On Tuesday, May 24th, a press conference was held in downtown Raleigh at 10:00 am to allow pastors and faith leaders to speak on the responsibility and the right of protecting the privacy and safety of all children in North Carolina, by asking our leaders to stand firm on the common sense law, HB2. Nearly fifty pastors and faith leaders, many of which from the black faith community, stood shoulder to shoulder on the south side of the Capitol building to address the Obama Administration’s offensive and false claims that allowing men to enter women’s showers and locker rooms is somehow akin to the very real struggles during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.
Speakers are Tuesday included:
- Bishop Dr. Patrick Wooden (Senior Pastor and Bishop, Upper Room Church of God in Christ, Raleigh, NC)
- Clarence Henderson, (Civil Rights leader, Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Civil Rights, participated in the Woolworth Sit-In in Greensboro, N.C. in 1960, United States Army Veteran, retired entrepreneur)
- Dr. Gabriel Rogers (Senior Pastor, Kingdom Christian Church, Charlotte, NC)
- Dr. Leon Threatt (Senior Pastor, Christian Faith Assembly, Charlotte, NC)
- Pastor Kenneth Fontenot (Senior Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church, Wilson, NC)
- Pastor Olden Thornton (Senior Pastor, Raleigh International Church, Raleigh, NC)
Bishop Dr. Patrick Wooden of Raleigh, NC said, “The language of ‘civil rights’ shouldn’t be hijacked to give privileges to the politically vocal while taking away freedoms from people disfavored by government. The Administration is threatening people of diverse backgrounds—if they do not promote ideas and participate in events that align with their extremist agenda, they will pull opportunity, funding, and the right to privacy. I hope The Administration hears us loud and clear today: we will not be bullied, we will not be manipulated, and we will not sit idly by as you try to place ALL our children in harm’s way and offensively equate allowing men into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms with the real horrors we experienced during the Civil Rights Movement. The civil rights struggle was for the right to be recognized for who we are. Their battle is to be recognized for who they are not.”
Clarence Henderson, Civil Rights leader who participated in the Woolworth Sit-In in Greensboro in 1960, Veteran and Entrepreneur said, “Recently, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch compared HB2 to Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws were put into place to keep an entire race positioned as second-class citizens. HB2 simply says that men and women should use the restroom of their biological sex in government buildings and schools. This comparison is highly offensive and utterly disrespectful to those families and individuals who have shed blood and lost lives to advance the cause of civil rights. I take this as a personal slap in the face because I was an active participant in the civil rights movement.”
Dr. Gabriel Rogers of Charlotte, NC said, “This is about morality and about reasonable protection. It is only reasonable to protect the privacy and safety of ALL children in North Carolina and we should never have to choose between our children’s education and their privacy, which is exactly what the Obama Administration is asking us to do. President Obama wants to provide “special rights”, not equal rights, to a small group within the population whose desire is to impose their values on the rest of us. This is not a civil rights issue. The bottom line is this, girls should not be forced by the federal government to share the bathroom or shower with a boy in order for the school to continue to receive necessary federal funding.”
Dr. Leon Threatt of Charlotte, NC shared, “The comparison between male and female restrooms to segregation is not only ridiculous, it’s an affront to the struggle and fight for equality by African Americans. This is no longer just about HB2. It is no longer just about Charlotte, or Republicans and Democrats. This is now a nationwide struggle against extremism and extremists views, that are harmful to all people of faith, and especially our young students. Today, shoulder to shoulder, all races, all denominations, all areas of North Carolina— we stand strong for the right to privacy and safety of ALL children and no threat from the President’s Administration or otherwise is going to stop us.” Earlier this year Dr. Leon Threatt announced he would be running as a candidate for US House in North Carolina’s 12th district in the June 7th primary and fellow pastor and Charlotte resident, Dr. Mark Harris, is also running for US House in North Carolina’s 9th district.
Many of these pastors and faith leaders stayed in Raleigh to meet with legislators to thank them for their firmness and support with HB2 which protects the right to privacy and safety of all children in North Carolina. Throughout their remarks they underscored the importance of speaking truth and clarity on standing firm on HB2, The Bathroom Privacy Act, from a grace-filled, faith perspective and pastors disagreed with ACLU and other clergy in the state. Repeatedly through the morning they held firm in their position that the attempt to stifle the privacy and safety of all North Carolina students in bathrooms and locker rooms has nothing to do with race or civil rights!