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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. Lee

    What a narrow-minded view. I presume Mr. Perkins doesn't feel we should go back to banning women and non-whites from the mililtary because some people's religious beliefs feel women should stay at home and the races shouldn't mix. This is a legal and military decision, not a religious one, and no religion has any place in making the law, or enforcing it.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  2. Bib (Illinois)

    The stance of Tony Perkins ABSURD in the extreme!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Eric

    Ha! Nice. You feel you are being discriminated against because they wont let you discriminate against a minority. You should have some joint meetings with the KKK. Apparently you have a lot in common.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    The christian religion has a long history of hate and intolerance for other cultures and faiths. Lest we forget their slogan, "One Way." It is time for evangelicals to realize that the entire country does not share their , 'Our way or the highway hate faith'. These are the same folks who support the barefoot and pregnant 'quiver' movement for women, discrimination of varying degrees for everyone except white males and the infamous failed marriage movement for poor women in OK. All this faith is intimidation, domination and control.

    Of course, it will be a problem for believers in the military because they can't keep their noses out of everyone else's business as they do the "lord's work" enriching themselves and making like h*&& for everyone else.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  5. SHAIARRA

    @ANDREW ....COME ON DUDE CONFESS IT, YOUR WITH THE XTIAN TAILIBAN MALITIA NETWORK RIGHT!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Colin Brown

    Jesus Christ loved and cared for straight people, gay people, brown people and colonizers too.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  7. Lauren

    It's sad enough that people actually think this way. It's worse that others will read this and agree. Just sad.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Fiction

    This is yet another cry from the 'majority' religion, screaming that they are being persecuted because they aren't allowed to persecute. "You are taking away my right to treat another human being like an animal! THIS IS UNFAIR.'

    I hope that this kind of horrible speech ends when the next generation takes control.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Bob

    Not all who oppose changing the standard do so on religious grounds. Saying that this is only a matter of religious beliefs and allowing only religious voices to be heard sets up a smoke screen and presents only one facet of the argument.
    "Don't ask, don't tell" should be retained as a compromise.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  10. Kyle from MS

    Chaplains in the military as far as I'm aware are supposed to be versed in most religions and provide religious counseling to each soldier according to the soldiers belief, not their own. Otherwise I see no point in the military having chaplains at all. I sure as $%#$ don't want my tax dollars being spent to give your religion a voice in my military.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  11. Lara

    In my unit, I served with both a born-again Christian–who never drank, never swore, and who entertained me during long field exercises with his explanation of how the theory of evolution was totally false–and a wide variety of pagans, Wiccans, and I believe at least one outright Satan-worshipper. They all got along just fine. I had an African-American platoon sergeant who successfully supervised a neo-Nazi and had no problems whatsoever dealing with him, as long as he was respectful, showed up to formation on time, and kept his boots shined (which he did). If all these folks could serve in the same unit without difficulty, how is it that a few gay people are going to "break" the military?

    June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  12. martine kelston

    So I guess guys in the armed forces have to add the fear of being bayonetted in the shower to their list of concerns. Good call!
    "Roll eyes"

    June 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  13. Oodoodanoo

    "legitimate privacy and health concerns"? Not all gays have diseases, nor do all of them violate privacy. Furthermore, not all straight people are disease-free, nor do all of them honor privacy.

    If you think that all gays are looking at you, and that's a "legitimate concern", then all female soldiers have a legitimate concern that all straight male soldiers may be looking at them. Should we throw all men out of the military?

    Anyone, gay or straight, who violates codes of conduct or health regulations can be disciplined according to existing military law.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  14. Colin Brown

    I am an intern pastorand stand solidly with Jesus as being a friend of all human beings.
    To segregate gay people from the military is unholy and sinful.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  15. W.

    keep your religion to yourself and out of the public sphere, you bigot.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  16. Colin Brown

    I am an intern pastorand stand solidly with Jesus as being a friend of all human beings. To segregate gay people from the military is unholy and sinful.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  17. Anna

    Again, "God" is a PERSONFICIATION of "life". So technically if "life" exists, then so does God. Personally, I'd like to believe that I get a mansion when I die than believe that I'll just "sleep" forever. And the thing about reincarnation, if you get reincarnated, who dictates what/who you'll become? Surely not yourself or you'd have chosen to be the President, King, or something "great" like that.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • Albert

      You clearly do not have an accurate understanding of the Bible. No where does it talk about mansions in Heaven. Please read and study the Bible for yourself.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • JimK

      Go decides, who else? On the basis of what you have done in the past. And when you learn the lessons of not beating your spouse then you won't be born in a situation where your spouse beats you anymore. There are no victims, we all get what we deserve and deserve what we get. There's lots more to it, but that's a general idea.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  18. wayne

    To love our neighbor will cost us nothing, but to hate our neighbor will cost us everything. Religion teaches us to hate our neighbor in many different ways. Religion helps the individual feel better about their problems but in a group, its very dangerous.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  19. pathguy

    tony perkins is a threat to freedom. in fact, freedom can only exist if one is free from religion. live your own life and don"t let church stop you

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  20. mtw646

    So what he's saying is, "hate, intolerance, and prejudice is part of my religion, and you have to allow me to practice my religion." What a bunch of trash. The Christmas trees that cover every inch of the parks, malls, and streets threaten my rights. Take them down! If i don't like it, nobody can enjoy their freedom.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 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.