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Fired Ehrlich Appointee to Speak Out

Governor

A week after Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired his appointee to the Metro Board for making controversial remarks about homosexuality on a local cable TV talk show, that same appointee plans to be back on television.

Robert Smith will be back on the local cable access show where he made remarks equating homosexuality with social deviancy that prompted Ehrlich to fire him.

Producers of 21 This Week said Smith will be back for an interview to defend his remarks, and address Ehrlich's actions, in a show that will air in Montgomery County at the following times:

MONTGOMERY COMMUNITY TELEVISION (MCT), Channel 21
(The program will air on the following dates and times):
SUNDAY, June 25 at 9:30 am & 7:00 pm.
MONDAY at 4 pm & 10:30 pm
THURSDAY at 7:00 pm.

By  |  June 20, 2006; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

The very idea that the cable station would desire to air this bigot's repugnant thoughts on why he was dismissed is ludricrous. What next - a Klansman in robes?

Posted by: Paul | June 20, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The very idea that the cable station would desire to air this bigot's repugnant thoughts on why he was dismissed is ludricrous. What next - a Klansman in robes?

Posted by: Paul | June 20, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

It will be good to have more insight into how the Republican base really thinks.

Posted by: MDGreen | June 20, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Finally! Why was there no public outrage over this discriminatory firing?!! The law is the law: you cannot be fired for your race, gender, sexual bent, religion, etc? Why is it that Pro-gay beliefs are protected (and promoted) under the law and anti-gay beliefs are not? Despite the gay caucus' relentless pursuit to sell society on the notion that same-sex sex is "normal", there are millions of people who understand homosexual behavior to be a deviant indulgence of an abnormal impulse -- not normal, in any sense of the word.

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are not covers for "Believe what I tell you to believe and say what I tell you that you can say". This is the course of Ehrlich and the gay caucus. One of his employees has a variant lifestyle from another. Why does one get to be "right" and the other "illegal"? We are all entitled to our beliefs and the right to express them. Shame on the people of MD and DC who would allow such flagrant illegal employment action!

In addition, even if the gay man felt offended by the beliefs of Smith (as Smith is just as offended by his life choices), Smith did not attack the man -- only the behavior. That is our right, that is our calling. The pressure to "not judge" is only used with integrity when the object is a person. Do not judge the person, but absolutely judge the behavior! It's called right and wrong, moral judgement, values, ethics, the law, discernment.... These are skills of civilzed human beings and should be practiced regularly.

Speak up, Mr Smith, and defend your rights - your right to believe, your right to your faith, your right to express your beliefs, and your right to work in a harrassment-free environment.

To the person who called Smith a "bigot"...The definition is a person intolerantly devoted to their own opinion and prejudice. Who is showing intolerance here? Ehrlich! You!! Not Smith.

Posted by: Gael | June 20, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

To Gael--

Sexual orientation may be protected under discrimination laws--one's belief or non-belief (tolerance/non-tolerance) in another person's orientation is not.

Are you saying it's OK for someone to think that all blacks are lazy, no women should be in the workforce, etc., and then espouse those views say, in a work environment? A person may feel that way in private, but once it's a public statement, there may be consequences.

Posted by: cb | June 20, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

A representative of a government agency cannot express his or her personal thoughts, especially when those thoughts are going to look bad in print. This yo-yo (Smith?) should have known this already. He has learned a valuable lesson, albeit later in his career than I learned mine.

A question I have is, Why did Ehrlich appoint someone who has so little experience operating in the public realm to so a prominant position?

To me, queer-baiting indicates to me a person who is uneducated, unthoughtful, unsure of his own orientation, probably a Fundemental Christian, and generally undeserving of feeding at the public trough.

Posted by: Tom Canick | June 20, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

So religious freedom ends where some gay throws a hissy fit?

I don't think that's what the Founding Fathers intended.

Homosexuals are not more equal than the rest of us.

Posted by: Rufus | June 20, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Appointed board members serve at the pleasure of the governor, and for any reason that the governor so chooses, he may fire a political appointee. Whether this guy got up there and said gays are deviants or if he said MD doesn't need slots (which it doesn't), the governor has the right to maintain control over his appointees to make sure they stick to the administration's message.

Now as conservatives, of whom I believe have a right to believe whatever you want about gays, blacks (of which I happen to be), liberals or welfare mothers, as long as you all are up front with it, look at this governor, of whom you all thought was one of you, and would at least defend your right to think derogatorily about anyone that isn't as traditionally christian as you are.

