Tuesday, September 10, 2019

State Lawmaker Says Call to Get Rid of Higher Education Was a Joke

Posted By on Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 12:17 PM

Sen. Kerry Roberts
  • Sen. Kerry Roberts

The Tennessee lawmaker who said higher education is a “liberal breeding ground” and should be eliminated last week is now saying his comments were made in jest.

Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) said on his weekly radio talk show, “The Kerry Roberts Show,” last week that getting rid of higher education would “save America.”

Roberts’ comments came as he was detailing the events of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing last month on legislation that would essentially ban abortion outright in Tennessee.

During his show, the lawmaker made targeted comments about Cherisse Scott, founder and CEO of SisterReach, an organization meant to help women and girls of color, women living in low-income and rural areas, and the LBGTQ community obtain reproductive justice.

Scott, a pro-choice advocate, testified at the Senate’s hearing last month, opposing the proposed legislation. But, Scott was cut off by the chairman of the committee, Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), halfway into her allotted 10 minutes.

click to enlarge Cherisse Scott
  • Cherisse Scott

Roberts said when Scott was called to testify, everything was “upended” and “hijacked by someone who wanted to make their liberal political point that didn’t have anything to do with the rule of law. “

He said the committee was “tired of people lecturing us from the left from their lofty throne room chairs of their pious church distorting the message of the gospel.”

“Pick every bit of liberal indoctrination that you can get in a university setting today,” Roberts said. “You’ve got all of these intersectionalities, and white supremacy, and oppressive this and that. Every buzzword in the liberal lexicon is being thrown at us by some woman who’s not even talking about the legal argument. She’s just going off on something and she’s some minister for Jesus Christ in the inner city….And she’s just getting louder and louder and louder.”

Roberts called Scott’s testimony a “diatribe on social justice. I don’t even know what to call it. It was ridiculous.”

“You know what the sad thing about it is?” Roberts continued. “There are people who are sitting here applauding her and cheering her on.”

Roberts then attributes Scott’s and others’ stances to higher education.

“If there’s one thing we can do to save America today, it is to get rid of our institutions of higher education right now and cut the liberal breeding ground off,” Roberts said. “Good grief. The stupid stuff our kids are being taught is absolutely ridiculous. This is a woman who’s a product of higher education and she’s learned all of this stuff that flies in the face of what we stand for as a country. And here we are as legislators, paying for this garbage to be taught to our children.”

The “price that we pay” for higher education, Roberts added, is the “murder of over half a million innocent lives every year with people sitting there justifying it to their last breath.”

According to his Senate biography, Roberts is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville.

In a response posted to Facebook, Scott reveals that she “is a college dropout who left school to help a sick parent.”

“Deal with it and the THOUSANDS of other educated black women who are degree-less and YET making moves on behalf of ourselves and our communities,” Scott wrote.

Roberts also suggests that Scott and her supporters were merely at the hearing to “get paid.”

“This is what tells you what you need to know,” Roberts said. “Everybody that was a part of her crowd, her supporters, her acolytes, all pull out their phones because they’re hoping for the viral video. That’s what it’s about, my friend, in the year 2019. ‘Can we provoke a controversy? Can we get a viral video? And can we use that to plea for money so we can get paid to stir the pot?’”

Soon after Robert’s comments were brought to light by the Tennessee Holler, the lawmaker posted to Facebook Monday night saying that his comments were made in a joking manner.


“My listeners clearly understood the humor and hyperbole of it,” Roberts wrote. “That was a week ago. But today, it’s a news story.”

Others disagreed.

Watch the full radio show below. His comments on higher education begin near the 50-minute mark.

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