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This rising GOP star embodies the Christian right’s bigotry

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is a religious conservative favorite because of his derogatory comments, not in spite of them.
Mark Robinson in Raleigh, N.C.
Mark Robinson in Raleigh, N.C., on Aug. 24, 2021.Bryan Anderson / AP file

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, according to a report from Talking Points Memo, has for years used his Facebook feed to promote racist, antisemitic, homophobic and transphobic viewpoints and memes. Elected in 2020, the Republican is reportedly considering a run for governor next year. He is a rising star on the Christian right, and his cache of appalling social media posts is further evidence that there is no daylight between the movement that bills itself as being committed to “family values” and “religious freedom” and the swamps of the bigoted far right.

The lieutenant governor’s prolific Facebook posts promoted a hodgepodge of familiar right-wing conspiracy theories, blaming “globalists,” the “occult” and “the New World Order” for America’s woes. He used racist epithets against the Revs. William Barber and Al Sharpton, the civil rights activists, and claimed expressions of “white pride” aren’t racist. He rejected his own membership in the Black community, writing, “Why would I want to be part of a ‘community’ that sucks from the putrid tit of the government and then complains about getting sour milk?” He dabbled in antisemitic conspiracy theories and regularly posted homophobic and transphobic statements, among them calling homosexuality “a FILTHY ABOMINATION, that satisfies your degenerate, un-natural lust.” (Robinson hasn’t responded to requests for comment from Talking Points Memo or other outlets covering the story.)

Like his Facebook posts, Robinson’s more public hatred doesn’t stop with LGBTQ Americans.

These statements are no surprise, given that during his time in office, Robinson has hardly shied away from similar diatribes in public. In a 2021 appearance at a Baptist church in Seagrove, North Carolina, that went viral for his transphobic comments, Robinson claimed that “we have reached a point in public schools now that we are telling children don’t be sure you are a little boy or a little girl.” He then attempted to draw a bizarre and illogical contrast between gun rights, which he supports, and trans rights, which he opposes. “There are people that think that a 53-year-old man with no criminal record doesn’t have enough sense to own a firearm, but they think a 5-year-old child has got enough sense to decide their gender,” he claimed. He called on Christians to “wrestle this away,” because exposing kids to this “filth” in public schools amounted to “child abuse.”

Like his Facebook posts, Robinson’s more public hatred doesn’t stop with LGBTQ Americans. He has indulged antisemitic conspiracy theories. He has told an audience that “we are called to be led by men,” not women. And he has equated abortion with murder, even though he and his future wife got one in 1989, before they were married.

Robinson has risen in prominence thanks in no small part to having attained celebrity status on the Christian right. Tony Perkins, the influential president of the Family Research Council, Washington’s top Christian right political advocacy group, called him “truly a trophy of God’s grace, a man to be admired for his courage, righteousness and justice,” in an endorsement of his 2022 book. He has been a speaker at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference, a who’s who of GOP stars. My Faith Votes, a leading organization that mobilizes evangelicals to vote, has promoted Robinson’s political rise. He has appeared on the popular Trinity Broadcasting Network program of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who told him, “God has given you an ability to communicate.”

That support springs from his public pronouncements of faith and his adherence to the Christian right’s talking points, including opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights, and his demagoguery about supposed bogeymen like socialism, critical race theory and “indoctrination” in public education. Robinson also ardently promotes of the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation and the idea that Christian patriots must seize it back from anti-Christian forces. Last year, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, Robinson opened his speech by declaring, “The United States of America is a Christian nation, founded on the principles and wisdom of Jesus Christ,” and he called on “patriots to stand up and reclaim who we are as Americans.”

Evangelicals’ admiration isn’t in spite of Robinson’s derogatory comments but because of them.

At the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, he told the audience they were “the soldiers” holding the line against “a whole horde being led by Jim Crow Joe, Nasty Nancy and Chump Schumer,” referring to President Joe Biden, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. He closed his speech with eliminationist fervor, imploring the audience to “sweep this socialist horde off of this blessed land we call the shining city on the hill.”

Evangelicals’ admiration isn’t in spite of Robinson’s derogatory comments but because of them. After his transphobic comments in the Baptist church sparked an uproar, Perkins lauded Robinson for taking a courageous stand against “cancel culture” and for “not apologizing for telling the truth.” Right-wing firebrand Charlie Kirk hosted him as a “courageous” guest on his radio program to discuss “how conservatives can confront the radical transgender agenda that is attempting to infiltrate American schools.”

Robinson’s rapid ascent from political newcomer to top statewide official is a model for other right-wing activists who aspire to wage a spiritual battle to save Christian America. Last year, he was a featured speaker at a North Carolina gathering of the American Renewal Project, which recruits and trains pastors and other evangelicals to run for office. David Lane, who spearheads the effort, has long claimed his goal to be “the mobilization of pastors and pews to restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage.” These gatherings are typically closed to the media, but Religion News Service reported that in his appearance, Robinson called on the 200 attendees: “Join the fight. Don’t join the fight under man’s power. Join the fight under God’s power.”

Robinson’s record shows that this “fight” isn’t about “values” or “freedom” but rather about an all-out attack on the freedom of political adversaries. This new-model politician for the Christian right, and therefore for the Republican Party, will unabashedly stick it to the “woke” left with slurs and aspersions, conspiracy theories and innuendos. And all the while, he’ll claim they are carrying out God’s will.