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. Shawn

    Neat that he references the "mountains of evidence" that prove gays pose risk to health and society, then just breezes on by like that's not a statement that's in need of some serious fact-checking. I guess when your outlook on life and morality is based on the secrets that your imaginary friend Jesus is whispering in your ear, things like "facts" aren't so important anymore.

    June 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Observer

    Why is the Bible considered to be fiction by many people?

    A 600-year-old man buiiding a ship big enough to house from 2 to 7 of every land animal and a years supply of food.
    Talking donkeys and snakes.
    Stopping the earth's rotation instantly with zero harm done.
    LOTS of errors, contradictions, illogic, and just plain nonsense.

    June 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Anna

    Continuing (sorry apparently the original was too long–too many spaces?)

    Now do you see? So please explain to me how the bible is fiction and please don't tell me "the scientists said so" or something dumb like that. I honestly want to know.

    June 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Enlightened

      The Bible is true to -you- because you have chosen to believe it. There is nothing wrong with that. Gay people simply believe that the way they live is their truth, why must they conform to -your- beliefs? They don't force you to conform to theirs (i.e. that you must be gay), they only want to be treated fairly.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • McCluck

      Im not going to say if the bible is true of false. Only that inless there is direct evidence that it is true, it should be treated as false.

      If you do not agree that the burden of proof is on you, then you are mistaken. I will believe that the word of god is different than the word of the flying spaghetti monster as soon as there is reason to do so (evidence).

      Can we please not let over-popular fairytale nonsense influence policy?

      June 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Erik

      Anna you need a reality check.

      What you believe in has no proof other than that you believe its real. You yourself said most of the stories in the bible are not factual or possible, so why would you believe in it?

      And how do you compare Martin Luther King to Jesus. We have video footage of Dr. King advancing civil rights, where is your video of Jesus? Oh wait, you don't have any proof, its just faith. Your arguements are a joke.

      June 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  4. Anna


    When people write biographies, how do we know what they written is true that Martin Luther King did all the things he did? Because 1 person written it? Because it was so great that it just had to be true? Remember for one person to write a biography of another, they have to get stories from multiple people, and those mulitple people could mistaken things or even add/remove things. It's like rumors. You have a group of 5 people sitting in a ring. One whispers something in another's ear. And that person repeats what was told to said person to another and another. Soon you'll get 2 completely different stories but with the same subject. To make an example:

    June 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  5. Observer

    – Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of
    food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy”

    Sure sounds like they were blamed by God for not being like liberals.

    June 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  6. McCluck

    That is one of the funniest things i have ever heard. This guy is anti-gay because he has been told that gay people are bad from a young age. This is him reassuring himself that he doesnt like dong in his Bhole. Makes sense considering how crazy this guy sounds

    June 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  7. Observer

    Everyone just picks and chooses from the Bible whatever agrees with their own prejudices. That's why there are so many Christians who trash gays (who Jesus NEVER mentioned) and IGNOR the sin of divorce which Jesus condemned. Just pure hypocrisy.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • Anna

      You're right in one aspect. People do pick and chose things from the bible. I, however, use it as a guide in hopes that I don't make the same mistakes. But you're wrong in another aspect. The bible does mention gays. Please read what happened to Soddom and Gamorah. Though, that's just one example. There are many others. They just don't say it point blank. Parables are there to simplify things that we don't understand. It's NOT meant to be taken literally.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Eric


      The bible is fiction. The burden of proof lies with you to prove otherwise. I will take your position more seriously if you will admit that you cannot prove the bible is true and that your position on gays is based on you own personal bigotry and hatred. The bible is just a book. It cannot be biggoted. If you are a bigot because of the bible, you are just a bigot.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Enlightened

      Actually, Observer only said that Jesus himself never mentioned gays. He didn't, only some old testament references and some from Paul 'the embellisher'.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Anna


      Please explain to me how the bible is fiction. Because it was written by multiple people? Because it has things like Jonah surviving in a giant fish? Is that why it's fiction?

      The bible has PARABLES (aka stories). Each story has a lesson in it. Using my previous example, Jonah and the Giant Fish. Can somebody really survive in a huge fish? Of course not. The moral was, if you don't do what you're supposed to do, there will be consequences. Can somebody really part a sea? Maybe. And the reason why I said maybe, we can lift cars off of people when our adrenaline is running at extreme levels, so why not be able to part a sea?

