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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. Herbert Klinger

    I sense self-loathing here...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  2. JAN

    I find it ironic that the far left (GBLT community especially) scream about equality, hate crimes, bigotry. All one has to do is read these posts and see the incredible hypocrisy. GBLT are prejudice against Christians. They are angry they disagree with there worldview and lifestyle so the reaction is the same.

    Tony Perkins never attacked anyone personally. He never says he hates gays. He just disagrees. So couldn't you say that the GBLT are being closed minded?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • C.K.

      Are you serious? Wake up!

      June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • martha

      Of course he isn't going to say he hates gays. He just thinks that there is something wrong with them. Gee thanks. That is so much better than being hated.

      June 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • Allison

      No. The GLBT community don't believe it is acceptable to exclude the Christians based on an immutable characteristic. Therein lies the difference. Could you image the uproar if there were a DADT policy in the military pertaining to RELIGION or FAITH?

      June 2, 2010 at 6:36 am |
    • Rick

      No, see, many Christians hate the GBLT community for being who they are. Something they had no choice in becoming. Whereas the GBLT folks take issue with the Christians because they CHOSE to hate the GBLT world. See the difference?

      June 5, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  3. Herbert Klinger

    Tony Perkins sets off my gaydar HUGE time...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  4. Erik

    GAY OR STRAIGHT YOU'LL END UP DEAD FIGHTING FOR BIGOTS LIKE HIM!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  5. KittenSkysong

    Your statement about being gay being a choice is ignorant, clearly you have no person experience with which to justify these claims! I have 2 brothers who are gay, and if they chose to be gay then I so missed something. My oldest brother was rejected by several friends when he came out and my younger brother was once threatened. Why would they choose that? Besides did you choose not to be gay? No you just happen not to be, you bigot.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  6. David

    Any law-abding citizen who's willing to die for our country should be allowed to serve in our military.

    Period.

    Why is morale an issue? Are our troops so easily intimidated or cowed? Our soldiers face down bullets and bombs, but the presence of gay men gives them pause?

    What sort of sense does this make?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  7. richard marion

    What the hell does religen have to do with doing your f,in job or gay for that matter , I dont care if you worship green men
    from werever just do the best you can at your job , and its really that simple !!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  8. anobody

    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 4:39 pm |
  9. Dave in Arizona

    Wow. He writes this as though he truly doesn't recognize how bad it makes him look.

    Yes. If you condemn people for what they are or choose to be, you might get bad scores in sensitivity training. If you're a bigot then you're a bigot and you should be called on it. If you want to think religion excuses such behavior then you're pointing out how dated and flawed religion is, not how bad the topic matter is.

    Also, don't most of the "great monotheistic religions of history" also place women in subservient positions to men? I'm quite certain that expressing bigotry in that regard would also earn you a poor score on sensitivity training. Does the author have the same issue with this? I doubt it. More than likely he's a hypocrite.

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

      dated and flawed? Do you want to rewrite the bible? Like I said earlier... until one of you pops a baby out of your bottom, then it is not normal. It may be who you are, and you do deserve to live your life without persecution, but you don't deserve to teach people that being gay is normal. Sorry if that makes some folks mad, but that thats the facts... if it is not in you to procreate, then you are not what nature intended.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • tom

      @Terry:

      Terry says that all childless couples should not serve openly in the military! Childless couples are against nature and should be persecuted for their entire lives, or at least until they manage to procreate.

      Your village is calling...

      June 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  10. Kim

    The same old tired arguements made about blacks and women. As a retired military officer I say perhaps we'll fnally get rid of the white evangelicals that have done so much harm to our military and nation. Please leave.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  11. Zach

    This is the same argument for ENDA and Hate Crimes legislation. Get over yourself Tony, Stop focusing on GLBT people looking for equal rights and focus you attention on all the hypocrites in the "pro-family" movement that hate gays one day and then hire male escorts to "carry luggage" the next day

    June 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Ryan

    mr tony perkins,
    you are a black eye on our society, civilization, and our military. before any right wingers want to chime in, im a veteran.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  13. Mike

    How are all these christians and chaplains okay with serving alongside atheists, hindus, wiccans and pagans, but not gays?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  14. George

    If THEY (gay/lesbian/whatever) choose to be with their own kind – the military is not rhe place for them. The military wants LEADERS not stalkers. If THEY want to LEAD, every squad or platoon needs a good point man/woman in combat. THEY can always take the point position. I'm sure the current holder of that position won't object.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • Sean

      Wow George, you really have no idea how utterly ignorant you sound. 1950s time-warp much?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  15. jojo

    we need those gays someone has to be on the front line to catch the bullets!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • Rick

      Wow. That's one of the most offensive things I've ever read anywhere. You are an awful, awful person.

      June 5, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  16. AFriend

    Let's only allow Christian fundamentalists into the military for the front lines. This will solve two problems with one action.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  17. Surthurfurd

    Fundamentalists all around the world have the same problems. 1st they fundamentally ignore most of the teachings of their religion in favor of a self-serving selection of rules and statements. 2nd they feel justified and obligated to impose their ideals on others. 3rd they seem to be all too comfortable with supporting wars, violence, hatred, and cruelty to impose their views on others.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  18. Cezanne

    I'm just curious, how in the heck is this going to undermine religion? That has to be the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. Gays and Lesbians are not denouncing or refuting anyones religious beliefs...there are actually quite a few who are very religious....when we pray, it doesn't matter the race, the creed, the color or the orientation...prayer is prayer and belief is belief no matter who is at the end of it.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  19. E

    What a load of horse crap. Allowing other people to be who they are has nothing to do with another person's religion. If you want to be in the military you have to be able to tolerate ALL people, whether you approve of or like them. If you don't like gay people then suck it up. They have always existed and always will. They should not have to hide and get fired so some bigot can feel more powerful and self righteous. If they want to claim that gay people are against their religion, they should first ban divorce, shrimp, pork, and all those other pesky rules in the Bible that they ignore on a daily basis.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  20. ENielsen

    @Rev Carter "forcing their agenda on everyone else"? Isn't this the main idea behind all religions? Forcing a belief system on a person and then condeming them if they don't believe in it. Oh and as far as putting them on the front lines they are already there, but curiously enough you are not. Your bigotry and ignorance are everything the military is fighting aginst. We wouldn't have you. And for that matter everyone who serves, EVERYONE, is a better person then you.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:36 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.