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June 1st, 2010
03:16 AM ET

My Take: Defenders of 'don't ask, don't tell' want to impose their religion

Editor's Note: Harry Knox is Director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Program and is a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

By Harry Knox, Special to CNN

Last week, the House of Representatives and a Senate committee both took historic steps forward in protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, by moving to repeal the discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prohibits lesbian, gay and bisexual people from serving openly in our nation’s military.

This policy has seen thousands of dedicated service members discharged simply because of who they are, costing our nation millions of dollars and many highly-trained soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines - including hundreds with critical language skills desperately needed in our ongoing fight against terrorism around the world.

But some right-wing groups, notably the Family Research Council, see the desire of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to serve our nation openly and honestly not as a commitment to sacrifice everything for the liberty of all Americans, but rather as a threat to the liberties of some. They claim that those whose faith traditions disapprove of homosexuality will no longer be able to serve as military chaplains if we permit open service.

Never mind that for the life of a nation grounded in religious pluralism, our military and its chaplains have served on behalf of the freedom of all Americans, including those who follow a faith that any individual chaplain might consider blasphemous.

Chaplains are fully aware of their duty to all who they counsel. Writing in support of a letter from dozens of religious organizations calling for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” - including the Episcopal Church, the Union of Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church - Captain John F. Gundlach, a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain noted that:

... as military chaplains, we routinely work with service members whose faith traditions and belief systems are different from ours. The idea that repeal of DADT will infringe on our religious liberty is insulting to all the serving chaplains who professionally minister to and with people of diverse beliefs every day.

But the Family Research Council and their ilk do not truly believe in protecting the liberty of all Americans, as our dedicated service members, gay and straight, do. They instead are seeking to rewrite history - and the core tenets of our Constitutional freedoms - in order to lead new generations back to the bad old days of repression of individual liberties.

They claim to be the voice of religion while ignoring that a growing number of congregations and denominations see discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as anathema to their core belief that God calls on us to love one another and to practice justice.

In reality, this isn’t about chaplains at all. Groups like the Family Research Council continue to characterize religious liberty and equality for LGBT Americans as an either/or proposition, willfully misrepresenting our nation’s historical experience and ignoring the realities of a nation of many faiths and beliefs that has dealt with such questions for centuries.

Such groups have claimed that federal hate crimes laws will silence preachers, ignoring those laws’ robust protections for free speech and religious expression, as well as the experience in the many states with such protections already in place.

Those groups suggest that federal employment discrimination protections will burden religious employers and co-workers, but belittle a robust religious exemption that has served the interests of religious groups under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for nearly four decades.

They claim marriage equality will force them to support an idea of marriage contrary to their beliefs, yet ignore when state after state adopts language to guarantee that no church or religious leader need recognize or celebrate such marriages, as well as the long history of religious groups, like the Roman Catholic Church, setting their own rules on marriage.

With “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal within sight, lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans will soon be able to serve our nation, and protect our liberties, without being forced to lie.

Those who would call that commitment to America a threat to our core values are beyond cynical. Groups like the Family Research Council, screaming for preservation of their privilege to discriminate, are not defending liberty. They instead seek to impose their particular brand of religion on all of us by making it the law of the land.

That is not the America we know and love, and for which many Americans, gay and straight, have fought and died.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Harry Knox.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Gay rights • Military • Opinion

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Gays have been serving in the military long before this has become an issue. The only ones who seem to have a problem with it are the "christian" politicians who have never served and think they actually have a clue about whats going on.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  2. Becky83af

    Where are these numbers coming from? "thousands discharged, millions of dollars spent". We just did a poll in my office and amonst a group of all active duty- time in service ranging from 8 years to 20+ and retired- not one of us knew anyone that was kicked out- discharged, or simply left the military for being gay. And I work in one of those "critical" career fields.

    However, we all know someone currently serving in the military as a GAY member. And completly happy with the current policy.

    Don't believe the hype people-The need to change this policy isn't as critical as they make it seem.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • Derrik

      You are correct. It is political in nature only. I would bet there are quite a few that would never come out, even if it is repealed.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • John

      How about just common decency?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • JohnM

      There was a rally in December 2008 for the 13,000 members discharged since DADT was enacted. The military does not publicize it and neither do the ones forced to leave – because most of society will treat them the same way.

