Standing Up for Freedom of Religion in Hillsborough County

One would think the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution is simple enough for anyone in the United States to grasp.  It reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It appears there are some employees in Hillsborough County Parks who fail to understand the fundamental right of religion because a county employee recently informed a church group they could not hold Vacation Bible School classes in a county public park unless they were willing to not use the Bible!  Fortunately, that egregious assertion that would have denied religious liberty has been addressed; however, it does not “fix” the perceived adversarial posture some employees of government have taken towards Christianity.  Because this is not the first time County Employees have taken a less than friendly position regarding religious liberties, Dr. Stacy White,  chairman of the Hillsborough County Commissioners, is proposing that Hillsborough County Park Employees undergo awareness classes on Religious Liberty.

Today I spoke briefly before the County Commissioners in support of Chairman White’s proposal; however, I also asserted that the County Commissioners’ 2014 decision essentially mandating Christian  businesses (ex. – caterers, photographers, bakers, florists, musicians, printers, to name a few) will either serve the demands of the LGTBQ community (example, Gay Marriage) and capitulate their Christian convictions or be punished with crippling lawsuits, set in motion an adversarial tone against churches and Christians in the County.   The following is my brief exhortation to our County Commissioners:

May 17, 2017

I understand the issue before you this morning is to consider a vote on requiring Hillsborough County Park Employees to undergo awareness classes on Religious Liberty. I am here to not only support those classes, but suggest the same be taught to all County Employees.

I find it appalling that anyone employed in Hillsborough County would undermine basic 1st Amendment Rights of Freedom of Religion; however, this is not the first time and the slights against Christianity in this county is growing…from County Park officials daring to tell a church they cannot hold a Vacation Bible School if they use the Bible, to a teacher in Riverview demanding students remove crosses in her classroom.

To assist you in finding the source of this adversarial attitude toward Christians and the free practice of their faith and convictions in this county, I suggest this board of County Commissioners look into your own misguided legislative decisions.

In October 2014, five of the sitting commissioners on this board took an adversarial posture against Christians in this County when you voted to appease the LGTBQ community and attack the free exercise of religion of Christian business owners and businesses. You demanded that every private, family owned business that embraces traditional moral values either cave to your ordinance or face the threat of crippling lawsuits for daring to not capitulate to the invasive demands of the LGTBQ community.

If you are going to take up the requirement that County Park Employees undergo awareness classes on Religious Liberty, I suggest you do the same and fix your own misguided decision to demand by government fiat, that Christian businesses set aside their own religious and moral convictions.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Tampa

Dear Tampa Residents,

Today your City Council, consisting of an Insurance agent, a Racehorse breeder, a retired jeweler, two lawyers, and an English major decided they know more about parenting your children then you.   In fact, they know so much about parenting your children they made it illegal for you to seek the guidance of a licensed mental health professional to counsel your minor children struggling with their sexual identity.

Perhaps you are comfortable with the heavy hand of Tampa government, but I am not!  Is there anyone who honestly believes an Insurance agent, Racehorse breeder, retired jeweler, two lawyers, and an English major know more than City of Tampa parents when it comes to deciding what is best for their minor children?

I am appalled, outraged, and incensed that your elected officials have no respect for parental authority or the sanctity of your home.  Regardless of their good intentions, the Tampa City Council’s decision to make it illegal for parents to seek the counsel of licensed mental health providers for sexually confused minors is egregious and one parents should not accept as tolerable.

The following was my appeal to the Tampa City Council before today’s vote:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My name is Travis Smith and I am the Senior Pastor of Hillsdale Baptist Church at 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL.

I have heard several reference the Bible today and I will share a verse with you myself: “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15b).  The topic before us seems to be one area government is bent on rejecting the rights of parents to seek guidance and counsel for their children.

I am outraged the Tampa City Council is considering a law, an ordinance making it illegal for parents to seek the counsel of licensed mental health professionals for their minor children struggling with same-sex attractions.

I am appalled by your arrogance that elected officials… an Insurance agent, a Racehorse breeder, a retired jeweler, two lawyers, and an English major presume to have the right or wisdom to demand by fiat that your will be imposed on the families and licensed mental health providers and counselors of Tampa.

How dare you attack the sanctity of the home and family under some misguided notion you either know better or perceive you have the authority to usurp the role, wisdom, and authority of parents.

