RALEIGH — In a Nov. 8 interview, Ron Baity, president of Return America, told NSJ that the group’s recent rally at the state Legislative Building in Raleigh had 5,000 people according to police estimates, and that they are now taking their message outside North Carolina, starting a chapter in neighboring Virginia.
“Our purpose was to stand up for the truths that many are standing down on,” Baity said of the Oct. 29 rally. “For instance, and we spoke on each one of these issues: we stand up for the flag, we stand up for law enforcement, we stand up for the First Amendment, we stand up for the Second Amendment, we stand up for true American history, we stand up for the traditional Biblical family, and we stand up for the unborn.”
Baity said these are critical issues of this hour, and that it’s become fashionable for people to disrespect the flag or call for defunding the police.
“I’ve been in law enforcement as a chaplain since 1992, and I’m watching these municipalities cut funding, and it’s having an adverse effect on law enforcement, which is needed now more than ever,” he said.
He also said that efforts to teach things like Critical Race Theory or the 1619 Project in schools “is all about changing our history.” While these all may seem like unrelated issues and cultural battles, Baity said they are about maintaining stable societal structures.
“I think history tells us that when your basic fundamental structures crumble, you lose your nation,” he said. “And that’s the last thing we want to see happen. We love America. It’s been the greatest country for freedom in the history of the world.”
He said the rally was about bringing people together that wanted to push back on those who were contributing to this crumbling.
“All of those issues are prevalent issues that have come under attack, so we just wanted to bring attention to it… to let our state know and our nation know that we’re not going anywhere and that there are a lot of us that are not changing.”
The family, he said, was the most important issue, and he believes, “There’s a decay in the family structure in our country. And if the family disintegrates, surely our nation cannot stand.”
Baity believes that Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who was a featured speaker at the rally, has brought energy to the movement and “is a breath of fresh air.”
“One of the wonderful things about Mark is he’s willing to stand, and he will stand, and he is standing. And for someone to come along in the political world and say, ‘Wait a minute; we’re moving in the wrong direction; we need to get back to basics,’ is a breath of fresh air.”
While Robinson has seen protests in recent weeks over comments he made about teaching homosexuality and transgenderism to students, calling it “filth,” Baity said they did not have any significant counterprotests or negative feedback on their rally.
“The comments following the rally have been phenomenal in the positive,” he said. “I received one or two negative emails, or something, but not even enough to be concerned about. Overall, the people are grateful that we have an organization, Return America, that stands up. Very few are doing it.”
Baity said they were also instrumental in organizing to pass the marriage amendment, which was ultimately nullified by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision. His organization also was able to successfully sue Gov. Roy Cooper over the closing churches during COVID-19.
Attorney David Gibbs, president of the Christian Law Association, who spoke at the rally as well, led the legal effort in the case against Cooper’s restrictions on churches.
“We are now beginning to expand into other states,” Baity said on the group’s growth. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to be in Virginia Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. We’re starting a chapter of it in Virginia.”
Baity said he has been pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem for the past 41 years, adding that Robinson will be a visiting speaker to the church this Sunday.