My first encounter with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson was last year at a fundraiser for the Moore County Life Care Pregnancy Center. During his speech, he sounded like a hell-and-brimstone preacher with his booming voice and anti-abortion rhetoric as he disparaged women who have had abortions.

His message reminded me of another fervent religious leader of the past: Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards was a Puritan minister of the Great Awakening who also liked to preach “hell and brimstone” to his congregation. In his most famous sermon, “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God,” he graphically describes how God enjoys holding the feet of sinners over a burning fire.

Throughout history, there have been political leaders who have used their positions to condemn and disparage people in the name of their Christian beliefs. The judges of the infamous Salem Witchcraft trials imprisoned hundreds of people, usually women, and ended up hanging 19 of them and pressing one to death.

Families with children were expected to view the hangings as a testament to how these so-called religious/political figures were carrying out the will of God.

If you peruse the internet and read some of the speeches that Robinson has given, it is obvious that he consistently uses his political position as a bully pulpit to disparage and judge other people.

If you need a little history lesson: Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “bully pulpit” in the early 20th century. A bully pulpit refers to when a public office or position of authority provides its occupant an expedient opportunity to speak on any issue.

Robinson speaks to political rallies, churches and other gatherings to fire up his listeners as he espouses his judgmental beliefs about trans- gender and homosexual people and how the schools are corrupting the minds of children. He likes to use the word “filth” to describe the lifestyles of these people. He categorizes the schools as “socialist hell holes” if programs are introduced to teach children respect and empathy for other people who are different from them.

I have friends who are lesbians and homosexuals; two of my family are homosexuals. I still mentor a former student who had several surgeries to transform himself to become a woman. These human beings are productive citizens of the community, and I am not ashamed to say that I love and respect them. Their human sexuality is between them and God.

Quite frankly, I feel insulted that Robinson holds a political office in my state. There are rumors that he is going to run for governor in 2024.

Recently it was revealed that, in 1989, his then-girlfriend and later wife had an abortion, which he now says they very much regret. Robinson did not learn from this experience that life choices are not always easy.

Robinson and I must read different Bibles, and we definitely have dif- ferent values when it comes to our Christian beliefs. Jesus consistently preached about judging other people and stressed that the standards that we use to judge other people God will use to judge us. People are to be loved and respected, even if we think they are sinners. And let me say, we are all sinners.

No doubt Robinson will continue to foster hate, discord, judgment and wrath toward the transgender and homosexual community. But to become governor of this state, it is my fervent prayer that there are enough caring, tolerant and emphatic people who will vote this man out of any political office he runs for.

Yvonne Gale lives in Pinehurst.

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(16) comments

Jim Tomashoff

Dan, in your comment of May 19, you stated that "I don’t want my views imposed on Sally or anyone else. That is tyranny." But have you not indicated your support for a ban, by law, on abortions? If so, would that not be an imposition on Sally, and all others who believe in abortion rights? If I'm mistaken, I apologize ahead of time.

Dan Kneller

You attribute to me much greater influence and power than I have or would ever seek to have. As I have said before, I have no interest in imposing anything on anyone. This is a forum to express ideas and opinions not a policy enforcement agency.

Even if Roe is overturned, to say abortion will be outlawed is simply not true. Many states will continue to offer unrestricted abortion. I believe it will present an excellent opportunity for the Christian community to demonstrate how they can offer care a support for expectant mothers with crisis pregnancies. I fully expect that with God’s help we will rise to the occasion.

Sally Larson

Robinson's girlfriend had an abortion and he thinks he has the right to condemn women who have also had them? What a religious hypocrite. Religion seems to attract the angry vengeful controlling types who think they have the right to judge others. And you wonder why religion is on the decline?

Dan Kneller

Sally, your hostility to people of faith and in particular Christians is very sad. Your abortion advocacy drives your venomous comments.

Sally Larson

Dan, I don't' have hostility to people of faith, I have hostility to people who use their faith to control and manipulate others.