      I had friends that were discharged under this policy and the entire unit suffered when they were gone – we needed those competent, trained, professionals.

      Keep DADT as policy and the Taliban wins . . .

      June 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  3. Andrew Dickens

    I pity your ignorance al-Latif.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  4. Tammy

    But how do we ask our soldiers to shower with someone who is gay?

    June 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • Uragan

      They probably already have.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Derrik

      If a straight soldier has to shower with a gay one, then what's the difference if a woman was showering with men?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Mr. Spider

      What are you? 12? Have you ever been in a locker room before? Did you know whether or not everyone in that room was gay?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Mike

      The shower argument is probably the most ridiculous opposition to this outdated policy. If it's been 37 days since your last shower, I promise, you won't care. Back home, common showers are few and far between, and are no different from showering at the gym. The only other stateside equivalent I can think of is basic training; in such, it is similar to deployments: You have two minutes to shower, GO! Most won't take the time to care. Just my experience over the past 20 years or so as a soldier, Non-commissioned officer, and commissioned officer.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Derrik

      I have been in places where you get 1 shower in 30 days, but that is not the point. The point is would someone feel uncomfortable showering with someone that could potentially be physically attracted to them? Possibility is there and in this instance maybe ignorance is bliss.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Kellie

      Tammy, are you attracted to every man you see...any man in sight...do you want to sleep with any man that walks by you? That was a pretty ridiculous statement, ignorant in fact. Do you think a gay man or lesbian woman might 'attack' another man/woman in the shower? Lack of understanding and ignorance is the problem.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • Derrik

      "Tammy, are you attracted to every man you see...any man in sight...do you want to sleep with any man that walks by you? That was a pretty ridiculous statement, ignorant in fact. Do you think a gay man or lesbian woman might 'attack' another man/woman in the shower? Lack of understanding and ignorance is the problem."

      @ Kellie, that is a pretty extreme example and I think you over exaggerated her point. She said nothing of being attacked, but would want to be in a shower with a man that found you attractive, even if you did feel the same way. The possibility is there and why should someone else have to be uncomfortable?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • FrankNYC

      @Kellie....I can't speak for women but I can say that most menI have known will be attracted to almost any naked woman, and ESPECIALLY in some instances where you havent seen a woman for months or there are a lack of women who are your "type" such as in bases where you have mostly combat units and there are very few women. Most Marines I've ever met would hit on their own mothers after long enough so I cant imagine that it would be different for a gay man.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • The Rev'd Fr. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

      They shower together now ... what's the problem?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jason Woods

      "@ Kellie, that is a pretty extreme example and I think you over exaggerated her point. She said nothing of being attacked, but would want to be in a shower with a man that found you attractive, even if you did feel the same way. The possibility is there and why should someone else have to be uncomfortable?"

      @Derrick: So it's better to enact and support a GOVERNMENT policy that restricts the rights of individuals based on who they are, just so people are more comfortable showering. Your entire frame of reference is based upon a set of beliefs that aren't even supposed to have a place in our Government. Do you realize this? What you're supporting is wholely un-American in nature. The founding fathers are clear in their insistence that the United States of America be Religiously Neutral and that there should be a clear separation of church and state.

      "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." – Thomas Jefferson, 1802.

      If you, because of religious beliefs(quoting The Bible qualifies) support or put forth a piece of legislation or policy, you're not very patriotic at all.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Derrik

      "If you, because of religious beliefs(quoting The Bible qualifies) support or put forth a piece of legislation or policy, you're not very patriotic at all."

