By Aaron Robert Kathman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Aaron Robert Kathman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

After her strict Christian upbringing, Dolezal’s parents said they believed their daughter portrayed herself as black as a way to hurt them.

Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington, has been in the center of a media storm. Her parents claimed that she has misrepresented herself as a black woman. Dolezal resigned from the NAACP.

Dolezal’s biological parents, Ruthanne and Larry, have said that they are content with their daughter’s advocacy work. His father, however, told the Huffington Post that Rachel Dolezal misrepresenting her identity and ethnicity, and “trying to invent reality,” is too much. In an interview with NBC’s Today the parents said that they believed their daughter portrayed herself as black as a way to hurt them, the Salon reports.

The Dolezals came out following Rachel Dolezal’s reports to police and media that she’d been a victim in nine racial hate crimes.

The Dolezals are deeply conservative evangelical Christians. They practice Young Earth Creationism, which teaches, for example, that God created the world in six days, that humans and dinosaurs once existed at the same time, and that the Earth is about 6,000 years old.

Their faith has led them to do religious advocacy work in South Africa, and to adopt four black children, which is viewed by many evangelical leaders also as a way of practicing evangelical Christian faith. Larry Dolezal said that adopting African-American children is one reason why Rachel Dolezal “gravitated to that community and that people group.”

According to a 2014 memoir written by the Dolezal’s biological son Joshua, he and Rachel grew up in Troy, Montana, with “parents who had a cult-like devotion to Christianity,” according to the New York Daily News. Larry Dolezal allegedly spoke in tongues and made the children wait for dinner each night while he read the Bible. The children were denied from watching TV and reading books, although their mother allowed them to read Christian books.

Rachel Dolezal herself has claimed that her parents decided to speak out amid a family sex abuse scandal, in which Dolezal has accused her brother of molesting a child sexually in Colorado. The case is going to trial later this summer.

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