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. JCSF

    Why is it tha religion has to be an issue on everything, don't you already see that religion can be so dangerous.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  2. cmac

    Shouldn't a hypothetical devout Christian in the military be more concerned about the religious gravity of taking other human beings lives - a spiritually questionable objective to which the organization is completely devoted - rather than whether some minority of individuals, fighting on their own side, can choose to find love and make love - a spiritually laudable objective - with other individuals of the same gender? This preacher is cut from the shabbiest of clothes, a poor excuse for a human being, much less one who thinks so highly of himself as to speak on behalf of a deity. I wish people could see how truly ridiculous this is in the grand scheme of things.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Questions for the commenters. . . .

    From the tone of most of these comments it seems you cannot be gay and religious. So, how is it possible to be born gay, but not possible to be born with a belief in God (only "indoctrinated" into a belief in God). If you believe that it is possible to be born gay, you must believe it is possible to be born with a belief in God. If you believe that some people are born gay and others are born with a belief in God, then you must believe that both groups have the right to the full expression of themselves. So, now comes the real questions: Why do we become so polarized over trivial things? If you will not worry about me praying to God morning and evening, I won't worry about your bedroom activities either. If you choose to be gay, why do I need to know? How is it any of my business? I don't care who you sleep with. IT makes no difference to my life. So, why all the venom directed at religion? Why not worry about yourselves and let others live as they choose?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • hypocrites

      Why? 'cuz religions are a pile of dung! They (priests, Vatican folks) all beat off! What morality are they trying to impose on others? 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Gern

      Because people have an overwhelming desire to blame others and in doing so justify their hatred for that group.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • Anna

      Hypocrites: Stop being stupid.

      QotC: People fail to realize "God" is a personification of "life" just as the "Grim Reaper" is the personification of "death". Talking to "God' gives people comfort and helps them take a step back to reorganize their thoughts on a problem(s). Especially if you feel you can't talk to anyone else. I mean why else do people pray to God only when their lives are threatened (aka hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, 9/11....) regardless whether they truly believe God exists or not? Everybody is hiding behind a mask of sorts.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm |


      June 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Melissa

      Why? Because many people use religion as a vehicle to say and do that they want. From my perspective, religion is based on fear. Fear always gets people to do things they don't want to do. Its a way of getting people to behave. If you believe in God and fear Hell for commiting sins, then you're going to behave. Religion is so incredibly simple it's hilarious. I wish we could live in a world where there was no religion. Once people start to realize the power of the mind, they'll see religion is a waste of time and hopefully move on. Of course, that'll never happen. Not in out lifetimes anyway.

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

    Ever notice how we learn about science in college while we learn about god in prisons and AA meetings?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  5. BTS

    Even Satan and his fallen angels are religious as even they believe in God. And the fact that the words in the bible were written a 1000 yrs ago and spoke of what is happening today proves that God is real and His word is real. So if these things weren't happening it would then make the bible a lie but it instead it is confirming the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm |


      June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • Anna

      I find that amusing as well. "Hmm.....If I don't eat, then I'll starve and then die so I must eat. But if I eat junk food, I'll grow fat and die. But if I don't eat junk food and eat healthy food, I'll die of the pesticides. So if I don't eat healthy food, then I can't eat then I'll die. Either way I'll die but I don't wanna die. What a predicament".

      That really has nothing to do when what you just said, but it was what just popped in my head a few seconds ago and felt I must share.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  6. bucpimpin

    News flash... Christians arent the only people in the world that thing Gay behavior is wrong. It just goes against nature..

    June 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • mtw646

      What makes it any of your business? You can have an opinion, you just can't persectute others for who they are. Grow up.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  7. LouAz

    Support my god, or I'll kill you. That is what the military is for right ?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  8. George

    If being gay/lesbian/whatever is supposed to be acceptible?? , then why is it that every religion refuses to acknowledge it as an acceptible behavior/practice.

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

      the same reason why they (priests, Vatican folks) beat off & don't admit that they do it! 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • pathguy

      all religions are intolerant of other religions. does that mean all religions are evil? probably

      June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  9. Shane

    Who cares what Tony Perkins has to say? He's doing this not because he really cares about the issue at hand..but he knows that the only way to keep getting those big paychecks each month and keep his position as president of FRC..is to get the religious right all wound up. You think he is gonna say...meh..let the gay's serve openly? Hell no...he would be out of a job and on unemployment like the rest of us. As the old saying goes: "“To make a business decision, you don't need much philosophy; all you need is greed, and maybe a little knowledge of how the game works.”

    June 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  10. Richard

    Too few lions....

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

      If a gay man wants to join the military, let him! If he happens to like me, find me attractive, when something happens to me were I get kidnapped or pinned down, he's more likely to want to save my butt "Oh no commander, we need to get Greg back here ASAP!". When were being fired at, my first question isn't "Hey man, are you gay?!" I think something like "We need to run. Take cover. You fire left, I'll take point."
      From my understanding, believing in God is fine and dandy, being who you are since we are all made in the image of God (I think I read that some where once) is great too. If someone wakes up one day and decides that serving their country (and possibly getting killed while doing it) is one of the single greatest acts they can do as a human and patriot, than whether or not he likes "Broke Back Mountain" should be irrelevant. The people that are arguing against it, are the same ones that said years ago that woman shouldn't vote or serve their country, ethnic groups should have to use their own bathroom or sit on the back of the bus. And we all know what happened with that.
      By the way believing in a being that listens to you, never says anything bad about you and offers you love and sympathy is fine, but sooner or later we all need to put our teddy bears down and move on with our lives.

