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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. Kyle in Phoenix

    Are you kidding me... How about SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.. you keep your beliefs to yourself and we wont start making churches pay taxes.. HOWS THAT FOR DONT ASK DONT TELL... dont ask us to give up our liberties and we wont ask you to tell us how much you really rake in.....

    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  2. emmet

    I am a Christian. The worst thing Christians can do is get involved in politics. That's not what Jesus said to do. How can you show that your life is any better if it is consumed with fear, hate, and anger? We need to stay out of these kind of debates. It's too easy think our own thoughts are the same as God's.

    Second, it is a common misconception that religion has caused more deaths than anything else. Certainly, it has caused a lot. However, I would say Greed has caused a lot more. WWI, WWII, Napoleonic Wars, Roman domination, Genghis Kann...etc...were all wars of greed and not religion. Hmmm....come to think of it, the millions slaughtered in the Soviet Union camps was not the result of religion, but rather anti-religion.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  3. Jason

    Who invited this clown to Andrews AFB anyway? Look at the group he represents and you know immediately he is a closed-minded freedom-hating bigot.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • The Rev'd Fr. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

      The Konservative Kristianist Kultists (KKK) have engaged in a drive to take over the Chaplains' Corps. Recent events at the Air Force Academy have exposed them.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  4. Nick

    @Jeremy

    Dear Jeremy,
    I'd like one good, legitimate reason that doesn't involve religion why gays are so wrong.

    Please do inform us all whats so wrong with us.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  5. MJ

    My brother (non-veteran) was spouting the tired old bigoted right wing retoric about the dangers of gays in the military when my father (WWII combat vet) told him "We had gays in the military in WWII and we were glad to have every patriot on our side who could man a gun." He then went on to tell my bro that "Having someone maybe stare at your butt is exactly what your sister goes thru every day – and I think you should be man enough to handle it"

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

      This is the best comment on here.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  6. John

    I don't understand why these characters who lijke to call themselves Christians get so concerned about gays/lesbians. Jesus apparently didn't mention the issue once. My version of Christianity has no room for self-righteous clowns like this guy. I love the fact that he and his crowd now like to turn themselves into "victims" when the rest of society decided to progress a level and treat people who are different than we are the same way we want to be treated – oh wait, Jesus did say something about that....

    June 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  7. john

    @Nathan above. If you're a Gay Pagan, you already have more problems than most normal people can cope with. LOL!

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

      Problem? Please do inform me how being gay is a problem.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Nathan

      I have problems? I was born gay, I looked at guys since I was 10 or something. As for being pagan, it's not a problem. Most of the world had pagan beliefs before the Romans conquered and burned everyone who didn't believe in the christian god. So no, I don't believe I have any problems as far as being gay or a witch. I think you have a problem for being christian and believing fairy tales about flaming swords protecting eden, jesus rising from the dead, living to be 900 years old... oh! and the old testament. Yes i know, all you christians say the old testament is for the people of israel or whatever... however, the bible does say that god is eternal, never fallible, and unchanging... so if he's unchanging, why do his rules change? Why aren't you sacrificing your first born sons, smearing blood on your doors, wearing pure fabrics (no cotton poly blends, that's a sin!)? Your god changes to what the vatican wants you to believe. They have unpublished volumes of the bible, they have all these other bogus artifacts but they don't release them because it would cause the christian faith to fall apart at the seams.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  8. StPaul Guy

    I have to wonder if Mr Perkins is okay with having Jews in the military. Or how about an Atheist? Should the U.S. pass a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law for anyone in the military who's beliefs don't fit with those who subscribe to Tony Perkins view of Christianity?

    Last I checked, "Thou shall not kill" was one of the 10 Commandments. So why doesn't Mr Perkins have an issue with the killing of war going against the Bible, but he's bent out of shape over the prospect of soldiers being true to who they really are.

    This is why I left religion.

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

      Thou Shalt not Murder....

