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. robert Hudson

    I suppose Mr. Perkins also opines that straight believers are also going to leave the military because they serve pork and require them to wear clothing of different materials. Oh these biblical literalist who pick and choose what versus they decide to use and not to use. You hypocrits, forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do!

    June 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm |


      June 1, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  2. Larry

    Don't yah just get tired of all this ultra political or ultra religious argument regarding the matter. But, if you do want to lift from the bible or your favorite politician any way, Christ called for folks to regain their spiritual connection to God and to others....not to condemn others over petty differences...even if it may/is contrary to the law....and that depends upon the law, civil/religious, of the day. Heck, even Christ was chastised not to heal a man's hand on the sabbath....but he did it any way...because it was the spiritual thing to do...not the religious thing to do or out of some civil obligation. Petty, petty, petty.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  3. Smart Potato

    The irony: without religion, this wouldn't even be a conversation. Like children who are untainted by religion, we'd love and support one another despite our differences, whether we choose to serve our country in a military capacity or not.

    Besides, what could petrify the extremists in the Middle East more than a group of gay soldiers?

    June 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  4. Boogie man

    It appears Mr. Perkins is trying to dimish the halo of professionalism of his former colleaques and is therefore showing disrespect to the Marine Corps. Even though Mr. Perkins is apparently an ordained minister he does not realize the simple fact that at death, we are all equal. This observation is an important source of spiritual strength for somebody serving in the most extreme of conditions. Mr. Perkins is mocking this spiritual source of strenght, that is, strenght through unity.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Brimshack

    No Perkins,

    You may not lay this sin upon Jesus. He is not responsible for your malice, not in any way shape or form. If you want your faith to be respected, then you should treat it with more respect yourself. Until then you deserve nothing but utter contempt, and that is exactly what you will get.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Charles Spencer

    His views make no sense. Repeal enjoys an 85% approval. 60% of Republicans support repeal. Gays are already in the military.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  7. Shane

    Wess...the religious right has been attacking gays for all of man kind. It's because of them..so many have turned away from god and religion. Not the other way around.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  8. Terry

    If the physical act between two adult males is unnatural because that's not how our bodies were intended to be used, howabout we start a campaign against males who use the female chest area for arousal and pleasure? It's pretty much the same argument.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  9. William

    Haha, CNN you suck dong.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  10. guest

    Gays are already in the military.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  11. Eric Bateman

    How about we wont ask if you're christian, and you wont tell us that you are! Sounds like a win/win to me.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  12. M. Smith

    Please forgive my spelling errors in my previous post! 🙂

    June 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  13. Wess

    The crux of the article is stating that in the operating of liberal extremism and the need to make sure that everyone is treated equally, we as a society are going to swing to the other extreme and, in fact, do the opposite by not allowing people to run their lives according to their personal beliefs. In other words, two Arab Muslim men can wear banana hammocks and make out on a float in the Main street parade, but the white guy with the bible in the corner is going to be get beat to death because he's a racist, hateful, illogical zealot. What an improvement.

    I think he may be correct given the hateful hypocrisy being spewed on this forum. How is a person who hates someone for their religious beliefs any better than a person who hates gays? Watching you two groups destroy each other is exactly why I'm religious.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • Observer

      "liberal extremism"?

      "All men are created equal". "Do unto others as you want them to do unto you". Yep, liberal extremism.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • Terry

      The difference is someone can't control how genetics physically wires their bodies, but people can choose to believe in a fairy tale and use it as a tool to suppress others. I can name a few dozen examples.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • martha

      Tell me where the gays or the atheists or the liberals are beating up the preacher on the street corner.

      Not one of use who are critical of christians say that you have no right to be a christian. Have at it. We won' beat you up for it. We also won't beat you up if you are straight.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      come rapture, can I have your car?

      June 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  14. M. Smith

    Mr. Perkins has failed to articulate a reasonable argument against allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Thank you, CNN, for posting this piece; you have permitted us to see just how absurd his position truly is.

    Religion is not inherently an evil, though. Although religion certainly can be (and very frequently has been) used to control people or to advance political agendas, the vast majority of religious persons are peaceful, kind, and willing to live-and-let-live. (Most Christians, in fact, are perfectly comfortable interpreting their scriptures either as liberally or conservatively as they personally see fit [i.e., as the "spirit" leads them].) It is Mr. Perkins's type of dogmatic fundamentalist religion (insofar as it would seek to rob others of their freedoms) that must be resisted, and the best weapon against it is an effective system of public education. (On that note, though, I suppose Mr. Perkins is also opposed to public eduction.)

    June 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  15. DNS

    It is as much a privilege and right to serve our country as it is to pay taxes. The only thing more incredible than Mr. Perkins' position is that gay or lesbian Americans would wish to serve at all – given the way they are treated. I, for one, applaud their patriotism and honor their service. And that's what Mr. Perkins should be doing.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Eric

    Mr. Perkins,
    The laundrymat called. They want to know if you want extra starch on the white hood and sheet you dropped off yesterday.
    They could not get all the red out of the collar.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  17. BrianCNN

    What would Bill Clinton do?

    June 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  18. Dave

    It's really annoying trying to carry on a conversation by replying to people when half your posts are filtered out for moderation. Even when your posts are respectful.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Dave in Arizona

      Agreed. I've had several long, respectful, thoughtful replies filtered with no warning or recourse. It's quite infuriating.

      June 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Natalie

      HAHAHA. Even my first reply to your reply was filtered. Maybe if I was a large corporation my opinion wouldn't be silenced 😉

      June 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  19. Tony Perkins

    Successful troll was successful.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  20. FootyP

    I want to explore some thoughts here. I am a Christian and I am by no means perfect. I need God's grace as much as anyone else. Grace by definition is unmerited favor. God's grace isn't deserved. Ok, that's a bit about me.

    I do not believe that you can legislate faith to anyone. It's a matter of the heart and no law can change a person's heart. A tension arises within me to this idea of faith & legislation. I believe the laws of the land can set up a government and society for either success or failure. i believe laws based on Judeo-Christian values give a society/nation its best chance for success. Once again, I do not believe that I one can legislate morality or faith. My tension is the minds & hearts of children. Everyone is shaped by the voices in their lives. I don't want to legislate my faith but it seems that the only honorable response is to help put systems in place to protect those who come behind us, thus intersecting my faith with the law.

    I realize I haven't approached the subject of the article above. My question is, how should a person of faith act in the political realm? Because as i have said, there is a tension there.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:19 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.