      As someone that has served, I find anger in your challenge of my patriotism, but I will overlook that as you have no idea about who I am.
      To clear something up, I was not referencing religion in this particular statement. I am saying a woman would feel uncomfortable with a man who she believes is attracted to her, especially if she does not feel the same way. I am saying if I thought some guy was attracted to me, I would probably be uncomfortable being in the same shower as him on deployment. That is about as secular as it can be. I was talking about personal privacy and HUMAN feelings.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • GI Female (vet)

      Tammy, Seriously? Obviously you have not served. We all shower and sleep in the same barracks already. I saw more “straight” chicks messing around in basic, AIT and duty station. We’re everywhere already, just because I wouldn’t have had (I’m a vet) to hide that I was gay, doesn’t put you at risk. Why would I hit on a straight chick? Nobody likes to be turned or made to feel uncomfortable! And yes, I venture to say the straight people usually make the gays feel uneasy, because they’re threatened for some reason. Really silly.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • Chris

      Wait wait wait... so we're supposed to believe that our soldiers can handle bombs, guerilla attacks, being fired upon, and any number of war horrors... but they can't handle showering next to some dude who happens to also like other dudes? Give our soldiers some more credit than that, please. Also, as others have pointed out: they're already showering next to gay servicemembers. They just don't know it yet.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  5. Grizz

    Well I guess in the future we fight wars with robots, because GOD is making man to man lovers to keep populations in check so mother Earth can breath...

    June 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  6. sal

    I am having a difficult time understanding this controversy. If someone who is gay wants to serve their country in any capacity how could it be a bad thing? If we have come to accept gay Americans in the workplace and in society in general then it is time to apply the exact same standards to the military, no exceptions. Isn’t this simply common sense?

    June 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • CrimsonDragon93

      Ah, but that is in large part the real problem. Many of us in this nation have come to accept the gay community but by no means have all of us. The fact that there is even controversy over DADT (and gay marriage and the need for hate crime legislation) should be ample evidence that discrimination, racism, bigotry and hatred are alive and well within the United States. There is still a very long way to go before we as a whole have learned to tolerate the diversity of the human condition.

      I commend Mr. Knox on his lucid and well reasoned article and applaud those fighting the right fight to support the rights of all. Keep up the good work as the fight is far from over.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  7. R.B.Baker

    Repeal DADT. It's the right thing to do.Let all those who are called to serve our country do so openly, honestly, with integrity, and the full protection of their own liberties.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  8. The Rev. Dael Sumner

    Isnt the point behind a family love and support? How can someone espouse "Family" values and have none of those values? Hate and narrow mindedness are not values ANYONE should promote.

    June 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Derrik

      Neither are unnatural relationships.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • mysliwij

      Derrik:
      How can I be unnatural? I exist. This "thing" about me that makes you feel uncomfortable has come naturally. Your religious views make me very uncomfortable. I would never support a law saying you had to hide who you are. I grew up in a Catholic family by loving and strict parents. I'm a farmer boy. I wrestled in high school. I went to my local state University and became a teacher. I have a husband for whom I'd circle the world over on foot 10 times. We never fight and support and love each other intensely. We pay taxes and give to charity. I didn't ask for this very small part of who I am any more than albinos asked for their skin tone, or left-handed people asked to never be comfortable using scissors or can openers made for us "natural" right handed people. You confuse "unnatural" with uncommon. Yes, I am uncommon. Thank God. And please don't use Leviticus to support your argument unless you also keep Kosher, don't wear cotton polyester blends or each any veggies or grains that have been grown next other grains or veggies- all rules God sets out in Lev. If you are still living in Leviticus times, I got news for ya: the world is round, women can do math and own property, slavery is bad and we made this really hard metal called "steel" that's great for all sorts of things.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • Derrik

      mysliwij,
      By nature, I mean the different species in this world procreate. Male and female come together to procreate. The act that allows this has to be between male and female to procreate. Now if the act is done for pleasure, then that is more of a choice to do it, not survival of ones specifies. By no means and I belittling your person and saying you are subhuman or anything. I am just saying I do not think the relationship is one that nature intended. Thoughts?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • MrPeach

      Derrik's "unnatural relationships" should read "relationships prohibited by the Bible".
      Just do that in your head whenever he and his ilk use that term and the cloud of obfuscation they are trying to generate just... dissipates.

      Mmmm, The Bible. So tasty. So filled with cruelty and repression.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Derrik

      Mr. Peach,
      I have explained over and over again about how I see it as unnatural. Yet, you got back to your liberal hate mongering ways. I await the response mysliwij as hopefully it will be more adult like and less childish as yours.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  9. The Rev. Neil Tadken

    Really? An opinion censored? Then why is you response to it not?

    June 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Paul

      only letting a select few fly through, idiot! Just hoping this one makes it!

