President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the Education Department is “looking at” whether public schools were teaching the New York Times ’ “1619 Project,” which argues that the U.S. is a corrupt country fundamentally built on slavery. Historians have shown in these pages why this is false and a harmful idea, but there are also reasons for religious Americans to reject this revision of history.
First, as a black American, I believe it is particularly important to break away from the oppressive way of thinking promulgated by the “1619 Project.” Slavery is an appalling part of this nation’s history, and discrimination continues in some forms today. But these flaws do not define the self-correcting spirit of freedom and truth etched into America’s founding documents. They certainly don’t define me as an individual.
My belief in individual choice and personal responsibility is why I oppose programs that create dependence on the government. By subsidizing recklessness and the growing affects of immorality, these programs have subverted, undermined and unraveled the tapestry of thriving and healthy families. Ultimately the successes and failures of the black community come from the choices we make.
The idea that the U.S. is a racist country predates the “1619 Project.” It’s no wonder countless African-Americans—including many of my family and friends—have bought this lie and vote for progressive politicians. But believing that your destiny is determined by factors outside your control, like the color of your skin, is demeaning. Black parents need to oppose false portrayals of history and unite around the shared values that created the U.S.
We must hold ourselves accountable and build communities that teach the next generation how to live meaningful lives. Parents have the ultimate responsibility to train and educate their children. God designed the family as an expression of his spiritual truths, to reflect his image and fulfill a critical role on Earth. It is the mind and will of God for parents to demonstrate morality and a practical way of life—leaving a spiritual inheritance to their offspring. Only parents, not the government, can ensure that this critical knowledge will be carried from generation to generation.