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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. Susan

    For Christ Sake, could we all grow up and respect our fellow man and woman, gay, straight, black, white, purple, no matter what religion they choose to follow. These people are fighting for our freedom. So sad that after so many years, the amount of hatred that exists in our society.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Kate

      Susan is right. If a person can pass the physical requirements and has the courage to fight for the USA, why shouldn't they be able to to do it? I stand behind any soldier – black, white, gay, straight, religious or not.... but I just can't tolerate those purple ones. Sorry. LOL

      June 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  2. Jim

    The Family Research Council is a sham. Dr. George Rekers was a founding member and now is admonished in the history books for his two-faced bigotry and hate.

    The Family Research Councis is nothing more than a scam to scare people into thinking that gay people are horrible. Uh Tony Perkins, you and your bigotry is the problem. Quit discriminating against those you have every right to marry, serve in the military and every other right that is not given to them.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  3. Jon

    I am gay and I can tell you know I dont care if there is a tank rollin down Wall Street... I'm not fighting anybody so you might want to reconsider letting the ones that are volunteering go ahead and do their thing b/c I sure as hell aint doing a damn!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  4. clewchuck

    FIVE WORDS... Separation of Church and State...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Jen

    Mr. Perkins should have to live in a country where his religion is not the majority for a while. Let's see what he has to say about liberty then.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  6. Soccer Mom

    There are many of us, Christians, who may not understand what it's like to know from an early age that one is different – so very different from classmates, neighbors, relatives, friends. Or, to sit in the pew of a church and be told that those differences are evil, perverted, not of this Godly world. Do we ever stop to really think, in the way the Lord taught us to think with our hearts, that these individuals did not choose to be different. This is not a "life style" choice – That this is something much deeper programmed by biology, quite possibly from birth? Is that why the suicide rates among young gay people are skyrocketing? Where is the acceptance and understanding that Jesus taught? Our military is comprised of the bravest men and women we know – The very least we can do is let them serve, let them put their lives on the line every day for us, being who they are - not who we want to label them to be.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Tex

      Amen.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Erin

      Very well said you are a minority in the Christian religion and you should be commended for being a true Christian and taking the teachings to heart, using your head and not hate. Wonderful you made me smile thank you for supporting the LGBT community.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • New Yorker

      Thank you for this wonderful post!

      June 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • MSGulfCoastGuy

      You so rock! I like you lady! =)

      June 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  7. Galen

    Does this guy have enough tinfoil hats for the rest of the class?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  8. nelson

    This Tony Perkins guy has "gay face." 'Nuff said...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  9. Mike1987

    I find Religion undermines my liberty

    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  10. Chris

    I don't know, "undermining religious liberty" sounds like a good idea when it comes to stopping radical Islamic terrorists from blowing up innocent people in the name of their religion, Mr. Perkins.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • BeckFastPaws

      What about the radical Christian terrorists who threaten the daily life of people in the US by denying them basic, human rights?

      June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  11. David

    who reads this crap?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Tom

      You do. And apparently you take the time to respond to it LOLZ

      June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  12. James

    What a laugh. The longer religion influences anything to do with government policy the worse off everyone is. Get rid of that garbage already.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  13. CathyH

    Jeez Louise - just what I would have expected from Tony Perkins. Does he mean to imply that only **American** Catholics and Protestants have an "actual" Christian faith? Europe has long permitted gays in the military. This is a non-issue over there. It's only an issue here because of the misguided teachings of such as "Reverend" Perkins, who somehow can find "a mountain of evidence" that gays are MADE not BORN.

    NOT!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • New Yorker

      What do you suppose Reverend George "Rent Boy" Reker makes of his buddy Tony's thinking on the subject? Oh, I forgot, he was erased from Focus on the Family....The hypocrisy is absolutely stunning.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  14. BeckFastPaws

    Two questions:

    (1) If people are going to cite their religion for not wanting to serve with gays, what are they doing to make sure that their platoon-mates aren't gay now?

