Prayer for Students and Families of Broward County, FL

The news of the senseless slaughter of innocent young lives in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Wednesday afternoon, February 14, 2018 dominates the news this morning.  As of this morning, the death toll remains at 17 and the names of the dead, students and teachers, has not been released.

Like you, I am aware the tragedy of the loss of life reaches far beyond the dead…siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, classmates, teachers, administrators, neighbors, and yes, our state and nation…are all affected and scarred by the violence, suffering and death.

Liberal pundits will stand in their bully-pulpits and blame firearms for the loss of life.  The media and anti-liberty zealots opposed to the 2nd Amendment, will attack the NRA and conservatives, and advocate the need to limit, if not eliminate private ownership of guns and rifles.

Few will look deeper and honestly examine why this happened.  Why 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student expelled last school year from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, would plan and unleash a hail of gunfire on students of his former high school?

We are learning Cruz’s life is scarred as much as the wounds he inflicted on innocent lives Wednesday.  USA Today reports, “teachers and former classmates say [Cruz] had an angry disposition that led to him being expelled and flagged as a danger on school grounds.”

Former classmates describe Cruz as a troubled soul and many say they are not surprised he unleashed his fury in an act of violence. According to Fox News, an unnamed student told a news station, “kids joked around that the student [Cruz] would be the one to ‘shoot up the school.’”

Cruz is a troubled soul and tragedy seems to have been the haunt of his life.  Fox News reports Cruz and a younger brother were adopted and both his father and mother, Roger and Lynda Cruz, are dead.  Roger apparently died of a heart attack several years ago and Cruz’s mother, Lynda, died of pneumonia November 1, 2017.  Unhappy with family members who took him in, sometime after Thanksgiving 2017, Cruz moved into a mobile home with a high school friend who is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz’s anger, rage and violence are pandemic in a generation educated in classrooms and nurtured in a society with an irreligious view of human life.  The doctrine that human life is sacred and every life is to be cherished is lost on a generation that mocks God, denies the Creator, and is entertained with acts of violence in video games and television programs from early childhood.

I am not surprised a 19-year-old murdered 17 classmates; I am surprised it does not happen more often.  Look into the eyes of today’s youth and you will find many who appear soulless…unloved and unloving; desensitized by bitterness, rejecting authority, angry with God, and waiting to be triggered into an act of rage that will not only destroy their lives and future, but leave countless others broken and dismayed.

Remembering Cain, the first son of Adam, murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8), we understand the problem is not guns and rifles; the problem is sin.  The invitation to this generation is the same as it was to Cain when God wrestled with his sinful soul and asked, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?…” (Genesis 4:6-7).

God warned Cain, “…if thou doest not well, sin lieth [crouches] at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire [sin drives our desires], and thou shalt rule over him [man will either master sin or sin will become his master](Genesis 4:7).

King Solomon taught his son the same truth, “[A sinner’s] own iniquities shall take [trap] the wicked himself, and he shall be holden [entrapped] with the cords [ropes] of his sins.”

Nikolas Cruz, and I am afraid many like him, is the personification of hopelessness.  Sinners have but two paths to choose in life…Remorse or Repentance.  Cruz followed the path of remorse and dejection and left in his wake 17 lost lives.

Repentance, on the other hand, assumes responsibility, admits guilt (Psalm 51:4), confesses sins, and seeks forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

Let us pray for the lives touched by the loss of 17 lives, but remember there are many Nikolas Cruz’s in our midst who feel unloved, act unloving, need to know the love of God, and our lives serve as the conduit of compassion for their lost souls.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2018 – Travis D. Smith

Hillsborough County Public School Teachers…Before You Vote

Only today did I become aware that public school teachers in Hillsborough County are voting for the next president of their Teachers Union.  While I would generally give little thought to a Union election, this one I cannot ignore because it bears heavy influence on who will be leading thousands of public school teachers in Hillsborough County and the moral and political agenda they will pursue in our county.