You need to wonder what good is it, working so hard for this longshot of an incumbant in a sea of blue, to see him buckle under pressure from gays and liberals over what one of his appointees believes in a matter that will never come before him in his official duties, robbing him of his 1st Amendment rights for political expediency. Is that really someone you want to vote for?

Posted by: RCD | June 20, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to squabble with lesser minds, I'd like to make sure I hear what Smith has to say so I can be quite specific in my dislike for him. Comcast lists their channel 21 as "LOOR021" and for Sunday, June 25 at 9:30am the listings say "Local Origination: First Aired: 6/12/1994 Starts: 6:00 AM".

Can anyone confirm the Comcast channel and airtime?

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | June 20, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Folks, go look at the original version of this discussion from last week's Maryland Moment. Although the conversation devolved into a Gay Marriage debate, it's pretty clear that Smith works at the pleasure of the big man. Once Ehrlich decided he didn't like Smith's attitude, or if he cynically thought it would hurt re-election chances, or didn't like the fact he bought a foreign car - whatever the reason - Smith is outa there and Bob is perfectly within his rights to do it.

As Tom says above, you can't fire the guy because he's black, muslim, or some other (arbitrary) protected class. But that's not what happened. No freedom of speech issue here, since you check that at the door once you agree to this role. The supreme court actually decided this last month, worthwile re-reading the decision.

Posted by: JD | June 20, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"So religious freedom ends where some gay throws a hissy fit?

I don't think that's what the Founding Fathers intended."

If he would ahve said "My religion thinks blacks are deviant" it would have been the same reaction. Most people in a public job know better than to spout off ignorant comments in a public forum. (And yes, they're ignorant, even though I share the same religion.)

No one is keeping Mr. Smith from practicing his religion - Erlich didn't fire him from going to Mass. He fired him for being a moron.

Posted by: AG | June 20, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Nicely put, "AG."

Posted by: Tom Canick | June 20, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Uh, can someone cleanup the filler posts on here (aka the spam).

Anyway, to Smith in question. He made the comment intending to draw a reaction. He did so while representing someone else on a board. He shouldn't be whining now that he was fired. Agree or disagree with his position, it is beside the point. When you represent someone else you have to be clean as a whistle because you're representing more than yourself. That's why Smith was fired and that seems obvious to me.

Besides that, what the hell does his view on gays have to do with metro, at all? Who cares. It is irrelevant. He should know that. Barring Metro introducing some new gay rules, there is no reason this even came up, period.

Posted by: Bryan | June 20, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Gael-
You have completely twisted the issue of homosexuality. You can not formulate homosexuality into a Pro-gay and Anti-gay side. This is not a political issue, it is a way of life. Just as African Americans and women are protected from discrimination under the law, so are homosexuals. This has nothing to do with bigotry and prejudice of the other side. This is about respect for people's ways of life, and as soon as you violate that with an ad hominen comment at a METRO meeting of all places, there is no way you should not be fired. He should've kept his bigoted thoughts to himself. He had no right to be expressing those ideas there.

Posted by: Matt | June 20, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The US is in great danger of following Canada and Europe down a slippery slope of no return: making any criticism of perversion off limits.
It is unthinkable that people cannot voice concerns dangerous lifestyles without being called a bigot or homophobe.
Homosexuals vainly try to scamper under the skirts of women's rights or cling panic-stricken to the coattails of African-Americans hoping some of the sympathy for these causes will rub off on them.
These are pathetic tries to gain support for protecting sodomy. Homosexuals cannot hope to get any legitimacy from these valid causes.
If you are going to fight for your right to perversion don't trivialize the historic battles of Americans who fought long and hard for their civic rights.

Posted by: Rob | June 21, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

All talk of how Smith is "owned " by Ehrlich and must espouse his views is horse manure; he was not representing his office on the show and he was asked for his personal belief. Those who feel that they should change their personal beliefs to satisfy the questioner are hypocrites. Smith has every right to describe his faith and his personal beliefs -- in any forum and at any time (thus the word "personal"!)

For Matt - homosexuality is not genetic, and it is not a disease. I personally beleive that it is a choice to practice a way of life that indulges certain physical urges. It is completely possible to live with an urge, without indulging it... it's called self-discipline and applies to many taboo urges you or I may experience: groping a female co-worker, having sex with your beautiful stepdaughter, smashing the face of your nightmare neighbor, cheating on your spouse, throwing a beer in the face of someone who rejects you...etc.