How dare you interfere with the God-given role and responsibility parents bear in knowing, training and guiding their own children!

On behalf of the membership of Hillsdale Baptist Church of Tampa, FL, I ask that you not abuse the public trust by thrusting yourself into a role that you have no place and no business.

Regardless of your “good intentions”, a vote for a law that limits or prohibits loving parents from seeking counsel and guidance from licensed mental health professionals is an incorrigible action and an overreach of your office and responsibility to this community.

Respectfully…get out of our homes; stop meddling with our children; and don’t you dare use the heavy-heeled boot of government to crush the freedoms and liberties of the citizens of this community to have the right to seek counsel, help and guidance for their children.

* Today’s Update: The Tampa City Council approved by a 7-0 vote to make it illegal for parents to seek the counsel of Licensed Mental Health Professionals for minor children struggling with their sexual identity.

Your Patriot Parson,

Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2017

Life in an Amoral World

control the narrativeThe Islamist terrorist’s attack on the Pulse, a “gay bar” in Orlando Sunday morning, June 12, 2016, gave rise to an outpouring of mourning, national disbelief, debates among reporters and pundits regarding the murderer’s motive (in spite of his Facebook posts in the midst of the attack confessing allegiance to ISIS), and politicians furthering their own aspirations making political hay of the tragedy.Pulse gay nightclub

Rather than focus on the radicalization of Omar Mateen, an American citizen born to Afghan immigrant parents, much of the news coverage has been focused on assailing America’s 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

Rather than focus on the murderer’s Islamic ideology and his trips to Saudi Arabia, liberals have used the occasion to attack conservatives who are defenders of Constitutional liberties and traditional moral values.

Rather than explore the failure of government agencies like the FBI who not only had Omar Mateen on their radar screen, but we now know dismissed concerns raised by those familiar with his Islamic militancy, media hawks have used the tragedy to push tolerance for homosexuality and assail those who consider homosexuality a sin of moral depravity.

There are many who follow this blog who are suffering “spiritual” PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), a result of the relentless attacks on Judeo-Christian values by President Obama’s administration.  I find devout Christians and non-Christians are “shell-shocked” by the rapid dismantling of moral pillars that have not only supported our nation from its conception, but also the majority of humanity for six millennia.

We are witnessing the ascent of an amoral society that, having rejected the historical definitions of morality, sanctity of life, traditional marriage and family, has no interest in defining morality.  There is a concerted effort afoot among liberal politicians, media outlets, reporters, social agitators, educators and the majority of religious leaders in America to control the narrative at the sacrifice of a substantive discussion of right and wrong.right vs wrong

In a post-Christian, 21st century world, controlling the narrative is the end game of the grab for power and influence.  There is no compromise or middle ground with militant progressives and, if left unchecked, they will dismantle our Constitutional liberties robbing us of our freedoms of speech, religion, the press, right to peaceably assemble, to petition for governmental redress of grievances, and the right to keep and bear arms.

The tragic loss of 49 lives last Sunday morning in Orlando and the scores of lives and families forever scarred by a senseless, barbaric attack of a militant Islamist, pales in comparison to the threat to our citizens and nation should social and political amoralists not only “control the narrative”, but shout down and silence voices of reason and morality.

Your Patriot Parson

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Call County Commissioners Before 9:00 AM Today

gay pride flagDear Hillsborough County Neighbor,

You must call Hillsborough County Commissioners this morning, before 9:00 AM, unless you want to see the rainbow “gay pride” flag of the Homosexual movement flying over your Hillsborough County Center this Thursday!

County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, a militant homosexual who has pushed the “gay agenda” throughout the County, at the last-minute, put on this morning’s County Commissioners’ agenda a motion to remove our nation’s flag that is flying at half-mast by order of the president in memory of those who died in the terrorist attack in Orlando, and fly the “rainbow flag” in its stead.

Our nation’s flag at half-mast is a statement of mourning and solidarity as a nation to the world, not because a gay nightclub was bombed, but because a militant Islamist attacked our nation murdering 50 of our fellow-Americans.

Commissioner Beckner using the occasion of the terrorist attack to politicize the LGBTQ movement is not only shameful, but also polarizing.

