Gov Ehrlich Caves To Political Pressure In Firing Robert Smith

I have been a fairly consistent supporter of Gov. Ehrlich. As a fellow Princetonian, staunch Republican and lover of sports, I have a number of common touch points that bind us together. I have had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions and have been impressed with his integrity and openness of communication. But his recent firing of a political appointee over his personal characterization of homosexual behavior as “sexually deviant” strikes me as intolerant and reprehensible.

By accusing Robert Smith of being intolerant and guilty of discrimination and then acting on that basis to remove him from office as unfit to serve in his administration, the Governor actually demonstrated his own intolerance and discrimination. But the advocates of the gay agenda have so impacted mainstream society that it would have been almost political suicide to ignore such a brewing controversy. That is what I hate about politics. If men and women merely state their personal support of certain biblical truths, they are subjected to immediate discrimination and rejection.

Certainly there can be no doubt of the biblical position on this issue of homosexuality (despite pathetic attempts by some to resort to linguistic gymnastics). As the apostle Paul describes the degenerating cycle of a society that continues to reject God and become increasingly immoral and godless, he points to homosexual behavior as the epitome of “indecent acts:

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” (Romans 1:26-28)

I am not offering any “private interpretation” here – simply quoting the plain text. As an English major from Princeton, I think I can speak with some credibility that you might not agree with what the Apostle penned here, but the language is clear and direct.

So things have evolved to the point here in this great country of ours – “the land of the free and the home of the brave” – that a person can be discriminated against simply for exercising his right of free speech to affirm that he is in agreement with what the Bible says about a particular moral issue. Why did our forefathers flee Europe at great risk to establish this new society except for the desire to freely exercise their religion – including articulating the tenets thereof.

Make no mistake that we are talking about a moral issue here:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9)

Let’s see if I understand the Governor correctly. Would he say that if someone were to speak out in personal agreement with the Bible that committing adultery and stealing and swindling are deviant behaviors that such a position would be grounds for being fired?

I would be curious for Gov. Ehrlich to give some historical perspective to his stance in this regard. What position did his own parents take with respect to homosexual behavior? In fact, what was Ehrlich’s personal view as recently as his college days before being impacted by the political pressures? I don’t know . . . but I do know that the cultural landscape has changed drastically in the past 20 years to the point that people of conviction are the only ones a supposedly tolerant society refuses to tolerate. Robert Smith did not act on his convictions to discriminate against anyone. Gov. Ehrlich is the one radically denying the personal rights and religious liberties of other people. On what grounds can he justify this? Political expediency comes at a high price . . . for the standard of living we have been called to by our majestic and glorious Creator is that we are to live as God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers.

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(I quote from the Sun paper article to give some background regarding this sad event.)

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired one of his appointees to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority yesterday after the board member asserted on a local cable talk show that homosexuals lived a life of “sexual deviancy.”

The termination came a few hours after Metro board member Robert J. Smith, an architect and unsuccessful Republican candidate for the General Assembly from Montgomery County, was publicly confronted by a transit board colleague. Board member Jim Graham, a District of Columbia councilman who is openly gay, called on Smith to disavow his remarks or resign during yesterday’s regular meeting of the panel, which oversees Metro business. Graham said he was gratified that Ehrlich decided to replace Smith. Earlier in the day, Smith said that he stood by his beliefs, which he said stemmed from his Roman Catholic faith, and insisted that he would not resign unless ordered by the governor.

“Governor Ehrlich got it; Mr. Smith was clueless until the end,” Graham said. “This is serious. To defend this point of view is beyond the pale. And so I think Governor Ehrlich got that very clearly, very quickly. So I appreciate his action.”

Ehrlich said in a statement that Smith would be replaced immediately.

“Robert Smith’s comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable,” the governor said. “They are in direct conflict to my administration’s commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity.”

In an interview last night, Smith criticized Ehrlich for bowing to public pressure. “At this juncture, I assume that the confrontation that arose today and the heat it generated was too much to take in an election year,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the governor’s office kind of reacted with dispatch to a groundswell of press criticism without contacting me.”

Earlier, Smith was unrepentant in a discussion with reporters, saying that Graham was attempting to create “high theater” and that Smith’s personal views should not have been aired in that forum. Smith also reaffirmed his beliefs – expressed on the show 21 This Week, a political roundtable that runs on cable Channel 21 in Montgomery County – and said he is entitled to his opinion.

“The notion that I consider homosexual behavior as deviant behavior is correct,” Smith said.

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Robert J. Smith – Maryland – BACKGROUND:
Mr. Smith joined the Metro Board in August 2003 representing Montgomery County, MD. He is appointed to the Board by the Governor of Maryland as a Principal Board member. Mr. Smith is an architect and a partner in the firm Smith-Colen Architects in Gaithersburg, MD. Mr. Smith is a member of the American Institute of Architects and Maryland Society of the Institute of Architects. He is licensed to practice in 10 states.