      June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
      • John

        Great waste of space. You must feel a sense of pride.

        June 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
      • Derrik

        I think it is more that certain words get flagged. I have had a few of mine not get posted. Kinda frustrating after you spend time typing it in here.:)

        June 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Dave

      CNN has me censored on most of the site. Don't tell jokes about the Tea Party or drill baby drill on the oil spill pages.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  10. The Rev. Neil Tadken

    There have been concerted efforts in fundamentalist circles to become the dominant religious voice in our military as a means of ensuring their "victory" in a "culture war." The recent events at the Air Force Academy are a prime example. If the people with guns also subscribe to their theology, the "religious right" leaders are that much closer to creating the United States as a Christian religious theocracy. Be very afraid.

    June 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      THEY EXEMPT THEMSELVES BY SAYING THOU SHALT NOT KILL, DONT PAY TAXES BUT WANT TO HAVE SAY ABOUT US CITIZENS WANTING TO DEFEND OLD GLORY, AS THIS WAR GOES ON AT SOME POINT THERE GOING TO NEED THEM AND THEN YOU KNOW WHAT .........CATCH BACK IS A MF %^$#@*, SO THERE BIBLE WHICH SUPPORTS SLAVERY IS THERE MORALS......LOL....LOL..

      June 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Jack

      You're right on the money! And besides; if we were to become a Christian Theocracy, we'd all be forced to have that same old picture of that dead carpenter guy mounted in our living rooms.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  11. Matt

    Excellent article and I agree 100%. Family Research Council is about as tolerant as the Westboro Baptist Church (the Phelp's who picket soldiers funerals, and Dio!). I believe 100% they are out there to eventually write religion into the law books, by any proxy they can. The real question is how do gay's hurt anyone? How do they hurt 'traditional family values'? Their claims against gays never make sense to me. I'm straight, have a girlfriend, and my relationship suffers exactly no impact from having gay friends. Its a crock of BS, and its shameful to advance any agenda that promotes discrimination. If you're willing to give your life for my country, I'll support you no matter if you're gay, straight, or a purple test tube baby. If you can point a gun, and shoot it at the bad guy, what is the problem? This is why religion is a shield for people to act like total hypocrites and say "Oh, its not ME that hates gay people, it's God, and I have to obey God". What a cop-out. Religion is the most a-moral belief system in the world.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Cristy

      I could not have said it better, Matt! I totally agree with you!!

      June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • Larry

      Excellent points, Matt. Christ himself had PLENTY to say about intolerant, "self=proclaimed righteous" religious leaders of his day...and not much of it was very nice. Again, you covered a lot of valid points. Thanks for sharing.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  12. David Huff

    I'm with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – DADT sets itself against the integrity of our Armed Forces (both individually and corporately). Integrity is an essential virtue of both our Armed Forces and of any, major religion I'm aware of.

    Good job, Mr. Knox.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  13. the Rev'd Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton

    Thank you, Harry Knox, for your courageous witness. I keep hearing Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men" saying, "The truth? You can't handle the truth!"

    June 1, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Eric

      Great line by Jack. And he said it right before he went to prison.

      June 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  14. Tall Ed

    What about the Religions are ok with gays, and gay marriage. Why doesn't anyone talk about them. If someoneI went to a church that was ok with Gay Marriage isn't that denying their religious beliefs if the government won't let them marry?

    June 1, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • Matt

      You got it. The article did name a few, but some of the major pro-tolerance religions (Like Unitarian Universalists) have been some of the biggest pro-rights activists (albeit they are a small denomination)

      June 1, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • VRAlbany

      Exactly!!

      June 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Derrik

      If they are for it, then they are not following the teachings of the Bible

      June 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • MIguel

      Well congratulations Derrick, you hit the nail on the head with that observation. Funny to think that OTHER RELIGIONS may not follow the Bible or may even interpret differently. Shocking.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Mitch

      Religions are great at blowing each other off. Or, as a wiser man than I once said. . .

      "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." -Mark Twain

      June 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Derrik

      Ah, I was not meaning to refer to nonChristian religions. I should referenced some "denominations" of Christianity to be clearer.

