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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. DB

    I am so sick of why we should hate various people – gays, Moslems, Jews, Blacks, non-Christians of all kinds... Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to hate that many people; to deprive that many people of happiness, their livelihoods; their rights? If we were to take all of the energy used for that purpose and apply it to real, useful pursuits, we could do away with the REAL enemy: BP!!!

    I can't stand intolerance!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  2. b

    Yep. Just like outlawing racial disrimination curtailed the religious freedom of poeople who belive (maybe even honestly) that God put them as white people to rule over all other races. They will forever feel like they're the victims.
    There is nothing that can be done for these people, sad to say. All we can do is try to keep them from harming the rest of us. That's that the rule of law is for.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  3. Andy

    this guy is dumb.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  4. MikeMazzla

    What this D bag doesnt state and no one really does is that there are already gays in the military. You need to seriously grwo up because they are already there. Its not like this big influx of gays are going to join if the rule is overturned. Lets be real if they wanted to join they joined. So you are saying youd rather stick your head in the sand and not know? Thats very mature. They are already there, so why should it be a crime? yes you will get some people who will say they dont want gays, just as there are probably deep down some who dont want blacks, or dont want women in their platoon, etc etc. But the vast majority have no problem with it as long as they have a soldier standing and fighting by their side.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  5. Robert Wooller

    Well, I know the military do a lot of good, but going to war and killing innocent people is wrong and so the military must be against the Bible. The Military should stick to what it knows best and not preach religion. Being gay in the military doesn't matter. The soliders still get killed and the violence is still as bad.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  6. HCL

    As a Christian I'm just going to say what in the world do conservatives think they are doing. It's not against religious laws. The only thing religion has a problem with is gay marriage (which is still just made up). I really hate it when religion is used as a policy tool. It gives a bad name to those who use it and to the religion itself.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  7. Thomas Jefferson

    The same argument could be used to ask how a christian could possibly serve alongside a devout muslim without being "indoctrinated" to accept the Quran by diversity training? Its absurd.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  8. D. Winston

    Mohandas Gandhi I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • Terry

      Which is precisely why there is so much contention and words of hate flying around.... we are unlike Christ because we are sinners. However, they are some that strive to be like Christ, and those are your true Christians, those that spread love and compassion, and at the same time does not condone sin of any kind. But, even they are not perfect.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  9. Jason

    To confirm Nick's point. I'm straight and like when a gay guy hits on me. It means free drinks!!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  10. McCluck

    Hate to tell you this Tony, but THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU. Your religion is fake or at least should be treated as fake with no evidence (disagree? prove it and ill happily agree with your beliefs). It doesn’t matter how many people in this world believe in a magical deity. WE SHOULD STILL ONLY FOCUS ON EVIDENCE BASED POLICY. "Faith" means forgoing logic. Just because you are a nutjob and belong to a large group of nutjobs doesn’t mean your nutjob ideas should influence how policy is made (sorry if your not a nutjob Christian and are a normal Christian). Otherwise we might as well be basing our policy on what the flying spaghetti monster says. Study Logic because at this point logic and religion are two mutually exclusive ideas. I cant believe there are people this ignorant.

    Definition of nutjob: anyone foregoing logic and reason. Especially any organization that would murder someone presenting evidence to the contrary and then change their stance later in history to agree with that same person they murdered.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended for us to forego their use."

    -Galileo

    "Religion is what the common man sees as true, the wise man sees as false, and the ruler sees as useful "

    -unknown to me

    June 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Terry

      You make no sense.... where did you come from? Where did the universe come from? The big bang? Where did the cause of the big bang come from? Where did the cause of the cause of the big bang come from? You have no answers, so please, quite trying to disprove God... he makes more sense than anything.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • McCluck

      Terry, i dont have to disprove god. Also its impossible to disprove something that doesnt exist. -which is why the burden of proof is on you. Also this is why god is just like the flying spagetti monster since he cant be disproven either. Cant explain the beginning? that doesnt mean that god did it. It is just as likely that the spagetti monster started the big bang (ever heard of a circle? no beginning). So like i said you have to prove to me that god is unlike the flying spagetti monster for us to base policy on god.-good luck

      June 2, 2010 at 8:17 am |
    • McCluck

      Hate to tell you this Tony, but THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU. Your religion is fake or at least should be treated as fake with no evidence (disagree? prove it and ill happily agree with your beliefs). It doesn’t matter how many people in this world believe in a magical deity. WE SHOULD STILL ONLY FOCUS ON EVIDENCE BASED POLICY. "Faith" means forgoing logic. Just because you are a nutjob and belong to a large group of nutjobs doesn’t mean your nutjob ideas should influence how policy is made (sorry if your not a nutjob Christian and are a normal Christian). Otherwise we might as well be basing our policy on what the flying spaghetti monster says. Study Logic because at this point logic and religion are two mutually exclusive ideas. I cant believe there are people this ignorant.

