OPINION: Calling all Christian Conservatives to Pray for Our Local Leaders

Posted on March 10, 2024 by EDITORIAL BOARD

There’s an intense spiritual and political battle underway in Santa Rosa County, and the prayers of the righteous are coveted for those whom God has instituted in authority.

Duly elected Republican leaders are being attacked for being Christian Conservatives, and part of those attacks are stemming from an unlikely source. While it’s no surprise that a local Democrat activist is saying two commissioners need to be removed because of their Christian beliefs, the friendly fire from local Republicans is unsettling.

Back on January 24, the Santa Rosa County GOP shared a message encouraging attendance at the 47th Annual God in Government Prayer Breakfast at Olive Baptist Church. The video shared the scripture in I Timothy Chapter 2 which commands Christians to pray for those in authority.

I desperately wish SRC Republican Executive Committee (REC) members, many of whom assert themselves to be Christians, would obey that scripture because when you are earnestly praying for someone it is very difficult to viciously attack them!

But unfortunately, for a couple of years now, REC members have been tag teaming with others to attack Conservative Christians.

For example, Chris Smith, owner of Gulf Coast Gun, chased Florida Senator Doug Broxson out of a Northwest Florida Legislative Delegation meeting, yelling that he was a “disgusting human being.” Smith also hosted a “Fire Broxson” protest in which SRC REC members Angie Carter, Sherry Chapman and Ray Eddington participated. Despite their efforts, Broxson, a relative of mine, still won re-election by a landslide.

Although Smith claims to be a free speech advocate and publicly criticizes others ad nauseam, he seemingly can’t handle a dose of his own medicine.

“I asked you to keep my name out of your mouth,” Smith texted last night after I referred to him out as an Internet bully in an opinion column. It was hypocritical of him to do that, considering how he recently claimed via social media to support others’ opinions, including those about him.

Free speech for me but not thee, eh, Chris?

During his diatribe, Smith called me dumb. He also said Florida House District 1 Representative Michelle Salzman was the “dumbest legislator in Tallahassee.” Knowing that Michelle and I are not dumb, I challenged Chris to a Stanford-Binet intelligence test facilitated by a licensed psychologist. But he said “no one cares if I’m smarter than you.” I do, Chris. Let’s see how your score compares to mine.

“You people really are disgusting humans,” Smith also said last night. It felt as if I was dealing with a defiant juvenile who demands his way or no way.

Smith regularly fat shames one particular county commissioner and also publicly berates many other local elected officials in video attacks through his business social media account.

Perhaps that bullying is why Florida House District 3 Representative Joel Rudman filed 2024 gun legislation for Smith which was doomed to fail because it was dangerously irresponsible, proposing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement authorize conditional delivery of a purchased gun regardless of whether or not a background check had been completed in three days.

I sincerely wish Rudman would stop aligning himself with community agitators who seem to be perpetually angry. He ends up wasting legislative time & effort, attempting to appease them.

Additionally, some of these community agitators make allegations of corruption WITHOUT providing evidence. Corruption is a VERY serious allegation, and accusers need to be able to back up such strong assertions with actual evidence.

So I respectfully ask those of you who are born again believers to lift up our local elected officials in prayer, asking God specifically for a hedge of protection around them against lies, hate and unfounded accusations:

  • Santa Rosa County Commissioners: District 1 Sam Parker, District 2 Kerry Smith, District 3 James Calkins, District 4 Ray Eddington and District 5 Colten Wright
  • Florida House District 1 Representative Michelle Salzman, District 2 Representative Alex Andrade and District 3 Representative Dr. Joel Rudman
  • Florida Senator Doug Broxson
  • U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz 

Thank you.