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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. MartyinLA

    Usually when these types of pastors raise anti-gay jazz like this they are found out to be gay, or engaged in gay behavior. Stick to your church, trust us, we won't bother you and your beliefs, but please leave us alone already.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  2. TOM

    Perkins is just another name for pervert.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  3. makak

    maybe it's time to remove chaplains from the military!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Dustin

    Would you please point out to me the "legitimate health concerns" that you claim exist? Sounds like an uneducated statement about STD's if you ask me.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  5. CombatMedic

    Keep your f-ing religious beliefs to yourselves and I'll do the same. They have no part in a free thinking democratic society.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Anna

      Tell that to the rest of the people. It goes both ways. You keep your mouth shut about us preaching, and we'll keep our mouths from preaching (aka selective preaching-to those who are actually willing and open to listen)

      June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  6. Josh

    Wow, Tony! This article is mad gay!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Enlightened

    Simple solution, eliminate the rank of 'chaplain'. Problem solved.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Mark R

      You know, I hadn't considered that option, but I like it. Why should the government have Chaplains on their payroll? Granted, they seem to be within the realm of the first amendment because they don't only provide Christian chaplains and exclude others, why not remove them from the equation entirely? When one is not deployed in a combat zone, there are plenty of non-governmental options to seek religious counseling. While deployed in a combat zone, the conditions do not make religious counseling practical. I think removing the chaplain corps is a valid option that should be considered.

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

      Getting rid of the "chaplian" is like getting rid of a commander. Besides who's going to do the funerals of dead military people? You? Who is going to do a military wedding? You? I think not. Chaplians are there if you have a problem and you feel you can't talk to anyone else. Besides, they can NEVER repeat what you tell them to ANYBODY unlike a commander. They're free to tell everybody everything about you.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Mark R

      My point being, what is the difference of getting counseling from a chaplain in uniform or one who comes on the base from a local parish/congregation to deliver that same counseling? When I was in the Navy, I didn't ever go to the chaplain on base for counseling. However, I did drive off base and met with the minister of a local Baptist church. I received the same counseling, and he didn't wear the Navy uniform. They could just as easily come on base if space were provided, and I would whole-heartedly support that.

      As for burial or funeral services, this model could work just as well. I have no minister at work now in my civilian life. If I die, my family will talk to a minister to perform the funerary services. Although, I would be happy if they have a couple sailors just kick me over the gunwhale when my time is done, but that's just me. I'm not a sentimental guy.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Mike the Jar Head

      Yeah – bad idea. the Chaplin is the militaries mental health professional as well. Confessional, absolution, last rites, a friendly face in the war zone – he provides the place of rest and solitude, even in the middle of a fight. You think PTSD rates are bad now, try dropping the chaplin.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • BrianCNN

      The Chaplain is a vital member of the team. The Chaplain is as much a part of the team during deployments as he is in garrison when the units are preparing to deploy and, perhaps most importantly, when they have returned from deployment. Not to belabor the points already made in reply to the original posting, I'll also add that Chaplains do great work with the families, preparing them for the hardships that await when the unit will be gone, aiding in the notification process when a servicemember is killed or wounded, and preparing servicemembers for returning to their families after their long absence in a very stressful environment.

      The guy who wrote the article does not speak for the military, the Chaplains, or Christians. He speaks for himself.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  8. William

    jimmie loves flossing with pubes.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  9. tom legare

    You ever notice all these "family guys and religious nuts" always live in big houses, make lots of money and purport to tell people how good and righteous they are?? I think we used to call them "Charlatans"!! Religion does not have a thing to do with gays in the military or anywhere else for that matter. What would they do with out the religious crap, they wouldn't have any way to setal all the money!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Ok. Fighting for your country should not be limited to just a cetain sect of society or we would never have any recruits. There are too many things out there that will offend someones senseabilities.. We are all in this together, gay, straight, white, black asian, indian, etc.

    There will always be those backword hill billy people that want to do alot of griping about this and how it undermines christian principles, but so does shooting someone accroding to the bible and we do not seem to think that this is something that destroys the military moraly by doing their job to protect the innocent. Think about it people.. Everyone has their rights, no one individual or group should say you don't.. We might as well go back a couple of hundred or thousand years and take a lesson from history.

