The Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling on the North Carolina lieutenant governor to step down over his intemperate, bigoted, unpatriotic and un-American remarks.
This past weekend at the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Salt & Light Conference,” Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson made several disturbing statements expressing his desire for America to become a Christian theocracy, and urging those who disagree to leave the country: “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.” He then went on to blame school shootings on the decline of religion, and to advocate for forcing religion into our public schools: “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.”Our nation is founded on a godless Constitution, whose only references to religion in government are exclusionary, such as “no religious test shall ever be required” for public office, FFRF reminds the lieutenant governor. The United States was the first nation to adopt a secular Constitution, investing sovereignty in “We the People,” not a divine entity. In our nation, citizens can be any religion they like or none at all.
“You took an oath of office to uphold the secular U.S. Constitution,” FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker write to Robinson. “If you are unable to meet this basic requirement, you appear to be unfit to serve as an executive public official in our secular democracy. Imagine the fury, and rightly so, were an elected official to suggest we are an Islamic or atheist nation and that those who disagree should leave the country.”
Robinson is insulting and denigrating a huge number of people. Nonreligious Americans make up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population by religious identification — 35 percent of Americans are non-Christians, most of them nonbelievers. More than one in four Americans now identify as religiously unaffiliated. The nonaffiliated, in fact, are now the largest demographic by “denomination.”
Furthermore, Robinson ignorantly claims that the government must push religion onto a captive audience of school children and other Americans to stop school shootings. But the evidence does not bear this out. (By the way, students are already free to pray privately, read the bible in their free time, and even attend Christian clubs in public schools.) Scientific studies show that societies and states with less religion have less violence. And when any given factor of societal health or well-being is measured, invariably the less religious countries score better. The pattern of lower religiosity to higher societal well-being also exists within the United States. States that tend to be among the most religious in the nation have the highest rates of violent crime.
By demanding that all citizens must follow his religion, by stigmatizing a minority viewpoint within our society, Robinson has violated the rights of every citizen. Nonbelievers are police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, librarians, teachers and students. They are part of his community, and when he says that they should be removed from the country — even offering to pay for their removal — it ostracizes and stigmatizes nonbelievers and non-Christians.
“You were elected lieutenant governor, not preacher,” Barker and Gaylor conclude. “Your oath of office has charged you with great responsibility over citizens, including those citizens who may not or do not share your personal religious viewpoints. You have shown that you are unfit for this responsibility. You owe an apology to all non-Christian and nonreligious Americans, and you should resign.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nationwide educational nonprofit association with more than 35,000 nonreligious members and several chapters across the country, including nearly 800 North Carolina members and a chapter in the state. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters related to nontheism.