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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. Daarius

    I have served, fought, and bleed in the U.S. Army for ten years so let me say this:
    If a person who chooses to be gay and is a citizen of this great county wants to fight for your freedom then you should let them. I would trust any man or woman who would fight to my left and right in order to protect what we hold dear. Please stop using religion as a tool to keep citizens from exercising their right to be AMERICANS! Every person who serves in the military is not a religious fanatic! Tony Perkins, you forgot what makes this country great……….the right to choose who you want to be. So your religion has no bearing on me or anyone else that chooses not to believe in your fairy tale of a religion. Yes, once again this is coming from a deployed soldier remember that!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  2. Ashley

    The so-called "Family Research Council" is a menace to the American way of life. They want to force all of us into their narrow little ideology. No thanks!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  3. Mason

    One question and one statement:

    Will someone please explain to me why and how "some service members will be denied promotion"? I do not understand that at all.

    Also, statements like this are extremely cancerous to Christianity, I believe. While reading this article, I did not notice the heart and love of Jesus at all from Tony Perkins. It's hypocritical statements like this that make it easy for me to understand why so many people choose not to be Christian. This is extremely regressive of Christianity and stains those Christians who are firm supporters of gay rights. I didn't know supporting gays and being a Christian was a dichotomy.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Gabe

      I am sorry Mason you expect logic when there is none, this op-ed is not based in a well formed argument but in hysterical rhetoric which serves the writer because people like us respond, and validate his nonsense.

      June 2, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  4. JS

    IF your allegiance is first to Christianity and not to the United States of America and its elected leaders, then you ought not to be in the armed services. Not matter who or what you are. You are there to serve, not have your own anxieties catered to. You are taught to go beyond your own fears, if you're taught well. I don't think there will be a problem with the actual soldiers. The few who will have a problem with this ought to be let go because they don't have the necessary discipline.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  5. r e u

    Tony
    I live for the day when you come out gay!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  6. James

    There are so many things wrong with this article, its hard to know where to begin! This guy obviously lives in a pretty little box somewhere and believes the world exists in its 6 sides. And since my rebuttal would be as long as his article, I'll just say Thank God this isn't Christian Taliban Theocracy of America!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  7. Lauren Alderman

    As a veteran myself, I can tell you that there will be some soldiers who will be uncomfortable serving with openly gay soldiers. I can also tell you that right now there are soldiers who are uncomfortable serving with those who are black, brown, white, old, young, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, native-born, immigrant, female, male, religious, atheist, etc. There will always be some degree of prejudice, but we deal with it by fostering an environment of tolerance and appreciation of diversity, not by kicking out all minorities so that some prejudiced soldiers won't feel "uncomfortable." The wars we are currently fighting illustrate what devastation the seeds of intolerance can reap. In the end, the military's mission is strengthened when we come together as a diverse team working towards a common goal.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Chris

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response and your service.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  8. William

    jimmie likes his uncle's junk shoved in his trunk.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  9. William

    jimmie is a piece of fecal matter

    June 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  10. William

    Letting ignorant bigots spew their hate = balance. Good work CNN.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  11. jimmie

    all of you who think this guy is a bigot should have a bayonet rammed up your flaming fa- a–

    June 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Felicia

      Aww, who's a cute li'l internet tough guy? You are! Yes you are! Come on, you he-man! Show us how brave you are to stand up to all those hateful gays who want to serve their country! You cute li'l keyboard warrior. I'm so glad you're here to keep us safe from those vile sodomites and make sure that Jesus runs the Predator drones that kill civilians every day. I salute you, Mr. Patriotism.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • hypocrites

      No worries... Tony/Felicia beat off! 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  12. Mbane

    While we're at it, lets talk about closing businesses on Saturdays. After all he Bible says it's a sin punishable by death to work on a Sabath. It undermines religious liberties and is currupting the moral fibre os society by making millions of Americans work and millions more to spend time shopping instead of resting, spending time with their families and praising the lord. Guess we are all going to hell because as far as I know, we've all worked on the Sabath. Why don't the religious nuts care about such a grave sin?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  13. William

    CNN sucks.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  14. Steve

    Sigh....This is just ignorant mumbo jumbo.

    Do people quit their jobs because of the same rules, that are now being considered by the military, make it illegal for them to throw hate speech at another person? The short answer is no. In a world where Priests are molesting little children – this guy has the nerve to write something like this – oh the hypocrisy. There is no scientific facts saying that being gay is something you're born with or that you can choose – but why does it matter? The fact that this guy somehow justifies don't ask don't tell by thinking it's a choice shows his ignorance. Even if it was a choice – it's their choice alone and it's how they choose to live their life. YOU have no voice in the matter and YOU shouldn't say whether or not they are good enough to fight for this country. All that has happened here is you, Tony Perkins, have made yourself look like an ignorant dick.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Anna

      What people fail to realize, churchs (and thus priests) are NOT immune to corruption. If you're going to dismiss the bible as "fairytales", please read it first and also keep in mind, the "stories" (that's not the word I'm looking for), are not meant to be taken literally. IE: Jonah and the Giant Fish. Nobody can survive in a giant fish, but the moral of it was, if you don't do what you're supposed to do, there will be consiquences (sp). They are meant to simplify complex things like a parent would a child.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • hypocrites

      Just remember, Tony Perkins beats off! 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Mike the Jar Head

      @Anna – parable

      June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  15. mfb0

    methinks he dost protest too much...who wants to make book on tony the panzer being outed in the next year? i'll give 2-1 for...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  16. Jeremy

    @Nick, Im trying to sincerely reply but apparently CNN is blocking my posts. Sorry.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  17. F Miller

    I guess Tony Perkins thinks that the Declaration of Independence should be rewritten:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that SOME men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Rev Carter

    True Christianity is not a religion but a way of life, a personal relationship. No one is born Gay. It is a learned behavior and yes it is sin. God destroyed two cities (Sodom and Gormorrah) over it. God has not changed. The Gay community never tells about the sickness and dieases they have to live with because of their sin. I don't have a problem with Gays going into the military. Put them on the FRONT LINES. If they keep living their lifestyle it will KILL them anyhow. Their only hope is Jesus Christ and leaving their life style. I am tired of them trying to force their agenda on everyone else.