      But outside of Christianity, and in the laws of nature, something about it seems wrong to me. Does that make me a hate monger? I think not, as I have known gays before and treated them with the same respect as straight people.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • t.bo

      "If they are for it, then they are not following the teachings of the Bible"

      About time and more should follow. Any religion that supports discrimination and bigotry to further their cause is morally weak. Gays and lesbians are willing to die for you knowing exactly how you feel, and that is something I can get behind. If gays must lie and hide for fear of offending someone elses moral code, then you should too because I find it offensive.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • Derrik

      t.b0,
      out of context. I was referencing particular religions and their stances.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  15. Louie Crew, Ph.D., D.D., D.D., D.H.L.

    Those of us caught in the cross-hairs of the Family Research Council owe you a huge debt of thanks for disarming them with the truth.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • SHAIARRA

      AND IF YOU WANT TO MEET THE RESEARCH .....JUST GOTO RENTBOY.COM SO THEY CAN SPEND ALL THAT FAITH BASED$$$ ON RENTBOY TO CARRY BAGS AND CONVERT THEM PRIVATELY IN ROOMS ALONE

      June 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Debra

      I love the alphabet soup behind your name. And your brazen humillity. Education doesn't preclude ignorance.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  16. Scott Daniels

    As a future seminarian in the Episcopal Church, it is the right thing to repeal DADT. Our country is promoting people to LIE which is not a good example to teach our future leaders. We in this country must take a closer look at how we are not respecting the dignity of all persons when we ask our men and women in the armed forces to lie about who they really are. Being gay is NOT a sin but lying about who you are is far more serious than being gay.

    June 1, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • Derrik

      What Bible have you been reading?
      1 Corinthians 6:9-10
      Leviticus 18:22
      Romans 1:26-27

      June 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Kate

      Hey Derrek:
      "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another." (Romans 14:1-13)

      June 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Derrik

      Kate, I am judging, I feel the lifestyle is wrong, but I am no one to judge someone else. I was referencing the future pastor's comment on not being a sin. There are a lot of things I do that are sins as well, and I don't seek someone else to tell me that it is not a sin. I was trying to see how he believes it is not a sin. My question was directed at his statement, not judging at this point.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Derrik

      meant to say not judging. at least in that statement i am not:)

      June 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Cindy

      Kate, you forgot the remainder of verse 13: " Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
      I would ask you to consider if you are speaking to Derrik in gentle admonition and Christian love or are you passing judgment on him for his belief?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Kate

      I think I was being pretty gentle.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Derrick

      Do you eat shellfish?

      Leviticus 11:12
      Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • James

      God doesn't think being gay is a sin... its your Bible that does. God made me gay... it would be a sin for me to try to go against my God-given nature! I have an ex-wife and two children suffering because society tried to force me straight. And I have now found the love, peace, and joy with my husband that God had intended for me all along.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Derrik

      "Do you eat shellfish?

      Leviticus 11:12
      Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you."

      Actually I don't, but it is because I don't like it. I should have stuck with the New Testament reference. Good pickup:)

      June 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Derrik

      @James,
      You feel you had no choice but be this way? Also, when did you realize this or had you known your whole life?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Larry

      I truly dislike all this religious condemning and judging upon another. If memory serves me correctly, the bible reports quite often when Christ was on Earth that he sat and ate with those condemned as sinners and he quite often, and openly, criticized the closed minded religious leaders of his day. He also referred to them as "blind guides" who follow the letter of the law but neglect the spirit of the whole law. And lastly, if not the least, it was not necessarily the Jews or sinners or anyone else OTHER than the religious leaders of his day that condemned Christ and demanded he be crucified. So, the question put forward is....what would your Christ and Savior say, do, and expect of you if you are to call yourself Christian....a follower of him? Does your political sided viewpoints guide your view of Christianity or does your Christianity guide your politic? Many seem to have a skewed sense of this. Christ himself and his examples on Earth from his own actions and recorded word IS your guide. Have been listening or have you failed to? Only you and others can answer this.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Derrik

      @Larry,
      The condemning is back and forth. I have not condemned anyone to hell, but I have stated what I belief.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  17. Thomas K. Chu

    Thanks to Harry Knox for sharing a view shared by many more Americans of faith than we know through the popular press, and thanks to CNN.com for hosting this forum and bringing more voices into the mix. It's unfortunate that the Family Research Council and others of its ilk have gotten such exposure out of proportion to the number of their actual supporters–I'm glad to read such a well-reasoned perspective as I have here. I have had the privilege of visiting Capitol Hill with Margarethe Cammermeyer, subject of "Serving in Silence" starring Merryl Streep and others telling the true stories of LGBT servicemembers faithfully doing their duty yet living in daily fear for their futures. I'm glad to be part of a conversation that can take us to a new, better, healthier place. Thank you.

