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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. Taka

    Religious values should not be imposed on others. They need to be a choice. Because some religious nutjobs think their world is the right one, doesn't mean others should be forced to live it.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  2. jeff

    Christianity is "going away" kicking and sceaming. LOL

    June 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  3. MikeP

    If someone else's personal lifestyle choices are a "threat" to your religion then you should consider getting a tougher and more comprehensive God.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Samuel

    When a country forgets or ignores a moral compass to guide it in matters of right and wrong that country is ruined.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Quite right. When a group of people wants to stop someone from serving their country because it interfers with their own personal beliefs, its disgraceful.
      That is what you meant right?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  5. Tom

    People like Tonty are a disgrace. He's forcing his religious views on the rest of us and crying that we're doing it to him by teaching tolerance.

    I'd love to here more about the "mountains of evidence" he mentioned about how gay people can change their orientation.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  6. mike

    How come some folks have no problem accepting someone born with a physical abnormality at birth like maybe born missing a limb or born blind deaf etc.? But if a persons horemones are a little mixed up its their choice and should be banished. Should the child with one arm grow a new one or face the same discrimination you are advocating?

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

      The child with one arm probably couldn't join the military.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  7. Duke Nukem

    Most people who are for lifting the ban care nothing about the military and simply want to push their political agenda on a group they have very little tolerance and respect for. Ironic.

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

      Try reversing that same thought but having it directed at gay people.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Duke Nukem

      Greg, that is the irony, And if you think the military should not force beliefs on servicemembers, you know nothing about the military.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  8. Jason from Hollywood CA

    "Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' would undermine religious liberty"

    Perfect, once we've wiped the religion off this planet we can live again...People like this guy and those who listen to him are the problem in our society. I'd hate to say it, but we need to catch up with Europe on some of the bs ways we talk to and treat people. I'd be proud to have an all gay infantry unit discover Osama Bin Laden...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Catch up to Europe!? HAHAHAH Have you seen the state of that continent lately!?

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

      LOL, i wonder if they would give him a massage or a makeover.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Beavis Christ

    Christianity – Hating in the name of Jesus for 2,000 years.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jeremy

      So tell me... is ignorance truly bliss?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  10. DALE

    Please put all religious nutjobs in a back room and lock and throw away the key. Then they can pray to the vengeful sky monster to set them free and condemn all the evil non believers!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  11. Gary

    All discrimination is not bad. We discriminate all the time. Bad morality which weakens our society should be discriminated against. The policy works now. Leave it alone. Let's not rush to paganize the military.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Greg

      It works for you but not for the thousands of Gay Men and Women serving the the military, just imagine what would happen if every Gay man and Women in the military would stand up and say " I'm gay either let me serve openly with pride or Discharge me with you shame NOW" Just think what that would do to the military, I guess you would be open to joining the military your self or here's a novel idea you could be FORCED to serve in the military because there would be thousands of open slots that would need to be filled. You Idiots just don't think before you speak or type in this case, crawl back under your ROCK and stay their while the real Men and Women, who are gay, fight for your right to be stupid.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  12. OpenMinded

    As a military member I just have to say that active duty members already know who is gay & who isn't. Troops aren't hiding it and haven't been for a long time (from those they work with or dorm with). This is simply a legal argument that non-military members, i.e. civilians who have never been in the military, keep battling. If politicians were really in touch with the military members they supposedly represent they'd know that we don't care who our co-workers sleep with so long as they can do their job!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  13. bcneardc

    If it wasn't for insane adherents to religion, we wouldn't be fighting two wars right now. Mr. Perkins keep your discriminatory beliefs to yourself.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  14. skeptic56

    Thank you LL. All the best.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  15. Chris

    Reading all of the negative reactions to this post brought tears to my eyes–tears of happiness. I feel so alone in my distaste for this type of non-religion (his religion's existence is fine, but it is how he wields it as a sword that is troublesome). Thank you all for overwhelmingly ousting this man from mainstream Christianity.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Outpost12156

    I find it difficult to believe that this man, no, idiot, can say "than believing what all the great monotheistic religions have believed for all of history". If he is an ordained minister, he had better go back and read some of the Old Testament scriptures, about the patriarchs who had multiple wives. The one man-one woman for ALL ages is a myth that is promogated by those who either selectively have read the Old Testament, or have chosen to think that no one else has done so. What a blow hard! It is people like this who give Religion a bad name.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  17. mfb

    methinks he dost protest too much...sounds like tony perkins is deep in the closet....

    June 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Rev'd Fr. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

      Tony Perkins is SO gay ... every time I see that pic of him, I have to hit the reset button on my gaydar ... it goes NUTS! (grin)

      June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  18. dniq

    How many dumb-ass politicians and other mentally challenged people does it take to realize GAYS ARE ALREADY in the military??? It's incredible how many retards are jumping on the issue in pursuit of cheap PR for themselves, never mind they look stupid like door knobs...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  19. MaineMike

    Settle down there Tony, I disapprove of a lot of things, including Christianity, but my freedom of religion is not impacted.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  20. NYCGAL

    Religion was created to control the masses – basically the poor and uneducated. Then those same people told those poor and uneducated people that there was a "threat" to their "god" out there somewhere and in order to be a good [insert religion here] you had to go kill them in order to show the world that your god is the only true god.

    Funny, I never heard GOD say that. I hear a lot of MEN say that.

    So if gay men and women want to go fight for their country – let them, and why should they be censured if all involved are consenting adults?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:39 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.