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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. righteous-in-Christ

    Nick – You said:
    If "god loves all gays" then why did he have one of his worshipers right a book with multiple references about how being gay is wrong?

    My reply to you and I apologize to be late in responding you, is:
    What other way can you possibly think that we can know God? The Bible is the voice of God that spoke to men & women and men wrote it down, inspired by God, of course. Yes, the Bible lists several scriptures that gay is wrong. Many gay people think that being gay is the greatest sin there is and you are wrong about this. Sin is sin, not matter what it is. As a nondenominational Christian, I am also liable to sin and my sin isn't better than anybody's else's. I have to repent of them and that is what makes a huge difference in one's life. We don't have to dwell in sin, because then, we become slavery to it. As many have misjudged the Word of God when they read the Old Testament and don't have a clue to what the scripture means and why it happened and just assumes that God is evil. Many think that God wants us to be slaves, but in reality, Satan wants us to be slaves to sin, yes, many are held in captivity as slaves because of their sin.

    As Terry mentioned earlier:
    The bible shows what the world was like, and the laws of MAN at various times. However, not once does God, or Jesus Christ condone it. As a matter of fact, people in those times SOLD THEMSELVES to pay off their debts.... it was their choice in many occasions. That would seem perfectly fine for me and the bible does say how those who do that, should be treated.

    And we are ALL sinners. I believe, at least for me, the reason why gays are finding it hard to be accepted it because it seems the majority are notoriously vulgar and open about it.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • John

      Very good.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • Observer

      There is NO EXCUSE for the Bible supporting slavery and the inferiority of women. If they were considered WRONG by the Bible, it would have said so. Both are supported in the NEW Testament. We need to deal with facts, not phony excuses.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • martha

      The bible condoned multiple wives.
      The bible condoned stoning for cursing and working on the sabbath.
      The bible condoned all sorts of things we find acceptable now. We no longer are in a tribal society.

      June 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      @ martha -You listed:
      The bible condoned multiple wives. (Muslims & other religions marries more than on woman)
      The bible condoned stoning for cursing and working on the Sabbath. (Muslims does still do this detestable things)
      The bible condoned all sorts of things we find acceptable now. (That's the problem, mankind wants to do what they want to do and not have to deal with what God tells us what we need to do. We are living to satisfy the lust of the flesh that brings self-destruction.)
      We no longer are in a tribal society. (The same things are still being done in America and other parts of the world!

      What you fail to realize is that the Bible speaks of the detestable things that were being done by ungodly people and God punished many for their as it's still been done today. There is no difference from what you read in the Old Testament and the life that we see now because the same things that you listed are the same things that are still happening! We are still living as the people lived in Sodom and Gomorrah.

      June 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  2. Nicole

    It's about time they ban this law. I also find it funny that the law was established under the terms of one of our most scorned presidents of our time.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  3. mama panda

    Nonsense.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  4. matt

    Ah, the "choice" thing again!
    This would infer that all humans are born with an attraction to both genders and at some point in their life must choose which one they prefer.
    Tell me Mr. Perkins, how many people of the same gender did you need to sleep with before you figured out you prefered the opposite gender?
    Or possibly you have not yet made a "choice"?

    June 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Steve

    The military already has gay members...they are just not allowed to be open about it. This law would not change the standards or the basic core principals of the military. This is only allowing members to state their relationship. For everyone who thinks that we will have a "flamer force", please grow up! I have served with many gays and they perform just as well, if not better than straight counterparts. We defend the USA, not JESUS CHRIST. If you don't like it, don't join.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Incensed

    Hi Tony. Here is what I read from your article: "We also must honor the rights of racists and keep those who are openly black out of the military." Wow, you're so clever.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  7. Chris

    Well said although I see by the rest of these posts that our country is moving further and further away from the Judeo-Christian foundation it was founded upon. It simple case of biting the hand that fed you. No one can begin to doubt that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is also apparent that many people do not understand the meaning and intention of the phrase "separation of church and state." It was put there so that the government could not create, endorse or impose religion. It means that the government can not also be the church. One would have to know their history to understand the context of this. The British government at the time actually was involved in the church such that it selected deacons, elders and other religious leaders. The government actually had a hand in the church as it was trying to shape the church and religion as they saw fit in order to align with their objectives. America exists because the pilgrims sought freedom from this religious oppression, from the government telling them how to believe and to live. Here we are several hundred years later and we now have a more liberal leaning government imposing their beliefs on people and telling people what they can and can't believe. The blue-state liberal mindset IS a religion in every sense of the word and it consistently conflicts with Judeo-Christian beliefs, she same ones that birthed this country.

    History is an interesting thing – people forget it, either accidentally or intentionally. Either way the result is the same: doomed to repeat it.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • matt

      This country was founded on SEPARATION of church and state.
      Not the other way around.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Mark

      This country was founded on the idea of religious freedom. The founding fathers never endorsed any one religion, and a number of them were actually atheist. Saying our country was founded on judeo-christian values is a completely false claim.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • mike

      HEY! Stop making sense! It seems like all minorities want more rights then majorities. I can't put up an American Flag, but you have the right to complain about it. What would it be like if we did things this way, if you want to be openly gay then you can but you have to deal with discrimination. I'm not sure if many of your are familiar with reverse discrimination but its out there. I have spoken twice on majorities an just to be clear i'm a filipino in the infantry so i am a definant minority, but i still understand the greater good.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  8. PFC Brad Coleman

    I served in the army (3-15 Infantry Hooah!) with christians, athiest, wiccans, catholics, mormans, muslims, and I think even a scientologist. Don't even get me started on what races I served with. I'm sure there were some gays in there too.

