WASHINGTON — Republican members of Congress, 46 total, are calling on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to remove “harmful content” warnings placed on America’s founding documents.
David Ferriero, NARA’s archivist, announced last year the creation of task forces regarding “racial justice” issues.
Stemming from those task forces, NARA decided to add a “Harmful Language Alert” to certain documents. If one visits the webpage for the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they will find those alerts included.
NARA released a statement in July regarding the change:
“The Catalog and webpages contain some content that may be harmful or difficult to view. NARA’s records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.”
“The National Archives is committed to working with staff, communities, and peer institutions to assess and update descriptions that are harmful and to establish standards and policies to prevent future harmful language in staff-generated descriptions.”
The statement included frequently asked questions. Regarding the question why content would be considered harmful by NARA, it states that the document may “reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes,” it may “be discriminatory toward or exclude diverse views on sexuality, gender, religion, and more,” it may “include graphic content of historical events such as violent death, medical procedures, crime, wars/terrorist acts, natural disasters and more” and it may “demonstrate bias and exclusion in institutional collecting and digitization policies.”
In response, 46 representatives in the GOP wrote a letter this week to Ferriero demanding the immediate removal of these warnings.
Congressman Michael Burgess, of Texas, signed the letter and posted it on social media.
“Though the task forces made multiple recommendations, describing the sacred documents on which our nation was founded as ‘harmful or difficult to view’ is as bad as any of the foolish capitulations to cancel culture we have ever seen,” the letter states.
The letter adds: “The role of the National Archives should be to preserve our shared histories and educate future generations, not to deny, change, or demonize our past. Unfortunately, be employing a harmful content label, the National Archives Record Administration has abandoned these responsibilities, adhering instead to a Leftist perspective that judges our past, discourages honest conversations about our history, and obscures the truth; that these documents were written to protect individual liberties and fundamental rights, and that the nation they established grew into the world’s greatest republic.”
Congressman Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, also signed the letter and stated on Twitter: “Only tyrants consider the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, as such!”
By state, here are the other signers of the letter:
Alabama-Mo Brooks, Barry Moore
Arizona-Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko
Florida-Kat Cammack, Scott Franklin, Bill Posey, Mike Waltz
Georgia-Buddy Carter, Andrew Clyde, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk
Mississippi-Mike Guest, Steven Palazzo
North Carolina-Dan Bishop, Ted Budd
Ohio-Bob Gibbs, Brad Wenstrup
South Carolina-Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman
Tennessee-Tim Burchett, Scott DeJarlais, Mark Green, Diana Harshbarger
Texas-Brian Babin, Michael Cloud, Lance Gooden, Ronny Jackson, Chip Roy, Pete Sessions, Randy Weber, Roger Williams
Virginia-Benn Cline, Bob Good
Wisconsin-Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman
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