In the 50 years since God called me to ministry I have never seen the extreme barrage of vicious deceit like that which has been organized against the legislators and citizens of North Carolina. After the passage of House Bill 2 (HB 2), a campaign of severe misinformation began flowing to corporate leaders, media outlets and other targeted groups. The media should know better, but most are blinded by their own depravity.
Christians should not fall into this trap of deception.
Scripture gives sufficient warnings including Paul’s warning to Timothy. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, NKJV).
At a rally in support of our governor and legislators on April 25, Mark Harris delivered a speech that I want to share with our readers.
Harris is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte and is running for N.C. Congress to represent the 9th district (see item below).
The text of Harris’ speech expresses his views and his concerns over attacks against the state’s leaders. He began with a question he is frequently asked. Where did the conflict surrounding HB 2 originate?
“That’s an important question. You don’t think the North Carolina General Assembly just decided to create HB2 for no reason. Do you think our legislators just awoke one morning and said, ‘I think I’d like to ruin my Spring, threaten my re-election and draw the wrath of a bunch of misinformed CEO’s and celebrities, see my name on the front page of biased newspapers, passing opinions for news every day’? I don’t think so. No, when you ask where this began, the answer is, all of this began in Washington, D.C., with a lobby group called the Human Rights Campaign. When they embarked on a strategy to take the nation city-by-city, pouring millions into elections and ad campaigns. This group has never been able to get traction statewide in North Carolina, and it is driving them crazy.
“North Carolina overwhelmingly defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman in 2012 despite the millions of dollars that was poured into opposition of the measure by the Human Rights Campaign. They then turned their attention to North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte. And just as they had done in Houston [Texas], the lobby group identified candidates friendly to their agenda and got them elected, which led to enough votes on the Charlotte City Council to enact the group’s radical agenda of creating a special class of protections for certain sexual behaviors, as well as the infamous bathroom section of the ordinance.
“It is worthwhile to just take a moment and understand the degree to which the Charlotte City Council had to ignore the citizens it represents in order to pass the ordinance. The numbers will tell you the story. Over 250,000 emails were collectively received by the city council and the mayor in opposition of that ordinance. Over 20,000 people signed the petition in opposition to their ordinance. Over 700 people – reported by the Charlotte Observer, I might add – gathered in the driving cold rain and wind in a rally in opposition to the ordinance. And of the 140 speakers at the city council meeting the night of the vote, the vast majority opposed [the ordinance]. That’s the true numbers.
“Last but certainly not least, Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the members of the city council who voted for the ordinance ignored the fact that they were told their actions were not in line with the North Carolina constitution and would likely be overturned.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I beg you, do not be deceived by the claims now being spread by Mayor Roberts [saying] she had no idea that the state would overturn her bathroom bill. When the city council voted to approve the Charlotte ordinance in February of 2016, they did so knowing absolutely that the state would likely take action to overturn it.
“When people ask me – reporters and all – ‘What do you think about the economic challenges being faced as a result of this?’ I am quick to point out, any economic loss for North Carolina due to this issue must be placed squarely at the feet of Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the members of the Charlotte City Council.
“So somebody has to ask, ‘Why? Why, when the numbers tell such a story? Was it because gay couples were being denied accommodations at restaurants and hotels? Well, apparently not, since the Charlotte Observer reported that the lesbians who filed suit against HB 2 stated that they had never been denied accommodations anywhere. So, Why?
“Was it because homosexual individuals were being denied employment? Not likely since asking about relationships and marital status is already illegal in job interviews under federal law. So, why then would they defy such amazing numbers?
“Because a powerful special interest group told them to. And because a powerful special interest group benefits from being able to call our state legislators and our leaders “haters.” Because a powerful special interest group, above all else, no matter how much our state may suffer, wants Roy Cooper elected governor, because he advances their own narrow agenda. This group pumped nearly a million dollars into congressional campaigns in 2014, including nearly $10,000 to Kay Hagan in her failed bid for re-election to the United States Senate. You see, today you need to know the facts.
“Because of a powerful special interest group that claims to be for tolerance and diversity is so intolerant and unmerciful that it celebrates as county clerks go to prison, family-owned bakeries go out of business and pastors sermons are subpoenaed for daring to live and work in accordance with their faith.
“I’m here today, in closing, to say to you, the members of the North Carolina State Legislature on the other hand, did what they were elected to do. They acted swiftly, they acted effectively and they acted constitutionally. They did not impede the right of any business to enact any policies it wants in regards to sexual orientation or bathroom use. They just protected us from the heavy-handed assault on religious liberty that always occurs when these special interest groups get their way.
“I am here today to ask you to join me in simply saying, ‘Thank you to the legislature. Thank you to the lieutenant governor, thank you to Gov. McCrory. Thank you for standing strong.’”