And, Matt - homosexuality has become a political issue - a liberal cause to continue the drive to tear apart families and corrode social norms - it is precisely a political issue at this moment in America. (Check the blogs about Smith's requirement to mouthpiece his boss -- not political?!)

And, Matt, just as homosexuals are protected under the law, so are heterosexuals (Yes! it's true!) as well as Christians, Jews, atheists, Satanic worshippers, etc . You cannot be harrassed, fired, or not hired, because of your personal beliefs, regardless of how abhorrent your employer feels that they are.

And, people, you must get over it: the Christian faith recognizes homosexual behavior as a sin. The Bible very specifically denounces it. Do not confuse the sin with the sinner. Naming a behavior as deviant or sinful, does not mean "hating" the sinner. Christianity is a faith steeped in love and forgiveness, and we are all just as sinful as the next person....

"This is about respect for people's ways of life, and as soon as you violate that with an ad hominen comment at a METRO meeting of all places, there is no way you should not be fired." Matt "ad hominem" means attacking the person; it is a flawed form of logic, because it does not address the issue. Smith attacked the lifestyle -- not the person -- as he is well within his rights to do so. We already discussed the meaning of the word bigot; there is nothing intolerant in Smith's actions...did HE say he wouldn't work with the gay guy? NO! It was the gay guy that wouldn't work with him?!

Thanks for all the feedback on Ehrlich's rights as governor, etc...I hope you do throw the bum out!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"And, people, you must get over it: the Christian faith recognizes homosexual behavior as a sin. "

Not all Christian religions do. I believe both Unitarian Universalism and Episcopalianism do not recognize homosexual behavior as a sin. The *Catholic* faith does, but even with that, not all members agree with church policy.

"You cannot be harrassed, fired, or not hired, because of your personal beliefs, regardless of how abhorrent your employer feels that they are."

Eh, not always true. If I work at a Catholic hospital and someone finds out I'm pro-choice, I bet I'd be looking for a job. In any event, Smith was fired for making his employer look bad. As I said before: most political appointees have the sense to know what to say (and not say) in public. Guess Smith decided to emulate Trent Lott.

Posted by: AG | June 21, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Comparing race to behavior is the dumbest strawman ever.

Roman Catholics only have religious freedom in Maryland if they keep their mouths shut, the Gaystapo has spoken.

Which goes a long way to showing how homosexuality is ultimately incompatible with American liberties, they deny anyone who disagrees with them the right to speak.

"I may disagree with what you say and I'll throw as hissy fit about it until you lose your job!" Guess Voltaire wasn't gay!

Posted by: Rufus | June 21, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

And saying this infringes on religious freedom is almost as stupid. If Erlich prohibited his staffers from GOING TO MASS, that would infringe on religious freedom. Last time I checked, we were still allowed to go to Mass in this state.

Smith was allowed to make his bigoted remarks. Erlich was free to fire him for making the governor look bad in an election year. It has nothing to do with religous freedom.

Posted by: AG | June 21, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The Gov. is so desperate for the "Gay" vote ? The man voiced a "Fact". Homosexuality is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. FACT. Every time some voice speaks out and that voice does not support the "Gay Communitty", it has to be a Klansman, a Homophobe". B.S. It is currently popular to bash anyone who speaks their mind, even if the truth gets in the way! So back off your little faries and real. Not everyone likes you, and it is a cruel world. If you want to be a Sodimite/pervert, no one is stopping you from being a pain in the ass, just not my ass.

Posted by: IRISHBOY | June 21, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Gael-
There's clearly a main differerce in our ideas on homosexuality- just as there is a clear divide between the two sides.

Homosexuality is not something you choose. More and more evidence is pointing towards the fact that you are born with the tendency. As well, it is not a disease, it's just a difference. However, clearly there's not enough evidence on either side to come to any distinct conclusions on that issue.

Second
Yes, I understand homosexuality is a sin in much of the catholic faith. However, I do remember there being something in the consitution about...what was it....separation of church and state....

Third
The attack was an ad hominen attack on the man. Criticizing his lifestyle at a political meeting had no business being there. He attacked the way he lives his life at a public forum with a derogatory comment that was unrelated to the subject matter at hand. Smith is entitled to his beliefs, but he is entitled to them in private. Why is it appropriate for Smith to tell this man that his lifestyle is wrong no matter what, but it's inappropriate to tell a woman at your workplace that she's destroying family values with all the rest of the feminists by entering the workforce?