    June 1, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Shane

      Unfortunately, the media tends to do its job by throwing us polarized extremes without using any critical faculties in determining those extremes. They have abdicated the 'responsible' portion of 'responsible journalism'.

      June 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • spuds

      That was Glenn Close, not Meryl Streep.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Thomas K. Chu

      Thanks Spuds for the correction–my error. I had meant to write Glenn Close rather than Meryl Streep.

      June 1, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • Chris

      Good said....if I had to choose from kicked people of the military for being GAY or losing people that will not serve with GAY members in the service, well, I prefer losing people voluntarily. If they can't conform to standards of equality and non-discrimination, or respecting the liberties of an individual, then I don't want them...we don't need NCOs or Officers or leaders in our armed forces to continue to disgrace the uniform. These troops are not Christian soldiers, no agenda exists, they are there to service and fight.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  18. The Reverend Canon Susan Russell

    As an Episcopal priest AND the mother of a son serving in the U.S. Army I applaud Harry Knox for speaking out for all of those who believe "the truth will set us free" (John 8:32) - as individuals and as a nation. The truth is our nation will be strengthened by repealing DADT and the truth is any "famkly council" that supports a policy that promotes dishonesty isn't promoting the kind of family values American values.

    June 1, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • Donald Ashton

      Well said Reverend

      June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Doug

      I applaud you.. Countless gay men and women commit suicide every year because of the guilt thrown at them. If only more people could educate themselves and put themselves in others shoes, finally we would have a nation of love and tolerance !

      June 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • t.bo

      Thanks Rev. I myself am not religious and am glad to see that not all that are choose to use their religion as a bludgeon.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Reality

    Is this more about what group gave more to the Obama campaign? From guidestar.org, The Human Rights Campaign has assets over $22 million dollars and The Family Research Council has assets of ~$4 million. It is doubtful Obama's campaign received any support from the latter group. For added interest, Mr. Perkins makes $220,000/yr for hyping Christianity. Mr. Knox makes $100,000/yr hyping the LGBT message.

    June 1, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • cmxsmitty

      No – its about doing what is right and allowing tax-paying, patriot citizens to serve their country regardless of what consenting adult they choose as a partner.

      June 1, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • twj

      WT eff is that person talking about?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Charles

      cmxsmitty- Doing what's right is doing what's best for America and America's military, not what meets your needs or desires. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and in this case the military's needs are best served by keeping DADT.

      Before you reply, ask yourself how much experience you have with the military and why would your uninformed opinion hold any weight against those that do serve. Most people in the services, atleast combat arms, are against repealing it. It's just an opinion/choice and their is nothing wrong with it, just like their is nothing wrong with your choice to be gay.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • dodger

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" isn't that an old Spock line? And it is not true that the military does not want it repealed – we, yes those of us serving in the military don't really care. Everybody is pretty much open anyway. Why not try to catch up with England, France, Italy and other nations that already have done this. Or should we stay behind with Suadi Arabia? USA use to be a strong nation that opened doors and was a leader. But we no longer lead in many things. So this repeal of DADT would just catch up to the other major countries of the world.l

      June 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Charles

      Dodger, you are simple minded if you think the quote is from Spock. It's from the bible big man.

      I know alot of people that are against it, from people Iserved with to people my brother currently serves with to lots of peole that responded to polls. Get your facts strait, your generalization about nobody caring is grossly inaccurate.

      And y

      June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Carl

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and in this case the military's needs are best served by keeping DADT."

      I'm sure at some point in history, before Civil Rights, a majority of white southern soldiers would have not wanted to serve alongside African-American soldiers. Would the racist "needs" of the many serve as justification for racial discrimination?

