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. Shawn

    if i can't fight i can't pay taxes

    June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Pat

    I disapprove of drinking, tattoos, domestic violence, and war - on religious grounds. So, if a sailor goes out and gets drunk after beating his wife, then hits the tattoo parlor, all on the night before he's deployed to a war zone, are my religious rights being stepped on too?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  3. hypocrites

    We all understand where you & Tony come from... both of you beat off! 🙂

    June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  4. Knute

    I'm not an expert on theology, military law, or about this certain group of evangelical, orthodox, and other conservative military members, so I'm curious: In the past, how did such people deal with changes that have conflicted with people's faiths? I'm talking divorce, racial desegregation of military units, the increasing presence of women in the military, the increasingly diverse faiths being practiced by our troops, etc. The military seemed to have dealt with whatever theological hurdles those posed – why would this issue be so much different?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • martha

      They kick and scream and then adapt.

      June 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Religion is so utterly outdated.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • Terry

      Excuses .... for making what is morally wrong, right... and i'm not saying being gay is morally wrong, it just isn't natural. I suppose since murder (yes, even when Christians murdered) was wrong 2000 years ago, we should give out prizes for it now?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Angela

    Does Mr. Perkins and all religious zealots in the military realize they are trained to KILL?! How's that sit with your uppity moral position, Perkins?! Whip out the bible only when it fits your wants/needs? Push aside the teachings of Jesus Christ when it comes to pointing the barrel of a gun at your perceived enemy? Allow "human collateral" (the death of innocent civilians) and think you have a free pass into heaven regardless? I'm so sick of the arguement. In war, in death, you'd best only be concerned about whether that gay soldier is equally willing to protect your sorry behind and stop worrying about what he does on his or her private time. DADT was a bigger black mark on Clinton's presidency than any cigar he ever smoked or....

    June 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  7. Gern

    That was my sarcastic point exactly Surtherfurd.

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

    The argument that "this would prevent people from discriminating in the name of their religion" is baseless on the argument. We don't allow people who's religion allows keeping slaves to own other humans, nor do we allow people who's religions allow human sacrifice to murder. We should not allow people to scream about their religious freedoms when practicing that freedom impacts the freedoms of others around them.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  9. Nick

    No you simpleton. We don't want any Christians to get killed, we only want them to see things the way we do. And even so: The Christians have been forcing their way of life onto people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and for once, when someone rejects their change they make the biggest deal out of it.
    Get your facts straight.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  10. Cason

    Gay-bashing is almost the new form of coming out of the closet. We all are pretty sure Mr. Perkins is gay now.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  11. Frank

    I can't stand religious nuts.
    US Army Retired

    June 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  12. Lucy

    Lets have an allegory:

    There be 2 societies (culture, customs, way of dress, way of beheaving), one is called White and the other N 1g3r.

    The people in the W society are the majority of the population.

    The major religions of people in W society teach that taking part of N society is a sin.

    The country in which W and N societies are in provide for both the W popular belief that being part of N socity is a sin and N society's right to be part of any type of society they wish.

    (For the sake of argument) Let say that even IF people were born into N society they CHOOSE to take part in N society.

    Now the contry's military says that you can be part of any society as long as you're not too obviously part of N society, that you dont tell anyone if you ARE of N society and that people shouldnt ask you if you are of N society. Should you come out and tell anyone you ARE from N society you will be kicked out....bye bye benefits.

    Now say people in the N society are now allowed to share stories of their weekends, GFs/BFs, Holidays, customs, get togethers without fear of getting kicked out.

    Are the people who take part of White society (and who are in one of thsoe religions where being part of N society is a sin) being stripped of their right to NOT have to hear or see being part of N 1g3r society? Are they being stripped of their right to publically state their personal beliefs that people in N 1g3r society will burn in hell? ( because their religions only have that 1 teaching and if they werent allowed to teach that anymore they would be completely out of lessons to teach)


    Even further... say that it is part of W religion that people in N society be stoned to death. Are they being stripped of their rights when they're no longer allowed to do so?

    Even further further... say N society decides to create a religion in whcih most people from N society join. In this religion, it is a SIN to be part of W society. Should the country's military ask people from W society to not ask or tell from which society they're from?



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

      I named the societies that way to incite reaction not because of any personal belief....

      June 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Sean

      Try shorter next time and a dash of less offensive please.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Lucy

      I know its offensive, that kind of the point.... nothing personal of course....and, allegories are not short my friend lol

      no.. i get what ure saying, i tried not to use the word and i didnt realize it would be that long when i started writting.


      June 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Nathan

    The author is clearly a closet case.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  14. Observer

    Duh? Do you suppose that the gay community is opposed to Christians because they want to deny them EQUAL RIGHTS? Just a little thing like that? You know, "all men are created equal" stuff.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  15. junkiebev

    the founder of this group hired a rent boy lol

    June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  16. Jay

    Also, I'm tired of Christians victimizing themselves. "Oh, if they all people to be seen as equal, then that will somehow diminish my ability to speak ill of them. We need to pass laws to keep people who don't believe the same as me under wraps!" Give me a break.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  17. Surthurfurd

    Hatred and crude comments are not acceptable from anyone.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  18. watersnoopy

    It's amazing how quickly pro-gay people calling out Christian who are against gay life-style biggot and hatred. Yet the pro-gay failed to recognized that you own group invoked your own will against the Christian belief. So who is the bigot? Second, why does the pro-gay are anti-religion yet when things gone wrong, you all quickly blame the Christian God is not a good God. If you don't believe there is a God, why do you even bother to blame a non-existing being? Your self-conflicting intelligence exhibits that you don't have intelligence to begin the civilized discussion about religion and human right.
    Lastly, as a Marine who return from Iraq, I have no problem with gay in military, but I do respect equal playing field of 'personal conviction'. That's "you don't have to believe my God, neither do I have to listen and believe that gay life style is normal". So quick shoving your idea down my throat either.

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

      Again, someone complaining about how being against bigotry is bigoted.

      June 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  19. hypocrites

    Tony Perkins beats off! Is there any doubt? What morality any right wing, religious folk wants to pontificate on?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  20. Nyarlathotep

    Note to Perkins: Gays are ALREADY in the army, navy, air force and marine corps, and probably most of their co-servicemen and women know it. DADT is pointless, so why bother defending it?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ann

      Well said! I ahve worked with many gays, both in the military and outside, most people knew, I dont think anyone really cared. If you didnt know, you would have never singled any of these people out for any other reason, they were there to do a job and they did it, just like everyone else, so where is the problem?

      June 1, 2010 at 4:51 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.