NORTH CAROLINA OPEN THREAD for Sunday, July 7, 2019
216th Weekly Edition
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Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is currently exploring a bid for governor in 2020, delivered a sermon on Sunday denouncing America’s diversity and multiculturalism and calling for Christian assimilation.
“[N]o other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics,” Forest claimed.
“But no other nation has ever been founded on the principles of Jesus Christ, that begin the redemption and reconciliation through the atoning blood of our savior,” he added.
Anti-multiculturalism rhetoric is popular among the growing white nationalist wing of the Republican Party. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has made similar comments in the past, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has attributed the rhetoric to white nationalist hate groups.
News & Observer
North Carolina’s lieutenant governor faces criticism for comments he made about American culture during a speech at a church in Salisbury.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest faced pushback on social media Friday after liberal news outlet Think Progress posted a story about him warning Cornerstone Church in Salisbury that “diversity and multiculturalism” could be harmful to America. The church posted a video of the June 23 service on its Facebook page. Forest, a Republican, is expected to challenge Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2020.
“God doesn’t want us to divide our state,” Forest said. “He doesn’t want us to divide our nation. He wants us to bring people together and live in the world like the Acts 2 church did. And yet no other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.”
News & Record
No doubt some people will find Forest’s statements harmless and even inspiring. But he disparages diversity and multiculturalism — which are cornerstones of the American experience — and he frames them in his speech as threats to the nation.
Far from it. Long described as a melting pot, America draws people from around the world to create a great nation, based not on race or tribe but on common values of equality and freedom.
That includes the freedom to practice (or not) religion as their consciences dictate and the freedom to live, within the law, with the cultural accoutrements — food, clothing, language, music, art — they prefer. A rejection of our diversity is a rejection of what many Americans see as one of our nation’s core principles.
It also can’t be ignored that rhetoric opposing diversity and multiculturalism thrives among fringe white nationalist hate groups that view minorities as inferior and spout conspiracy theories about being “replaced in our own country.” From there, it has found its way onto cable TV and even into the halls of Congress. U.S. Rep. Steve King was recently reprimanded and relieved of leadership roles by his Republican colleagues for voicing such rhetoric.
NC Policy Watch
t comes as little surprise that the inhabitant of the second highest elected office in the state of North Carolina would stoop to engage in the kind of dog whistle talk that one would normally associate with white nationalists like Congressman Steve King and David Duke. After all, as Policy Watch has reported on multiple previous occasions, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is a politician with a penchant for making extreme statements, taking extreme positions and employing and associating with extreme individuals.
In the past, Forest has co-founded a nonprofit that purported to rate corporations for their adherence to “Christian” and “Biblical” values (Sears got a significant downgrade for having lingerie in its catalogs), claimed that Raleigh’s News & Observer plants hidden and diabolical propaganda in its headlines, associated with a far right activist trying to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, and employed an anti-Islam conspiracy theorist as one of his top aides.
That said, this past week’s entry – uttered at a church, that, ironically enough, claims its mission is to “tear down walls of religion, racism, and poverty, which have bound God’s people for too long” – was quite a doozy.