    When I served I didn't care about any of that. All I cared was whether they could do their job and do it well. Sure being a methodist I could have debated with many of the people of different beliefs on a variety of topics but I didn't. I had other things to worry about, mainly being the best soldier I could be cause a mistake could cost lives.

    The arguements he makes about gays is probably a lot like the arguements whites made when the military started allowing blacks to serve. I can imagine a racist would also be black balled for his beliefs if he too criticized integration. Many years later blacks and whites now can serve in the same units! Is it really that hard to imagine straights and gays being able to serve together as well given time?

    Hey Tony Perkins try to be more Christlike, show some mercy and love to your fellow man.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  9. mike

    You shouldn't kill your brother, except if he doesn't know what's right, if he can't love your heaven, than it's a mercy for him to die! tell you what if you don't like the way OUR country is headed it's time for all the Righteous Reich to split. Did YOU give ALL your money to the poor, if not you are not you are not a christian.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  10. MarkInPDX

    So basically, Perkins and the religious right think they have a right to not only express their bias (which they do have the right to do), but that they also have a reasonable expectation that their bias will be accommodated. Yeah. That makes sense.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  11. booster hagen

    Now that I have read all the inputspro and con gays in the military– folks, you are missing the REAL action from Congress...it is about votes, votes and more votes...the controversy is just a smoke-screen to divert the attention of the American people-and just think of the numbers of VOTES the dems are trying to nail down in the gay world. They don't care what this does or does not do for the military; they want that VOTE....desparate Washington elected officials - they did it to us again. Shame on us......!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Mark

      Actually it was a campaign promise made by our current president.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  12. John

    I know terrorist will welcome this change in our military..just another thing to distract our brave soldiers. So foolish to be going through this now as we are at WAR.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  13. Brad Hannigan-Daley

    I didn't know until reading this piece that Episcopal priests are necessarily gay. Tony Perkins, you one crazy ideologue.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  14. gaygary

    this is the same group that was co-founded by Geoege Alan ( I need a rent boy to carry my bags) Rekers, who in their right mind would believe anything they had to say. People act like gay soldiers just landed on earth for the first time and want to join our ranks. People need to get real and just face up that Gay Poeple have been around since the signing of the declarion of independence and we are not going anywhere. All citizens of the United States just want to be treated equal.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • BrianCNN

      Interesting–you say that you wouldn't trust an organization that was founded by someone who was found to be gay. This doesn't support your argument very well.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  15. Shane

    We are living in different times. These days.. most sixteen year olds grow up around youths who are openly gay so it's not an issue. Young adults are now 'out' younger than ever and most peers accept who they are. Family Research Council just doesn't want to accept the fact that they have lost this war. Do you really believe that we are all going to run back in the closet and hide? Oh I'm sorry to burst your bubble my little sugar pie Tony... but you are just seeing the very tip of the iceberg of the ENORMOUS radical changes that are going to take place within the next couple years. Gay's are going to have full equality rights within six years max. It's not a matter of 'if' it's a matter of 'when.' You got to understand Tony the cycle of generations. While the old generation slowly passes..the modern generations go in "bloom." Each successive generation is more tolerant than the last generation. So Tony, things are not going to roll your way no matter how hard you try to stop it. It's destined..and you can't stop destiny. You might as well just give up and spend your money on something worthwhile.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • BrianCNN

      Radical changes, eh?

      June 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  16. citizen2345

    very selective moderator here–hmmmm

    June 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  17. gary

    As I recall, there were folks on the religious right who argued that God intended black and white people to be separate. They were against miscegenation and even suggested that it was a matter of predestination that White people would naturally dominate non-whites. This was a common assertion of God-fearing Christians in the parts of the U.S. and South Africa. Now the same assertions are being made about Gay people. It's hard to understand how people who claim that they believe in a God of Love could be so consumed with hatred and bigotry. How many black soldiers have died protecting this country and how many gay soldiers have also died protecting this country? Perkins seems to have no shame and dishonors those men and women and the country they have defended.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  18. suzy

    Repealing don't ask don't tell won't violate the first amendment. First Amendment "CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW . . . " establishing a religion or prohibiting the free excercise thereof. Congress isn't making a law by repealing DADT, they are removing a law. Removing a law actually means more freedom. This is a typical "the sky is falling" argument that confuses the real issue with dire hypotheticals about all the awful stuff that "will" happen. It won't. If he can't read the clear text of the First amendment, i certainly don't trust his interpretation of the Bible.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  19. suteki

    CNN, I beg you, please do not have articles like this in the future. Really claiming that the idea that people are born gay is a myth - that's total BS. We KNOW that people are born gay. This guy shouldn't be allowed this type of platform to spout off BS. Shame on you and him and anyone who thinks like him. Bigger shame on you, though, CNN. I'm pretty well done with your National Enquirer type of news and am looking for something that's, well, more actual *news*.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • dude

      I applaud CNN and respect them much more for having a variety of views. If people are born gay, then evolution would have erradicated that trait over time. People aren't born gay, it's just a wierd fetish like pedofelia.

      June 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  20. fasul islama muhummad

    I like this rule change – A LOT.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:38 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.