The Republican candidate for Illinois governor is being attacked in a campaign ad for homophobic and racist materials taught at schools he founded.
Before the opening of early voting in Illinois, the incumbent Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, took out a new campaign ad against his Republican opponent, Darren Bailey.
“Did you know Darren Bailey runs a school?” the narrator in the ad asks the audience. “And they use quite the curriculum.”
A section of the ad highlights excerpts from Bob Jones University Press publications. That publisher is the same one Bailey’s school uses to get its textbooks.
Among the claims is his school teaches that LGBTQ+ people “have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.”
Before he ran for the Illinois House of Representatives in 2016, Bailey and his wife Cindy launched a fundamentalist Christian school in Louisville, Ill. That year, Bob Jones University Press began rewriting its history books to remove or soften some of its more controversial or offensive claims, NBC affiliate KSDK reports.
BJU Press has recently removed racially charged content from its textbooks, including language that sometimes spoke of slavery or the Ku Klux Klan with forgiveness, the station says.
Several years before Bailey founded Full Armor Christian Academy, BJU’s second-edition textbooks contained the sentence, “The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”
KSDK obtained copies of current textbooks at Full Armor Academy. The station reports that while toned down, racist rhetoric is still found in the materials.
That includes text in 2001 describing the KKK as having “tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”
Another example provided by the station on books at the school included that God didn’t forbid slavery but regulated it. In addition, the station reports that teachers are told that students should compare ending slavery with the overturning of abortion rights as well as discuss “the strengths of the Three-Fifths Compromise,” which classified enslaved people as three-fifths of a person.
Aside from the two schools he operates with his family, Bailey has centered his campaign speeches on education policy and drafted legislation in Springfield to divert public education funds to private or home schools, KSDK reports.
He pledged in his primary campaign to ban the study of critical race theory in schools even though public schools never taught such lessons.
Bailey opposed Pritzker’s plans to increase Black history requirements in schools and make Juneteenth a school holiday, voted against ending discrimination against everyday Black hairstyles in Illinois schools, and opposed Pritzker signing of a law requiring public schools to teach LGBTQ+ people’s contributions to history, the station reports.
The candidates face off in the general election on November 8.
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