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. Nick

    And also, If "thou shalt not hate," then why are all of you religious buffs sining so much? Shouldn't you be ashamed of yourselves that to uphold your religious teachings, you are doing the very thing they tell you not to do?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  2. Wendy Gaylord

    Perkins doesn't have a logical bone in his bigoted body.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  3. joedoe43

    Here's how I feel about gays in the military: Anyone … dumb enough … to want to be in the military … should be allowed in.

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

      good thing for all those "dumbies" or we might be speaking German right now.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Batch

      Just say "thank you" and keep walking. The folks I've met in the military are some of the best this country has to offer. As opposed to you, Joe, who clearly offers nothing.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • joedoe43

      That was quote from a Bill Hicks show. What he meant is that people joining the military are willingly ignorant. War is a racket. It always was. How would you convince people to join the military if you tell them that every person is literally related to you?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  4. Blessed Geek

    Hmm ... Let's see.

    Let me speak on behalf of Tim McVeigh, Planned Parenthood bombers and Osama beenLaiden – Stopping us from bombing and killing people is undermining our religious liberty.
    On behalf of Muslim women who insists on covering their faces when having their driver's licence photo taken – The DMV is undermining my religious liberty.
    On behalf of a Muslim man in LA who insists every woman in LA should cover herself up head to toe – Having uncovered women walking next to me in LA is undermining my religious liberty and undermining my personal comfort and privacy.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  5. Jeremy

    He's right. In fact I'm currently contemplating whether I should join the military or not. In all honesty I'm not sure I'm comfortable fighting an enemy alongside a military that is arguable morally corrupt. It would only further inflame the enemy and pose even greater risk. Not to mention my own convictions of fighting for a military with those ethics. The more I type, the less I want to join...

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


      I hate to break it to you but there are gay people in the military. If you are really this naive then I might recommend you not enter the military.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Understood, my reservation revolves around the US openly accepting and deploying them. If you think our enemies will glance that one over you're not paying attention. They're very ideological and are hell bent on imposing their Sharia Law. The danger around or soldiers in both theaters will increase 2-fold... guaranteed.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  6. spm

    torqueflite -you are so right!!! CathyH
    -well said!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  7. FLV

    Seems to me that Religion is undermining peoples liberty and freedom

    June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  8. Paul

    Gee, the ISRAELI military the guards the "Holy Land" has no problems with gays in their military. The gays serve integrated as a matter of fact. They don't get special treatment and no one treats them any differently and it WORKS. This is religious bullcrap.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  9. Jethro Jones

    The israeli army IDF has and accepts openly gay members..............and they are one of the best armies in the world. Many other countries have openly gay soldiers, they too do just fine. Gays who join the military do it becayse the are mature, profesional and want to serve their country. Most people will not even know they are gay. They know how to conduct themselves....personally I think Tony looks like a closet case.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  10. Becky

    It's pretty obvious that many of you, from BOTH sides of the fence, stopped reading/comprehending what the author was saying the first moment you hit something you didn't like or agree with, and totally missed the point he was trying to make. It's getting so it's not even worth looking at the comments for any articles anymore, because there are too many knee-jerk commentators out there that don't even bother getting past the first couple of sentences of an article, or if they do, can't comprehend it unless it's in picture book format. Sheesh.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  11. larry heinen

    Is there any national political organization with "Family" in its name that is not basically a hate group?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      The National Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, FRC's worst nightmare... lol 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  12. JoeDoe43

    "Here's how I feel about gays in the military: Anyone … dumb enough … to want to be in the military … should be allowed in. " Bill Hicks

    June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      I agree, in fact, we should encourage all gays to join the military. then send them in first to attack. Problem solved

      June 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  13. Guy Montag

    If there were a Hell (there isn't, just like there aren't unicorns or a Santa Claus), then this guy would be going straight to Satan after he died.