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

      And your answer is to force your agenda on everyone else. I get it...as long as your philosophy is employed, screw everyone else. Thank you, Reverend.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Mark

      Nice Christ like rebuttal. I think you forgot about the whole "do unto others" concept. Unless, of course, your idea of a good time is putting yourself up as cannon fodder on the front line.
      Maybe you should go back to whatever seminary you managed to graduate from and actually STUDY the bible and teachings of Christ.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Nick

      You sir, are a fool.
      Being gay does not include a handful of AIDS and a dash of HIV here and there. Another broad stereotype that the mindless masses bring to your plate. If you believe that nobody is born gay thats great for you, because that means you believe in science as well, but it is not a "learned trait" it is a way of life that you people try to brand on us as a sin. Being gay has nothing to do with being bad. It is merely a preference, which nobody can seem to accept. And HA, we force our lifestyle onto people? Christians have been trying to force their way of life onto EVERYBODY for thousands of years, so don't you dare even try to tell me gays force their lifestyle onto other people.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Anna

      I agree that being gay is a learned behavior. But I'm also open to proof that it's not. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. If I'm right, I'm right. I also think scientists need to re-learn a few common sense things, like survival and accepting God as a possiblity instead of completely dismissing it. Science can't explain everything. Because "We believe that mixed with creates because " isn't "proof" or "truth" (however you define either) even if you can "recreate" the experiment.

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

      Rev Carter,

      You say no one is born gay.

      Please tell us what made you decide to be straight. Was it the bible telling you to be attracted to women, or did it just happen on its own?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  19. Lauren

    Does "health concerns" refer to AIDS or catching the gayity?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Anna

    Keep the DADT. You can't please everybody and besides nobody wants to know whether you're gay or not. So why get rid of it? Besides DADT is more than just banning gays openly serving. Please read the entire thing before arguing about it.

    Besides I never seen a "gay animal" and I'm always watching Nature television shows (as they're more entertaining than "reality tv"). I think we're just misinterpreting animal behavior. Besides what do we know about them? We just assume the reasons why they do half the stuff they do (though part is common sense). Just an opinion. Show me a male lion fighting for another male lion during mating season, and then I'll might agree. An animal's life is nothing but, eat, sleep, mate, don't get killed/eaten, and repeat. It's called SURVIVIAL. Perhaps scientists needs to re-learn that word.

    I'm serving in the military (Marine) and my fellow troops actually want the DADT and a lot of them are gay/les (which was surprising). I don't care what you are or what you do as long as you do your job effectively and efficiently, don't start trouble, and don't do anything stupid (ie: drinking and driving). I don't need to know your orientation.

    I know this is getting long, but you all complain about people forcing religion upon you. Well it goes both ways. I'm Christian and I tell (not beat) my views to people. If they listen and disagree, ok. If the listen and agree, terrific. Most of the troops I hang out with are non-Christian and we have a silent agreement that we can say what we want and leave it at that or don't speak of it at all. Before preaching to us about us preaching to you, look in the mirror first. You're doing the same thing you're accusing us of doing.

    Flame me, mock me, I don't care. It shows how weak and close-minded you are. If you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them first or you'll get nowhere.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • DB

      I have seen gay animal activity. You need to get away from the TV and get outdoors.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Anna

      DB

      Love to. But my job comes first and unfortunately it takes up most of my time. The only reason why I'm on here is because it's nearing the end of the day and thus slow.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • DB

      My response did not mock you, however I believe you to be incorrect. I simply addressed the issue of animal activity. And I work, as well; but I find time to get away from the TV and see what is really happening in the real world! It takes about the same amount of time.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • Daniel

      Well said Anna. I'm amazed at the amount of non-military idiots that are using us as a platform to push their left-wing agendas, hate us if we differ in opinion, and (insult to injury) call us bigots. Then they say "oh look, the vast majority wants this change" when in fact the vast majority cannot speak their true feelings because in the military "freedom of speech" is VERY limited.

      I say if someone has never served, they they should have NOTHING to do with DADT being kept or repealed. It should be the servicemen/women crying out for a repeal, NOT civilians whom the law will not affect either way.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • DB

      Daniel, while I understand your perspective, obviously you have no consideration for anyone else's – and don't care to. There is no question that you and who you see as your group are not the ONLY people to be affected by this law. But you really don't care about anyone else, do you?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • martha

      Anna, research shows that gay activity is relatively common in the animal kingdom.

      The problem with DADT is that if you tell you can get booted out of the military. Doesn't make a lot of sense. People have conversations. People tell things about themselves, including who they are attracted to. Why in the world would it be a positive policy to have people keep secrets?

      June 1, 2010 at 6:30 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.