    If the definitiion of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then we are indeed iinsane.. We have more sympathy for a person who kills while driving, or someone who beats their spouce.. But if you are Gay and want to fight for your country, then there is a huge issue.

    Ok.. where are you going to find people to fight for our rights when we want to exclude everyone just because they do not measure up to the supposid christian standard. I think that God is the final judge, not anyone else.

    Do people not understand that the war in afganastan is a religious war and we are according to christian principles not to engage in this. what happend to turn the other cheek.. I guess we only hold dear to those scriptures that support our agendas. I am so sick of this.. Let people be who they are!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  11. Evan Glydwell

    I thought these were the same people who thought muslims were terrible not the ones who wanted to emulate the fanatical ones.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  12. Jay

    I'm just curious how this article was written with the author, Tony Perkins, being so deep in the closet.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  13. Gern

    And here we have posters who insult any who disagree with the repeal of don't ask don't tell. Seems to me his point is being proven right here.

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

      Really? As far as I can see you've been given the right to TELL us your opinion on the matter regardless of whether or not we agree with it or respect it. If you wanted to prove your point, you'd have to ask the moderator to block any posting by people who share your opinion.

      Somehow I doubt you'd be happy with that. Why expect gays in the military to be?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Tom

    While I agree with how most people think Mr. Perkins' article is wrong, I think a lot of us are forgetting that laws concerning the military do not need to protect the freedoms of speech and religion. Once a citizen joins the military and becomes a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine they are no longer afforded all of the rights of citizens. In fact, freedoms of speech are often revoked for service members. The service member's freedoms of religion do not necessarily need to be upheld (although the military does it's best to accommodate everyone) and, therefore, the religion defense is null and void.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  15. Raymond Richards

    Since there is no god, religion should be banned from the military. Anyone who has an imaginary friend is not fit to serve.

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

      Please read the Bible first, then make your call. It's not an "imaginary friend". If you can't talk about your problems to anyone for fear of being hated and dismissed, talking to "God" brings you comfort because you know "God" will listen to you without judgement. "God" is a part of you as you are a part of "him". Here let me simplify it for you. It's like living without your important organs like your lungs, heart and brain. "God" is a personification of "life" just as the "grim reaper" is the personification of "death".

      June 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • MikeP

      That's sweet, Anna, but it also describes a child's Teddy Bear. Somehow I doubt you'd support the inclusion of a build-a-bear kiosk at each military outpost.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Anna

      MikeP: Stop being stupid. I didn't mean that literally. Jeez. That's what's wrong with people today. Everybody's so literal. Here let me simplify it even further, going to heaven is like being "free" as we are now. Hell is like being "grounded" or going to jail. Now do you understand? Besides I might get a mansion. Who knows.

      June 2, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • MikeP

      I'm stupid now, am I? Please explain how the roles God plays, according to you, are not identical to a child's Teddy Bear, and the relationship that child has with it. You only handwave it away because it offends you that your beliefs CAN be summed up in that way. I'm sorry that you can't seem to make people see "reason" with your lame pro-religion postings, but you don't have a reasonable position. Maybe stick to quoting the bible to people who don't believe the bible is meaningful.

      June 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  16. Mike

    The real concern is allowing non-conformity in a conformist organization, and trading bravado, macho, and masculine values for efiminte, weak, and soft as valued traits. I can't wait to see how successful we will be in the Middle East once we get a few openly gay commanders working with the Islamics.

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

      @Jeremy.

      Check the language your post. If there are some iffy words it may be blocking you from posting it

      June 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  17. Richard

    I fully support keeping only Christians in the armed forces and sending them to their deaths.

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

      An awesome article. Make no mistake, gays will not be satiated until they have destroyed the nuclear family and rule society with their amoral, horrifically grotesque behavior. He that lies with another man shall surely be put to death..argue with your maker, not me

      June 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  18. Matt

    This guy is one missing tooth and a trailor home away from being a member of the Westboro Church Group.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  19. jimmie

    william consumes it when hes up a guys sphincter

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  20. drturi

    Dr. Turi wrote "Politics and Religions" its an interesting but indeed very scary perspective...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 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.