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. Bill

    With all due respect to Mr. Perkins and his beliefs, religious faith is not a valid excuse for intolerance and discrimination in this country, even though people like Mr. Perkins continue to try and use it as a pathetic excuse for their ignorance.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • bucpimpin

      And the pussification of america continues.. Thanks to the Majority of the posters on here! I want trained killers in my military.. Not people that may become sympathetic to the enemy..

      June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Krista

      @bucpimpin That's one of the stupidest things someone's said yet... but please, keep it up... I love it when bigots make themselves look so foul that it drives people away from what they believe since they don't want to have guilt by association.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  2. Vincente

    Separation of Church and State. Let the gay's fight, who cares. You want to be religious, be my guest. You want the false sense of security, fine. Just keep your religion out of the way when it comes to make any decisions that matter in this country. It's ridiculous, it really is.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  3. Petra

    My son is in the Marine Corpse and he tells me that it would not be a good idea to have gay people in the corpse. I personally think that the men and women in the military should have a right to vote for or against it. I think that people that are not in the military should not have a right to make a decision on that.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Lorne

      Corpse is a dead body. Its Marine Corps....

      June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jake

      Petra – Does it make you sad that you raised a bigot? And your whole voting idea, where only people in the military count, is ridiculous. Would you suggest the same approach to race? geneder? I know, lets have a vote about whether or not members of the military are comfortable serving with right-wing religious nutjobs. And, if they are, boot 'em out.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Steve

      There are gay people in the Marine Corps. Always have been. Why keep it a secret?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Krista

      There are already gay people in the Corps they just have to hide who they are out of fear now. And no, we do not allow individual groups to determine federal policy regarding discrimination. In any case, I doubt you have a son who's a Marine anyway... you would know how to spell it.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |


      June 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  4. bucpimpin

    Perkins is correct and no matter how much GLBT group wants to be seen as mainstreem, that behavior will never be socially acceptable.. That will NEVER happen. It's the good ole boys defending this country that has provide the freedoms such as this message boards.. Don't care how much people try to suppress that fact.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Lorne

      I served on a tank crew with two hard core Christians and a Mormon. After that, I serve on an all gay tank crew any day of the week.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • Krista

      Actually it will happen and has happened in many areas of this country and especially among the youth. Every generation takes another step towards supporting true liberty in this country. Plenty of people thought blacks would never be accepted as equal citizens. They were wrong too. You're on the wrong side of history.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • Paul

      That's what they said about interracial marriage and the right of women to vote, too. Hurry up and die off, dinosaur.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  5. TrevorG

    Its a fairly common technique for advocates of a particular social belief system to apply religious and /or supernatural teachings to an argument when they are unable to prove the validity of their points using practical, empirical evidence. It is very difficult to disprove an argument that is based in supernatural, rather than practical, principles and teachings.

    I would also argue that Mr. Perkins has employed significant inductive logic – fashioning a viewpoint, then finding evidence to support it – rather than identifying a question and examining the evidence.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Ann

    Shame on CNN for putting this tripe up at all, let alone as a leading article.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  7. Lorne

    Since when did the Bible become an Army Field Manual?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • bucpimpin

      When did it not?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  8. Gail White

    One big problem everyone seems to have is thinking of the Bible as a perfect book handed to us by God, not
    a human book written in response to God, therefore not requiring an unchanging obedience through the ages.
    Please, people, read Marcus Borg's book "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time."