      June 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Eric

      First, If the bible is "stories", as you put it, by definition they are fiction.
      Second, Please address my question. Do you hate gays because the bible tells you to? Or, do you just hate gays and use the bible as your justification?
      Third, Virgin birth? Talking Snake? Human sacrifice? Canibalism? Slavery? Genocide? What truths do you take from those PARABLES?

      June 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  8. Anna

    Erik: You're right. But that's the thing. Being gay isn't about rights. It's about telling people "I'm right. You're wrong. I want to do what I want to do and you can't stop me". Not in so many words, but the general idea. Everybody calls me a bible-thumper because I believe in the bible and I take it as a POSSIBLITY it's true and most of those who call me that never even picked the bible up. I have presented facts. People are just blind in their anger (both sides) to see them. As I said, you hear but do not listen. You look but do not see.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Erik

      Thanks for saying I'm right. But then you continue to defend your defenseless position. How is being gay about telling people "I'm right and you are wrong"? I have family members and friends who are gay and they never try and tell me to be gay like them because its the right thing to do. The only people who try and promote their ideas constantly are religious people. They try to brainwash as many people as possible because god told them to. They try and do it either early in childhood so that the kids only believe in religion, or they do it to uneducated people like in Africa and Asia. In America and Europe, people are realizing the failings of religion and declining to join them.

      I have read the Bible, and I used to be a believer, but I discovered that it is incredibly contradictory and ridiculous in many parts. I mean do you actually believe that the Red Sea parted, or Noah built an ark, or that a virgin had a baby?

      June 2, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Anna

      Erik: Again, you hear but do not listen. You look but do not see.

      I refuse to continue a pointless arguement despite who is right and who is wrong. Don't promote being gay is "normal" when it's not is all that I ask. For the other religious people, that's them to make that choice.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Enlightened

      Anna, you seem confused. The fundamental message from gay people I hear is 'leave us alone and let us be who we are. We aren't hurting anyone'. That is, in fact, a plea for liberty, which is what 'rights' are intended to protect.

      June 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Anna

      Enlightened: That's what they SAY. But is that how they go about it? No.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  9. Erik

    Anna, you need to present some actual facts. All you talk about is that non-religious people hate on you for being against gay people. Well that is probably because being gay (or choosing who and what you want to be) is a right for any human. What if it was turned around and all the straight people were told they were wrong for loving women. You would think that was a clear violation of your rights. Being pro-gay is not being a bigot, because all we are saying is that they should have the same rights as everyone else. Tell me how that is bigotry?

    June 2, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  10. Anna

    Observer: Are you really that blind? You're attacking me because you're jealous that I know more than you do? From your responses, that's the idea I'm getting. You don't pay attention to what has been said but just blindly attack whatever has been said because you don't agree with it. Please read things as a whole and completely process it before making such an attack.

    I'm looking at things at ALL angles. I'm not saying I'm right and everybody's wrong. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm wrong. All I ask is please give me solid proof or something that actually makes sense in a civilized manner as I have done.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  11. C J Warren

    The bible is meant to be a guide, not an end all. It was written by many ancient people with their uneducated interpretation of events. It has since been rewritten and edited many more times by men with their own beliefs in mind. To speak nothing of all the translation errors (the parting of the Red Sea which should have been Reed Sea for one). It's mighty shaky ground to be taking so literally without adapting it to progress and education. Many a person has been lead astray and caused great harm by holding on and enforcing one small part of the bible – Salem Witch Hunts – the Crusades – KKK – World War II's Hitler. So lets take another look at the good book. Jesus said "Then if any man shall say to you Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the very elect." Matt. 24:23-24 John says "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1st John 4:1
    So Tony, how would you pass this test?
    "Give to everyone that asketh thee; and from him that taketh away thy goods ask not again." Luke 6:30. You with your nice suit, I'm assuming you probably drive a nice car and live in a nice house and have a nice salary. When was the last time you seriously sacrificed for another when asked?

    "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matt. 5:42

    By your preaching, you are clearly not giving to enough to the people around you or you would not be so short sighted and prejudices. Instead, you are trying to take away from the people the right to work, marry, and have the same happiness you enjoy.

    Luke 6:35 sums it all up... "But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be Sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil."

