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. Boston Guy

    First of all how many millions have been spent on training gays in the military and then kicking them out for who they are. Last I saw it was in the $100 of millions. It's sad that the religious people are the most dirty minded people. I guess that's why so many so called "saints" have fallen on the exact same thing they preach against. I'm pretty sure with all the wars going on that gay men and women are not joining the military just to hook up with a straight person, prance around naked and take a peek a pooh at someone in the showers. Get real people and stop hating someone just because they are something you are not.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  2. mvekov

    Idiotic.These people help us and give their lives so that we can be safe here at home.and they save this commentator's a** too.Pay respect or shut up.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Tony Perkins clearly has no understanding of what a chaplain's role is. A professional chaplain is not responsible for proselytizing his/her own faith (as Tony seems to enjoy) but for helping the person s/he is ministering to better understand his/her faith (regardless of faith background or lack thereof), particularly in times of difficulty. As a chaplain myself, my own conflict with the military as a Christian weighs much more heavily with the decision a soldier much make to use deadly force on another human being. I'm not sure where the Bible justifies that. What's the rest of this noise about? Its not about the gospel– LGBT folk have just as much right to want to participate in the sin of war as anybody else.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  4. anobody

    I think a little romancing on the front lines would be a good thing.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • go navy, beat army

      then you would be a poor officer

      June 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • anobody

      Indeed. This article is a joke. Do not mix church and state: I do not want to know their religion nor will I speak of mine. I do not want to know someone's preference for same or opposite gendered partner just the same. Get out of the business of peoples personal beliefs and preferences and stick to training troops. If someone falls out-of-line I don't care who they are or what they like or believe, kick them to the curb and pick up a new recruit.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Gern

    Some one help me out. Since so many are castigating the religious, most specifically the christians for their beliefs and want them to conform to secular beliefs. Isn't this a bit hypocritical? Shouldn't military law protect the religious from persecution and prosecution for opposing the gay lifestyle?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  6. T

    How interesting. Less than a month ago the FOUNDER of the Family Research Council (George Alan Rekers) was busted for going on vacation with a male escort he hired from Rentboy.com
    Maybe you guys should update the company handbook on this one before you worry about the military. Unless, of course, all the gays in the military are turning religious nutjobs gay. It IS a disease!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  7. Tom

    Tony – suck it. And shove your Bible up your ass. Can't wait until you're caught with your pants down with a 20-year old stud taking you from behind. Eat me. Christian pig.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • Terry

      You only hurt your own cause.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Anna

      I believe the expression your looking for is "Bite me". lm@o.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  8. Johnny V

    I am on my 10th year of Army service. I am straight, however, I believe that gays should have the same rights as everyone else in the military. We cannot ban or discriminate against everything the bible proclaims as right and wrong. This is not a Christian Army. This is an American military force, and as such, every American should have the right to serve equally.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  9. Patrick F

    Intolerance of people's differences is at odds with what it is to be a member of a society that has built its reputation on being one made out of many. It doesn't matter if the differences are physical, religious, racial, political or what have you... The term of anyone who is intolerant is bigot.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  10. Gardner

    It is great to see such thought put into these comments. Though I would like to say it is a bit more simple. Allowing gay people to serve in the military has nothing to do with religion. I dont care what some right or left wing, pagan or christian, or whomever you are have to say about religion and gays in the military. If any person is willing to risk their life to protect the freedoms held so dear by the people of this country then they deserve our honor and respect. Gay peopel actually are willing to die for freedoms that are only afforded to straight people. Let them serve freely.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  11. JC

    Since religion with in the military is suppose to be non-secular, in other words a religious service in the field is for all members of all religions, views of the religious extreme right are of no concern. And since the only ones that refuse to acknowledge the service of gay servicemen and women are trying to impose their views and religious values on all those that serve, perhaps it is they that do nor belong in a open and free society. It seems to me that those those that are against the lifting of of dont tell, are actually saying that you must agree with their religious views and values or hit the highway, some how I do not think this is what Ben Franklin had in mind with te Consitution

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  12. t.bo

    Man Tony. What a bigoted, backward thinking little moron you are. Thank you for your service. Now stop trying to make everyone live by your bankrupt moral code and learn to live along side everyone else. Not even going to try refuting anything you said because it would be an utter waste of time.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  13. Lacey

    So allowing gays in the military undermines religious freedom...but not allowing them doesn't undermine their freedoms as citizens of this country? Oh, yeah, okay.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  14. CubanMom

    Tony Perkins & the "Family Research Council" are terrified people! They would like to go back to the days in which everyone was secretive, hiding their true selves for fear of religious-zealots who make it their business to hunt down those who are different. Perkins & the "Family Research Council" IGNORE THE .....FACT...... THAT 78% OF AMERICANS WANTED TO ABOLISH DADT. 78%...... THAT'S A VAST MAJORITY!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  15. nick

    This what bothers me about this whole gay thing. If we are gonna allow gays and lesbians to marry based on human rights, then why can we allow all kind of marriages, such as poligamy, incest, etc? Why stop now. Go all the way. Either you have standard of marriage which is between a man and a woman or you allow people to define marriage whichever they see fit.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • MarkInPDX

      Sorry Nick. That's typical right wing (and typically mispelled) nonsense. Certainly you can have standards that include gay people but exclude what is obviously ridiculous. How do bestiality, incest, or polygamy relate to gay marriage? And how many of your own teeth are you sporting?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  16. GAY-Straight who cares!

    Tony Perkins you are such an IDIOT! I must say...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Fred R Anderson

    If U.S. Christian soldiers are leaving the military by the "back door" because the bible says gays are an abomination, then why don't we have a bunch leaving by all the doors and windows because the military trains soldiers to go against an even more important biblical law, "THOU SHALT NOT KILL!"

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

      Right! Isn't it SO hypocritical that the religious right has their narrow minded agenda, but refuses to live by the Ten Commandments, i.e., "thou shalt not kill"...... or "thou shall not covet" as in Bush invading Iraq for its oil!

      June 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • eddieVroom

      amen /b/rother!

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

      Read the fine print. It means thou shalt not kill (meaninglessly).

      June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  18. Tom

    Ban religion.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • Anna

      Ok. Then we can ban you from everything (tech, rights, freedoms, living in this country.....)

      June 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  19. john316

    The Family Research Council is full of Nonsense as usual...and panders to the worst element in society....the uneducated and the mindless.....it's a shame we don't have a vaccine for that......at least most young people can see through the smoke and mirrors.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  20. Surthurfurd

    Far too many people who claim to be Christian violate so many of Jesus' teachings that they have no room to be noting the speck in someone else's eye.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:28 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.