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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. AJ

    I personally know people in the military who are uncomfortable serving with African Americans and women. Do we cater to their bigotry as well? No, of course not. Gays have been in the military a long time. My grandfather served with gay men and said they were some of his best friends and comrades. Christians need to stop thinking their beliefs are the only ones that matter. Wasn't Christ Jewish anyways?

    June 2, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  2. Observer

    Here's how HYPOCRITICAL it is for Christians to trash gays for being "abominations". The Bible says that incense is an abomination. The Magi brought incense to the manger and Christians praise them for being THE WISE MEN. Just pick and choose what you WANT to practice from the Bible.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • D

      Incense is a representation of vanity. so while you are correct, it wasn't saying that anyone who has incense is an abomination simply the idea of vanity is an abomination. however it does say that it is an abomination to lie with another man as you lie with a woman.

      it helps your cause to get your facts straight before you spew them about.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  3. Atlanta Gal

    Two comments. 1. Were you born straight sir or did you learn that? 2. Voice your religious beliefs all you want but keep religion out of my government!

    June 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • D

      you know religion gave you most of the laws you cherish right?

      June 2, 2010 at 1:32 am |
  4. righteous-in-Christ

    @ SHAIARRA – I would like to respond to what you are saying. The Old Testament tells us of how people back then where mistreated, lived ungodly lives, therefore, mankind involved themselves in sin. It's so funny how few Atheists, not sure if you are one, just seems to focus so much in the Old Testament without having any knowledge or understanding of it. Read the book of John and learn of Jesus Christ. He came to change everything that has happened in the Old Testament for the salvation of our souls. See God for guidance before you start leaning on your own understanding so God can direct your path.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • Observer

      The NEW TESTAMENT supports slavery so let's cut out PHONY excuses.

      June 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Every type of sin done by mankind is a sin, no matter what it is. Being gay isn't the greatest sin of them all, you just need to understand that you are not supposed to dwell in any kind of sin, period. Being gay will always be an abomination to God as any other sin. Because many gay people hates to hear this, they get so offended and angry, but it is our job to speak the truth to any one about any sin. We are not perfect, but we are in a spiritual welfare day by day fighting against the evil world ruling the earth, Satan and his demons and forces of darkness. We pray for everyone, gay or straight.

      June 1, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  5. VG

    I think those that have the time to spark such a huge debate have too much time on their hands. I enlisted to protect this country & our freedom, yes, but NOT to go around trying to be an activist or have my story posted somewhere about how difficult it is being gay behind closed doors.

    June 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  6. hbrake

    Discrimination of any kind anywhere, including the military, is un-American. We are all God's children. I am so tired of the religious extremists that come out sounding like Nazi's. Wake up American and Love thy Neighbor!

    June 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • jim

      unless thy neighbor is out to destroy your culture

      June 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • Observer

      We have had our own radical religious Christian terrorists right here who have assassinated doctors, bombed health clinics and bombed the Atlanta park.

      June 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      @ Observer – So over a few fools that committed these detestable things, you blame us all? Atheists also have blood on their hands, but no one has mentioned this before! So don't act as if Atheists are so holier than though because it doesn't fit! We are radical for Christ to win souls for the Kingdom of Christ not radical murders or haters! You seem to compare everyone as being the same. Learn to know the differences as to which Christians are which! It would be rude for any of us to compare all Atheists as bitter, miserable, lifeless fools, but I know that not everyone are the same, but it seems that there are more of these type than good understanding Atheist that understand that we Love God, even if they don't believe!

      June 1, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      @R-IN XRIST

      DO YOU BELIEVE AND PRACTICE THIS

      BIBLE SLAVERY LAWS ARE: KJV Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21 BEATING SLAVE AS $MONEY ,Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:26-27,Emancipation of Slaves: Slaves in ancient Israel were automatically emancipated after 6 years of slavery, but only if they were Jewish. However, if the slave owner "gave" the slave a wife, the owner could keep the wife and any children as his property.

      Passages in Exodus state that female slaves who were sold into slavery by their fathers would be slaves forever. A corresponding passage in Exodus contradicts this; it required female slaves to be given their freedom after 6 years.
      Exodus 21:1-4, Deuteronomy 15:12-18, Exodus 21:7, Leviticus 25:44-46:,Leviticus 25:48-53, Exodus 21:8,Leviticus 19:20-22

      June 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      SHAIARRA – I am no longer under the old law, but under the Grace of God. The old testament gives so much guidance as to why we shouldn't live and do according to the verses you gave. Only the opened spiritual eyes can have the wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

      BTW – Your misery shows so much by how disrespectful you are by not referring your comment to correctly, it is "righteous-in-Christ". Learn to grow up and be a true human being and stop being so damn ignorant....it makes you look really bad and stupid!!!

      June 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • martha

      Righteous, I didn't hear observer blame all Christians for anything. He just pointed out that you guys have your loonies who do bad things in the name of Christianity. There certainly are atheist loonies too, but atheists are not a group with a set of beliefs. The only similarity is not having a belief in god. Many atheists are critical or skeptical thinkers and those atheists may share a philosophy of looking for answers through science and reason. But there is no "atheist" philosophy or belief.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  7. ak

    I can't wait until we start banning other minorities from the army....what now the colored folks??? And people ask whats worng with tha world today...hmm I wonder..