      Definition of nutjob: anyone foregoing logic and reason. Especially any organization that would murder someone presenting evidence to the contrary and then change their stance later in history to agree with that same person they murdered.

      "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended for us to forego their use."

      -Galileo

      "Religion is what the common man sees as true, the wise man sees as false, and the ruler sees as useful "

      -unknown to me

      June 2, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  11. Cody

    I'm pretty certain that gays are already serving in the military. As far as I can tell the world is not falling apart because of it.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  12. righteous-in-Christ

    FOR ALL THE GAY PEOPLE THAT WANTS GOD TO LIVE THEM ALONE AND JUST HAVE GOD DO SOMETHING ELSE SOMEWHERE ELSE:
    @ SARA –
    Now about you stating that why can’t God focus on famines in Africa, flood in Tenn., the gulf coast nightmare, etc. and leave gays alone. You are being very damn selfish here not knowing that Gays are suffering from the flood, the gulf coast nightmare, famines, and from every other thing that we are seeing. How can you possibly ask God to leave gays alone, but than let them suffer in the midst of all this chaos? I don’t think you realize what you are saying. God loves all mankind from all race, nationality, straight, and gay! I see so many hateful comments about God from you as well as others. If I would have rejected my friend’s invitation because of him being gay, will it mean that it’s God’s fault? No, it would be my ignorance from not accepting him for who he is!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Nick

      If "god loves all gays" then why did he have one of his worshipers right a book with multiple references about how being gay is wrong?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      WHATS "GODS" "PLAN'

      SIN INVOLVES A CHOICE, NATURAL "GOD"ESTROGEN FOOD BASE IS NOT A CHOICE, AND ESTROGEN IN FOOD IS NATURAL FOR MALE TO DEVELOP BY IT, "GOD YHVH" PUTTING IT IN THEIR THEN BLESSING IT, ITS ORDAINED BY "GOD YHVH" FOR MALES TO EAT ESTROGEN (MIND AND BODY DEVELOPMENT) IS CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE BY "GOD YHVH"

      June 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Chris

    It's alarming that CNN would even allow this article to be posted. Somehow more offensive than the article itself...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  14. Observer

    The Bible tells how to treat slaves and about the inferiority of women. If people are to use the Bible as an EXCUSE, they'd better support ALL of it. Otherwise, it's just HYPOCRISY.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  15. An Atheist, oh no!

    Dumb article. "My religion says people should do X, so I'm going to use my fairy tale beliefs to impose my version of morality on others". No wonder adherence to religious doctrine is falling in the US. It's about time a generation of people finally ditched these fairy tales.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Justin

    Also, I'd much rather have an out-of-the-closet gay marine representing my country and my opinions than an in-the-closet, hypocritical, religious fundamentalist (marine or otherwise). (Side note: my last sentence should have been "and to many others with whom you DISAGREE, including the dolt who wrote this article.")

    June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Keith

    This Tony Perkins guy is an ignorant fool.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  18. keeth in California

    I am a citizen of the United States. Your religion is NOT a citizen of the United States. Now, why don't you try your argument again after you comprehend this very basic fact.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  19. Byrd

    The Pilgrims didn't COME here, they were exiled from Europe due to their religious intolerance, a trait, along with ignorance, which you apparently have in common.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  20. Nick

    @Terry above:

    Terry, I'm afraid your very mistaken.
    It is not a valid concern to disprove of gays in the military. Being anti gay just goes to show that he is abiding to the masses stereotype of gays. If you really got to know the half of gay society then you'd come to know this. And no "the majority" of gays are actually not open about themselves, nor are they vulgar. If people, much like yourself, think that all gays talk about is "what they do in private" then they have no place voicing their opinions here. And why should we abide to society's expected "standards" when we are already outside the "standards" as it is? And yes i do know that every Christian religious buff will try to reprimand me for how I live and its that fact exactly is what is keeping us from getting the justice we deserve.

    And again with the separate facilities? Hitting on other men is not the only thing gays do you know. I realize that you are merely voicing your opinions but please, try to be a little more open minded.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Terry

      @Nick... I don't see where is stating he disproves of gays in the military. He is saying he disproves of gays opening serving in the military. If you want to openly serve, then these concerns need to be addressed. if someone disagrees with you being gay, thats their right, and they do not deserve to be reprimanded. I believe that is what this article is about. Does that mean they should treat you unfairly? Of course not, but they don't deserve to lose their career because they are Christian. They should have the right to speak out, just like you want the right to tell the world you are gay.

      And the facility concern may not be a concern for gay people, but if it is for straight people, then it needs to be addressed. If that means separate facilities, then that's what it means.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:14 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.