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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. Marc

    Christianity is here to stay and will GROW? Really? You Christians better get use to it. Christianity is just just a fabricated religion and is on the decline. The story of Jesus is borrowed from previous messiah tales. Christianity will fade away just like the pagan beliefs of yore. Most of the pulpiteers know the truth but can make a comfortable living selling snake oil. Wake up "Christians" and rid yourselves of the fear of hell.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  2. Daniel

    Look at Terry's comments "get use to it, or get out." "Keep going to your unfounded, no real history and fake wicca meetings" Is that what Jesus would say? Hmm I thought Jesus wanted to convert people, not tell them to leave. Interesting...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • Terry

      no, thats what a sinner would say

      June 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  3. Leslie

    Ok Tony,
    How about I agree to not throw a fit about subsidizing your religion in the form of US Military, and you agree to keep the bigotry at home. Sound like a plan?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  4. Cedar Rapids

    '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'

    I'm sorry but you join the military to serve your country, not your god.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  5. Gamato

    Religion and war are a formula for disaster – current events proves the point. In America, civil liberties are guanranteed to all. If you want to believe your religion go ahead. You cannot deny the civil liberties of others because of your religious beliefs. If you are worried that you cannot condemn the lifestyle of others under these rules, tough. A religion that condemns people and separates some from others is the basis for war, brutality and everything we are asking our troops to fight against. The hypocrisy of the religious right knows no bounds.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  6. Shelly

    So the existence of other people in the world is a threat to religion? I can't stand organized religion; it's the problem, not the solution.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  7. bob

    Here's a crazy idea. people will just have to be tolerant!!!! what ever your religion is you might have to accept we're not all alike. Tony Perkins says, "It was religious liberty that drew the Pilgrims to America and it is religious liberty that leads off our Bill of Rights." well one aspect of religious "liberty" is the LIBERTY not to partake. so suck it Perkins!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  8. Andacar

    All I can say is that I'm a comitted Christian and I don't find all this threatening. We're not all like this guy. And to screamers like SHAIARRA I might point out that it's idiotic to tar all of Christianity with the ravings of an obscure cult that is dancing on the edge. Athiests slaughtered millions in Stalin's pogroms, and pagans slaughtered hundreds of thousands during the reign of the druids if you want to follow that "logic." Fortunately, this guy doesn't speak for me or for a lot of us.

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

      The problem is this guys has a HUGH following, him and people like him use their power to influence Politics with Religion. THat's the whole problem in a nut shell.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • skeptic56

      We won't paint all Christians with this brush if you refrain from doing so to atheists. Saying that Stalin caused so much atrocity because of atheism is about the same as saying it was because he had such a big mustache.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  9. David

    james and women but not women is ur barstool upside right?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  10. AmyC

    I am guessing it was more than 12 people who were not wanting to hear you speak. I am wishing I could go back in time and take back the 10 minutes it took me to read this whole thing. It is 10 minutes of my life I cannot get back. Your argument is weak and you are a bigot. Plain and simple. I am certain your Got think you are right. I am ABSOLUTELY certain that you are WRONG.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  11. James1

    To suggest that gays in the military will make our forces weak is to suggest that our men and women(although not likely in the case of women) can't handle it. Who would ever suggest that our forces couldn't handle something? Only a traitor...

    June 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  12. David

    im straight and i served....i guess we need to hear from active duty people

    June 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Pietrus

    Damn what a waste of bandwidth. Mr. Perkins is ridiculous.

    Keep fairy tales out of who can serve or not.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Frank Borman

    1. These arguments are just plain fear mongering
    2. The reason Perkins' invitation was repealed is precisely because of his politics. I'd complain too, and I'm straight.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  15. Tom in CA

    Why is religion always the discriminating, intolerant and narrow-minded thorn in the side of humanity? Imagine – no religion. Humanity could focus on helping itself survive rather than promoting its regional religious clubs that separate and create conflict for us all.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  16. Talon7

    Ban religious people from the miltary. That will solve the problem.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  17. ARob

    It only undermines the freedom to dominate society with hatred. If that's what they mean by "undermining religious liberties" then they're absolutely correct. Really, I mean, that kind of argument is like the Klan saying that hate crime laws undermine their freedom to burn crosses and lynch people.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  18. Tim

    OMG – This man is now officially the dumbest human being on the planet.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Dennis

    What is a "Christian" doing in the military in the first place? Did Jesus go around killing people? I thought he healed both physically and spiritually. I must have missed the part about him going to boot camp and special ops training in the bible.Probably a different translation. Seems like a lot of hypocrisy is going on. Again, what is a true "Christian" doing in the military?

    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  20. DG

    The Family Research Council is the most blatant hate organization hiding behind a veil of "values" that I have ever seen. It's shocking to me that people actually listen to them and fail to notice the bile and hatred that they spew.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 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.