NC's lieutenant governor: 'We are called to be led by men,' not women

In remarks to a Charlotte-area church last month, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson told the congregation that God relied on David to kill Goliath, "not Davita." He also announced plans for his autobiography.

Posted Updated

Travis Fain
, WRAL state government reporter

Christians are “called to be led by men,” North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson told a Charlotte area church congregation last month.

The comments, archived online by the church, were part of an extended critique of the social justice movement, with Robinson urging men to “put on the whole armor of God” and “take the head of your enemy in God’s name.”
Robinson, a Republican expected to run in 2024 for governor, is well known for controversial comments, and he’s made misogynist comments on his Facebook page in the past. But the May 22 remark at Freedom House, a multi-campus church in and around Charlotte, seems to be a newer talking point for the lieutenant governor, who is on an extended tour of North Carolina churches.
More than half of the state’s registered voters are women, and Republican political consultants have said in the past that Robinson's comments could threaten his ability to attract support from critical suburban voters. If the GOP keeps control of the legislature but loses the governor’s race in 2024, a Democratic governor could continue to thwart the Republican agenda with veto power.
Robinson also used the church visit to reveal more about his autobiography, which is scheduled to be published later this year.

The lieutenant governor said that, as a Christian and a Black man, he’s tired of being told how to act. Then he slumped his shoulders and caricatured the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome.”

“Not one time in my life when I faced adversity did I say, ‘You know, I shall overcome,’” Robinson said. “My God tells me that when I face adversity that, number one, I am to stand up like a man! M-A-N!”

Then Robinson said, as he often does during controversial remarks, that he was “getting ready to get in trouble.”

“We are called to be led by men,” he said, which brought applause and some shouts of agreement. “God sent women out … when they had to do their thing, but when it was time to face down Goliath, [He] sent David. Not Davita, David.”

Robinson went on to say that, in the Bible, God sent Moses to lead the Israelites. “Not Momma Moses,” he said. “Daddy Moses.”

Robinson didn’t respond to requests for comment on Monday. On Tuesday, after this article had been published, Robinson issued a video statement on social media.

“For someone to insinuate that I don’t believe that women can be leaders in their homes, and in their communities, and in their churches, and in their state, and in their nation, is absolutely 100% ridiculous,” he said in the video. "...The comments that I made at Freedom House church were directed towards men and encouraging men to stand up and take on the role of leadership as well to be leaders in their homes and in their communities in this state in their nation."

The husband-wife lead pastor team at Freedom House didn’t return a phone call or email seeking comment on Monday. On Tuesday, after this article had been published, Freedom House Senior Pastor Penny Maxwell responded in an email, saying that she was “highly offended,” adding: “I’m so tired of the way culture is treating women.”

In a follow-up interview Tuesday, Maxwell said she loved what Robinson said, and that she thought he’d make a great governor.

She said the women’s liberation movement is “one of the biggest offenders of tearing down women that I’ve ever seen,” because it encourages women to compete with men. She also criticized the Carolina Panthers for bringing in the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader, saying that spot “should have been given to a woman.”

“I am offended at the wussification of America,” Maxwell said. “Women are losing their place in society because of this false notion of toxic masculinity, when in fact I think that the masculine heart is something after God.”

Robinson “never said only men should lead,” Maxwell said. “He just said that men should step up and take the places that I think they’ve abdicated.”

Women of the state Senate Democratic Caucus issued a statement Tuesday condemning Robinson’s remarks as misogynistic. “We need more women leaders,” the group said in the statement. “What we don’t need are politicians using their bully pulpit to literally bully women.”

Robinson’s remarks were part of a lengthy condemnation of the social justice movement, a concept of equality often espoused by progressives. The lieutenant governor said too many people listen to the doctrine “of social justice instead of the doctrine of Jesus Christ” and that “they will be on their way to Hell.”

Robinson went on to say that God “knew what he was doing when he made men big and hairy and ugly.”

“It’s because you’re supposed to scare away predators, whether they’re in the woods or standing in front of your kids in elementary school,” he said.

Robinson has repeatedly complained about books available in school libraries, and about teachers that he says talk to young children about sexuality and gender issues. He has compared them to sexual predators staking out playgrounds.
Anyone who reads to a child about transgenderism or homosexuality, is “doing it to twist that child’s mind” and is “just as much of a groomer as that person was down at that playground,” he said during a March sermon at Prospect Baptist Church in Albemarle.

Robinson book coming this September

Robinson also said during his visit to Freedom House that his autobiography will be published later this year.

The book is titled: “We are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot.” It takes part of its title from Robinson’s 2018 speech on gun rights to the Greensboro City Council, which went viral online and helped launch his political career.

“If you’d like to find out some fascinating stories about Mark Robinson, the crazy guy who screamed at the city council and became lieutenant governor, go on Amazon to buy the book,” Robinson told the congregation.

The book is available for pre-sale now online, with a Sept. 13 release date. It’s 256 pages, the hardcover retails for $30, and it will be published by Republic Book Publishers, a publisher that describes itself as a new company focused “on influencing the debate over public policy issues, politics, and the American culture” by highlighting new conservative writers.

The book will document Robinson’s journey from “the depths of poverty to a political awakening as a conservative who would ultimately become the first black lieutenant governor of North Carolina,” according to the description online from Barnes & Noble and other booksellers.

Robinson shared some of his life story with the congregation at Freedom House when he spoke there May 22. He said he was one of 10 children living in a “little red and green ramshackle house that was infested with rats” in Greensboro.

He said his father was an alcoholic who beat his mother “incessantly,” and that he once saw them fight with a claw hammer.

“Bloodied each other with it all throughout the house,” he said, adding that when he compared himself to the business people he saw in downtown Greensboro he “felt less than human.”

Robinson also said that growing up poor taught him not to fall for foolishness like the social justice movement.

“I learned what was important in life,” he said. “Because of that, I built a wisdom that taught me not to be engaged in foolishness like this. You see, social justice and its lessons is a folly.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the date of Robinson's sermon. It was May 22. The YouTube video of the speech is dated May 23.


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