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. nOT Trash

    This blog is an embarrassment to CNN and news reporting in general.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Matt

    I respect the pastor'sthoughts and beliefs but lets be honest about this. Most AMerican men can't serve b/c they are fat and lazy and if you are an abled body man or woman who wants to serve then so be it. I could care less if you're gay or not. I served 8 yrs and knew of a few gay people here and there but none were cast-offs. All were quite religious and I would fight in any situation by their side as they would mine. When you're deployed no one cares. You're they're to fight and win and make sure everyone comes home alright. Pretty simple.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Christian

    One point, plain and Simple. You're and idiot!! You talk about Religuous liberty. What does that have to do with the Military? And isnt this YOUR religion and what YOU belive in to be right?? Who do you and all these other conservative religious nuts get off telling people how they should be or who they are or what they can and can't do. Who makes you "god" if there is one. Isnt relgion supposed to be loving of everyone, oh wait, you dont know how to do that, all you do is spread hate. Isnt that what all organized religions do today, is spread hate in the name of "their" god??

    June 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  4. Greg

    There are more Christians in hell than Gays.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  5. Jason

    I live in the south, and it needs another fire enema like Sherman gave it long ago.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • DaveinSC

      Sounds good to me. We start at your house first.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  6. MikinAZ

    another example of how religeon stifles human progress. Hey Tony Perkins...rentboy much? Does that nut job group of hypocrits get a multi order discount? ha

    June 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Kian

    Honestly, I doubt this guy was actually a soldier, probably an officer behind a desk somewhere, because any soldier would tell you he doesn't care if you're gay or not as long as you shoot back at the enemy.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  8. Scrapster

    Myths? Hmmm. I guess Tony Perkins should know something about those. He certainly knows nothing about science 🙂

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  9. Phillip

    This is the most sane writer I believe I have ever read on CNN. The liberal lefty editors must have been sleeping when he posted this piece. Keep up the good work, and keep speaking for those of us in the South, the only place left in this country that isn't completely gay.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • todd

      liberal lefty is a tautology you righty retard. Second of all, if you think this guy is insane then very clearly your perception of sanity is topsy turvy

      June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  10. bob

    I like how CNN presents both arguments as if they have equal merit. "Well, this side believes 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is a tool to benignly discriminate against non-heteros, but THIS side believes non-heteros are in league with our secret dragon overlords! Which group is more credible? We report, YOU decide!"

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  11. michael

    why in Gods name is this guy bringing in religion..it has no place here this is about rights brother leave your damn religion at home where it belongs..religion in all its forms has done enough evil to mankind throughout the ages..last time i looked therec werent many crusades or inquisitions undertaken by gays of this world..RELIGION HAS NO PLACE HERE LEAVE IT OUT

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  12. righteous-in-Christ

    *****EVERY GAY PERSON NEEDS TO STOP PUTTING THEIR EYES ON MANKIND BECAUSE MOST OF THEM HAVE BROUGHT THE NAME OF CHRIST TO SHAME! SO STOP BLAMING GOD FOR OTHER’S STUPIDITY!**** Also, if anyone thinks that God condone murder, killing, slavery, etc. in the Old Testament, you need to read the new Testament to understand why the things happened in the Old Testament. People from the Old Testament are just people of today. We are still living as the days of Sodom and Gomorah! Nothing has changed; nothing is new under the sun….READ the book of Proverbs.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  13. Ty

    Tony Perkins, it's time to come out of the closet and free yourself from the pain you're inflicting upon yourself. Be the liberated gay man you're longing to be. It won't make you weak. Your religion is, however.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • Kickstart

      Yup, I'm a straight dude, but even my gaydar is off the scale over this this guy. I think he doth protest too much...