      June 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  11. Adam

    One would suppose that the intergration of african americans into the U.S. military was equally destructive to the religious freedoms of active KKK members, and white seperatist churches. I

    June 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Anna

    I find it amusing how anti-religion nuts hate how religious-nuts hate anti-religion nuts. It's kind of like "monkey see, monkey do". It's like only "nuts" are religious-nuts. And anti-religious can't be nuts too?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Gern

      Nice to see someone else here gets it. You can't be a proponent of fairness if you try and be fair to both sides of the issue.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • mtw646

      You can't be fair to both sides of this issue. 1. You can either let the religious people run everything or 2. you can be fair and let gays have the same rights as everyone else. Religious people think that anything that happens that they don't like must somehow be against their rights. Live and let live and keep your religion to yourself.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • Anna

      You both have vaild ponits, but that wasn't what I was getting at.

      One will always feel (and/or have) their rights taken away. On both sides. I've already learned that the world isn't fair to ANYBODY. It's time that everyone else learns that lesson. Everybody's is NOT equal. At least in our terms. One will always believe he/she is superior than everybody else regardless of skin, wealth, ect. They may not be vocal about it. IE: I believe I'm better than my brother and he believes he's better than me. I believe I'm better than my sister and she believes she's better than me. We just don't tell the other that.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  13. Surthurfurd

    Fundamentalists need to read their Bible more.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  14. Bob

    Look at Canada where it has not been an issue for over 15 years. Where anyone has the right to claim their common law partners or husband/wife as their spouse. I am gay and served with the Canadian Navy for 10 years and I have open but respectful about my business the same way anyone would be. I would bring my husband (I am legally married in Canada) to my Navy Chrismast dinners and we all had a wonderful time.In my 10 years of services (some overseas) Religion has NEVER been an issue... I find this very funny. I have NEVER experienced an issue being openly gay in the Canadian Forces in 10 years. Not one simple occasion. the policy is simple – Zero Tolerance to harassment.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Disappointed American

      Bob that is awesome!! I am happy for you and also happy that you got to serve your country while being the person you want to be and not having to hide it! I dont understand why it is so easy for some countries to have respect for personal beliefs yet so hard for Americans to see past petty differences!

      June 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  15. hypocrites

    From the top brass down to the newly enlisted... they all beat off! 🙂

    Tony Perkins beats off too! He has so much time on his hands!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  16. conner

    GREAT point sir!

    but you don't quite go far enough.

    i want to know why i have to serve in the military with black people?!?!
    it is against my religious convictions to accept these people. there are many many bible verses that speak about slaves obeying their masters and about the sons of cain with dark skin, et cetera. black people never should have been freed and should still be slaves. and that is my religious conviction. who is the government of our once great nation to tell me that i can't have these views?!?! i would be rejected by the military because i refuse to go to this "sensitivity training" (aka brainwashing and propaganda) that tells me that i need to be "respectful" of black people.

    here is a list of other people that my religious convictions forbid me from fraternizing with. i'd appreciate it if they would be banned from military service as well:
    east-coast jews
    west-coast jews
    arabs (whether "christian" or not)
    women (specifically those on their periods)
    liberal media elites
    men with long hair
    "free thinkers"
    non-native-born americans
    harry potter fans
    and feminists (both men and women)

    america is the greatest, best, freest nation that was ever on the face of the earth ever.
    let's keep it this way.

    thank you sir in advance for your support of my cause. GOD bless you. and GOD bless the united states of america.

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

      pure and utterly disgusting ignorance

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

      my god told me to tell your god that it's OK to beat off, and you must obey the word of my god! 🙂

      Now, go beat off & all the world's problems will go away! 🙂

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

      You are correct (in your own mind) and it would be best for you to move to the farthest reaching most remote place in the United States and start your campaign for your cause there. It is in your best interest to start as soon as possible too. Good luck!

      June 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • martha

      Ah, an example of Poe's Law. We don't know whether or not this commenter is being sarcastic. 🙂

      June 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  17. Rizzle

    The Bible says not to murder, yet that is allowed in the military. Since when in the military a religious authority to decide between gay and straight people?

    June 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  18. Erik

    READ: watersnoopy's post: What a great relief to know that we have armed men with 3rd grade spelling and vocabulary skills protecting us!! Sweet!!!!

    June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  19. GodIsForImbeciles

    Tony Perkins: American Taliban.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  20. Larry Reid

    The headline is backwards (much like Focus on the Family). It should read, "Religion a Threat to Gays in the Military." If Israel can do this, what is the big deal? I am a combat veteran. 9th Infantry Division, Vietnam 1968-69.

    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.