No one is saying that Smith isn't entitled to his views, but there is a place, and time for them, and he had no right to express his opinions at this meeting.

Posted by: Matt | June 21, 2006 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Boy these anonymous blog comment pages sure bring out the worst in people. I wonder whether it might not serve to require people's REAL NAMES and then such ugly things might not get posted.

Posted by: Graham | June 21, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

What a non-issue being made into an issue. Frankly, this voter could care less--either way. Sometimes I feel like the media needs to create media cycles to make their existence worthwhile--perfect example here.

Smith made the comment looking for some attention, he got it, and now he's crying wolf. He ran office before, he likes to speak his mind and maybe he should consider it again?

Posted by: Bryan | June 21, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Having sex is an action that requires a decision, hence it is a choice.

If the sex is other than the kind which leads to procreation, it is be definition 'deviant.'

Smith was fired for telling the truth.

Ehrlich will be fired for selling out to the Gaystapo.

Posted by: Rufus | June 22, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Considering what happened to Mr. Smith, we can't use our real names here because we know the homosexuals will attempt to destroy our livelyhoods, as they did in this case, perhaps even target our families.

They are a dangerous lot.

Posted by: Rufus | June 22, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I would recommend a level head when dealing with these heated topics. Keep it as it should be; an issue of right or wrong, no vindictiveness.

Another topic taken COMPLETELY out of context that liberals constantly knee-jerk over is "the separation of church and state." (see above post) Basic research on the issue would show that the goal was to PROTECT RELIGION from government, NOT protect government from religion.

We all know the damage and unecessary mucking up that government is capable of. The idea is to limit government from intruding in our lives as much as possible.

Government is to provide MORAL guidelines by which to govern society. You CANNOT have moral guidelines (murder/stealing are wrong, etc.) without moral standards.

The US has ALWAYS based its laws on Judeo-Christian moral absolutes. If you want "separation of church and state" (the way liberals and people ignorant of the history and meaning of the phrase want it) then you MUST CUT OUT laws such as murder is wrong. Without the Bible, murder is not "wrong" it is only a bad idea. Besides, with evolution it's not murder anyway- it's a better stronger animal killing a weaker animal.

The biggest hypocrites on planet earth are those who whine "separation of church and state," and then want murder/theft/etc to be illegal.

You can't have it 2 ways people. Let's return to the the understanding of religious freedom that the founding fathers envisioned: moral restraints based on Biblical teaching.

Posted by: Rob | June 22, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Rufus. Gays are out to get you? Really? Chances are we couldn't care less about you.

You, on the other hand, seem hell-bent on trashing us.

For the record, if this guy was really speaking as a private citizen, then I think he's free to say what he wants. But if he was there primarily because Gov Ehrlich made him a political power by putting him in a power position on Metro, then he was speaking as a public official and should be held accountable.

Anyway, back to your real problem - homosexuals.

My being gay isn't about sex. It's about falling in love.

My partner and I's relationship is no threat to you. You, however, are a threat to us. Am I safe in assuming you don't think we should have marriage rights? If not, then you are a threat to me and my family.

I may dislike you and your ways a lot, but I would never dream of trying to harm you or your family.

Sadly, I'm betting I can't say the same about you.

Posted by: Hillman | June 22, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Rob. In the last forum on this subject you were all about how your only problem with 'the gays' was that it was against the Bible.

Funny, your diatribe here seems fairly personal and filled with downright loathing for gay people.

That's not really a Bible-y outlook, now is it?

So which is it? You are motivated from a Christian perspective, or you just don't like gay people and think it's your right to denigrate them and make their lives more difficult?

Posted by: Hillman | June 22, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Smith was fired because some "gay" didn't like that he spoke the truth, thereby proving that gays are a threat to your livelyhood if you speak the truth about their disorder.

Posted by: Rufus | June 22, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Alright Rob, lets set up the second Holy Roman empire, with the government established by the doctrines of the Bible.

How weak is it to try to stay that morality can not exist without religion? How clueless do you have to be to be chained to relgion to feed you what you believe is right or wrong?

But hey, setting up a government set upon Judeo-Christian values really helps spread religious freedom...really...