      June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'thou shalt not murder'
      oh yes one of the rewritten commandments to justify wars, executions, and such.
      Bit like shalt not covet was rewritten to say servants instead of slaves because we cannot have god suggesting slavery was ok.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  9. Sean Lynch

    Last time I checked we didn't have a catholic government! The US has always tried to legitimize not accepting people who are different. Irish, Italians, Native Americans, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and yes now Gays. Each group had to painstakingly fight for acceptance. I guess its been too long for people like this auther to remember

    June 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Midwest

    The author is a joke of a man. Real men do not vilify others under the guise of the Bible.

    The bigoted, hate filled group he is involved with is closer to the Taliban and his POV is, thankfully, going the way of the dodo.

    If vitriolic, anti-gay ravings are an indication of anything, it would be that this man is a deeply closeted gay man who is lashing out at those he considers inferior to the narrow minded description of so-called Christians.

    Shame on you for waving red meat in front your ignorant followers.

    This "belief blog" belongs on Faux News, not on a real news outlet like CNN.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  11. emoore

    This "editorial" is hate speech. Shame on CNN for giving this bigot a pedestal to spew from. In 30 years, "editorials" like this will be in textbooks as examples of things that used to be acceptable to say in public.

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

      emoore, don't be upset at CNN for allowing Mr Perkins to speak his mind. I like you feel he is wrong, but the freedom of speech is as important as the RELIGIOUS LIBERTY he speaks about but certainly doesn't understand. He is just making a fool of himself and his beliefs. There was another article by his article which was pro DADT.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  12. P Miller

    Religious liberty also means you have the freedom and the right NOT to believe. That liberty is continually being undermined by the religious right, who are determined that only to those who are in agreement with them should have equal civil rights.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  13. LL

    I am amazed at all of the name calling and low shots being taken at people here...wow!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • MikeP

      I know! Its shocking that people could get so worked up about someone suggesting that a segment of our society should be treated as less than human and as having fewer rights than he does.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Why is it that the most "so called" religious people are also the most judgmental and full of hate. I guess I was taught to believe that religion should be about understanding, acceptance and helping others. Maybe that is why I don't attend church anymore. I think it is ironic that we rant and rave about religious fanatics in the Muslim world when we have just as many here in the US. Believe me, I am not condoning Al Quaeda or any of those groups, but how many wars have the so called Christians started in the history of man? And don't get me started on the fact that they are all tax exempt!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Doug

    Oh, my goodness! How can a Southern Baptist be a Republican? ===> Baptist Faith and Message quoted in this article: "Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness...."

    June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  16. rt

    Mr Perkins, You have one point of view which supports YOUR beliefs, though your beliefs are non-inclusive and devisive. For those of us who don't believe in YOUR religion, why should you have any say in our actions and beliefs if we are law abiding citizens? Why should anyone YOU and YOUR religion have decided will trample your RELIGIOUS LIBERTY have any less rights than anyone else? Maybe you should believe in your own religion and let the rest of us believe what we want., religious or not. Isn't that RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. It goes both ways, you need to learn that.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  17. The Helvetica Scenario

    Did he mean to post this on rentboy.com?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  18. Johnathan Miller

    You, sir, are a moron. It is about equal treatment. Our country does is not a theocracy. Gays & Lesbians should have EVERY right, opportunity, priviledge, and duty of any American. This includes serving openly in the military, recognition of civil marriages (if "marriage" bothers you, make "marriage" a religious rite WITHOUT legal standing, and make civil unions for everyone under the law). I'm so sick of this "your god can beat up my god" BS, especially when it's the same God.

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

      They certainly tax gays equally, so gays should get equal protection under the law.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Observer

    The defenders of the Bible that supports slavery and the inferiority of women are once again trying to trash people's rights. They have been wrong so many times you'd think they would get smarter. Not happening.

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

    So (using his language) – if we follow him, 1.4 million members of the US Military should continue to be allowed to be indoctrinated into the myths of the radical Christian movement that seeks to impose bigoted beliefs upon the rest of the country?

    Sorry, it's going to take a lot more than belief in a "holy book" written by prophets of a "god" that hasn't been proven to exist to get me to deny my fellow Americans – gay or not- the honor of serving their country.

    There are plenty of moderate Christians who aren't out to villianize gay Americans – let them be the Chaplains, not some hate-spewing bigot.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:44 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.