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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. Jenn

    Dear Lord please save me from your followers!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  2. bobbhy

    youre a bigot Mr Perkins puree and simple..who says your religion is better than anyone elses..this is the same religious bullcrap we hear again and again.You can believe in God dear sir without belonging to any religion. Gods house is so much bigger than your myopic view of the world and your dictating what is right and what is wrong.. please Mr Perkins put a sock in it and do all of us a favor!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  3. todd

    No, religious nutjobs, you do not have the right-nor should you-to exclude people from living or working with you just because their lifestyles offends you. Oh noooo a gay man, they're supposed to be effeminate and skittish God come into the twenty first century already.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  4. brian

    As a gay Navy Seal, I find it frustrating that the same group that denounces people for refusing to fight for their country, will shun people who do want to serve based on nothing more than being "grossed out". Think about that next time you preach your beliefs. I don't care what you believe, and don't try to make me care. In the end I fight for your right to preach against me, so show some respect.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  5. michael

    youre a bigot Mr Perkins puree and simple..who says your religion is better than anyone elses..this is the same religious bullcrap we hear again and again.You can believe in God dear sir without belonging to any religion. Gods house is so much bigger than your myopic view of the world and your dictating what is right and what is wrong.. please Mr Perkins put a sock in it and do all of us a favor!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  6. gregory

    If we got rid of the religious myths, this would not be a problem. How about we challenge the religious to prove their gods actually exist?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  7. Greg

    @Terry from above: 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 4:01 pm |
  8. Natalie

    Reading over the commetns – it is apparent the issue isn't gays in the military, but perhaps government sanctioned religion in the military. Seems to me the armed forces and people like Mr. Perkins don't mind letting Christianity be forced upon our soldiers (and "enemies"). If the issue is 'forcing' views one does not agree with upon an unwitting audience, should we then remove ALL personal beliefs, choices, personalities, genders, tastes, thoughts and feelings? Better beef up that robot technology!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  9. Ebaron

    Gays are not new to the military (Alexander the Great was reported to be gay). They've served before, they are serving now and they'll serve in the future, regardless of a law unlawing it.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  10. Arthur

    As a kid you are taught that religion brings people together, religion is about peace, about accepting all things. As an adult you see however that religion is used to divide people, to not promote good intentions but instead spread hateful themes by the targetting of groups of people in order to increase your own group's popularity, and donations.......

    June 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  11. AG Hudson

    I sincerely believe CNN shouldn't post opinion pieces like this one (even with a disclaimer). Would CNN publish something written by a neo-Nazi or a member of the KKC? I don't think so...

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

      neo-nazi? who is the "KKC"? wow you should get out of the house more often.

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

      Actually, I'd be very interested in hearing KFC's take on gays in the military. The colonel is just as qualified to write such an op-ed piece, being that he, too, is a military veteran – and his job is just as relevant to a discussion on human rights.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • AG Hudson

      Sorry, I am just terrified at writing the actual abbreviation. I meant KKK. I am black and my sister is a lesbian. She is in the military, and she is a Christian (despite being gay...). I found this opinion piece deeply offensive. If you don't know why this shouldn't be published in a "respected" news site, then I guess I live in an America that is even more backwards than I thought.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  12. RA

    A fundamental flaw in the "religious liberty" argument is that it asserts the freedom of particular religious groups to *deny* liberty to other people.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Jessica

    "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."

    So in other words – they can dish it (the oppression) but cant take it? is that it?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  14. Eric

    Sorry, not buying gay is genetic either. It doesn't fit into the paradigm of evolution. If evolution goes forth with the pushing forth the best of the species, two women or two men couldn't procreate, they wouldn't add to the furthering of the species. In all honesty, it doesn't take religion to dispute the "genetic origin," it just takes common sense.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Surely common sense more easily suggests that being gay cannot be a choice. I certainly didnt make the choice to be attracted to my wife, it just happened.
      And I think you are confused with the idea of evolution. It does not suggest that perfect copies of a species is created all the time in an effort to drive a species forward, there is no such creature. Using your logic you may as well argue that plain ordinary looking people cannot be genetics because as a species we are more attracted to beautiful people.

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

      I think its time you learned that "born" a certain way does not necessarily mean it was in your DNA. Your DNA is the blueprint by which you are formed, but the process of building you from that blueprint takes around 9 months, and a lot can happen during that process. Thus, you can be born a certain way without it being in your DNA

      Exposure to, or prevention of exposure to testosterone during certain stages of fetal development can cause mounting behavior and female-preverence in female rats, or can cause lordosis (arching of the back and offering of the rear quarters) and male-preference in male rats. Thats not genetic, that's developmental – in essence you feminize or masculinize their CNS during its development by exposure to, or lack of exposure to, a chemical. They're born that way, but it has nothing to do with "evolution" as you've said.

      But hey, gay rats, knock it off... I hear God disapproves.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • Gabe

      How does being gay stop them from procreating? They still have all their bits and like the rest of us can procreate so long as everything works properly. I think you're confusing the social construct of being in a relationship with the act of procreating...

      June 2, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  15. Matt

    The military is about serving your country not God. Religious people may serve but thats not the sole purpose of their servitude. We fight and kill not in the name of God but in the name of the USA.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  16. Gabe

    I hate to tell you this but religious belief is a choice. No-one is born to believe any particular religious doctrine. For most people they are indoctrinated into the belief by their parents with no choice so it may appear as being naturally occuring but it isn't. I believe gay people are born gay and even if they aren't who they sleep with is no more my personal business then their personal religious belief. Stop this rubbish, because gay people aren't the only ones with an 'agenda'. I'd hate to think anyone who enters into a political argument or held a religious belief didn't actually have an agenda based in a something...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  17. JT

    And religion rears its ungly head once again and shows its true colors – HATE!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  18. bob

    What garbage. Silly vocabulary.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  19. Xero Kane

    Stating something akin too "my beliefs are right and yours are not, and I will speak my voice to the suppression of yours at every opportunity" it seems like this individual would like to state a war within the states. It also sounds like another intolerant religious person who protests at soldiers funeral with his gang.

    Last comment: Grow up.

    (Straight white male 34, if you were curious)

    June 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  20. Chris (Canada)

    I thought America was the greatest country in the world because it tolerated all people, from every faith and background. This guy wants to shove it back to the dark ages. Shame on you Mr. Perkins.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:56 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.