along the way–they need to do so on their own dime.

We’re waiting, Lieutenant Governor Robinson.

Extremist Republican candidate for NC Superintendent went to Capitol on January 6 “to take back America”

If you hear her tell it, North Carolina’s extreme right wing Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction didn’t really go to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to participate in an insurrection. Rather, Morrow, who home schools her kids, said in a candidate forum during her 2022 failed run for Wake County school board that she wanted to teach her children “a lesson about citizens’ role in a democracy.”

You know, kind of like a homeschool field trip.

But the video Morrow shot that day paints a very different picture. In it, Morrow says she’s doing this “because our president asked us to come,” adding “We are here to take back America. We are here to stop the steal. We are here to ensure President Trump gets four more years.”

Take a look for yourself:

Morrow upset Republican incumbent Catherine Truitt in Tuesday’s primary. She will face Democrat Mo Green in November’s general election to determine who’s in charge of K-12 education in North Carolina.

NC Republican voter says a woman shouldn’t be president because “she got no balls to scratch”

A North Carolina Republican voter told NBC news today that a woman should not be president of the United States because “she got no balls to scratch.”

Interviewed in the Alamance County town of Graham, Trump primary voter Emmett Martin added “All women’s good for in my book is having babies and taking care of the house.”

It’s a measure of how low our public discourse has sunk when a guy like Emmett Martin has no qualms voicing his abhorrent sexist views on national television. And there are plenty of MAGA Republican voters in NC who would applaud him for it.

In the 2020 presidential election, serial misogynist and sex predator Donald Trump won North Carolina by a margin of 49.9% to 48.6%, fewer than 75k more than Joe Biden. This year his protege Mark Robinson, himself with a long history of demeaning women, is running for North Carolina governor.

It’s going to take a whole lot of motivated people working hard to defeat them. Martin’s reprehensible comments add fuel to the fire.