Earlier this year, a man named Mark Robinson gave a speech as an invited speaker at the Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove.
In his speech, he said, “There is no reason why anybody in America should be telling a child about trans-genderism or homosexuality — and all of that filth. Yes, I call it filth.”
Two weeks later, he gave a similar address, in which he said, “There ain’t but two genders. You can’t transcend God’s creation. The transgender movement in this country is demonic and full of the spirit of the anti-Christ.
“It’s time for Christians to stand up and tell the truth.They are trying to drag our kids into the pit of hell, teaching them that mess in our schools. They should be teaching our children how to read instead of teaching them how to go to hell.
“I am not afraid to stand up and tell the truth about that issue. Teaching homosexuality or trans-genderism ain’t got no place in our schools. Yeah, I said it and I mean it — and if you don’t like that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”
Mark Robinson is the lieutenant governor of North Carolina. Last year, he handily won the Republican nomination, winning 32 percent of the vote among the nine candidates running. In the general election, he faced Democratic nominee Yvonne Lewis Holley in a race in which either Robinson or Holley would become North Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor. Robinson was elected.
In his recent hate-filled tirades, what Robinson has not addressed is the truth that those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are people. They are just like us, standing in the population of humanity, and deserving the respect that should be accorded to every human, equally and with an expectation that we all should be held to account for the mark we make with our lives. And, if we look at the statistics of citizenship, we find that the LGBT community comports with the very best of us. They are our brothers, our sisters, our parents, our children and our neighbors.
But to North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, they are “filth.” In response to calls for apology or even resignation, Robinson has doubled down. “I will not back down,” he said. “I will not be silenced. And I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the right of children to receive an education that is free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom. And I don’t care who doesn’t like it.”
Like other bullies called to account for their actions, he dodges, deflects and doesn’t — as he promised — take responsibility. He doesn’t explain why he said those people are “filth.” He does exploit the controversy and hate he ignited with a video that includes sexually explicit images on his campaign Facebook website. He then used it to send an email fundraising appeal. Robinson has promoted his persona as a “brash and unfiltered conservative culture warrior.” As such, he actively opposes abortion rights and promotes climate change denial.
Robinson’s past anti-Semitic comments have drawn scrutiny and condemnation. He claimed that the movie “Black Panther” was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by Satanic Marxists” that was “only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets” (using a Yiddish word for Black).
On his Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers, Robinson’s posts impugn transgender people, Muslims, former President Barack Obama and Blacks who support Democrats. Robinson accused people “who support this mass delusion called transgenderism” of seeking “to glorify Satan.” Robinson called former President Obama “a worthless, anti-American atheist” and accused American Muslims of being “invaders” who “refuse to assimilate to our ways while demanding respect they have not earned.”
In 2020, Robinson asserted that the coronavirus was a “global” conspiracy to defeat Donald Trump, and dismissed the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, writing, “The looming pandemic I’m most worried about is socialism.”
The Charlotte Observer editorial board has described Robinson’s posts as “cringe-worthy” and “an embarrassment,” while the state Democratic Party called them “homophobic, anti-Semitic and simply unhinged.”
When asked about his volatile statements, Robinson has repeatedly declined to apologize, referring to his posts as “my personal opinions” and saying, “I’m not ashamed of anything that I post.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has simply described Robinson’s statements as “horrific.” Given that Robinson has stated that he will not resign, the only question remaining is whether he will ever be elected to another office in North Carolina — or anywhere?
Don Tortorice is a former attorney and professor at the Law School of the College of William and Mary.