Jim Tomashoff

Dan, same as how your anti-abortion rights advocacy drives your venomous comments. You've shown in the past how you can construct reasoned well written comments. But you don't when "culture war" issues are the subject. Then you just write screeds that are angry, hateful, and authoritarian (in as much that enforcing your demands would require an authoritarian government and legal system to do so). And fyi, I don't recall a single instance when Sally has shown hostility to people of faith in general and to Christians in particular. Pointing out hypocrisy is not inherently hostile in my opinion.

Kent Misegades

Mega MAGA!

Dan Kneller

What Bible do you read Yvonne? You used the well-worn reference, Judge not lest you be judged with the same standard. Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t decide between good and bad life choices? We must be careful not to ignore the duality of God. Yes, God is merciful and gracious and offers forgiveness to those who confess their sins and trust Jesus Christ for their salvation. But he is also a God of justice. The Bible is full of warnings of the consequences for violating God’s laws. God does not grade on a curve.

The Bible states unequivocally that sex was designed solely for marriage between a husband and wife. Humans may not agree with it or like it or even practice it. However, we cannot assume that God suspends his laws because of their unpopularity among men. We violate God’s design at our own peril.

Perhaps, it should be considered that Christians are trying to communicate a warning to people who practice a lifestyle contrary to God’s design and human flourishing. Think of it more as an act of love rather than hate.

Sally Larson

No Dan, it's none of your business what other people do and it's not your place to send out some ridiculous warning based on your beliefs. Why do you think it's your job to MAKE people live the way you think is right?

Dan Kneller

Sally, perhaps you’ve heard of the 1st Amendment? I know that you and others like you would like to suspend that for people you don’t agree with. I can only imagine how disappointed you must be that the “Ministry of Truth” was disbanded before it started.

I was simply responding with a truth that people may want to consider. How am I making anyone believe anything? People decide for themselves what they believe. Apparently, you want to make sure that the Christian faith is not one of their options.

Jim Tomashoff

Dan, perhaps we could live more harmoniously with each other, those who believe the Bible is the unerring word of God and those who believe it is not, by finding a middle ground. I saw two bumper stickers decades ago regarding abortion. One said, "Against Abortion, Don't Have One." The other said, "Adoption Is An Option." I agree with both. The problems arrive when those who are against abortions try, and sometimes succeed, in getting laws passed that ban them. So what we have here are two opposing absolutes. You may not be trying to make Sally believe something she doesn't, but I think you would not be displeased if your belief regarding the morality of abortion was imposed on her, and that would seem to violate her rights. If an abortion is a mortal sin let God impose it, I doubt if he needs your help. And if you believe life begins at the moment of conception, then surly a loving God would bring that aborted baby to him in Heaven.

Sally Larson

Dan, I have no interest in suspending anyone's comments but I do object when you believe your values are the only ones that are right and think you should be able to instill your beliefs into everyone's lives by believing it's your duty to do that. Feel free to believe anything you want as I do, but stop forcing other people to change for your religion by denying the individuality of the human race and trying to erase the things you don't like as though they didn't exist. That isn't being a Christian in my book.

Dan Kneller

Jim, it may come as a surprise, but I agree with you. I don’t want my views imposed on Sally or anyone else. That is tyranny. I just want the freedom to speak about important truths. If that is persuasive to some people, all the better. If not, at least they have another viewpoint to consider.

ken leary

" The Bible is full of warnings of the consequences for violating God’s laws. God does not grade on a curve." Better hope God does grade on a curve or the USA will spend an eternity in hades for its flaunting of the not killing instruction. Can you point me to an "unequivocal" biblical statement that demonstrates that "sex" was 'designed," "solely," for married (heterosexual) couples? As regards your suggestion that religious dogma is an "act of love" you might want to consider availing yourself of some historical perspective.

Dan Kneller

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” I believe this clearly states God’s intention to have marriage as the foundational unit for human flourishing.

Sally Larson

So Dan, do you just pretend there are no gay people? They exist and if you want to put that into a religious meaning, they are also children of God created by him. Why do you think you are so right? Just because a bunch of men decided to write the Bible 100 years AFTER Jesus died and came up with the statement you quoted doesn't make gay go away. No one says they want to be gay, they just are and struggle their whole lives trying to live in a world that judges and condemns them. No Christian hocus-pocus can change them. Isn't it a more Christian way to accept people for who they are than to judge them?

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