Opinion: I’m a Pastor. Mark Robinson does not represent Christian values

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Greensboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

By Rev. Dr. Latonya Agard

April 25, 2024

Mark Robinson has spent much of his political career courting Evangelical Christian voters. But for Apex-based Pastor Latonya Agard, Robinson’s past remarks are the antithesis of the gospel of Christ.

Explaining why Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson appeals to so many evangelical voters requires more time and space than I have. However, I invite Christians who desire to follow the Jesus of the gospels—not the idol brandished by political candidates to win your votes—to consider the human impact of Robinson’s platform and rhetoric.

How does mocking the survivors of mass shootings or denying the Holocaust reveal the love of God?

How does revoking the rights of women or threatening to use physical violence to control people promote the flourishing of life?

Mark Robinson has proudly done all of these things and more, yet his popularity continues to soar, and it’s soaring in the name of Jesus. But who is this “Jesus” whom Robinson sermonizes?

I have reflected a great deal on Jesus’ words to the crowds who listened to him in the first century CE.

Looking back to when Jerusalem rumbled with protest and celebration, multitudes flooded the Holy City, where religious elites and hardline adherents sat in judgment of those who envisioned God’s grace overtaking the boundaries of theology and tradition.

But what the elites feared had already happened; God was already bringing about something new, already transgressing the borders of their faith, turning the world upside down, and the rallying cry of the parade disturbed those who could not see that the old things were passing away. Jesus, not Caesar, was the Messiah of the people. With Jesus, they had found peace, dignity, hope, and liberation, so they proclaimed, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” to the one who had touched lepers, dined with sinners, calmed storms, and raised the dead. “Hosanna, in the highest!”

I imagined they danced, danced in the glory of forgiveness and acceptance, in joy and freedom, knowing that God had made them accepted in the Beloved. Jesus had welcomed them – the sick, the lame, the outcast and despised. To them, he had extended grace on the Sabbath, to them, he had shown compassion and love. Jesus of Nazareth had seen them, loved them, walked with them, and healed them.

Like them, Jesus understood the trauma of social rejection and isolation. So, he made his home among them and grounded his ministry in serving them.

Their leader was no conquering warrior, parading captives in shame; no, Jesus had triumphed by calling them into a new reality different from the coercion and oppression of Rome. What would this new reality require of them? Live the great commandments – Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

So who is this “Jesus” whom Robinson preaches? He sounds more like the former President Donald Trump, who is running as the messianic hope of a frightened, morally corrupt faction. Through polarization and hate mongering, Robinson appeals to his political base, cue the shaming of civil rights leaders Revs. Martin Luther King, Jr., Al Sharpton, and William Barber; and degrading social justice as a faithful response to the gospel.

Robinson’s “Jesus” would align North Carolina with legislation and practices we see in states like Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Arkansas, such as increased criminalization of marginalized communities by barring access to family planning, banning books and DEI initiatives, stripping legal protections from trans and queer people, and restricting the rights of women.

Robinson’s “Jesus” seems committed to preserving a culture of patriarchy, privilege, prejudice, hatred, and division.

None of that sounds like the Beloved community of the gospels, nor is it a future I’m willing to embrace. As a member of the resurrected community of God, I’m participating in our present struggle to realize hope. When I enter the voting booth, I will vote for life, not death; love, not hate.

What about you?

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CATEGORIES: ELECTION

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