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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. Jon

    I'm an army veteran, draftee, who served at a desk in Vietnam for a long year. This fear of gays is a perversion, and it is offensive to see bigots use religion as a club to get their agendas put in force. I recall getting the option of going to chapel or working KP, and KP was the obvious choice, something that had utility and meaning. The military should get rid of chaplains, a small waste of money on hokum.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  2. Inkblot

    I'm just really disappointed that CNN would choose to make this bigoted op-ed the top story on their front page.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  3. Jason

    Don't we have a separation of Church and State? Therefore religion shouldn't play into this. Also look at Canada, there military must be falling apart for letting "gays" serve. I don't think they have any problems with it. Have you seen the highway the dead soldiers are driven down.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  4. pc

    I don't really understand why CNN asks for Tony Perkins' opinion on anything. It will always be the same and he'll find some irrational, logic-less reason for not supporting anything gay. He's just a sad fool. Maybe one day he'll be picked up in an airport bathroom for tapping on the stall next door and making those "signals" ha ha.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  5. David

    The last gasp of the bigots. Shame on you, and how dare you hide behind the religion of Jesus Christ to spew your lies and hatred. You dishonor the gay soldiers WHO ARE ALREADY SERVING with your pathetic hysterical argument.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  6. American Fail

    How is it possible that lunatics like the one who wrote this article have the backing to get published anywhere? THE GAYS ARE COMING EVERYONE RUN AND HIDE.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Daniel

    My religion says to treat people equally. It is an affront to MY religious liberty to keep gays from being in the military.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  8. bc

    listen. there is no god. there is no afterlife. being gay or straight is just words that mean nothing. It doesnt matter if jeff likes to do private hotness to jim or jules. What matters is how one treats others and them self. we are all going to die and that will be it. please stop with the nonsense you are making life painful for no reason. life is meant to be lived not to worship invisible kings and hate one another based upon interpretations of a farce!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Misk

    I don't think it lent any credibility to the guy talking about "back doors"

    June 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  10. vizi

    we have nothing better to do , just keeping ourselves busy with new and newer ideas .

    hope man does not love a dog next and we see man n dog marrying

    June 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  11. hazmat

    I can not believe that this article is on CNN.
    Not only does it pander to the blind, but it also encourages the uneducated to remain ignorant.

    I'm tired of front page "news" articles about celebrity gossip and over-opinionated bigots.
    You've lost me as a viewer, CNN. I've found a more respectable news source.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  12. Ben Howe

    Tony Perkins is an ignorant bigot. His record of intolerance, scientific illiteracy and religious bigotry stands for itself.

    No intelligent human being should be taking him seriously.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Dan

    As soon as I saw this guy's picture I thought, "Gay!"

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  14. Patrick Henry

    Having been a white male Virginia Citizen who was illegally married to my Native American wife for 8 years and subject to arrest in my home state I am happy to announce the citizens of Virginia finally grew up after the Supreme Court of the United States told them that they had to. We have now been married for 50 years plus. It will be a pleasure to see this idiotic, self centered idea gotten rid of.. Seems to me that based on the performance of priests in the Catholic Church, religion does not seem to help one avoid this condition. Tend your own garden Tony Perkins

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  15. TK

    We don't force male soldiers to shower with female soldiers. Why would we force straight soldiers to shower with gays? The soldiers will now know that the man in the shower with them or in the bunk next to them is attracted to male body parts. This is good for our national protection how?

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

      I think the ultimate question we're all asking is "It's relevant to it, how?"

      June 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  16. Ephraim

    At this point in time, there are more comments on Tony Perkins article, rather than on the article Harry Knox wrote. I skimmed through some of the comments (not all of them) on this page. I found that some (not all) of those who disagree with Tony Perkins are negatively reacting to him; while, at the same time referencing "loving your neighbor". What do you think?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  17. CBS

    This article infuriates me so much that I can hardly speak. Ending this policy would infringe on your freedom to judge and profile others from your American exceptionalist, conservative, Christian point of view? I beg you to travel abroad and observe how real people live in the 21st century.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  18. Dave

    This is the single dumbest thing I have ever read.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  19. Falcon5

    As a Marine vet my concerns are whether the guy/girl with me has my back. I could really care less what they do in their personal time. If they don't care that I'm straight, why should I care thay they're gay?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  20. Justin

    If someone is unwilling to join an Armed Force because s/he might encounter a gay person, then please let them stay out! Any person making such a stupid decision on those grounds is lacking reason to such a degree that they should be excluded from carrying a high-powered weapon. Serving in an Armed Force does not mean an endorsement of any lifestyle except one where freedom and justice are assured for all those whom those Forces exist ostensibly to protect. Like it or not, that freedom and justice extends to gay people, to religious fundamentalists, to straight atheists, and to many others with whom you degree, including the dolt who wrote this article.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:02 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.