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NC school voucher dollars are funding Christian Nationalist indoctrination

Credit: iStock

by Justin Parmenter, NC Newsline
March 12, 2024

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.”

Mark Robinson
 Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson – Photo:

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 legislatorstealing 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.

an excerpt from Fayetteville Christian School's admissions policies

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).

an excerpt from the admissions policies for North Raleigh Christian Academy

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.

an image promotes the "Seven Mountains of Influence"

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 its 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.”

an image of the mission statement from the Daniel Christian Academy

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.

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This story is republished from NC Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.