Please call or email the County Commissioners before today’s 9:00 AM meeting and leave a message requesting them to:

  • Table Commissioner Beckner’s motion to fly the “gay pride” flag and leave the American flag flying at half-mast as ordered by the president
  • Not use the tragedy in Orlando to make political statements

The following are the names, phone #’s and email addresses for the Commissioners…again, you must make your voice heard before 9:00 AM today.

Beckner                813-272-5730       becknerk@hillsboroughcounty.org

Crist                   813-272-5452       cristv@hillsboroughcounty.org

Hagan               813-272-5725          hagank@hillsboroughcounty.org

Higginbotham   813-272-5735            higginbothama@hillsboroughcounty.org

Miller                 813-272-5720         millerl@hillsboroughcounty.org

Murman             813-272-5470         murmans@hillsboroughcounty.org

White                   813-272-5740                whites@hillsboroughcounty.org

For love of country,

Your Patriot Parson

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

“The Wrong Side of History”

wrong side of historyI am not sure who coined the term, but I have engaged with a few radical, left-wing, immoralists who, after arguing in favor of non-traditional, anti-family, and anti-God morality (i.e. legalized “gay marriage” or the new political lightning rod, “Transgender” rights) attempt to shut down all discussion with the “fait accompli”, “You are on the wrong side of history”.

President Obama, his administration, liberal activists and the media, all purveyors of a “new morality”, have defended their immoralists’ positions arguing conservatives who adhere to Biblical morality and traditional family values are “on the wrong side of history”.Obama

Writer for the New York Post, Jonah Goldberg, observed in a March 21, 2014 article titled, “The pathetic ‘wrong side of history’ plea” that, “In domestic politics, people (mostly liberals) tend to say, ‘You’re on the wrong side of history’ about social issues that are breaking their way. It’s a handy phrase, loosely translated as, ‘You’re going to lose eventually, so why don’t you give up now?’”

Goldberg continued in the same article noting the “wrong side of history” argument is Marxist in origin and was employed by Karl Marx to argue “that opposition to the inevitability of socialism was anti-intellectual and anti-scientific”.

I find Goldberg’s observation insightful because that is exactly the argument purveyors of immorality make as they dare anyone to challenge their campaign for the abnormal under the guise of “civil rights” regardless how depraved or unnatural their cause (i.e. giving a status of normalcy to “boys self-identifying as girls or girls self-identifying as boys).

Who empowered liberals to become arbiters of the right or the wrong side of history?   Who appointed the President and his liberal consortium to become authorities in matters of morality?

No, I am not intimidated by a liberal’s assertion, “You are on the wrong side of history”.   My concern is not a progressive antagonist’s interpretation of history past, but the history I am living and legacy my generation will inevitably leave as its history lesson.

BibleChristian friend, the author of “His-Story” is the God of Eternity; Sovereign, Righteous, Holy, Just and my Savior.  I have no interest in being on the “right side” of an immoralist’s view of history.  I am on the side of the Author of “His-Story” Who has said, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Not identifying militant Islam only adds to the Orlando Tragedy

Washington PostKaren Tumutly, a political correspondent for The Washington Post, evidences in her June 12, 2016 article, “The new norm: When tragedy hits, Americans stand divided” why the media cannot be trusted for honest, objective reporting, even in the midst of tragedy!

Evidencing a bias against the facts, Tumultly writes in the first sentence, “Three of the most contentious questions in American culture and politics — gay rights, gun control and terrorism — collided in a horrific way in an Orlando nightclub early Sunday.”

Tumulty goes on to expose a naiveté that should either have her banned from the newsroom or an act of deceit that should have subscribers to The Washington Post canceling their subscriptions!  Tumultly writes, “It is not entirely clear what inspired Omar Mateen to commit the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, or what might have been done to stop it.”

Dear Ms. Tumutly, the violent tragedy in Orlando was not a clash over gay rights, gun control and no-name terrorism!  The catalyst and incendiary rhetoric of militant Islam inspired the slaughter of innocent lives.  Hiding the cause of the Orlando tragedy behind paper dragons like “gay rights, gun control and terrorism” is cowardly and dishonest.  Like the President, your refusal to identify Islamic inspired acts of terrorism only adds to the tragedy.

Patriot Parson

www.SpiritualMinutemen.net

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith