On the political roundtable "21 This Week," on Maryland's tiny Access Montgomery cable channel 21, Robert J. Smith has been a regular panelist. Introduced as a "Republican activist," Smith was also Gov. Robert Ehrlich's appointee on the Metro Transit Authority board.
No more. Smith has been fired for remarks that the GOP governor considers "inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable." What did Smith say? Did he cut loose into some racist rant using the "n" word?
Nope. One of the panelists on "21 This Week" had volunteered that Mary Cheney, the vice president's daughter who has come out of the closet, would not want the federal government interfering in her life. Smith interrupted: "That's fine, that's fine. But that doesn't mean that the government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy."
Parsing that statement, what was Smith saying? That the feds should not intrude into private lives, but neither should the feds grant special privileges to homosexuals. Smith was also saying that, in his view, homosexuals are "persons of sexual deviancy." In short, Smith was saying what most Americans have always thought.
But at the next meeting of the Metro board, he was confronted by D.C. member James Graham, a homosexual activist, who demanded that Smith recant and apologize, or be fired by the governor.
Smith held his ground. "Homosexual behavior, in my view, is deviant," Smith said. "I'm a Roman Catholic."
He added, "The comments I make outside of my (Metro board job) I'm entitled to make." Moreover, said Smith, these were personal beliefs that have "nothing to do with running trains and buses, and have not affected my actions or decisions on the board."
Five hours later, Gov. Ehrlich, in a tight re-election race, fired Smith. The episode is instructive for what it says about the correlation of forces in America's religious war.
To save himself, Ehrlich threw Smith to the wolves. He declined to defend traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality -- i.e., that it is unnatural and immoral, ruinous to body and soul alike. Ehrlich sacrificed one of his own to appease the homosexuals and their media auxiliary, rather than defy their moral authority.