    By this test you are a false prophet. If you want to become a true prophet, spend your time on helping the people out of work find jobs, those struggling to care for their family a way to care for them and still work, those that are homeless find a permanent home. In this you would be doing God's work

    June 2, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Anna

      That's what I've been trying to tell people. The bible is a GUIDE. A reference. A map. Whatever. But everybody dismisses it as fairy-tales yet never actually took 15 minutes to read it.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  12. Megan

    Unfortunately it seems you may have gotten some teachers that didn't tread the line as they are supposed to. However, I think you're falling into the same trap that you're accusing scientists of, creating a false dichotomy. Not all reject the possibility of god. While I'm only a student at this point (with the purpose of becoming a scientist), I don't understand where so many people seem to think that evolution conflicts with religion, either. To me, it seems to fit quite nicely with the idea of a god. While I don't believe in one, it seems to me that a god would be more subtle than to randomly whip out new species, instead directing through the process of evolution.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Megan

      Whoopsies. Meant as a reply to Anna above, my bad.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Anna

      Megan: I wish you luck on become a scientist, perhaps you'll become a true scientist. It's the whole "animals are gay". How do we know? Just because they're in a mating position with the same gender (not neccessarily in mating season), doesn't make them gay. That's what we INTERPRET it and last I checked things can be misinterpreted. I have NEVER seen a wild male lion fighting another wild male lion for another wild male lion ESPECIALLY during mating season. In an animal's mind is one thing: SURVIVIAL. Survivial = produce as many offspring as possible. If that wasn't the case, wouldn't they have died out a LONG time ago? Scientists seem to fail to remember that.

      But you're right in one aspect. My mom has told us many times, God works in mysterious ways. I've had too many (good) things happen to me and my family that I can't just write it off as mere luck or coincedences to NOT believe there is no God.

      People also needs to remember everything has it's opposite. God is like day as Satan is like night. God doesn't promote disease and famine. He gives us the opprotunity to do good and hopes that we make the right choice (aka free will). God is like a parent to a child.

      Sorry to get a bit off topic but I don't see the world as gray. I see it as black and white. It is or it isn't. There is no "maybe".

      June 2, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Sorry to get a bit off topic but I don't see the world as gray. I see it as black and white. It is or it isn't. There is no "maybe".'
      Ah you see, theres one of your problems. You deal in absolutes and the world in general doesn't.

      June 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Armitage

    What exactly are the " legitimate privacy and health concerns " you speak about ? Good luck convincing any reasonable mind of these dangerous risks, since they seem to only exist in your own prejudiced mind. The only thing that is destructive about the proposed change in law and policy, is that it is destructive to bigotry and ignorance. I'm glad to see that good men and women are finally acting to end this injustice. Also, that you and the rest of the anti-gay bigots will fail, and become another shameful footnote in US history.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • Anna

      This goes back to what I said long before. There are religious-nuts and anti-religious-nuts. But the only "nuts" are religious-nuts. Anti-relgious-nuts can't be nuts too?

      In other words, you hate me because I hate you and I hate you because you hate me. Kind of redundant don't you think?

      So just because we are anti-gay, that makes us bigots. But you can't be a bigot just because you're pro-gay? Something doesn't fit quite right in that view. In other words (as I tend to have to simplify-simplify things for the majority of people on this forum-–its a very slow day at work for me), you're doing the same thing you are accusing us of doing. Basically, you're hating the hater thus making you a hater yourself.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'So just because we are anti-gay, that makes us bigots. But you can't be a bigot just because you're pro-gay? Something doesn't fit quite right in that view. In other words .... you're doing the same thing you are accusing us of doing. Basically, you're hating the hater thus making you a hater yourself'
      Sorry but that is a nonsense argument. You are 'anti-gay' simply because they are gay, your belief system says I must disagree with this person and stand against them because of who they are. The people you are also labelling as haters do not hate you simply because you are christian; if that was so then you might have a case. To stand against intolerance does not make you intolerant.

      June 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  14. Anna

    Here's something to think about, for those who believe God is imaginary. Children have imaginary friends. I know you did at one point. But who's to say that children are innocent enough to actually SEE God? And once we grow up, we turn away from God due to are busy lives, and thus lose our "imaginary friend". He's still there. We just can't see him anymore.

