June 1st, 2010
03:22 AM ET

My Take: Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' would undermine religious liberty

Editor's Note: Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council and a Marine veteran.

By Tony Perkins, Special to CNN

Some people think allowing open homosexuality in the military means nothing more than opening a door that was previously closed. It means much more than that. It would mean simultaneously ushering out the back door anyone who disapproves of homosexual conduct, whether because of legitimate privacy and health concerns or because of moral or religious convictions.

This outcome is almost inevitable, because pro-homosexual activists have made it clear that merely lifting the “ban” on openly homosexual military personnel will not satisfy them.

The stand-alone bills that have been introduced to overturn the 1993 law, such as S. 3065, call explicitly for:

Revision of all equal opportunity and human relations regulations, directives, and instructions to add sexual orientation nondiscrimination to the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity policy and to related human relations training programs.

While not in the defense authorization bill amendment approved by the House of Representatives and a Senate committee last week, this goal will undoubtedly be accomplished administratively as part of the “necessary policies and regulations” mandated by that amendment.

This means that all 1.4 million members of the U.S. military will be subject to sensitivity training intended to indoctrinate them into the myths of the homosexual movement: that people are born “gay” and cannot change and that homosexual conduct does no harm to the individual or to society.

Anyone who points to the mountain of evidence to the contrary - or merely expresses the personal conviction that sex should be reserved for marriage between one man and one woman - runs the risk of receiving a negative performance evaluation for failing to support the military’s “equal opportunity policy” regarding “sexual orientation.”

For no other offense than believing what all the great monotheistic religions have believed for all of history, some service members will be denied promotion, will be forced out of the service altogether, or will simply choose not to reenlist. Other citizens will choose not to join the military in the first place. The numbers lost will dwarf the numbers gained by opening the ranks to practicing homosexuals.

This pro-homosexual political correctness has already begun to infect the military.

As an ordained minister and a Marine Corps veteran, I was invited to speak at a prayer event at Andrews Air Force Base earlier this year. I had every intention of delivering a spiritual message, not a political one.

But the invitation was withdrawn after I criticized President Barack Obama’s call to open the military to homosexuality in his State of the Union address. The base chaplain told me they had received some complaints - about a dozen. I pointed out that orchestrating a handful of calls was a simple task for homosexual activist groups.

If I was blacklisted merely for supporting existing law, what will happen to those who oppose the new, politically correct law?

Those most likely to suffer are military chaplains. While some in the ranks will simply choose not to exercise their First Amendment rights in order to preserve their careers, this is not an option for chaplains. Their ministry is to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith.

But under the new regulations, will they be free to preach from the entire Bible? Or will they be forced to excise the many passages declaring homosexual conduct to be a sin?

In their counseling role, military chaplains assist all service members who come to them, even if they are of other faith traditions. But if a homosexual seeks counseling regarding his personal relationships, will the chaplain be free to recommend therapy to overcome homosexual attractions? Or will he be forced to affirm a lifestyle that his faith condemns?

While chaplains are members of the military, they must be “endorsed” by a sponsoring religious body. Denominations that are unequivocal in holding to a biblical standard of sexual morality may stop endorsing military chaplains rather than allow them to compromise their principles.

This may result in a chaplain corps that has plenty of Unitarian ministers and homosexual Episcopal priests, but a shortage of clergy to minister to the largest religious groups in America, such as Roman Catholics (whose catechism declares that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”) or Southern Baptists (whose Baptist Faith and Message declares that “Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography”).

It was religious liberty that drew the Pilgrims to America and it is religious liberty that leads off our Bill of Rights. But overturning the American military’s centuries-old ban on homosexual conduct, codified in a 1993 law, would mean placing sexual libertinism - a destructive left-wing social dogma found nowhere in the Constitution - above religious liberty, our nation’s first freedom.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tony Perkins.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Homosexuality • Military • Opinion

soundoff (1,287 Responses)
  1. praca

    ou did a admissible contribution creating a regulations conducive to photographers like me with no go throughout with stock. You explained so much that I needed to know. I interpret it with consuming interest. You are a abundant writer. I’m gratified to forefather met you and positive that you are as useful and clubby as your pan abroad indicates. Your service is appreciated.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  2. BillyJoe

    I'm all for tolerance.
    However, logic tells me to stop at tolerating intolerance.
    Tony Perkins is asking us to be illogical.

    Think about it.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  3. Observer

    I am a 56 year old man that loves young boys. Of course I seek those ONLY over the age of 18. I seek to become a military counselor.

    September 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  4. Russell

    simple- everyone becomes educated – not indoctrinated. freedom of religion IS freedom from religion. i really do doubt that the military will become some huge meatmarket for the gays, and just think, with the whole world ending in 2012, you'll have to tolerate it for just a few years. and the world will end it a nutjob gets into office...

    September 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  5. Danni

    This article is the most ignorant dictatorial excuse of an argument that I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I am a freshly graduated high school senior and the opinion articles of my peers have proven to be less delusional. To sit there and smugly say that one's right to serve in the military is taking away SOMEONE ELSE'S Liberties is completely erroneous and frankly full of it. In other words you are saying that you would rather someone risk their life to protect YOUR rights but then have to live with the fear EVERYDAY of not only risking their lives, the possibility of never seeing their families or loved ones again, and to lose everything they have worked so hard for for the simple fact that SHE has a WIFE at home or HE has a HUSBAND ??? You have got to be kidding me. It's pompous idiots like you that force half of America into hiding. It's People like you who force thirteen year old CHILDREN to cut themselves and commit suicide because "Society" says that they are not normal and do no deserve to live with the same rights and protections of STRAIGHT people. It's people like you that make me hang my head down at American culture.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  6. TheRationale

    If someone's religion happens to be in conflict with someone else's rights, then it is the religious person who has to deal with it, not his or her dissenter.