Because the Teachers Union bears heavy influence on curriculum choices for our public schools in Hillsborough County, every parent, teacher, and taxpayer should be concerned with who the teachers choose as their president. Why?  Because the president of the Hillsborough County Teachers Association will bring his\her own political agenda and moral standard not only to education, but also to the lives of Hillsborough County public school students and employees.

As a Public School teacher, you face the evidences of a decaying culture and the consequences of moral corruption every day.  With the exception of Law Enforcement, I believe you have the most difficult job of any I might imagine.

Sadly, a breakdown of discipline in the home has introduced the same in our schools. Every day you face students, many of whom have no concept of discipline in their studies, nevertheless, you seek to inspire them.  You engage with parents who are disengaged from their children’s education and exhausted from holding down jobs while struggling to pay bills. 

I am aware there are times the administration is less than supportive and the School Board falls short in fulfilling promises and expectations.  I understand the activities of a Union can be a powerful force and you seek leadership that will strive to put forward your interests and that of your schools and students.

I urge you…please do not divorce the moral component of your decision as you cast your vote for the next president of your union.  The president of the Hillsborough County Teachers Association will set the tone and political agenda for your Union.

It is not my role or purpose to endorse anyone, but to caution you to choose a leader who reflects not only your career aspirations, but also the moral character that will command the respect of students, parents and peers.

Travis D. Smith

P.S. With his permission, I am copying below my blog an email from Mr. Terry Kemple of the Community Issues Council concerning Ms. Valerie Chuchman, candidate for president of the Hillsborough County Teacher’s Association.

From: Terry Kemple <>

Subject: This Woman Is Running For Teachers’ Union President !?!?!

Date: February 13, 2018 at 8:44:25 AM EST

February 13, 2018

Community Issues Council – This teacher is mocking religion in her classroom. And she wants to be President of the Hillsborough County Teachers’ Union.

This is Valerie Chuchman, one of two candidates for President of the Hillsborough County Teachers Union! She is a high school teacher and wore this outfit to school one day. Although it’s not distinct in this picture, the necklace she has on is a “crucifix” made out of little human skulls.

The Facebook comment box is back and forth between her and other teachers commenting on how “creepy” the outfit is and how that’s the impression Chuchman wants to create.

It’s bad enough that she chooses to ridicule religion by wearing an outfit that mocks Catholic Nuns when the only ones she influences are the students at the school where she teaches. Imagine what it will be like if she wins the election and is able, through her leadership of teachers as Union President, to influence teachers at every school in the District.

The hostility toward God and His people in our schools is already oppressive enough toward students, teachers, and staff who are believers. Having this woman in this key leadership position would only heighten the persecution against expressions of faith and those who believe in God!

I looked at her campaign literature and it doesn’t mention that she’s “married” to another female teacher at Riverview High School. You may remember her spouse’s name, Lorajane Reidas.

Reidas is the RHS teacher who forced students in her class to remove their cross necklaces (I guess it would have been alright if the students had worn crosses made of skulls)! She also has coercive homosexual material all around her classroom.

If you’re a teacher, please take all of this into account when you cast your vote for CTA President. If you know other teachers, please share this information with them so their votes are fully informed.

Together we can make a difference!

God bless you!


Community Issues Council

2312 Cherry Ridge Lane

Brandon, FL  33511

813 368-9077



You Call This Education? I Don’t Think So!

A confession before an observation: I could care less whether or not there is a Daddy-Daughter school dance in New York City public schools or anywhere else for that matter!

I am, however, very concerned our public school systems and parents are squabbling over “political correctness” and “Inclusion” while education in the public school system has become a national crisis.

Parents and American taxpayers should be infuriated over the failure of our education system to carry out their principle charge…educating America’s youth!  The disgraceful education received by our youth is one from which this nation may never recover.  America’s public-school system needs a total re-start beginning on the local level.

