Virginia Republican running for governor to speak at church with KKK-friendly education

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The church's school uses a curriculum that's easy on racists and tough on LGBTQ equality.

Former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, who's currently a Republican candidate for governor of the state, is scheduled to speak at Christ First Church, whose school, Mighty Oak Christian Academy, uses a curriculum associated with praising the Ku Klux Klan, minimize slavery, and attack LGBTQ equality.

Cox describes himself as a "consistent conservative." The video launching his campaign urged voters to "fight back" against "cancel culture," echoing the rallying cry of Republicans who are fixated on Potato Head toys and Dr. Seuss books.

Cox has opposed marriage equality and expanding access to voting, and supports a ban on insurance plans that cover abortion. Cox recently announced he was "thrilled" to have the support of Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Christ First Church in Suffolk, Virginia, is hosting Cox as part of a "Super Sunday" series of speakers on March 21. In a tweet promoting his appearance, Cox wrote, " Looking forward to joining as a guest speaker."

The church operates Mighty Oak Christian Academy, which is listed on the church's website as "our school." The Mighty Oak website indicates that it is a "ministry of Christ First Church."

The 2019 parent handbook for Mighty Oak notes that it uses the "A Beka" curriculum, describing it as "a Christian based curriculum that will address 'all' aspects of a child."

The curriculum, which has been renamed Abeka, has come under criticism in recent years for including textbooks with bigoted and historically inaccurate lessons for children.

The Abeka book "United States History: Heritage of Freedom," was cited in a Washington Post report for describing "the Ku Klux Klan as a secret society that sought to improve the livelihoods of Southern Whites during Reconstruction." The Klan, of course, is a violent terrorist organization that killed Blacks for decades.

The textbook also blames inner-city poverty on "lack of homeowner's pride," while omitting discussion on systemic racism and anti-Black policies like redlining.

One book in the curriculum, "United States History for Christian Schools," claims while discussing the history of slavery in America, "The majority of slaveholders treated their slaves well."

Another book, "America: Land I Love," tells students that slaves developed "patience" for their freedom by singing "Negro spirituals" and "discovered that the truest freedom is freedom from the bondage of sin." The same book minimizes the extent of slavery by referring to the claim that "Only 6000 families in the entire South had over 50 slaves in 1850."

An Abeka textbook used in Florida came under fire for alleging that "the slave who knew Christ had more freedom than a free person who did not know the Savior."

Abeka books also tell students that the fight for LGBTQ equality is part of a "radical social agenda" and describes abortion and gay rights as "moral evils."

Cox has not commented publicly on the curriculum.

A previous version of this story stated that Mighty Oak Christian Academy used certain textbooks mentioned elsewhere in the piece, which has not been confirmed. However, the school uses the curriculum associated with the use of these textbooks at other schools.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.