    We hear but do not listen. We look but can not see. I don't mean all that literally as that's the problem with everybody. Soon you can't say "hi" (or any form of greetings) without fear of getting shot.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • Observer

      When children GROW UP, they honestly and objectively look back on their childhood and realize that they never actually saw their immaginary friends. DID you?

      June 2, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Anna

      Observer: If you're an obverver, then you see absolutely nothing. Stop being stupid. What I mean was that children still have their INNOCENCE. *rolls eyes* When children grow up, they lose that innocence and when they look back, they still don't have that innocence so they don't know whether they actually saw anything.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Observer

      Please cut out all the juvenile un-Christian insults and try to act like a grown-up. Still no anwer from anyone who objectively looked back on their childhood and still claim they actually saw invisible friends.

      June 2, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • Observer

      "I'm not saying I'm right and everybody's wrong."

      "Apparently I'm the only person that thinks anymore"

      June 2, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Anna

      Observer: Now who's being juvenile. I didn't insult you. I asked you to stop being so dumb. Just because you act dumb doesn't make you so. Though it's kind of hard to make people believe that you're not dumb if you act dumb.

      June 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  15. klb

    I feel like Tony's argument requires a pretty huge leap in logic.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    You would deny a large group of people, their basic human rights.......just because they don't fit with your concept of religion.

    That amounts to your religion, ostracizing and mistreating others, just because they are different from you. That is precisely what is wrong with religion. Your religion is no better than terrorism....because they reasons behind them, are the same.

    June 2, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Anna

      Being gay isn't a "basic human rights". Please relearn the diffention. Besides, before your criticize a relgion, UNDERSTAND that religion. Everybody twists things around. I find it amusing that people will believe the biography of Abe Lincolon because ONE person wrote it without thinking at they got their information for the biography. Same with the bible. Just because it was written by mulitple people automatically makes it untrue? Apparently I'm the only person that thinks anymore. So it seems. Of course that is my own personal opinion, and most will disagree.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Observer

      Apparently your vanity about being "the only person that thinks anymore" fails to recognize that your "thinking" ignors such basic concepts as "all men are created equal", the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the Golden Rule. Perhaps it would be better to work on an education rather than an inflated ego.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • Anna

      Nice attempt to make me look like a fool. But you've shown you don't look at every piece of the puzzle. It wasn't being literal anyway. Jeez that's what's wrong with people. Do I really have to simplify everything to where a 2 yr old can understand?

      June 2, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Anna

      Also. NOBODY, not me not you not your neighbor not your pet, is equal. You can't please everybody. Please learn that, then we can continue to chat.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  17. Anna

    I had somebody ask me this, who's to say that this "life" is even real? Because we can touch, taste, see? This goes along the lines of the Matrix, but not quite all the way. Who's to say that our lives aren't really a video game such as Sims and the bible is a map, cheat sheet, and/or code book? Who's to say that "God" really isn't a 9 yr old boy (or girl) playing Sims?

    Haven't you heard of a dream within a dream within a dream? I've actually experienced one such as that. Rather disturbing.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  18. Martin

    This is the worst argument that I've ever heard. "Ending discrimination won't let us discriminate anymore!" Oh the humanity! This argument could just as easily be applied to why there shouldn't be race mixing in the army. Or women in the army.

    "Anyone who points to the mountain of evidence to the contrary – or merely expresses the personal conviction that the white man is superior to the black man – runs the risk of receiving a negative performance evaluation for failing to support the military’s “equal opportunity policy” regarding “race.”"

    You are a bigot and a fool. No wonder religion is dying.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • Anthony

      Your argument is blind. You argue to stop discrimination against gays, but care not about discrimination against Christians. It's not possible to have a system that doesn't discriminate against one or the other.

      What's next? Should we not discriminate against child molesters? Where do we draw the line?

      June 2, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • Megan

      Anthony, I fail to see how this would discriminate against Christians. So their lifestyle doesn't agree with your beliefs, it has no effect on how you make your decisions or live your life. Put on your big kid pants and deal with it.

      June 2, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  19. Anna

    Oops. Sorry for the double-post. Baka CNN. Next time tell me it went through instead of giving me an error.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  20. Anna

    I'm confused. Everybody's like "God this" and "God that" (the good and the bad). What about S@tan? S@tan 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 S@tan isn't sitting right next to you.

    Just food for thought.

    June 2, 2010 at 9:41 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.