The Naivety of “Taking the Knee”

I purposed to allow this blog to lie dormant except for the most pertinent concerns; however,  the continuing offense and collusion of NFL management, owners and players provoked me to offer my view (if only for my well-being).

I hope the majority of Americans recognize the “take the knee” protests practiced by NFL players is staged and encouraged by liberals promoting a socialist, anti-American ideology, using young millionaire athletes for their own ends.

The majority of professional athletes “taking a knee” are little more than young naive college graduates.   They have been the objects of praise and adulation their whole lives for no other reason than they can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than the average.  Apart from playing football and the wealth that comes with stardom, they are like the majority of young Americans…searching for purpose and core values.   Many of these bigger than life athletes have been coddled by parents, pampered by coaches and are ill-equipped for anything more than the games they play.

There are a few athletes in professional sports who have a story to tell and inspire others to rise above mediocrity and become successful, productive citizens; however, they are the exception.

The “take the knee” gang inspires nothing and no one.  They inflame prejudice, provoke division, and dispirit the downhearted.   They live in gated communities, enjoy the luxury of multi-million dollar estates, and on Sunday “take the knee” piously suggesting they identify with millions of fans who cannot afford the expense of parking at the stadium let alone the price of admission!

Who is to blame for giving naive young men the privilege of offending an American public?  

We are!  We are guilty of idolizing professional athletes, showering them with applause and adulation, and nurturing in them a misguided notion their underdeveloped thoughts and opinions deserve expression on America’s biggest stage.  We are guilty of paying taxes that build stadiums and then privilege these misguided young adults with an opportunity to offend sons, daughters, spouses, and parents whose loved ones died in the line of duty!

We are to blame for electing politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who are anti-American liberals, socialists, and marxists!  We are to blame for being silent when politicians, main stream news reporters, teachers, professors, community leaders, and professional athletes denigrate our nation, erode our Constitutional liberties, and assault America’s core-ideals with impunity!

Reflecting a Marxist ideology, liberals veil the offense of “take the knee” protests in the principle of “free speech”, but loathe those who point out their ignorance and hypocrisy.  

The 1st Amendment states, “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…”  Americans are protected from a repressive government that would silence its citizens; however, the right of “free speech” does not extend to a private work place, whether it is a Mom and Pop Pizzeria, local McDonald’s franchise or an NFL stadium.

The hypocrisy of the NFL on this point is undeniable.   As a corporation, the NFL did not hesitate to silence the Dallas Cowboys when they wanted to display a miniscule helmet decal in support of law enforcement after five police officers were slain in the line of duty in 2016.   However, the same NFL management supports and tacitly encourages its players to “take the knee” supporting liberal, anti-American speech that offends patriotic Americans.

Wake up America!  You will not give a kid wearing a McDonald’s uniform a free pass on offensive speech.  You will not allow a police officer to disparage you and justify his actions as “free speech”.   Why then will you give the NFL and its players the right to defame America’s flag and National Anthem?

A liberal, socialist ideology is driving the dialog and young NFL players “taking the knee” are pawns of those whose goal is the denigration of American patriotism and the erosion of American Constitutional liberties.

Copyright – Travis D. Smith

The Tragic Consequences Of Silence

* The following article is generated out of concern for the absence of pastors and Christian laypeople in the democratic process.  At a time our Constitutional liberties are under assault by the progressive, militant left, professing Christians are MIA.  Last Wednesday evening, May 15, 2017, my wife and I spoke before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a committee that is formed every 20 years and tasked with hearing the voice of Florida citizens concerning revisions to the Florida Constitution.  The progressive left dominated the meeting in their attendance and agenda, while the presence of conservative voices was pathetically minuscule.

Deafening silence, detachment, distance, disengagement, disorganization and moral desensitization are but a few words that come to mind when I ponder how far the average American stands from the political arena.   There is an even greater lack of participation in our democracy among those who profess to be Christians .

I have attended school board meetings, city and county commissioner meetings, and political party meetings for more than a decade, and can attest that few pastors or professing Christians in Tampa Bay engage in public forums to express opinions, concerns or outrage over laws, ordinances and public policies that not only assail biblical morality and freedoms, but left unchallenged are tools to advance the erosion of our families, communities, state and nation.