      June 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  14. CC

    It is really convoluted logic that states that the only way to preserve religious liberty is to discriminate against those who do not follow the same religious practices that you do.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  15. wasitosa

    Doug....Wow dude. I'm a Yankee who for 20 years has lived in Louisiana, Mississippi and now Arkansas. And I can tell you for sure that the people you are referring to are not so friendly to groups that are different from them. Groups like Yankees, African-Americans, Hispanics, Catholics, Gays. Being nice means being nice to somebody different than yourself.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  16. jmb2fly

    Amazing amount of hate and intolerance in the reactions to this article. Seems to be a huge disconnect between what Mr. Perkins has said and what the reactions are. It would seem that anyone with a different point of view than the majority here should keep their opinions to themselves or be attacked. Such intolerance and hate from those who demand tolerance and hate crime protections. Ironic

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

      Not because we ask for tolerance does it mean that we are gentle kind souls. We are people too and we have our faults – what we're saying is that being gay doesnt mean we should have the same rights as you.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  17. Jim from Chicago

    Anyone who wants to carry a gun and perform missions in some of the most hostile and unforgiving locations in the world in the sake of protecting my interests and my freedoms is okay by me. I salute you, American warrior, without any discrimination of any kind. Thanks to everyone in the military!

    Anyone who would say that a gay soldier cannot serve in the military is welcome to get off their keyboard, and go take their place in the front lines of the battlefield. Put up or shut up.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  18. Johnnyleen

    "It was religious liberty that drew the Pilgrims to America." Um no...they had migrated to Holland where they had complete religious freedom after their troubles in England, but were not happy with the liberal society of Holland at that time (Holland had an active Jewish population). Plus, the Pilgrims wanted their children to grow up with a sense of Englishness. So they sailed off to America to promptly start their own hierarchy of oppression and religious intolerance. So don't hand me that freedome of religion, pilgrims, blah, blah, blah.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Terry

    Why is the gay community calling the author a bigot? He isn't showing intolerance for Gays, he is just simply voicing a valid concern and what kind of disruption it can have on others. As an ordained minister, he should be treating you just like any other sinner. And we are ALL sinners. I believe, at least for me, the reason why gays are finding it hard to be accepted it because it seems the majority are notoriously vulgar and open about it. Nobody wants their children subjected that the sort of things you all talk about in private or do in private. Just like the what one guy said earlier... how something sucked and so do I. Act like normal folks and you will be treated normally... however, it will take time and you will always have the believers in Christ attempt to talk to you. That is their mandate and as gay person wanting equality, it is something you will have to put up with.

    I have a question... where will gay people use the facilities? Such as showers and the restroom? There is a reason why women and men do not share facilities and this is no different... so please, do say it is.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Observer

      The BIble supports slavery and the inferiority of women, but hypocrites don't talk about that. They just pick and choose whatever agrees with their prejudices.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ


      June 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Greg

      Your right about one thing, gay people shouldn't have to be subjected to some of the very vulgar things that straight men talk about while playing cards at work. You argument about the facilities use is STUPID. First off gay people just want to serve openly not outright in your face so there isn't going to have to be a segeration of showers or dorms like there was during the segeration of Blacks in the military, your argument is silly and without foundation.

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

      No it doesn't... you are only showing your ignorance in the bible. The bible shows what the world was like, and the laws of MAN at various times. However, not once does God, or Jesus Christ condone it. As a matter of fact, people in those times SOLD THEMSELVES to pay off their debts.... it was their choice in many occasions. That would seem perfectly fine for me and the bible does say how those who do that, should be treated. Also, Jesus had followers that were women, and he did not treat them like you say... Maybe most men did, but he did not.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Terry

      Sorry, but as a gay man, Greg, maybe you think its stupid... But I can assure you, 90% of straight men will not feel comfortable knowing you are gay and in the shower with them. This is just common sense.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • todd

      Terry most people can uh you know read behind the lines. What a one tract mind must you have

      June 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • MikeP

      Most sane men won't be comfortable being shot at and put in harms way in the first place, Terry. I don't think you join the military for comfort's sake, and I doubt you worry much about your fellow soldier's orientation when they are carrying you to safety when you're wounded.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Terry

      Neither would I be concerned if a woman were carrying me to safety.... try again.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • MikeP

      Sorry, I guess I'm batting a bit over your head, Terry. The point is – your comfort should not a policy-making issue when it comes to the military, and if it is, its time we reviewed who's making the policy.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • Kate

      Gay men and women share the same locker rooms and showers as straight men and women in every health club and gym in America. I can't imagine that a military man can't manage to do the same thing you and I do every day. If not, perhaps he's in the wrong profession.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  20. Brett

    I just don't understand why Christians want to weaken America by keeping good, qualified people out of the military.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 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.