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.