Let’s be real, the duty and responsibility of training and discipline begins at home and it is not the schools’ system’s duty to teach moral values, an appreciation for learning, or acceptable behavior.  The American family is in crisis.  More than 20 million children are fatherless and many more (estimate 33%) have never known the guiding hand of a father.  Too many mothers are bearing the burden of not only parenting, but also struggling and sacrificing to supply basic needs for their children.

Sadly, there is a breakdown of discipline in our schools and survival seems to be the measurement of success for students and teachers.  Administrators order teachers to promote students through the school system, giving them passing grades for nothing more than showing up for class!

No wonder America’s youth are ignorant of phonics, cannot write cursive, are unable to read, conduct simple math, and have no knowledge of history or understanding of American government.

School administrators and teachers fret over “Inclusion” and parents seem oblivious to the reality their children’s education is being sacrificed.  Politicians and liberal media beat the drum for irrational Gender-Neutral matters, while students lack textbooks of their own and have no concept of homework.  Education has been usurped by liberal indoctrination and “political correctness” and America’s youth are the losers.

Tell the students the truth…they do not and never will live in a “fair world”; the best evidence of that is what today’s public schools’ call “education”!

Copyright 2018 – Travis D. Smith

“Never Trumpers”

The anarchist spirit of the “Never Trump” movement in our society is not only a challenge to our democracy, but also an act of defiance against the will of “We The People”.

The ability of real-time mass communications coupled with intrusive social media platforms gives radicals an opportunity to organize and foment a revolutionary ideology that is borderline hysteria. Pairing a spirit of rebellion with a general public’s ignorance of America’s history and our Constitutional form of government and the stage is set for an erosion of our laws and individual liberties.

Like sheep led to the slaughter, many young Americans are blindly following socialist anarchists bent on eroding the underpinnings of our republic and destroying America.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

The 45th President Needs Your Help!

trumpWe have a new president, but the heart of the matter is still a problem of the heart.

Like many I know, I have optimism for these United States I have not known since the Reagan years. Rather than the “mandy pandy”, metropolitan male leaders who have led our nation for two decades, it appears America finally has a president who refuses to speak in Orwellian tones of political correctness and is not afraid to charge into the fray of Washington politics.

president-trumpDonald Trump’s election and his inauguration speech appears to solidify he actually has the gall and fortitude to institute as policy the promises he made to the American people during his run for President.  Already the media, liberals, and progressive Republicans are in an uproar that we have a President who appears determined to put the interests of America—FIRST!

The fact so many, perhaps even a majority, in places of leadership and influence in our country are shaken by a “Make America Great Again” ideology should be a cause of alarm to the American citizenry.   The diatribe launched against President Trump by the media following his inaugural speech should raise alarm in the heartland of the USA.  Using their public platform into American homes, the liberal media is desperate to paint the new President as “Hitlerian”, anti-Semitic, comparing the new administration to Nazi German of the 1930’s before Trump has been in office 24 hours.chris-matthews

Why such a desperate, imbecilic attempt to delegitimize President Trump before he has crossed the threshold into the Oval office?  Who are these antagonists of the American spirit?  From whence has this anti-America sentiment come?

It is my opinion the moral and political cancer that has diminished our nation over the last 50 years had its infancy in our secular schools and has slowly metastasized into every institution of our country, including our homes, churches, schools, civic groups, and the public media.  While average Americans were tolerant and silent, the liberal left was taking seats of leadership as school board members, city and county commissioners, school administrators and teachers, law enforcement, judgeships, state and federal offices, and government bureaucracy from the bottom to the top.  As we observed during the Obama years, government bureaucrats and the institutions they represent have become adversaries of the very constituency they are to serve.

We have a new president and I am praying for his safety as he battles an entrenched, adversarial, amoral political class in Washington, DC; however, the election of Donald Trump will be nothing more than a reprieve if we, the American people fail to confront those same enemies in our homes (via media), churches, schools, and local and state governments.