    June 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • ak

      I just should mention..I made some spelling mistakes..sorry the and wrong...hehehe

      June 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  8. AthensGuy

    You know what they say about hom ophobics, right? Two words clo, set

    June 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  9. David

    When you look at Tony Perkins and listen to his voice what do you see? A CLOSET CASE! Good act Tony but not good enough. He'll eventually be exposed and I'll have a good laugh.

    June 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  10. Marc Whitaker

    "The Chaplin is the military's mental health professional as well."

    That's a frightening thought.

    June 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
    • jeff

      God does not exist, at least gay's aren't imaginary...

      June 1, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  11. Dennis Fried

    I don't think any country should let anyone into its military BUT gays. There'd never be another friggin' war.

    June 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  12. TVS

    I completely agree. I'm a Christian, and any one who understands the Bible properly can clearly see that it says slavery is alright – Truman's desegregation of the military undermines my religious liberty, and now it's gonna happen with the gays.

    June 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  13. Smokey

    It's sad that CNN would validate such an absurd argument. I understand that it might be difficult to find a reasonable argument that gays should not be allowed to serve openly. However, that does not excuse including the "you're discriminating against me by not letting me discriminate against others" argument in what is supposed to be a respected publication. If CNN can't find a reasonable argument on the other side of an issue, perhaps it should just say as much and let it go.

    June 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  14. Fairy Boy

    I'm assuming it would be OK with you folks if I had intercourse from a stump with my cow on the parade grounds as a form of revile

    June 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      only if you make a movie!

      June 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  15. Ashley

    Really, people?? Religion is the problem? You people are insane. What has happened to mankind? Now we're worried about offending people and that type of thing. So we have to worry about offending people, and if we offend others by not agreeing with what they say they were "born" with, then they will offend us by putting down what we believe?? Very hypocritical. This generation has done an excellent job of turning our formerly good world into a place that I am not proud to call my home. In Canada, you're considered an extremist if you offend someone. Makes so much sense, doesn't it? And now it appears that we are headed in that very direction. Thanks, Obama and the rest of the idiots who are in office. We can feel the love. Really.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Observer

      Funny how "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is just something to PREACH but not PRACTICE. And you think Obama is an idiot?

      June 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'This generation has done an excellent job of turning our formerly good world into a place that I am not proud to call my home'
      Im sorry but 'formerly good world'? which world have you been living on then because there has never been a time in the entire history of mankind when this has been a 'good world'. Unless you can provide examples.

      June 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • Jake

      Ashley- I don't know where to start with you, so I'll try to hit your main points (and I am using the word "point" loosely).

      – Yes, religion is the problem. If you can't see that, you are brainwashed.

      – When what you "believe" is hateful and bigoted, people will react to it. And just because you hold your hateful and bigoted views based on a gigantic fairytale that you find oh so important (for reasons best understood to you and your ilk), doesn't mean it is OK or render it immune from criticism.

      – There is nothing hypocritical about standing up against hatred and bigotry. By your definition of hypocracy, nobody would be able to make a moral judgment about anything. The point is that being gay is of no moral consequece whatsoever, while being hateful of a group of people for no reason other than religion-fueld bigotry is manifestly immoral.

      – I guarantee Obama is much smarter than you. And the people around him. And the people who mow the White House lawn. And their pets. Etc.

      – If you are not comfortable in this world, and no longer proud to be here, then by all means leave. As quickly as you can. Thanks.

      June 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • jim

      observer..obama is an idiot..and a muslim socialist, godless, amoral dictator in waiting.

      June 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • jim

      hey jake beat my obama

      June 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      @ASHLEY AND CIDER RAPIDS YOUR MORAL WORLD FROM YOUR MORAL BOOK

      BIBLE SLAVERY LAWS ARE: KJV Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21 BEATING SLAVE AS $MONEY ,Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:26-27,Emancipation of Slaves: Slaves in ancient Israel were automatically emancipated after 6 years of slavery, but only if they were Jewish. However, if the slave owner "gave" the slave a wife, the owner could keep the wife and any children as his property.

      Passages in Exodus state that female slaves who were sold into slavery by their fathers would be slaves forever. A corresponding passage in Exodus contradicts this; it required female slaves to be given their freedom after 6 years.
      Exodus 21:1-4, Deuteronomy 15:12-18, Exodus 21:7, Leviticus 25:44-46:,Leviticus 25:48-53, Exodus 21:8,Leviticus 19:20-22

      June 1, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • Gabe

      Obama is to blame ? For what you see as religious intolerance...really? I think you'll find that you're side is actually to blame for the way people react to you. Because hate to tell none of you have the right to exclude others because you don't like them. Youre agenda is very obvious....And just like you're side to blame someone who has nothing to do with what you or I might personally believe, it's what you guys do, never accept responsibility for your own bigotry...you can tell me I am going to hell all you like for what I believe to be true as I don't believe in hell or believe the world is going to end because gay people serve in the military which they always have done, all those uniforms how could they resist...and as I don't believe in hell I am amused you're side uses this as a tactic

      There are 367 references in the Bible to the evil of charging interest when you loan money and how this is an offense before God, now I expect to see you down the local Wells Fargo with a protest sign...yes amazing I actually have read the Bible from cover to cover unlike so many people on your side who only read the bits that backup your own prejudice...

