Rev. Nancy Petty of Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.
Though Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s hateful attack on LGBTQ people was uttered in a Christian church, it continues to draw a growing chorus of condemnations and calls for his resignation from people of faith and religious leaders. Last week, a group of North Carolina-based church leaders issued a rebuke to Robinson in an event outside of his official office. The group demanded:
— that Robinson plainly and publicly apologize for his remarks and the damage they inflicted on LGBTQ people everywhere,
— that he sit down and engage in dialogue with the protesting group,
— failing items #1 and 2, that he resign or be removed from office.
Today, the national group Faithful America (which is organizing a petition calling for Robinson’s resignation) issued this statement:
Washington, D.C. — For months, far-right Christian nationalists have turned public school board meetings into battlefields, waging their culture wars at the expense of children’s education. These incidents have sprung up around the country, but North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is taking the practice to a whole new level by telling a church congregation that right-wing Christians should take over public schools to prevent the teaching of LGBTQ equality.
Nearly 10,000 members of Faithful America and counting, the largest online community of Christians acting for love and social justice, are now calling on Robinson to resign. Their voices join a chorus of other organizations who are exerting pressure as well, including People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, and multiple state senators in North Carolina.
Video of Robinson’s remarks surfaced this month in which you can clearly hear him tell a room full of congregants “there’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” The comments were made this past summer.
After public outcry, Robinson has refused to so much as apologize for his comments, instead insisting that his warped religious beliefs about LGBTQ people are separate from his political responsibilities. But the truth is, he has a long history of making religiously-charged political statements, including incorrectly calling America a “Christian nation.”
Needless to say, Robinson’s expressed views on the LGBTQ community are an affront to the Gospel as much as they are an affront to public office.
“Derision and exclusion are antithetical to the loving and inclusive teachings of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are called to open our arms and our hearts to all of our neighbors, to respect the God-given dignity of all of God’s creation, and to never turn away a person because of who or how they love,” said Rev. Nathan Empsall, executive director of Faithful America. “Lt. Gov. Robinson’s remarks are a vile betrayal of Christian values, and Faithful America’s members have no patience for anyone who hijacks Jesus’s name to advance a political agenda of hate and division.”
Meanwhile a large group of North Carolina-based Jewish leaders weighed in as well:
We, the undersigned, condemn Lt. Governor Mark Robinson’s continued bigoted rhetoric attacking the North Carolina LGBTQ community. While the Lt. Governor recently attempted to justify his hateful words, we find his clarification to be lacking. Given his history of inflammatory statements, we demand he clearly and unequivocally apologize.
In the Book of Genesis, we read very clearly that God has created humanity in the Divine Image, which compels us to recognize all of humanity to be a part of the Creation and deserving of our support and love, not hatred nor insult. Members of the LGBTQ community, like the rest of us, are created in the image of God and have added tremendously to the lives of people in this state and country. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as individuals, let alone for their contributions to our world.
Lt. Governor Robinson’s oratory and writings have been laced with Holocaust-themed language, which not only belittles the six million Jews and members of the LGBTQ community who were murdered during the Holocaust, but is particularly frightening in light of growing antisemitism and homophobic acts which we witness in North Carolina and the U.S.
The Book of Proverbs teaches, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” (Pr. 18:21)
Lt. Governor: Your cruel, damaging words have real-world consequences. LGBTQ youth are at great risk for suicide and self-harm. We have lost faith in your leadership and find your rhetoric to be blasphemous.
Acknowledge and apologize, repair and change your ways, Lt. Governor. Those are the steps of the repentant soul. We can no longer tolerate an elected official who holds such a high office in our great state of North Carolina speaking with such vitriolic, antisemitic, and homophobic language that reflects so poorly on our state, incites further hatred and life-threatening behaviors, and only divides our population.
Rabbi Joshua Ben-Gideon, Beth David Synagogue, Greensboro
Rabbi Philip J. Bentley, Agudas Israel Congregation, Hendersonville
Rabbi Kenneth Brickman, Sandhills Jewish Congregation, Pinehurst
Rabbi Mark Cohn, Temple Emanuel, Winston-Salem
Rabbi Robin Damsky, Limitless Judaism, Durham
Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Temple Beth Or, Raleigh
Rabbi Ariel Edery, Beth Shalom, Raleigh
Rabbi Dr. Andrew Vogel Ettin, Temple Israel, Salisbury
Rabbi Libby Fischer, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro
Rabbi John Friedman, Durham
Rabbi Fred Guttman, Emeritus, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro
Rabbi Rachael Jackson, Agudas Israel Congregation, Hendersonville
Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, Ph.D., Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
Rabbi Asher Knight, Temple Beth El, Charlotte
Rabbi Andy Koren, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro
Cantor Karen N. Kumin, Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community, Raleigh
Rabbi Mitchell Levine, Congregation Beth Israel, Asheville
Rabbi Dr. Laura Lieber, Duke University, Durham
Rabbi Emily Ilana Losben-Ostrov, Temple Israel, Wilmington
Cantor Jacqueline Marx, Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary, Carrboro
Rabbi Batsheva Meiri, Congregation Beth HaTephila, Asheville
Rabbi Rachel Smookler, The Ruach Community, Charlotte
Rabbi Matthew Soffer, Judea Reform Congregation, Durham
Rabbi Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh
Rabbi Jennifer Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh
Rabbi Michael Wolk, Temple Israel, Charlotte