More than a new president, America needs a spiritual awakening, a fresh stirring of conviction and repentance that begins in the hearts of God’s people.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”make-america-great

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

The Dirty Secret of the Democratic Party

Americans growing up in today’s public education system haven’t a clue the Democratic party has been, in the words of liberal pontificators, “on the wrong side of history” for 150 years.
You are terribly mistaken if you are an ethnic or racial minority and believe the Democratic party is your champion; just the opposite is true!
clintonOne of the great failures of the Republican party for the last half-century has been its inability to state the true historical narrative that Republicans, not Democrats, have championed equal rights for ethnic and racial minorities.  For those who are not history buffs, Hillary’s public acknowledgement that it was the party of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican party, not the Democratic party that freed slaves my come as a shock.
It was Abraham Lincoln, a Republican President who declared the slaves free, not a Democrat.  It was the Democratic party of George Wallace, the four-time Governor of Alabama, who led the resistance against integration and fought to continue racial prejudice.wallace
When Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he had to turn to the Republican Party to pass the legislation (80% of Republicans and only 60% of Democrats in Congress were in favor of the bill).  Democrats continued the same pattern of prejudice in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed with 82% of House Republicans voting in favor of the bill compared to 73% of Democrats.  The same was true in the Senate with 94% of Republicans vs. 73% of Democrats supporting extending the right to vote to minorities.civil rights act
The Democratic media machine and its political puppets have hijacked historical facts and positioned the party as the champion of minorities; however, history reveals the Democrats were the perpetrators of slavery and prejudice, and are the slave masters of  21st century welfare dependence.  A vote for Hillary Clinton and her party not only perpetuates the myth the Democrats are for the poor and down-trodden, but ultimately threatens to enslave us all should she become president and appoints future Supreme Court justices.
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Opposition Statement to Hillsborough County School Board’s “Gender Identity” Proposal

school boardDear Hillsdale family and friends,

I took the opportunity to go to today’s Hillsborough County School Board Meeting and once again voice my opposition to President Obama’s recent edict [i.e. executive order] forcing public schools to incorporate “gender identity” in their policies for restrooms, showers, and locker rooms.  

The purpose of the President’s order, combined with the strong-arm tactics of the Department of Justice and Department of Education, is to force public schools to allow “boys who self-identify as girls” and “girls who self-identify as boys” to go to the restrooms, locker rooms and showers of the gender opposite their biological sex [i.e. sex stated on their birth certificate].  

FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington. Obama is slated Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, to finalize a set of new executive actions tightening the nation’s gun laws. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The breadth of this policy will force schools that have overnight trips to afford accommodations that will allow boys and girls to share the same room if one or the other “self-identifies” with the opposite sex [let’s be honest, we are all thinking, “What could possibly go wrong”].  

The President has threatened to deny federal funds to public schools that do not comply, beginning with financial cuts in meal programs that will primarily hurt students from lower economic households.

The following is the statement I read in front of the school board on behalf of the Hillsdale family [given the a number of pastor’s in attendance, I was brief in my statement].

“I am Travis Smith, the Senior Pastor of Hillsdale Baptist Church in Northwest Tampa’s Citrus Park area.

I am here to voice the concerns and opposition of my congregation to your scheduled “Transgender” vote on June 28 and the moral and spiritual dilemma you are forcing upon our children.

Adding “gender expression” to your nondiscriminatory policy defies the laws of nature, is biologically unscientific, and demands we all set aside common sense. [I confess,  I ad-libbed here, “I cannot believe we are even having this discussion.”]

This school board is charged with overseeing the education of our youth and not attacking the sensibilities of parents who expect our school system to be engaged in education and not radical militant social change.

This pastor and the members of Hillsdale Baptist Church will not forget how you vote on June 28.”

spiritual minutementI ask two things of my readers in closing:

  • Pray for the school board to refuse to bow under the heavy hand of the President, the DOE, DOJ, and not bend with the foul winds of political correctness.
  • Plan to attend the school board meeting, Tuesday, June 28, at 3:00 PM.

Your patriot parson,

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith