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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. Anna

    I'm confused. Everybody's like "God this" and "God that" (the good and the bad). What about Satan? Satan is mentioned several times in the bible, but nobody seems to recognize him. Didn't the bible mention that the first thing Satan was going to do was to take over the Church (regardless whether the bible is true or not)? It seems to me, that that is exactly what's happening now. Satan wants us to turn away from God, and as of right now, he's getting his wish.

    My mother had always told us that just because you go to church every sunday, doesn't mean Satan isn't sitting right next to you.

    Just food for thought.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  2. tcorb

    This guy looks hot, I wanna bang him.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  3. M. Smith

    The backward, vicious, totalitarian version of Christianity represented here is rapidly driving people away from Christianity in America. If I were a practicing Christian, in fact, I might say that these "Christians" were "in the service of Satan" for undermining the church!

    Matthew 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    James 3:17-18 - But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  4. McCluck

    Hate to tell you this Tony, but THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU. Your religion is fake or at least should be treated as fake with no evidence (disagree? prove it and ill happily agree with your beliefs). It doesn’t matter how many people in this world believe in a magical deity. WE SHOULD STILL ONLY FOCUS ON EVIDENCE BASED POLICY. "Faith" means forgoing logic. Just because you are a nutjob and belong to a large group of nutjobs doesn’t mean your nutjob ideas should influence how policy is made (sorry if your not a nutjob Christian and are a normal Christian). Otherwise we might as well be basing our policy on what the flying spaghetti monster says. Study Logic because at this point logic and religion are two mutually exclusive ideas. I cant believe there are people this ignorant. Lets not let magical fairytales dictate how we run our country.

    Definition of nutjob: anyone foregoing logic and reason. Especially any organization that would murder someone presenting evidence to the contrary and then change their stance later in history to agree with that same person they murdered.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended for us to forego their use."

    -Galileo

    "Religion is what the common man sees as true, the wise man sees as false, and the ruler sees as useful "

    -unknown to me

    June 2, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  5. Observer

    D, incense is called an abomination in a discussion of sacrificing animals and offerings at religious events. It has nothing to do with vanity in the reference.

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

    June 2, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  6. TIMOTHY IN CHRIST JESUS

    LET'S CUT TO THROUGH THE MUSTARD! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "GAY(MALE OR FEMALE)" CHRISTAIN. iF THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE; THEY ARE LIEERS AND KNOW NOT THE TRUTH., BUT ARE CHILDREN OF THEIR FATHER SATAN.

    JESUS SHALL REMOVE THE TARES FROM THE WHEAT DURING THE JUDGEMENT DAY; READ PSALM 1.

    June 2, 2010 at 8:27 am |
    • martha

      Well you sound scary with all hose capital letters and all.

      Someone had to say it. Christians like you and like Perkins believe unrepentant gays go to hell. If that isn't hating gays what it? Most Christians waffle around on this issue and don't like to say it out loud. I wonder how many Christians truly believe in their heart of hearts that gays and non-Christians go to hell. Including all those unbaptized babies.

      I

      June 2, 2010 at 8:46 am |
    • Observer

      There is no such thing as a divocred Christian (with a few exceptions) according to the Bible. Just more hypocrisy.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  7. Han

    Tony Perkins c.s. are on the wrong side of history. Their lot will be marginalized. ridiculed and spit out by society. These are the final spasms of the religious with their childish beliefs.
    On the internet the delusionals will have to face reason. It is a battle they cannot win, because all they have on their side is an imaginary friend and a fairy tale.

    June 2, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  8. V. Sheldon

    I seriously doubt if many of our military Chaplains agree with this bigot.

    June 2, 2010 at 8:12 am |
    • Anna

      I agree and disagree. We need to learn that life isn't fair. Somebody will ALWAYS get the short end of the stick.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  9. Jeffus

    Chaplins are not personal relationship counselors. They constantly remind us of that too. Family Readiness center offers stuff like that, Chaplins are for moral dilemmas and more importantly, religious guidance.

    June 2, 2010 at 7:19 am |
    • MikeH

      Actually, chaplains are SUPPOSED to be personal counselors. Their religious role is only when conducting a specific service. For example, as a Catholic, I should be able to receive guidance and assistance from any chaplain, and they should respond in respect to my personal religious views and not attempt to force their own upon me.

      Back in the day, it was expected that all chaplains should be able to provide a service for each faith represented (there's even a manual on how to do that), but in my personal experience, many chaplains today refuse to do so. Such a shame.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  10. John Sullivan

    More to the point, religious freedom does not allow civil restriction. Mind your own business and pray on that.

    June 2, 2010 at 6:21 am |
  11. Felix

    righteous-in-Christ wrote: "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."

    First of all, let me congatulate you to your personal revelation that you are righteous. It must be a great relief to be informed that God shares your opinions.
    In your post, you speak of a certain "truth" that you are proclaiming. Funny thing is, in all the millenia since man invented the first god, not one person has managed to actually support this assertion with any evidence. In long past millenia, man had not yet figured out why supporting truth claims with evidence is useful and reduces the harm done by false claims. Today we know this. Making such claims today is no longer an act that will be respected by a reasonable majority. In a discussion held to standards of polite discourse, it is rude to claim truth without any foundation other than a personal feeling and an antique book. The honest way to present your opinion would be to say exactly that: "this is my opinion because I believe this book to be true". Why you believe this is a question for a different discussion. Just don't assume authority, knowledge or expertise that you don't have.
    Oh, by the way, I think it's called "spiritual warfare" not "welfare". I hope you didn't switch out the word in favor of a more benign euphemism on purpose, because that would be a bit underhanded.
    While you're at it, provide some evidence for the existence of Satan and demons please. Otherwise you'd be coming across as just another confused storyteller, and you don't want that, right?

    June 2, 2010 at 5:08 am |
    • martha

      Righteous clearly knows nothing about science, repeating the oft heard statement of "why are their apes? "

      Righteous, maybe you want to take a basic science class that will explain evolution to you and you will learn about common ancestors. We didn't descend from the apes that are around now, silly pants.

      Quoting the bible is meaningless to an atheist because we think it is just a book filed with tribal myths and legends. Most every culture has similar myths and legends.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:38 am |
    • McCluck

      "Also, why do we still have Apes and why aren't they humans as well? Are they waiting for everyone on earth to die so they can become humans too? LOL....wow, the idiotic things that blind fools come up with!"

      Really? lol shows what you know. This is one of the most ignorant arguments ive seen. We have apes because the evolutionairy tree is branched.-Not linear. This means that the anscestor to us and to apes became more than one species as time went on (likely due to geographical separation and different "selective" forces. We, like apes are simply the top branches that exist on the top of the tree that if traces back will all end at the same trunk. The trunk being our common anscestor. U Silly

      June 2, 2010 at 8:39 am |
    • Anna

      The flaw with science is that it's not absolute, nor have they "proven" anything. All they do is come up with THEORIES. That's why I hate science (to a degree). They preach theories as facts. IE: Theory of Evolution. They didn't prove evolution but rather gave their own opinions of it. I mean sure there are things that are common sense. Like it takes electricity (a form of energy) to run a pc, the law of gravity, ect.

      But as far as proving that we come from apes (even in the branched sense) is not true. We don't know. That's what scientist are afraid of. Not knowing. They have a problem of not letting some things be as they are but try to pick it apart. Who cares the earth was created from the "Big Bang"? We're here. That is all that should matter. But to a scientist, that isn't enough when it should be.

      June 2, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Megan

      righteous, pick up a book. You and that website show a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. FYI, any site that proclaims evolution is "the devil's lie" will not only NOT convince atheists of anything, it will make them think you're an idiot.

      Anna, what you are calling a flaw with science is what I consider it's greatest benefit over religion. The fact that it is not absolute and allows for more theories to be created as more information is gained allows us to grow and adapt as we learn more. I'd also like to point out that there is a difference between the Theory of Evolution that I think you're thinking of (that we came from apes, all live arose through this, etc) and evolution that is taught as fact. Evolution also refers to a change in inherited traits in a population, something that is readily observable. Put black and white flies in a dark-toned forest and the next generation will have more dark individuals than the last. By definition, that would be evolution.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Anna

      Megan:

      Point taken. But no. That's that entirely what I meant. Don't preach theories as facts. Preach them as what they are, possiblity. Yes evolution exists, to a degree. What I'm getting at is that things have to come from somewhere ultimately. Just because we share the same traits as apes, that doesn't mean we come from them. That is what I was taught in school and in college. That we come from them. Literally. If sciencists wants to know everything (as that's their ultimate goal), then they should have hold the POSSIBLITY that God exists.

      I think of the world (as a whole) is a kingdom. A kingdom can not be a kingdom without a king. Thus "God" is our "king", so to speak. Everybody needs to stop, take a step back, and reevaluate the situation using both your knowledge of science, and knowledge of religion. Without religion there would be no science.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  12. Rev Jim Bob

    "Their ministry is to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith"
    Yeah – like "Thou shalt not kill".

    June 2, 2010 at 4:17 am |
  13. Darwin

    You were born that way, right and so shall you fade from the collective memory

    June 2, 2010 at 3:28 am |
  14. Darwin

    Natural selection will take care of all this. You are but one generation.

    June 2, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  15. Tim

    Finally our men in uniform wil be able to speak with lisps and not catch any flack for it ...a truly historical and great moment in US Military History... umm ha good luck with that lol....in modern day america we pick the strangest activities to be PROUD of...JUST DO YOUR JOB...and by that I mean your assigned tasks...we don't want to know about your other "jobs" -keep your crap to yourselves!!!!

    June 2, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  16. Richard

    @Harry

    "The last I heard it was a volunteer force. If you don't like the standards, don't volunteer.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm "

    Amen mate. The US Military is an ALL VOLUNTEER force. The rules apply to ALL who CHOOSE to join. If you don't like the rules that are in place, you don't get to change them to suit your needs. Service is not mandatory (though it should be if you ask me.) Also on the subject of forcing things on other people, you CANNOT force your lifestyle CHOICES on me, I have the right to not have to hear about Tim and Tom messing around in their barracks room just as much as you have the right to not hear about me and my wife messing around in our home. I don't care if you are gay, I really don't. I'm Catholic so I have my opinions based on my religion but you will never hear me going to a gay man or woman and telling them they are going to hell for their lifestyle choices, but I have the RIGHT to not hear about it. If you don't like that, go to any Muslim country, you'll see what true discrimination is. I for one WILL NOT have your choices or anyone elses forcefed down my throat or my childs throught in the name of "tolerance." /end rant

    June 2, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • Steve88

      why can't gays and gals just serve their country like everyone else? why make judgements against them because of unprovable/unknowable supernatural dogma especially, when it is known that mankind creates religions. It is not reasonable to say;
      "I believe this idea so I and my ideas/beliefs areunquestionable, immune to criticism and evidence, AND most importantly need to be respected.""

      June 2, 2010 at 3:18 am |
    • Gadflie

      Actually, no, you don't have a "right" not to hear about something. Sorry to burst your little bubble of ignorance there.

      June 2, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  17. Bill Michtom

    Mr. Perkins has his organization's site to spew his bigoted ignorance. Why does CNN give him a space on its alleged news site?

    June 2, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  18. Mick

    Just a question to all those who agree with this opinion? Would it be appropriate for a pastor to tell a soldier with an unruly son who says "screw you Dad" to kill his son?

    Here it is folks
    "He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." - Exodus 21:17

    So is it ok for pastors to tell mums and dads to off their bratty kids? C'mon, if you're for allowing people the freedom to teach the entire bible then you must be for it. If on the other hand you think that reasonable limits should be placed on promoting hatred, whether backed by scripture or not then thank you for using your heads.

    June 2, 2010 at 1:39 am |
    • sheetiron

      Heres some questions.

      Is the son and father Jewish? Probably not.

      Is this Israel? No.

      Has the Messiah come? Yes

      Are the old Leviticus laws still in their original state? No. They have been brought into fulfillment.

      Point is. Learn something about what your discussing before you go make a fool of yourself.

      June 2, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  19. Bill Michtom

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    June 2, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  20. V

    If religion hadn't existed in the first place, think of all the progress we could have made by now. None of this tug of war between science and religion and everything that comes in between. No hate because of a book that should have been considered for what it really is, a very creative story.

    June 2, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • D

      wow, simple simple minded fool. you're hatred of peoplen who think differently blinds you. hatred would ensue without religion. just look at all the atheists that don't get along. and maybe you've forgottent that this "story" gave people the technique for preserves through pickling. maybe you have forgotten that this "story" is based on factual people and historical event proven by your beloved science.

      Don't hate. (that goes for both sides.)

      June 2, 2010 at 1:27 am |
    • Steve88

      @ V, i think this is more accurate;

      If bad ideas hadn't existed in the first place, think of all the progress we could have made by now. None of this tug of war between science and religion and everything that comes in between. No hate because of a book, a lie, fear-based propaganda, dogma, or other media that spreads an idea or other such memes as unquestionable, that should have been considered for what it really is, a very creative story or idea.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:40 am |
    • Steve88

      *not to say all of religion is all bad, but i have also noticed that even certain atheists throughout history don't seem to be immune to similar memes/ideas or themselves and their ideas become "all powerful", unquestionable, or an idol of worship.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:44 am |
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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.