Roger Barbee: Prophet, pistols and participation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

Things, at least political ones, are moving quickly here in North Carolina, and there is no tar on the heels of many of our elected officials. Take for instance our lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson. In a sermon a few weeks ago at Trinity Baptist Church in Mooresville, he notified attendees that he had no doubt that God had created him to battle the LGBTQ movement and he added, “…Makes me sick every time I see it, when I pass a church that flies that rainbow flag, which is a direct spit in the face to God Almighty,”

And it seems that the state legislature does not want to be outdone by the lieutenant governor. This past week the Republican led body of lawmakers overrode the veto of Gov. Roy Cooper without debate when three Democrats were absent. The passed bill that is so precious to that august body eliminates the need for a permit in order to purchase a handgun. Thus, during the week of the shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, the state of North Carolina gives any violent, mentally ill, or just mean person desiring to own a pistol an opened door.

And then we have SB 430, a bill making its way through the North Carolina state legislature. Introduced by state Sen. Timothy Moffitt, the “Eliminate Participation Trophies Act” would ban participation trophies in state-sponsored youth sports across the Tar Heel state. Honest!

Our lieutenant governor appears to see himself as a modern-day prophet much like some of those in the Old Testament. Maybe he sees his calling similar to that of Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet” of Jerusalem; or that of Isaiah who, like Jeremiah, railed against the sins of the people in Judah; or like Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. But I suggest he will find better advice on how to value lives different from his own in Matthew 5-7 while not spewing hate against any God-given life from a pulpit.

Our elected Republican officials showed their mettle in the override of Cooper’s veto when they voted to open the door to possible carnage. Permits are required for many legal functions in our modern lives. To legally own a dog a license must be obtained and proof of certain immunization, such as a rabies shot, must be demonstrated. Permits are needed for most businesses to open and operate, and every vehicle, even bicycles in certain situations, must be permitted. But not pistols in the Tar Heel state whose state representatives legalized possible bloodshed during the week of a massacre in Nashville. But our politicians must agree with the Tennessee elected official who said in response to the Nashville deaths that there is nothing to be done about such mass shootings because, in quoting his daddy, “If someone wants to take you out, he will.”

That warped wisdom apparently derived from the father’s WW II experience with Kamikaze pilots.

State Sen. Moffitt introduced HB 430 as one more example of Republicans charging windmills. I guess he and his like-minded cohorts want to ensure that no aspiring athlete at the age of 5 or 6 is encouraged by a plastic trophy that will be discarded by the wannabe player in a few short years. Is the thought of being recognized for participating so repugnant to Moffitt that he sees fit to end the practice? How about the public school wrestling tournaments that recognize two outstanding wrestlers — one each for lighter and heavier weights? Will he next introduce a bill to require that public schools have only one valedictorian? There is no lack of windmills, but does their presence pose a serious threat to our culture? Hardly. Most are just novel ways of the world and do no harm, but Republicans seem to view such aspects of our culture as vehicles to be used to instill fear and distrust in the hearts of voters.

Sadly, too many Republican charge away into the so-called culture wars. But I hope some of them will think of Tennyson’s poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade” in which he writes:

“Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!’ he said.

Into the valley of Death

 Rode the six hundred.”

“The valley of death” is a horrible place and for all our sakes should be avoided. Especially by our elected leaders because they could take us with them, and some “charges” are not worth the price.

Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact him at