    (2) If people are going to cite their religion for not wanting to serve with gays, what do these people expect to do when they leave the service, and have to deal with gays in the private sector?

    Personally, I say that is your beliefs, religious or otherwise, commands you to be hateful and disrespectful of any other human being, solely because of their skin color, hair color, eye color, orientation, disability, gender(s), ancestry, dietary choices, eduction, social status, marital status, religious beliefs, political views, societal views, or military service record, then you need to lock yourself in a room and never come out, or you need to move out of the country that was founded to be the Great American Melting Pot. If you can't melt, get out of the pot.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  15. Kris

    What ever happened to seperation of church and state? Shouldn't you be in a church repeating this nonsense instead of a public forum, angling for opportunities to impose your religious notions on the rest of us?

    What goes on between consenting adults is their own business. And every American has the right to live freely and without oligarchs oppressing them. Gay people pay taxes and help keep America moving just like any other group. Gays have always been a part of our armed forces. That is fact. The only thing this law does is give gay service members the dignity and respect they deserve as dedicated Americans who put their country first-even when their country is not considering their rights. This law was way overdue and the majority of Americans support it. Case closed.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Isaac

      Kris, the CNN website isn't a part of "state". It's a public forum for people to express their views, whatever those might be.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  16. Talon7

    Religious morons need to get a brain and stop oppressing people based on their lifestyles or religion or lack thereof. We pander to Christian idiots way too much. If they don't like it $%#& 'em.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  17. Tom

    Thank you Mr Tony Perkins for expressing your honest opinion in this article. To all you who are so full of hatred: If you cannot tolerate other people's convictions why do you expect them to tolerate yours? That really does not make sense.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      Well, in a way, it's like some "expert" calling all black people immoral, incapable, subhuman and criminally defiant and not worth of equal protection, while asking me to sit back and "tolerate" it simply because it's their religious view.

      People have the right to have their opinion, but they by no means have a right for others to "respect" it or tolerate it as such.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Tim

      You have to draw a line at simple intolerance and religious bigotry. I draw it here, with this drivel of an article. He's a neanderthal who needs to be brought into the 21st century. This is one of the worst articles about this subject ever composed.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  18. Eric

    In reference to Mr. Perkins's point about chaplains counseling gay servicemen to seek the services of gay attractiveness therapy. Correct me if I am wrong but I think your point was that chaplains shouldn't have to counsel something that is against their views. But in another part of your article you talk about how chaplains often counsel people of other faiths, and obviously they do not try to convert them, so I just don't see the issue here.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  19. David

    This story is so gay

    June 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  20. Steve

    As a veteran who served honorably in the military I believe this is simply a disaster – and I believe those that support it are looking forward to that disaster. This is simply a thinly disguised step in the procession to dismantle our military, why are we allowing this?
    While in boot camp, there was a gay soldier in my platoon, I don't recall his name, but I do recall he really had no interest in learning the tasks that we were assigned. We all knew he was gay, and none of us ever plotted to hurt him in anyway, some tried to befriend him, but he tended to creep people out with his comments. He finally quit after six weeks or so, apparently it wasn't the man-fest he'd been expecting. All in all he wasn't a good solder, he was able to march, though that was about it.

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

      I don't believe you. If you had been in the military, you would know you can't just quit 6 weeks in.

      Christian nut jobs make bad liar.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • Paul

      So you're basing your opinion on one guy who wasn't cut out to be a soldier? That seems balanced.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Greg

      Steve,
      I'm sure there have been many straight men and women who couldn't cut it in the military and couldn't make it through boot camp so your argument, if that's what it was was way off the mark. Also, this will not be the end of the military or some consipericy to dismantel the military. I'm gay and served for 10 years in the Air Force and I just couldn't take not being who I am. If the Military taught me anything it's to be proud of who you are and to not let others think of you otherwise. I'm glad your out of the military too because the country needs good dependable people, Gay, Straight, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Etc.....

      June 1, 2010 at 3:16 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.