NEW BERN, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — A North Carolina Republican lawmaker is questioning why a local community college is accepting a National Endowment for the Humanities’ grant to receive Muslim books and DVDs.
Rep. Walter Jones, who has consistently opposed federal spending bills for the NEH, says this grant for Craven Community College is just a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“It is appalling to me that a federal agency like NEH is wasting taxpayer money on programs like this,” Jones said in a statement. “It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations.”
Jones wants the college to balance its resources on religious materials, calling for officials to also add books that promote Christianity.
“I am writing to request that you give equal exposure to resources that deepen the public’s understanding of Christianity and America’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage,” Jones said in a letter to the college.
Jones says in a press release that he has secured 25 books from the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition to donate to the school.
“They would also be happy to assist the college in organizing a public event to introduce the books to the community – the same type of event which the college committed to hold for the introduction of NEH’s Islamic books,” Jones said in the letter.
Jerry Schill, chairman of the coalition, calls it “odd” that the federal government would provide Muslim materials to colleges nationwide.
“[I]n the light of the government’s role in keeping God out of the public square and the obstacles that Christians face when it comes to prayer and the ability to publicly proclaim our faith, it just seems more than odd that the federal government will provide a package of ‘Muslim Journeys’ to a number of colleges nationwide,” Schill said in a statement.
Last week, the NEH announced that 842 libraries and state humanities councils across the nation were awarded the “Muslim Journeys Bookshelf,” which is a collection of materials to help introduce the American public to Muslim culture. Each participating library will receive 25 books, 3 films and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, according to an NEH statement.