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. Mohammed

    Dear Religious Right. Go f–k a goat. Thank you.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  2. Tom

    Golly, I hope CNN didn't pay Mr. Perkins for that diatribe. He's such a goofy guy!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  3. OilyBohunk

    To quote Saturday Night Live, "I'm in the Army and I'm gay, but that don't mean I swish and sway." As far as I'm concerned as a straight white male, I don't want to join the military so anyone who actually does should be allowed (as long as they're over 18 with no outstanding criminal warrants).

    June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  4. Jules

    One of the many problems with this argument is assuming that soldiers are not aware they are serving with gay service members. Dude, they know. They care more about whether someone can keep them alive than who they are dating.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  5. bob from SC

    "Me thinks" your argument is full of holes....and is grossly biased. You are very "disappointing"....

    June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  6. Roi

    After reading this article I have come to the conclusion that Mr Perkins is gay

    June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |


      June 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  7. Colin

    Probably been said, but this is absolutely ridiculous. What is with all the religion posts on the front page lately? It really says something about the american media when such a biased view such as this gets on the front page and no where near it on the international version of the same website. If the states were a theocracy he would have a point, but as it is he has nothing to stand on and it's going to happen and it should happen. I am very glad my country made this a non issue two decades ago with no problems to speak of.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |

      @sheeetiron the bible supports slavery google"bible slavery" and curches are IRS 501 S CORPORATIONS WITH ATM BANKING ON SITE

      June 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  8. Robert Austin

    Tony Perkins is a typical mealy-mouthed Christian propagandist. Conservative Christian is an oxymoron. It is physically impossible to be a follower of the teachings of Christ while at the same time being a member of the present day conservative clique.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Chris

    This man is retarded!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  10. michael troop

    I served with many gays. I work as a civilian and now see that the religious groups fighting the gay issue in the military are being destructive and are attacking non-religious members of the military. This issue is not about gays but about Christianity and the fight to dominate the military ranks. It is scary to be a non-religious person because I have been labeled gay even though I am straight because I do not side with the "GOD" soldiers. There is also talk about the war on Muslims, being they are not believers so they must be gay, pointing out the dancing boys in Afghanistan. The focus is upon the wrong issue. It is about the rights for ALL, gays are just the pawns being used at this time. Next will be another race or religious group that do not believe in the GOD of the current military

    June 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  11. Stephen

    Mr. Perkins' point of view is absurd.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  12. Bill

    What really floors me is how human rights were ever equated with the right of a man to stick his penis in an orifice that another man defecates out of...I think the founding fathers would be amazed by the perverted small minds that have been allowed to hijack the important 200 year conversation about basic human rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • New Yorker

      Trust someone to go as base as possible trying to support this outrageous man's point of view. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  13. drew

    I agree that religion is a part of it – i was married to my husband in a Christian service – buy a gay minister – in a church where we were married as two men – so clearly – the arguement for religious support would follow that my Christian Church supports gays, gay marriage and by arguement supports the allowing of gays to openly serve in the millitary. Or Tony is your Christian God better than my Christian God?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  14. joe

    Why don't those people just stop being gay?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      I dunno. There's too much money to be made in vilifying them. What else will fill offering plates?

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

      Why can't people just stop caring about whose gay? It would be a lot simpler, and no one's rights get stepped on...

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

      Why don't you just stop being hetero?

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

      Why don't those straight people just stop being straight? For that matter, why doesn't the religious right just change their views? They definately weren't born believing what they believe!

      June 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Robert Austin

      Why can't you stop being Joe?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  15. Jake

    Wow, could this guy be more of a bigoted horse's rump? It is hard for me to fathom how a grownup can believe in fairytales so stronlgly that they become transforemd into a hateful monster like this guy. I wish someone would tear him down and put up a human being.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  16. Michael

    Hate and bigotry are the biggest threats to religious liberty. Don't forget your beliefs stomp on others just the same. Oh and plenty of gays and lesbians go to church every sunday and worship. My favorite point is where he says people will not join the military due to their beliefs. Well others could not join due to their actuality.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  17. Vlad the Impaler

    Why SHOULD people within the military be permitted to be judgmental of a life style choice (regardless of whether it is part of our 'hard-wiring' or not) that doesn't harm anybody?!

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone – the rest of ya'll oughta just pipe down about other people's business 🙂

    June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  18. valwayne

    Gay men and women already serve in the military. When don't ask don't tell is repealed the only difference is they won't be kicked out if they tell someone they are gay. They will be able to be honest. Gay men and women are asking anybody to do anything except their duty and do it professionally absent discrimination. How Mr. Perkins turns the issue of ending official discrimination against gay men and women risking their lives for us every day into a religions liberty issues is just crazy. Mr. Perkins scare tactics are the same ones used when people were fighting for segregation. There were many then, and you can still find them, that feel they can find justification in the bible for racial discrimination. Fortunately, if/when the Democrats keep their long betrayed promise everyone will wake u the next day and it will be no big deal, and we'll wonder what all the fuss was about!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Joe

    Please keep up the good work Mr. Perkins. Eventually your message will alienate organized religion from society entirely and then the Gay agenda will move forward with no trouble at all. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  20. ROHIO

    Yes, it is great that CNN does give this man space to write. As an active Christian my faith is great enough to not be threatened by differences in orientation what ever it may be. Too bad this man speak out of a basis of bigotry, and hate rather than the love for others. Rather twisted Christian faith.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:02 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.