    Religion is a pathetic excuse for rationalizing personal agendas. I don't care of your are "moderate" or "extreme" religiously, stop basing your life decisions around the idea that magic is real and join the top half of the human population.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jeremy

      well aren't you quite the self-righteous one!

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

      if the top half is where you reside then I'll stay in the lower half.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Guy Montag

      You are a prime example of someone of someone who has decided to find contentment in their stupidity by glorifying it.

      Sorry to tell you friend, despite what Sarah Palin tells you, stupidity and absurd religious ideologies are nothing to be proud of.

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

      the only thing stupid here is the way you label people who see things other than the way you do. you, my friend, are closeminded to the fact the not everybody is going to agree with you about everything, and because of that you simply place them in the file called "bigot", and "hater". how overly simply your existence is. maybe you parents should have looked into family planning alot harder.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  14. edwin

    Allowing gays into the military IN NO WAY forces religious people to leave.

    As a job requirement, I have attended "sensitivity training" workshops. The people who run them DO think everyone should believe exactly as they do, but there is no forcing of that agenda. The only requirements for the outcome of the workshop is that everyone understands what you can and cannot do in the workplace. The same would happen here - religious people in the armed service will not be forced to believe that being gay is okay, but they will be forced to understand that it will not be legally acceptable for them to verbally attack gays for their orientation.

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

      **The same would happen here – religious people in the armed service will not be forced to believe that being gay is okay, but they will be forced to understand that it will not be legally acceptable for them to verbally attack gays for their orientation***

      its not legal to take away his right to say those thing according to the first amendment either. he does have a freedom of speech, and to cencor that speech is not right either.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  15. kel

    Why does CNN provide an outlet for this bigot!?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      bigot, please you closeminded moron, he has a right to speak his peace. grow up and stop calling people names that disagree with you and your perverse viewpoint

      June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      Because the only arguments against basic living rights for gays that are left come from extremists and they really couldn't find anybody else.

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

      Called sensationalism.

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

      Just because he has the right to speak his mind doesn't make him not a bigot. It just makes him a bigot hiding behind the first amendment.

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

      Oh please Veg, grow up, liberals and other hide behind the 1st amendment the same way, it only becomes a problem when christianity gets involved.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  16. george

    the writer is out of touch with reality and it is sad that he was given this venue to spout his hatred. americans fighting for americans should be able to live and love openly like ALL americans.. the writer's conservative backlash is anything but conservative: it's disgusting, degrading, and dangerous. it's beliefs like this that make people afraid to serve their country let alone leave their homes. LET FREEDOM RING AND REPEAL DADT!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  17. Forteaneye

    Tony Perkins is an ignorant, bigot. He and his ilk are the ones who are the true sinners in this world.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  18. Patrick

    "Their ministry is to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith."
    Wrong. A chaplain's job is to ensure that the spiritual needs of *everyone* are met, even if they believe differently than said chaplain.
    If an individual minister isn't up to the task of dealing with people of different beliefs, they have no place in the military...

    And, whats wrong with having Unitarian chaplains, other than you disagree with them? The Unitarian chaplain at my boot camp was awesome. He was a former Marine who took a pay cut to become a Navy chaplain.

    Sorry Tony, your arguments aren't very valid.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Veg

      Word to that. Chaplains are meant to provide spiritual counsel and soothe soldiers in times of crisis, not to force their specific version of God on everyone.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  19. G35fun

    The end of false religion is near as prophecized in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.

    By the hands of World governments and the UN.

    Can't be clearer than that

    June 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • FLV

      OMG the horror.. Can you imagine people being tolerant of other people? Think of all the death, all in the name of some god, that would stop.

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

    So sad to hear such a closed minded voice in 21st Century. I propose, move to Mars to exercise your religion. This is so disheartening. Keep religion to yourself. Isn't that about inward reflection and faith? Why spill it over people who are just people. Perhaps, you also think the "enlightening" Catholic crusades of the past should come back. Please enlighten me!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:34 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.