North Carolina’s Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson was among members of Congress, state legislators, various candidates for office, and radical religious-right activists who gathered at Temple Baptist Church in Mount Airy, North Carolina, last weekend for the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Salt & Light Conference.”
Robinson, who closed out the event on Saturday, is a regular participant in “pastor gatherings” organized by the American Renewal Project, an organization run by Christian nationalist political operative David Lane. As Lane recently explained, “the aim and purpose” of such gatherings is “to recruit pastors and spiritual leaders to run for local office—city council, school board, county commissioner, parks and recreation, etc.—in 2022, 2024, 2026 and thereafter, in an attempt to neutralize and overcome the assault by cultural Marxism.”
Based on the speech Robinson delivered at the Salt & Light Conference, it is easy to see why he has been a featured speaker at so many of Lane’s events. The ardent strain of Christian nationalism that fueled his remarks would have been extreme coming from a radical right-wing pastor; it was even more alarming coming from a high-ranking elected official.
Robinson opened his remarks by declaring that the United States has been, is, and always will be a “Christian nation” and that anyone who doesn’t like it is free to leave:
As always, we thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. … It is because of my religion that I stand here today. It is because of Jesus Christ that I stand here today. If I lose my zeal for God, I will no longer stand in the place that he put me. You can’t continue to stand where God puts you without the God that puts you there. And so, we’re going to continue to mention him. As for this not being a Christian nation, yes, it is! If you don’t like it, I’ll buy your plane, train, or automobile ticket right up out of here.
As long as there is a remnant of his people in this place that continue to pray to him and for his wisdom, this will always be a Christian nation. It was established by him. When the founders said those words, when they wrote them down and declared them to the world and told them to a king that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed”—by who? Their creator. Not the Congress, not the Senate, not the king, but by their creator—”with certain inalienable rights.” God Almighty heard that and said, “There’s a nation I can get behind.” So, this is still a Christian nation, and we still give him thanks because he is still worthy and always will be.”
Later in his speech, Robinson proclaimed that the solution to stopping school shootings is to have public schools teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation:
I’m tired of turning on my TV after a school shooting and watching folks come together on school grounds, where they done told me I can’t pray, I can’t bring my Bible, can’t mention my God, can’t say nothing about Jesus Christ, but as soon as there’s a school shooting, everybody’s down at the schoolyard praying. Now you done run him off your property, but as soon as there’s trouble, here you come, “We’re gonna have a prayer vigil down at the school because we had a shooting.” You know, it seems quite easy to me, sir, if you had had that prayer vigil before that shooting, if you had let God come in that building before that shooting, if you had told those students, ‘Jesus Christ is the way and the light, and only through him can you receive salvation,’ there wouldn’t have been no school shooting.
It’s too late now. Your little half-hearted attempts at soothing Jesus Christ, it’s not gonna work. You done kicked God out of your school. Children don’t know whether they men or women, they’re murdering each other with impunity and can’t read on a grade level, all because you done turned your back on the wisdom of the man that built that schoolhouse you in.
Robinson closed out his remarks by attacking Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and strongly hinting that he intends to run against him, telling the crowd that the state needs a governor “with the courage of John the Baptist” and making it very clear that he believes himself to be just such a person.