Those of us who attend and participate in the democratic process have had our eyes opened to the organized forces of liberal socialists whose ideas and politics are antithetical to America’s heritage.  Many who practice liberal politics are strongly adversarial toward traditional marriage, family, morality and decency.  Their efforts are often demonstrated in forms of mob violence, attacks on free speech on college campuses, and shutting down conservative ideas in the public forum.  School boards, city and county commissioner meetings, along with political rallies have become the staging ground for militant liberals.

The enemies of Biblical morality and conservatism have taken control of our schools and institutions of higher learning, eroding the foundations of our homes and culture.  While the moral fabric of our society hangs tattered and torn, the majority of pastors and professing Christians are dismissive of those sounding the alarm warning our families, churches, schools, and society are under attack.

Christian friend, the time for political ambivalence is passed.  If we do not awaken to the imminent threat of being silenced altogether, we will be relegated to the dismal heap of irrelevance.

It is time for all who love American freedom to awaken out of sleep!  We must become active citizens for the sake of our homes, churches, schools and our beloved nation.  It is time for pastors to assail the ideology of liberal indoctrination.   It is time for Bible believers to support pastors and churches that dare to be faithful to God’s Word and stand with them in private and public forums.

Be forewarned; history will judge us harshly for failing to be stewards of liberty and defenders of biblical morality.

  • To stay informed on issues that impact your life in Tampa Bay, subscribe to Mr. Terry Kemple’s “Community Issues Council” for Christian Citizenship in Action Tampa Bay.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

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

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

PRINCIPLES AND PROMISES, NOT PERSONALITY, DIRECTED MY VOTE FOR TRUMP

trump-and-hillary
The rejoicing and the uproar over Donald Trump’s election in these post-election days is both amusing and heart-breaking.
I am amused that the media and liberal Democrats express outrage that “white evangelicals” voted for the president-elect and tout his “baggage” to justify their anger and resentment for the “basket of deplorables” who cast their vote for him in record numbers.  Be assured, like most conservative Republican voters, I am under no delusion that Donald Trump is a religious messiah or America’s political savior.   The administrations that precede the Trump administration have not been models of virtue and I will not be looking to Washington, DC for moral leadership.
america-divided
It is heart-breaking that there is a great divide in our nation between those who voted for Hillary Clinton and those who voted for Donald Trump.  The liberal media and Democrats have assailed Trump voters and suggested the root cause for the divide is race, gender, education, and “white prejudice\privilege”.  I don’t pretend to speak for all Trump voters; however, none of those insinuations are on my political radar screen.  My vote was fundamentally driven by principles derived from my Christian worldview and love for this nation.
two-worldviews
Donald Trump is the president-elect, not because he is a model of spiritual or moral virtue, but because the only other viable option was Hillary Clinton whose political platform was adversarial and diametrically opposed to my worldview.  
Hillary vowed to continue progressive policies that are destroying our nation; Trump promised to uphold Constitutional freedoms and appoint Supreme Court justices who will follow the founders’ intent in our nation’s founding documents.
Hillary’s desire to continue the erosion of our nation’s sovereignty and her opposition to securing our southern border was polar opposite to Trump’s commitment to “Build the Wall”, stop the flow of illegal immigrants, and establish a system of vetting.
Hillary’s embrace of radical groups that promote lawlessness, demean law enforcement, and risk anarchy gave law-abiding, patriotic Americans who respect the rule of law no choice other than Trump.
Hillary’s affirmation of “partial-birth abortion” in the third debate horrified many Democrats, while Trump championed a pro-life stance for the unborn.make-america-great
Hillary’s diminution of American exceptionalism and her globalist view of the world at the sacrifice of hard-working Americans was an unacceptable backdrop for Trump’s commitment and invitation to “Make America Great Again”.
No, I am not a poor, deluded, hate-filled, prejudiced, white evangelical who has abandoned spiritual and moral principles.  I am a color-blind, Bible-believing Christian who loves America and longs to see the spiritual and political virtues that made her great restored as guiding principles for our homes, churches, schools, and government.  I want our federal, state, and local governments, and the bureaucracies that oppress our freedoms, to get out-of-the-way and allow individual freedoms to ring once again.  I want to see political correctness vanquished and common sense restored.  I long for an unhyphenated-America that is “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.we-the-people
I long to see America great again and pray president-elect Donald Trump will keep his promises and prove worthy of my trust.
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

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