Berger: Repeal of Confederate monument protections unlikely

Posted August 17

— The Senate is unlikely to repeal a state law protecting Confederate monuments, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Thursday in a lengthy response to Gov. Roy Cooper's call Tuesday for monument removal.

Berger, R-Rockingham, wrote on Facebook that he doesn't believe "an impulsive decision to pull down every Confederate monument in North Carolina is wise" and that Senate members "would be hesitant" to undo a 2015 law that forbids local governments and others from removing war monuments.

He also chided Cooper for "reactionary and divisive statements" and said he waited several days to comment on events in Charlottesville, Va., and Durham because he wanted to reflect on "the complex issues driving each of these events."

"In my opinion, rewriting history is a fool’s errand, and those trying to rewrite history unfortunately are likely taking a first step toward repeating it," Berger wrote. "Two years ago, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill that tried to reduce the politics in making these decisions. I believe many current members of the Senate would be hesitant to begin erasing our state and country’s history by replacing that process with a unilateral removal of all monuments with no public discourse."

Cooper said Tuesday he hoped to see the law repealed, giving cities and counties the option of removal. Cooper also said he's asked the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to study the cost and logistics of removing Confederate monuments from state property, potentially moving them to museums or historical sites in the aftermath of last weekend's white supremacist rally and vehicle attack in Charlottesville.

Cooper's statement also called on the General Assembly to defeat pending legislation that he said grants immunity to motorists who strike protesters. That bill, which is sitting in committee in the Senate, applies only to drivers "exercising due care" who injure a protestor blocking traffic without a permit. The bill does not excuse willful or wanton conduct, and Cooper's description earned him a "mostly false" rating this week from PolitiFact North Carolina.

Berger chided Cooper on this issue, said "the white supremacy movement has no place in America" and described a crowd's destruction of a Confederate statue in Durham on Monday as a discouraging example of rioting and vandalism. He quoted Mark Heyer, whose daughter was killed in Charlottesville, saying, "people need to forgive each other."

"I don't have a lot of answers about what we can do to heal the wounds of racial injustice that still exist in our state and country," Berger wrote. "But I know it won't happen with angry mobs. It won't happen with opportunistic politicians trying to drive a wedge further between us. It will require our leaders to show some humility and compassion as we try to chart a path forward."


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  • Charlie Watkins Aug 22, 5:59 a.m.
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    The Democrats have the Confederate statues in their sights so they will all come down. The Democrats are pandering to their base and when they do they always get their man.

  • Charlie Watkins Aug 20, 10:46 a.m.
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    It is not about the statues.

    It is just something to protest. Protesters must have a target and the statues are good enough for a short period.

    Once they get the statues down they will be searching for a new cause.

    I am hoping they will protest that no cure has been found for baldness.

  • Kevin Oliver Aug 19, 10:31 a.m.
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    Good article from Vox and a scholar on this issue if anyone wants to educate themselves... https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/8/18/16165160/confederate-monuments-history-charlottesville-white-supremacy

  • Charlie Watkins Aug 19, 6:38 a.m.
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    "I bring you peace in our time."

    After the statues come down then what next?

  • Andy Jackson Aug 18, 6:44 p.m.
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    Thank you Phil Berger. While I do NOT support in any fashion violence, the KKK, or such groups, the Confederacy is part of NC's history. Anyone who destroys such property should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is a more peaceful way to make your point rather than damaging public property....but look at the history across the nation - some will never learn that! T*ugs" at work!

  • Scott Satalino Aug 18, 1:04 p.m.
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    I hope Haley that you understand that people came to America from Europe to escape the Religious persecution of the State, only to begin persecuting people for their Religious beliefs.

    READ about Mary Dyer. She was executed because she believed that God could speak directly to her through the Gospels.

    The Wall of Separation is often wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptist's in the 1800's. In fact, the Wall of Separation was actually professed as an American ideal in the 1600's by ministers of the Word of God.


    The Holy Land of my Lord, Israel has legalized Abortion. They also have Universal Healthcare, and allow Same Sex Marriage.

    And Israel is not a 'socialist country.' It is Capitalist country.

    The Republican Party promotes a form of Religious Fascism.


    I hope you acquaint yourself with Chris Hedges.

  • Edward Anderson Aug 18, 1:02 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Okay, yeah, so Trump said those words, but he looked like a hostage being forced to say he was guilty when he said them. Does *ANYIONE* believe he actually meant them?!

    Nice speech, terrible delivery.

  • Haley Sessoms Aug 18, 12:51 p.m.
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    Thank you for answering that. That question had nothing to do with political views it was solely based upon your statement of the almighty God

  • Scott Satalino Aug 18, 12:35 p.m.
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    I personally do not. However I have never been in a situation where I had to decide that issue personally either.

    Believing in Republican ideals (sovereign from the State or King), I have concluded that the STATE is not the arbiter of what I personally choose to do. And I have a very strong belief that the Wall of Separation between Church and State has made America a great.....Lamb with 2 Horns (Religious and Political Liberty).

    It breaks my heart to see my country now speak as a dragon.

  • Haley Sessoms Aug 18, 12:23 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    If that's the case do you support abortion?