Posted by: Matt | June 22, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Rob - if you really want a government based on the Bible you're going to need to take ALL of the Bible - including the parts condoning slavery, condoning the subjugation of women, polygamy (oh, yes, it's all over the Bible), etc. etc. etc.

Are you ready for that?

Or is it just that you don't like gay people and find the Bible an easy excuse to justify that?

Posted by: Hillman | June 22, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Hillman et al... that's some "personal interpretation" of the Bible! Biblical teachings are not open to spin, popularity polling, or personal interpretation. There is NO "condoning" of slavery, polygamy, or any other abuse of human relationships. The Old Testament (and new) contains stories of people (with real and actual failings, as well as real and actual experiences of God). It is well documented that God does not condone any abuse of any person (even outrageous sinners) by us - Vengeance is His! One of the primary missions of Jesus on earth was to teach (and correct) what God wants from His people: the Sermon on the Mount, reiteration of the 10 Commandments, love, love and more love! Please. Don't belittle, trash, trivialize, spin, skew, or reinterpret the teachings of the Bible. They stand on centuries of study and grace.

ANd - for any who missed the lesson in "social studies", this country IS founded on Christian law and the 10 Commandments.
As you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view ... it is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments! As you enter the Supreme Court court room, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall,
right above where the Supreme Court judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments! There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C. James Madison, the fourth president, known as "The Father of Our Constitution" made the following statement:

"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

Thx Rob for clarifying the "separation" truth; it is a commonly misused argument by those fighting for moral independence.

Posted by: Gael | June 23, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Hillman, you found me. Good for you.
I'll take the whole Bible, thanks. I won't edit it and take the parts that fit a particular twisted agenda.

But (shame on you) you'll have to take it in context. You have to do a little homework and then you'd realize that slavery in the first century of the Christian era is not directly parallel to that which the US has witnessed. For instance, slavery was not based on race as it was in the US. It was no picnic but people actually sold themselves into slavery at times because (1) it was temporary (2) it was sometimes safer than trying to survive on your own (in those days of no "safety nets," insurance, etc.)

The Bible isn't a buffet where you can pick and choose your favorite parts. If you are so hung up on slavery, read Paul's letter to Philemon if you want to know what Paul thinks about setting slaves free. Or read his first letter to Timothy (I Tim. 1:9-10) where he includes in a list of evils "kidnapping." This would be kidnapping to sell into slavery. On second thought you might want to ignore that passage since, Paul includes sodomy in that list of evil. Ouch.

BEWARE of Truth.
God's Little Earthly Avenger

Posted by: Rob | June 23, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The US and the Third World seem to be the biggest proponents of incorporating specific religions into government. I'd rather keep company with the nonsectarians of the world. And, come to think of it, as an American that's my choice to make.

Posted by: Tom Canick | June 23, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense. The Bible condones slavery. Pure and simple. You dance around it all you want. But that doesn't change that fact. Painting slavery as an ants-free picnic is ludicrous.

And it condones polygamy. And, let's not forget the story of Jacob marrying sisters.

And it certainly condones treating women as less than equal to men.

And it specifically says that Israelites were OK to rape the wives of enemy soldiers after killing those soldiers, after waiting a 'proper' time.

As for 'selectivity', I'm not the one claiming we should do any of those things. I'm just saying if you are going to claim a Biblical basis for treating taxpaying American gay people like crap then you have to take all the Bible.

And you are clearly not doing that.

Posted by: Hillman | June 24, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Gael:

We agree about one thing. Vengeance is God's, not ours.

Anyone that feels it is their right to make life difficult for gays in God's name is being awfully presumptuous.

Yet that's exactly what many are proposing.

How about just letting gay people live their lives without going out of the way to make things hard for them? That would, after all, be the Christian thing to do.

And if we're all about punishing sin, why do we allow divorce, or allow divorcees to remarry?

Posted by: Hillmandc | June 24, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuals & lesbians are a group based on sexual activity or behavior & not comparable to Blacks. It's predictable the comments made.

Robert Smith was fired for comments he made off work hrs. Those who support gay & lesbian activities have the right to go on TV to counter him. That's what free speech is.

H & L activities are medically harmful. If 2 fully knowing & willful adults engage in it knowing full well the harms of it, then they will, but people should have the right to critique it. If Robert Smith had discussed the dangers of being fat on the TV shot, it wouldn't have been controversial.

Posted by: protectfreespeech | September 14, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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