Millions Given To A Pastor To Run A Private School Who Defended Predators In Sermons

( – When parents enroll their children in school, they typically do so in the public schools assigned to their district. However, many states offer school choice, which gives students a chance to attend a private institution, and educational savings programs make it possible, especially for families with lower incomes. A pastor who runs one such private school in North Carolina recently came under fire for his controversial comments and the money he receives from the state.

In 1970, Reverend Bobby Leonard founded the Tabernacle Christian School in Monroe. Earlier this month, video footage surfaced of Leonard commenting on the clothing women wear and the attention it garners in a sermon last August. In fact, he defended rapists when he said that if women wear shorts instead of pants, “and [they] get raped, and I’m on the jury, he’s going to go free. A man’s a man.” He further insisted that his line of thinking was “right.”

The comments resulted in immediate backlash, which led to his issuing a public apology, but it wasn’t enough. People continued to launch protests, and some even dug further into the school’s financials.

Notes from the Chalkboard, a blog by Justin Parmenter, who sits on the advisory boards of Red 4 Ed NC and Public Schools First NC, shared that Leonard’s school has received more than $3.6 million of public taxpayer dollars since 2014, more than $2 million of that in the last two years. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Parmenter shares the sermon video and says “public tax dollars shouldn’t be subsidizing violent misogynistic rhetoric.”

The controversial statements have also fueled calls for further investigation into school choice vouchers. Those programs have grown exponentially in the past few years. However, lawmakers are trying to hold them off in Texas, where Republicans have sided with Democrats to prevent a school voucher bill from passing. Democratic Governors Roy Cooper (NC) and Andy Beshear (KY) have spoken out against them because the programs give schools money “with no real accountability.”

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