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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. bucpimpin

    You guys seem ok forcing people to buy into your GLBT religon. No one is addressing the story.. Are all the soldiers going to now be PC rather than the trained killers we expect from our military, OUR MILITARY! As much as you guys would love to indoctrinate the youth , generation after generation with the liberal teachers, that this behavior is ok, It will not work. GLBT will begin to faze out..

    June 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Carl

      So a person has to practice hateful discrimination in order to be an effective soldier?

      How about this: you don't complain about soldiers being gay, and they don't complain about soldiers being Christian. Everybody follows orders and does their job. deal?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Paul

      GLBT folks will faze [sic] out when humanity does.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      Or maybe your centuries-outdated bigotry will phase out.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • John

      LGBT isn't a religion.. It's a secular portion of the country. It isn't going away because it's always been there. What WILL phase out will be this abhorent tendency for modern so-called "Christians" to act like their "rights" are being stepped on because someone doesn't agree with them. NO ONE is advocating everyone be gay. They are advocating that people born that way not get discriminated against by some idiot that thinks they have right of way.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • Tess

      Intellect and proper spelling is apparently "fazing" out for some...

      June 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Libby

      Oh yeah, its a phase. ROFL!!!!!!!!!

      June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • CubanMom

      YOU DO realize don't you, that the Military is OKAY with getting rid of DADT, right?! You are a typical conservative fear & hate monger.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  2. David E.

    Keep the government (and this creep) out of my bedroom.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  3. marc

    the author is probably in the closet according to a number of recent revelations.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • marc the twain

      marc is probably in the closet according to a number of recent revelations.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  4. JDinHouston

    I actually consider the impact of religious fundamentalists in the military to be far more dangerous. I have seen the born again movement try to take over our military and it scares me a lot more than gays in the military. Our military serves the people and the comander in chief, not the pastor down the street.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Swammie

      The last i Checked, the military serves the people of the united states and the "commander in chief" as you put it is just a figurehead leader. Wake up and read your history book. Also, to all you who feel it necessary to defend your point of view that its ok to be gay, let your actions do the talking. Also, Christianity has NEVER been in power, and Christians are required to be tolerant and respectful, but are not tolerated by ANYONE. Quote statistics all you want, but you all should be ashamed of yourselves for continuing centuries of hate and prejudice by continuing to promote hateful language, and actions. Now I remember why I don't read this rubbish.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  5. Geraint Thomas

    If I may quote a slight revamp of one paragraph, and rewind time by a few decades:

    "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 black rights movement: that all races are equally capable and that black people are the intellectual equals of whites. Anyone who points to the mountain of evidence to the contrary – or merely expresses the personal conviction that citizenship should be reserved for white people of anglo-saxon descent – runs the risk of receiving a negative performance evaluation for failing to support the military’s “equal opportunity policy” regarding “racial discrimination""

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      Nicely done.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  6. ArrKay

    So let me get this straight... To avoid discriminating against religious people, we should discriminate against gays.

    Well that sounds patently fair, now doesn't it?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Damien

      it just oozes hypocracy

      June 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  7. Mike

    "There are many who consider as an injury to themselves any conduct which they have a distaste for, and resent it as an outrage to their feelings; as a religious bigot, when charged with disregarding the religious feelings of others, has been known to retort that they disregard his feelings, by persisting in their abominable worship or creed. But there is no parity between the feeling of a person for his own opinion, and the feeling of another who is offended at his holding it; no more than between the desire of a thief to take a purse, and the desire of the right owner to keep it."
    "On Liberty" – John Mill
    Family Research Council => FAIL

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  8. adamcrazypants

    I think the only proper solution is to disband the military in its entirety.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • BrianCNN

      Yep, this makes sense.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  9. Ron

    Why don't we simply keep all the different groups separate? Black, gay, white would all get their own units so the people who don't want to be with black people are not subjected to that either. While we are at it women in he armed forces is just silly! Why cant it be simple, like when my dad was a kid there were no problems and everyone knew their places.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  10. d

    I can't believe that CNN would give this jerk a platform to spew his hate.
    No wonder their ratings are down.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  11. Christopher Bingham

    Your right to swing your fist ends at some reasonably safe proximity to my face. Your right to act on your beliefs ends where it where it effects my right to act on mine. Tony Perkins is a disgrace to anyone who loves freedom.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rabbit

      Exactly. Perkins is complaining about his 'rights' but what he doesn't realize is that he has his fist in someone's face and is complaining about his knuckles.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Collin Kelley

    The Family Research Council? What a joke! A spokesman from the organization co-founded by a man who likes to take rentboys on European vacations to help "lift his luggage." Crawl back under your rock, Tony.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  13. scroo yoo

    keep your god out of other peoples business

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  14. Felipe

    I can't wait for the Aliens to land, then all this BS and hatred that comes FROM religion would finally just go away!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Carl

      Yeah, but then you'll have all these conservative Christian types who proclaim that it is an immoral choice to believe in aliens, and we should discriminate against people who choose this sinful lifestyle and take away their opportunities.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  15. DLS

    Sincew you used catholics as an example how can a preist serving as a chaplin council a service person about a "second mairrage? It is forbidden for catholics to divorce and remarry. So if follows his "faith" then he cannot really serve all.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  16. Emily

    You claim the freedom to discriminate based on your religious views? How does allowing openly gay women and men serve compromise your religious views? If you can't work under the new regulations, you are perfectly free to walk away, preserving the integrity of your beliefs.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    The first amendment is pretty clear. While you are completely free to preach hate, Congress is under no obligation to continue to allow your religious based intolerance. In fact, they are prohibited from using what the so called "great monotheistic religions" say on the matter as a reason for the ban.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  17. EddyL

    Total idiocy. If anything does NOT belong in the military, it's RELIGION. This guy needs to get his head out of his .... bible.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Scott

    WWJD? The Family Research Council gives Christians a bad name. The Jesus I know welcomed all

    June 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  19. jmb2fly

    Tony, thanks for having the courage to speak truth in a society that refuses to hear truth.

    God Bless

    June 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      Truth is in the eye of the Beholder. And just because you and this person believe something, doesn't make it Truth, or Fact.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Your right. truth doesn't depend on what I believe or what you believe. Truth is based on reality and it doesn't change. It either is Truth or it isn't. Doesn't matter what you point of view is as you pointed out in you post.

      Thanks,

      June 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      Not quite. Truth changes, depending on who you ask. Fact is reality. Truth is objective.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      and what exactly is your 'Truth' jmb2fly?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  20. David

    dont ask dont tell

    June 1, 2010 at 3:23 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.