    June 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      Let's not forget that the Bible was compiled by the Church of Rome (now the Roman Catholic Church) as a means of using the Christian religion as a tool to promoting the Empire, and continues to be rewritten and changed by the Church to support their own political agendas over the centuries.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  9. nfl1

    Ending DADT will not prevent your brethren from serving in the military, it would be their choice not to serve. All the arguments you make against this are the same arguments FOR the rights of these other Americans to serve! They do enlist to serve, and the military is forced to spend millions to kick them out – if all are allowed to serve, who choose to serve, then it's a win-win situation. Those who do not want to serve alongside all other brave and patriotic Americans can withdraw themselves and all who are already trained and in the military + many more who chose not to lie by enlisting will join. This country needs all its citizens in order to move forward.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

      BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT ROM16:16, 1Cor 16:20, 2Cor13:12, 1Thes5:26 1Pet5:14 men are told to KISS Each other

      June 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  10. sam

    jesus love all people gay or not gay jesus is love and love of all people

    June 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Demps

    Poor Tony... He's so oppressed because he is not allowed to force everyone to believe and accept his religious views... That must be really tough having such upstanding morals and values... I wonder if he consulted his good buddy, eh, ex good buddy Ted Haggard on this topic??? What a crock, and I love how he always calls it "a destructive left-wing social dogma" Like liberals are trying to force him to and his KKKlan to be gay... If he weren't so terrifying, he'd be hilarious!

    June 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  12. Jessica

    A lot of the "facts" you point are not in the majority of scientific opinion or really even close for that matter. You also fail to realize that your "religious freedom" ends where mine begins. Because a religious person doesn't like who or what someone is doesn't give them the right to treat the person like crap. That is not acceptable at all. If everyone respects everyone else there will be no problem. When a religious person wants to yell, scream or otherwise lash out at someone it is an assault pure and simple. You want the right to do that but guess what "snookims" you don't have that right. What makes you think that you have a right to bash other people and then claim "victim" when you can't? Your argument is a crock!

    June 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  13. Greling Jackson

    The fact that CNN even gives perks the time of day to comment as an anti-gay "expert" is just utterly amazing. Shall we give interview time for the KKK to comment on their "research" on blacks and whether or not they should be filling the office of POTUS? FRC is pretty much the equivalent for gays.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  14. ROHIO

    How would the U.S. Army Forces function if it had to go by every denominations thoughts today. We still would have a segregated Armed Forces based on religion too. As a retired military person, I served with gay/lesbians and they accomplished the mission. Some are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall too. Lets move on, "one Nation, under God...."

    June 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  15. Steve J

    It's too bad CNN gives such hatemongers a place in their organization...even if just by association.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Dusty

      It's not so bad really. Now he gets to see what the general public really thinks of him.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Steve J

      Except that he's so full of his own BS that anyone who disagrees with him must be someone to be pitied by him. Personally, I think he just likes the attention...bad or good...and here we are giving it to him.

      June 2, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  16. Christopher

    Since when does supporting a civil right undermine anyone's civil liberties? It's not anyone's "liberty" to deny others' rights, religious or not. Religion isn't where the buck stops, and it shouldn't be used as justification for otherwise unjustifiable conditions.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  17. Ramon F. Herrera

    Hi Tyler,

    I beg you to tell me this, as I have been trying for a long time.

    How in the world did you managed to insert a clickable URL in this area?

    Anyone who knows the trick??

    June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  18. Libertyman13

    Hilarious. While I of course support religious (and all other types) of liberty, 1) Mr. Perkins has expressed nothing but contempt for liberty and 2) removing discriminatory government policies can only increase liberty. Would a Roman Catholic chaplain be permitted to tell evangelicals that they are insane for opposing evolution? Or would an evangelical chaplain be able to tell a mainline Protestant soldier that he was going to hell for not hating gays?

    Maybe all these rich preachers ought to be more worried about their going to hell for not giving up their money (it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven), according to the about 90% of the New Testament that dealt with that, and worry less about what the Old Testament ambiguously says right next to the part about having to give up a goat if you kill someone else's slave.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  19. bcguitar33

    I guess iIt would be a problem for those whose religions permit killing but not working alongside people who are different. Which religions, out of curiosity, fit into that group?

    June 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  20. David S

    Let's play a game of keep religion out of everything. Rules are simple, thump your bible at your house, and don't talk to others about it.

    June 1, 2010 at 2:55 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.