      Bigotry and discrimination are wrong. There is no place for bigotry and discrimination in protecting our country. It doesn't matter how many people would deprive a black, female, Muslim, or gay American his or her opportunity to serve our country–to do so is wrong and a violation of the First Amendment.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • RB

      Uh, Charles,
      The line is from Charles Dickins, "A Tale of Two Cities"

      June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Charles

      RB, Gospel of John.

      Get it over with, go ahead, someone say it's from Jersey Shore. Then it will be complete.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Larry

      Well said, Carl:

      "Bigotry and discrimination are wrong. There is no place for bigotry and discrimination in protecting our country. It doesn't matter how many people would deprive a black, female, Muslim, or gay American his or her opportunity to serve our country–to do so is wrong and a violation of the First Amendment."

      June 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jim

      That expression most likely originated at John 11: 49-51 "But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them: “You do not know anything at all, and you do not reason out that it is to your benefit for one man to die in behalf of the people and not for the whole nation to be destroyed.” This, though, he did not say of his own originality; but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was destined to die..."

      June 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • Jordan

      In reality, the phrase "The Needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few" is from Star Trek 2:The Wrath of Kahn. However the idea is older than Star Trek, or the biblical reference. It can be attributed to Aristotle in his "The Aim Of Man" He said; "Even supposing the chief good to be eventually the aim for the individual as for the state, that of the state is evidently of greater and more fundamental importance both to attain and to preserve. The securing of one individual's good is cause for rejoicing, but to secure the good of a nation or of a city-state is nobler and more divine."

      June 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
    • Norman

      Naw, reality-its pretty bi-partisan-whopping 70% of americans back teh repeal
      Its just fairness
      you can scream abotu marriage left and right, btu when peopel put up their lives for the country and have to hide who they are-only the truly bigoted and hateful stand in the way!

      June 2, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • Norman

      sorry, charles-youre wrong and your bigoted views are dead
      my dad, my uncle and my buddy-all military want teh repeal now
      most boots on the ground want the repeal now
      most americans-over 70%-want the repeal
      34 countries allow gays-all are fine with no "gay" prioblems"
      your kidn is dead-please join tehm and let freedom ring!
      whewe hoo!!

      June 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Matthew

      Obviously you didn't do too much research on guidestar.org. HRC is about the only organization working on LGBT rights whereas as you have several organizations such as Focus on the Family (with over $93 Million in assets and brought in income of more than $145 Million in 2009).

      September 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  20. mysliwij

    Long overdue. It is insulting for people to ask their fellow Americans to give their life to protect our freedoms but add "could ya just hide who you are while you are doing it? Thanks."

    June 1, 2010 at 9:14 am |
    • BassOMatic

      Nicely said..."Don't Ask, Don't Tell" not only is shamefully narrowminded, but also sounds far too much like a child's playground game. The military's job is to kill people in protection of the U.S.A. - with such an important charge, I think it's time that our military leaders start acting like adults.

      June 1, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • Doug

      Very right on ! The very thought of these hypocrites suggesting go back to the closet is disgusting. As for the gays pushing their beliefs on others, come on now, when was the last time a gay knocked on your door handing out flyers and trying to get you to join ?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • hypocrites

      Tony Perkins beats off! Is there any doubt? What morality any right wing, religious folk wants to pontificate on? 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • Larry

      Doug, I do believe we call these folks "religious proselytizers" who come knocking on your door to convert others to their lifestyle. I have yet to see a gay man or woman do the same. LOL

      June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • nwatcher

      to Larry. The gay activists don't go door to door. They get laws passed to make you accept their lifestyle and prosecute those who will disagree with them or refuse to accept/promote their behavior. If I disagree with those at my door, I can close it. Will chaplains and seargents be allowed to do that without negative consequences? I highly doubt it...

      June 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • Norman

      nwatcher-you dont have to acept anythign-you can go one being bigoted, beer bellied and redneck the rest of your life!
      But you wont be able to legally discriminate
      sorry-just like in the 60s when you couldnt be bigoted against blacks anymore-as much as you screamed and yelled about "dem dare rights"-times are a changing
      please die off soon-and please, god please-dont infect your kids with that bile-give them a chance!

      June 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.