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Op-Ed - Faith, Filth, and Fairness

Out of the abundance of our hearts the mouth speaks. No clearer example of this can be found than listening to the comments of North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson. Perhaps more concerning is this new political branding of Christian Nationalism offering no place for diversity, equity, inclusion, or pluralism. To label any group of people as “filth” or “garbage” communicates bias and bigotry. The Lieutenant Governor and those parading him around the state for photo opps and fundraisers are slowly yet intentionally polluting our democracy with elements of Fascist ideology where certain people are dehumanized because of a lack of adherence to our spiritual or social principles. We must not be fooled. This is not about books in school libraries nor is it about one’s view of pornography. There is very little division or debate over those issues. This is about hate and division. This is about language as a tool to incite. This is about fundraising. This is about elections. This is about power. As we recover from an international pandemic and wrestle supply chain challenges and a workforce crisis this is certainly not the time or place for extremism but rather bipartisan solutions. It is entirely possible to both preserve the religious beliefs of Christians and other religious groups while protecting gay and transgender people and any other vulnerable groups from discrimination. Instead of public policy solutions on the critical issues impacting all of us – criminal justice reform, education, healthcare, immigration, the environment, election integrity and spending – we are hearing hateful rhetoric attacking fellow Americans. There must be zero tolerance for officials who use their platforms and influence to bully and bash people with whom they disagree. The evangelicals that have lined up in support of these far-right polarizing political personalities do not represent the God of the Bible. God is not represented by an applause for hate speech and silence on matters of poverty, racial justice, defense of all life, and the stewardship of the earth. As a Christ follower I believe the Bible as the standard for matters of faith, doctrine and conduct and that our churches must be welcoming of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. Everyone has been created in the image of God and no person is filth and it is never permissible to bully anyone based on gender or gender expression. Convictions and compassion can coexist as we are called on by God to simultaneously love God and our neighbors. It is time to choose the North Carolina and America we will live in

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