      June 2, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  16. Scout Johnson

    First, I'm not a Christian. Second, yeah I'm gay. Now, while I don't exactly follow the Christian faith, I am somewhat educated and have read the Bible. This cafeteria Christianity, parading under the guise of "Family Research" is garbage. For everything they quote and the Bibles that they thump, what do they say when confronted with Matthew 25: 35-40? That gays and lesbians aren't really 'people' so they don't apply? Right.

    Also, thanks CNN, really, for giving ignorant, slanted, morons like this a platform and legitimizing them by parroting their rhetoric with your global stage.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

      35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

      37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

      40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

      You are so right, as a Christian, but not religious, I agree that we have to look at the fact that the Lord wants us to do what Matthew 25:35-40. But I do have to say that there are so many religions and Christianity that have done these things for others, including gays and lesbians.

      June 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Observer

      righteous-in-Christ,

      You left out the Golden Rule and all the commands not to judge others.

      Same old story. Just pick whatever agrees with your own PREJUDICES and ignor the rest.

      June 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Atheists will ignore and dismiss rational and logical arguments for the existence of God without presenting an alternative point, they simply decree that God does not exist and so God does not exist and so the matter is done, very smug and very arrogant for them. If they were confident in their claim that God does not exist then where is their evidence? They claim those that believe in God have no evidence but they produce no counter position for their refusal of the claims. Making a statement that something is stupid and makes no sense is not a counter position it is criticism without substance or argument to back it up. Again, there contradictory actions speak louder than their words.

      Atheists say they do not believe in eternity and so they spend their limited life on arguing that God does not exist. If they believe this – why would they do this? For atheists it appears very clear that life – especially their own – is even more precious to them especially because time is not on their side. It is contradictory for them to spend any time or thought on a subject they believe to be ridiculous.

      Atheists say they are living wisely but they continue to be obsessively concerned about what those who do believe in God think and they spend a lot of time commenting on it. Because atheists do not believe in God and think that those that do are not as intelligent as they are – then why do atheists spend so much time and emotion on the subject – why would they care?

      June 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
    • SHAIARRA

      @R-N-XRIST

      HOW ABOUT I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU MADE ME SLAVE , DUDE UP DATE GOD PUTS ESTROGEN IN THE FOOD AND WATER SOURCES IN NATURE, IF ITS SIN AND UNNATURAL THEN "YHVH DID AN UNJUST THING CALLED ENTRAPMENT BY PUTTING ESTROGEN IN SOURCES FOR CONSUMTION, THIS SHOWS THAT LIFESTYLE IS NOT THE PERSON CHOICE, SIN INVOLVES A CHOICE GOOGLE "ESTROGEN IN FOOD/WATER/PLASTICS etc

      BIBLE SLAVERY LAWS ARE: KJV Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21 BEATING SLAVE AS $MONEY ,Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:26-27,Emancipation of Slaves: Slaves in ancient Israel were automatically emancipated after 6 years of slavery, but only if they were Jewish. However, if the slave owner "gave" the slave a wife, the owner could keep the wife and any children as his property.

      Passages in Exodus state that female slaves who were sold into slavery by their fathers would be slaves forever. A corresponding passage in Exodus contradicts this; it required female slaves to be given their freedom after 6 years.
      Exodus 21:1-4, Deuteronomy 15:12-18, Exodus 21:7, Leviticus 25:44-46:,Leviticus 25:48-53, Exodus 21:8,Leviticus 19:20-22

      June 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  17. David

    Why aren't comments about religion put in the business section, where they belong?

    June 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      Faved!! I'm with you! Either that or social parasites

      June 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  18. CJ

    Tony Perkins, CNN really?!? Of all people in all the world, TONY f'in PERKINS! This man's head is stuck in the last century and his views are maybe one step below that of Falwell or Phelps. Want to talk out of touch? This man is adamant to make us think being gay is a choice. Hey Perkins? Did you choose to be straight? I know I know. The question is as cliche as your mind set.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  19. Stephen

    Well, pehaps if you no longer believed in a mythical-sky fairy, this wouldn't be an issue.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  20. rlr

    Oh no, people won't be allowed to proclaim that they think certain people are subhuman anymore! You probably wouldn't be able to express your disapproval for interracial relationships, or opinions that some races are superior to others, either. In either case (gay or interracial relationships) we don't need your approval, but going around demonizing people is not acceptable. Or if it is, people should have the liberty to argue back, which would create a lovely environment. Why don't you just learn to accept people for who they are even if you don't agree with everything they do in their lives, instead of feeling the need to foam at the mouth everytime gays come anywhere near you.

    Why is it "religious liberty" to exclude certain groups of people? This is just religious liberty's apparent right to stomp on everyone else. According to this guy, religious liberty is more important than civil rights.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:28 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.