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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. Andrew

    People who are not religious should not speculate on matters of religion. Would Shaq tell Tiger Woods the best way to play golf? Why does everyone who has an idea or a criticism, think that they are right when they might not even know half as much about the topic as the person they're discussing it with.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Scott

    Mr. Perkins argues to leave bigotry in place because to remove it will cause ignorant bigots to leave the military. (“…legitimate health reasons…" what might those be that are particular to gay people?) What kind of country would be if we use reasoning like that? Oh yeah, a theocracy…that’s a step in the right direction!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  3. Nick A

    I find it quite disheartening how uncivil many (not all, but many) of the comments are. All of you uncivil people strike me as people willing to shout louder and listen less. Thank goodness much of the public is not as dumb as many of these comments. Seriously, I wonder how many of these people who leave comments are unemployed, bitter people.

    Now I know why I don't read the comments at the bottom of an article.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  4. um yeah

    The only unforgivable sin in the bible is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, so unless this law tells this dude to blaspheme, he should chill out and go with it.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  5. nwatcher

    I think the point here is the mandated acceptance of the behaviors of some, over the rights of others to disagree with their behavior. The gay agenda has always been a forced acceptance of their lifestyle with legal status aimed at prosecuting those who refuse to accept their lifestyle. No room is left to be "in the middle" on this argument – these laws force everyone to try protect what little moral ground is currently left unclaimed by secularists, humanists, atheists and all the other – ists.

    (Go Tony!)

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • JimK

      wow. amazing display of non-logic. just amazing. I don't mind different perspectives when they are forwarded with intelligence and thoughtfulness. nwatcher, you have neither. Nor does your Tony. Beware........God is not what you think he is, and he doesn't like hatred. Honest....it says so in the scriptures of every religion.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  6. jmb2fly

    Do intimate relationships between service personel affect the combat readiness of our military

    June 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • Anna

      Not really. It's the whole "lets get pregnant so I don't have to deploy".

      June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Anna I respect your reply and it sounds like you speak out of experience of your own service. Again, if you are in combat, yours and other peoples lives on the line, do you think it affects the unit's ability to operate as it should?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  7. BobbyB

    Astounding that people think like this. The number of heinous things that the Bible has been used to justify just got longer. I'm surprised he isn't arguing that all non-believers should be forced into the closet as well. This is one more example of religious extremism that I would argue puts this guy in the same bucket as those in the Taliban. "My God is bigger and better than yours, what he says is law, and no one should live outside that law. Instead they should be outcast and denigrated." Worse, it is people like this guy that want the military to become the "army of God", a Christian force working to christianize the world. And to that end, they spend hours proselytizing new recruits or those at the military academies to spread the word of their God and punish those who aren't of their faith by persecuting them or disparaging them.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  8. prankster

    Like Bill Hicks said anyone dumb enough to want to be in the military should be allowed into the military!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  9. Jad Vargas

    This is the same stance of Radical Islam about Jewish people. It is not enough for them to have their own religion, they don't want anyone that opposes them to be allowed to exist. It is dangerous reasoning and the Radical Right is taking this country down a slippery slope away from science, reason, and compassion, and toward the Dark Age harbingers of intolerance and forced adherence to someones idea of morality and christianity.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  10. LMS

    Mr. Perkins argument against DADT is absurd. This guy is an ignorant fool, a rigid, narrow minded bigot, and frankly, CNN should be ashamed of themselves for even posting his rant. It's fine to want to include both sides of the argument, but this is just silly. Shame on you Mr. Perkins and shame on you CNN.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  11. you're so wrong

    I for one will not be shocked when Tony Perkins is found in a bathroom stall tapping his foot. I give him 5 weeks.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  12. Jordan

    then even better, its about time our military gets the hell out of monopoly of every right wing nutjob who could not make it to college or failed the high school and joined the military to make something of himself.... AMERICA is NOT YOURS, nor is her military. AMERICA is for all of us based on what the four fathers imagined, for those who believe in jesus and those who are infidels and non-belivers. I TRULY WISH that gays get equal rights in military so the extremists and racists lose their last untouched sanctuary and just go resort to their churches in which they can ask god for whatever they wish and can complain and curse as much as they want.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • BrianCNN

      The "Four Fathers"? Now that one is good!

      June 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  13. JimK

    you have to be kidding. Opening the door to gays is violating the freedom of religion of some people? DId i read this right? what kind of logic is that. i can't even begin to articulate the revulsion I feel when coming up against that kind of "logic". Are these people insane? and what does everyone think of their conception of an almighty, merciful, infinitely compassionate God who enjoys throwing people into an eternal fire because they loved God as a Buddhist? Or a Hindu? Or a different sect of Christianity? HELLOOOOOOO!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Eva

    Our Forefathers should have left out the religion clause. It only gives bigots the power to tyrannize the rest of us and to make ministers rich.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  15. rinsac

    Why is anyone surprised by statements like this. The only liberty these fanatics care about is their own. Allowing LGBT individuals into the military to serve their country in no way takes anyones religious liberty away. It works well all over the world and certainly didn't hurt Alexander the Great, on of the greatest generals in history when he fought for and took over the known world of his day. When you are only concerned with what you believe to be your rights to the exclusion and removal of the the rights of others, you have no moral or religious ground to stand on.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  16. Albert

    You must not murder. He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. What a joke. What does Christianity have to do with the military?

    Do you realize that many of the same Christian faith from different countries kill each other in battle? These people are NOT Christians. Stop making a mockery of God and his Son Jesus. This is not the way of the God of love and of peace.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  17. Tim

    How hypocritical can you be. There is no place for organized religion in the military to begin with. You are worried about "counseling" gay people; you need not be. You will not have to. But what do you tell soldiers who are orderred into battle about the Ten Commandments? How about "Thou shalt not kill"? There are no qualifiers to that commandment other than those imposed by man to allow killing. Do you tell soldiers not to kill?

    June 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Chris

    So let me get this straight.....that guy says that because gays are in the military, that violates his right as a religious person....to discriminate against someone that's different? Give me a break people, its comments like that, that belong in the dark ages not in the year 2010

    June 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  19. Jay Sosnicki

    What a sick, sad little man.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  20. dbinflorida

    The good Reverend can believe whatever he wants thanks to the courage of our forefathers, and I support his right to do so. What is totally repugnant is that he seems to think it is alright for him to force his viewpoint on the rest of society because he feels that he is morally correct in God's eyes. Freedom means freedom for everyone, even if they choose to do something that we may disagree with. If he wants to live in a theocracy then go live in Iran, because a theorcracy regardless of which religios it is centered around will end up with tyrants dictating how others can live.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      I AMEN-RA TO THAT

      June 1, 2010 at 10:31 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.