    This is also a completely nonsensical argument. Someone could just as easily create a religion that demands the equality of homosexuals. What then? Thus the beauty of a secular government.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  7. severn

    Well, h may well be right about one thing – the first migrants to the US probably went so they could tell others what to do, rather than be told by others.

    But he clearly has no confidence in himself or his own beliefs if he is so afraid of being with others different to himself.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  8. David

    So, just what exactly does the "Family Research Council" actually "research" (aside from male escorts)? I'd also like to know if they are a tax exempt hate group.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  9. Norman

    I have a solution for good old Tony (loved you in Psycho by the way!)
    If you cannot contain your bigoted views that gays are evil or sinful or "chose" to be that way and you are in the military, you simply dont tell and we wont ask

    June 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  10. John

    Perkins is such a fool. How long before he's spotted rocking a wide stance in an airport men's room stall?

    June 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Jake

    Religion poisons everything.. Everything. This guy is living proof.

    June 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • TOM

      I don't think that religion poisons everything but certainly those people who are manic about certain aspects of religion create an unhealthy culture for everyone and those same people have caused extreme mental, physical, and spiritual distress for both loyal followers and the victims of religous persecution.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  12. Bill

    Doesn't anyone find it appalling that CNN would give voice to a man, Tony Perkins, whose organization is listed as an official hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center web site?

    Giving Tony Perkins a voice to spew his hate against gay citizens is no different than granting the KKK the right to speak as to why black Americans should be re-enslaved.

    Shame on you, CNN. For giving voice to a man who has been PROVEN to be the LEADER of a HATE GROUP.

    June 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  13. Eric

    My Take:
    Matthew 23:13 – But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
    Matthew 23:15 – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

    Religion is a wall between man and God, and clearly a vehicle for the unabashed expression of hate.


    June 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  14. ChristianActivelyServiingGayVeteran

    I don't have time to point out all the statements in this article that are grossly inaccurate. So, I'll just highlight Mr. Perkins' misunderstanding the duties of a Military Chaplain:

    "Their [military chaplains] ministry is to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith."

    No Mr. Perkins, they, Military Chaplains, minister, comfort and accommodate Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of all faiths, denominations, and persuasions. In other words, regardless of "their" own faith, a Chaplain serves the warriors of our nation, not the denomination that sponsored them into becoming an officer Chaplain.

    I'm sure your invitation to speak at Andrews AFB was in the capacity and honorary role of Military Chaplain, not as the President of the Family Research Council. This is not the first, and will not be the last time a speaker's invitation will be withdrawn by military organizations at the alter of controversy.

    I will continue to serve my country, knowing full well you and some others disapprove. After all, as a Warrior Airman, I fight for all faiths, denominations, and persuasions, not just my own.

    God Bless.

    June 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • Gay Sailor


      I could not agree more! As a Christian myself, I can personally attest to this having been comforted by a Military Chaplain who identifies with the Muslim faith. While serving in Guantanamo Bay I lost a close friend and he was the Chaplain available when I entered the Chapel on base seeking some sort of comfort and understanding. It comes as no real shock to me that Mr. Perkins and so many others are so misguided in their understanding of the U.S. Armed Forces, but it is an upfront to my service and so many others to demean our professionalism and service to our country based on their beliefs.

      I am proud that the military withdrew his invitation, and proud of you for standing up and serving.

      June 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  15. d-bag

    Some people are gay...get over it.

    June 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Stephan


    June 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  17. Patrick

    "Those most likely to suffer are military chaplains. While some in the ranks will simply choose not to exercise their First Amendment rights in order to preserve their careers, this is not an option for chaplains. Their ministry is to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith."

    Wow, this is factually wrong on two counts. First, military chaplains are already not allowed to exercise their "first amendment rights" or "proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith" in many, many instances. Christian chaplains are not allowed to tell Jewish, Muslism, or Hindu American soldiers marching into battle for America that if they don't accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, they're going to hell. Muslim chaplains are not allowed to denounce Christian soldiers as infidels.

    While in most cases, chaplains administer to soldiers of their own faith, this is not always the case. And chaplains are certainly not allowed to evangelize and convert or change the religious principles of soldiers not in their faith. This is the difference between an evangelist and a chaplain.

    So, I don't see the problem. Many southern baptist chaplains currently believe American Hindu soldiers are going to hell, but that doesn't cause them to quit the military. Jewish chaplains may find Christian soldiers eating pork repulsive, but they don't quit the military.

    So really, what's the difference between a gay Methodist or a straight Hindu to a Southern Baptist chaplain? They're both going to hell in his eyes, and he can still do his job.

    June 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  18. richard

    Thanks for reminding us, Mark. Let's hope everyone read this far down the thread. So important to remember the gross hypocrisy behind those preaching to us from their supposed moral high ground.

    To the dumb comment way up above about gay soldiers shouldn't be showering with straights – dude, they're doing it right now and have been doing so in ever army since the dawn of civilization. If that's the justification for keeping the out of the military, you're on very shaky ground. And most people in the service have zero problem with gays serving with them. It's only the old farts like John McCain who are getting all indignant.

    June 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
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About this blog

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.