This is a sensitive subject. So, please let me begin by saying that racism and prejudice is an evil that we must always oppose — and oppose with vigilance. Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Jesus put it another way, simply treat others the way you want to be treated. There would be no prejudice, no racism, no injustice if we followed Jesus' command.

The Texas Legislature passed legislation in May trying to block the application of Critical Race Theory in our public schools. It was a good effort but fell short. When the Legislature reconvenes July 8, Texas must pass more effective legislation.

But why? What's wrong with CRT? I have very good friends who sincerely believe that CRT will help end discrimination. However, CRT is not the answer. It will, in fact, foster injustice and bias, not end it.

Most people believe that CRT is solely about race. It's not. CRT defines people, actually judges people, by their group affiliation — most often skin color but also sex and economic status — rather than viewing them as individuals created in the image of God. Such division is the very heart of prejudice, discrimination and racism!

CRT also falsely accuses (and teaches our children) that the United States is a fundamentally racist nation. In fact, the New York Times 1619 Project specifically states that the purpose of the American Revolution was to protect the institution of slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The truth is that America has long made racial discrimination illegal at every level of government, including its elections and institutions of education. What remains today of prejudice and bias is of the heart, not of the law.

(Tragically, no nation had outlawed slavery by the time America declared its independence in 1776 or later when it enacted its Constitution in 1789. In 1807, America became one of only two nations in the world to have passed a law banning the slave trade. And the U.S. was the fourth nation to outlaw slavery with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.)

CRT is rooted in Marxism, not in our Constitution's protection of each individual's unalienable rights. Marxism has led to the enslavement, oppression, poverty and death of hundreds of millions in just the last century. The main tenet of CRT is that the people are divided into two groups, the oppressors and the oppressed. Such division has always been a tactical theme in Marxism.

Using class warfare, based on economic status in particular, has helped Marxists institute communism in nations across the globe. This tactic was repeatedly tried in America but it failed because here there was economic mobility. In America with hard work you could almost always climb the ladder.

My Dad, Earl King, is a case in point. He left home at 12 due to poverty, finished high school by correspondence while in the Navy, eventually piloted B-47s in the Air Force and then worked his way through law school. He died last year, a portrait of the American dream. CRT's Marxist philosophy would have taught my dad that he had no hope, no opportunity, that he was oppressed. In his case not because of his skin color but because he was poor and homeless.

CRT teaches that your group determines your future. My dad knew otherwise. He understood that faith in Jesus, personal integrity, education and hard work would determine his success not his poverty, not the group into which he was born.

CRT ignores the simple fact that America remains the land of opportunity. Although it is supported by many well intended and good people, CRT threatens to undermine our Constitution and its protection of each individual and their unalienable rights.

I met with a number of school superintendents last week and I know the school leadership in my district strongly opposes CRT instruction. Nonetheless, it is a dangerous and fast growing movement across America. We cannot allow it to become institutionalized in Texas.

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, represents Parker and Wise counties in the Texas House of Representatives.

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