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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. Donovan Price

    Id rather be surrounded by 20 gays than 2 Christians.

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

      thats funny but so true!

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

    Thanks for the post, Tony...I love a good satire of right wing ideology!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  3. Anthony

    In 2001, Perkins addressed the Council of Conservative Citizens (successor organization to the racist White Citizens Council), a known white nationalist organization

    June 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  4. BeckFastPaws

    To paraphrase Yoda:

    Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate leads to ratings.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Damien

      i thought you were going to say "religion"

      June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Jeff

    The issue is not that people won't accept gays in the military, they are already there. The issue is that no one's personal beliefs should be imposed on anyone else. If the military lifts the ban on gays, there will indeed be sensitivity training and an overcompensation by the higher ups that will ultimately infringe on the rights of non-gay servicemembers. All anyone is asking is equal treatment, and that means respect for one another to include privacy and religous beliefs.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Greg

      So gay people just need to shut up and do their duty, is that what your trying to say? What about equal rights for women, there was lot's of training for that, what about the desegration of the military there was lots of training for that, and WOW low and behold the military stayed together, so you arument if it was one is way off they mark. Try again please.....

      June 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  6. Eric

    Of course Perkins is going to espouse this crap. His job depends on it. Do you honestly think his opinion will change as long as he is making money promoting his bigoted views? He and the rest of his right-wing cabal are running scared as they are losing the support of Americans who can no longer stomach the hypocracy of these "religious" zealots. Being gay is no more of a choice than being black or Hispanic. Get a life Mr. Perkins, and while you're at it, get a real job.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  7. Matt

    What is the voodoo power that people like Tony Perkins employ to get themselves treated as if they are functional, intelligent human beings? The simple and very plain fact is that they are transparently trying to establish a dictatorship with themselves collectively ruling, and they use their selectively-forgotten mythology as the tool.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  8. Eric B

    How could lifting the ban prevent Tony Perkins' or others like him from using the Bible to bash gays? I can't follow his logic.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • truth2power

      That is because there is no logic in this pathetic mans hate.

      June 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  9. Mike

    Mr. Perkins nods to the point and then misses it entirely. My father was a methodist minister and chaplain. He had to counsel people of all faiths and those who had none: people who disagreed with him on fundamental principles. He has always been proud of the time he advocated on behalf of several muslim soldiers who were denied halaal rations by a bigoted mess sergeant.

    Chaplains do that. Their job is not just "to proclaim the moral and theological teachings of their faith" but to serve American soldiers regardless of who they are. A denomination thats ministers cannot do this, in my opinion, should not contribute chaplains in the first place.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  10. ANTI-HATE

    Becasue of people like this joker I have lost almost all faith in humanity. We are destine to destroy one another with our hate and ignorance.

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

    Terry – – Can 'christianity' really be so hateful? Organized religion sucks! And by the way . . .so do I.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • Terry

      and you wonder why you find it hard to be accepted into the norm.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  12. Tejano

    Wow. What if we never allowed blacks or females to serve in our armed forces??? When will all this insanity stop?? TOLERANCE and RESPECT for ALL!!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • J

      Immutable characteristics v. choice.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      Because some people (who don't really speak from direct experience, btw) claim to have better knowledge of gay people than gay people themselves and arrogantly perceive it as some sort of willfully chosen disposition to have. This is in spite of all of the medical and scientific evidence to the contrary and in spite of the fact that a "choice" to have a life filled with hate crimes and discrimination just seems oooohhhh so desireable!

      June 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  13. KenTulsa

    Ron Nospam
    "Jesus must be so proud America discriminates against gays for Biblical reasons"

    You appear to have no clue what the Gospel of Jesus is. No more clue than those who go around teaching how to "good work" your way to Heaven. In modern terms: From Adam to the last guy standing we've all sinned and we're all toast. God created us, set the terms, we blow it and head to death row. God takes the form of man (Jesus), comes down and says I'll take the death sentence for all of them. New commandment – your free to leave death row, if you choose to stay the old rules still apply and you'll still be toast. Simple as that. Nothing we do saves us, but rather what he did.

    As for those of you championing equal rights for all, does that include the Ku Klux Clan, anarchists, skinheads, black panthers and male supremists. How about setting aside a spot on each base (or battlefield) for voodoo worshipers to slaughter animals and coat themselves in chicken blood before going into battle. I thought not. The truth is aways the same for liberal causes. The only freedoms you support are the ones you like.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • Paul

      I gotta love strawmen like yours.

      I support equality for all. That said, your rights end where the rights of others begin. Of course the KKK should be allowed to exist and hold their opinions (many of which are the same as those of evangelicals). However, they should not be allowed to infringe upon the rights of others. This is America. You do not have the right to not be offended.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • ANTI-HATE

      I would like to say something with more meat to it but I know your blind following of misguided human teachings wont allow you to get any of it so i will just say I feel sorry for you.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Tom in CA

      We, liberals, are striving for equality. You know, what most of humanity strives for these days? The KKK and other organizations you mentioned do not want these conditions. They are clubs, just like religions that mean to oppress others to feel superior. It's a classic inferiority complex.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Woofie

      And the only time Christians do are the ones they "disapprove"

      June 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • Farhibide

      "The truth is aways the same for liberal causes. The only freedoms you support are the ones you like."

      Funny, that sounds very much like what conservatives do as well. After all, here is an essay by a man who feels that the freedom to serve our country should be denied to a certain portion of our population.

      I have no problem with all of those groups serving in the military by the way. Anyone should be able to serve, as long as they leave their prejudices at the door. After all, if you're joining the military, you're there to defend your country, not to stump for your personal agenda.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Drew

      Interesting comment. First I would argue that this is not a "liberal cause" as I am definately not a liberal...this is a Libertarian cause - govt has no business telling what I can believe or do as long as it does not infringe upon anothers right to life, liberty etc.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Gerald Fnord

      You know, when someone tries to sell me something on the basis of 'You are horrible, because someone said so, and you deserve terrible treatment therefor, and your only hope is to buy this (with cash or brain cell time),' my only conclusion can be that what they're selling can't really be worth that much.

      I am, of course, referring to cosmetic, deodorant, and botox ads...it's not like adults would fall for anything so patently obvious where important things like religion are concerned....

      June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  14. Tom in CA

    If God didn't want me to desire a man as a straight woman does, he would not have made me this way.

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

    If Christians are so timid that they feel the need to quit the military out of fear of a few gays, maybe they're too timid to go into real battle. I say, grow up or get out!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Lou

    The problem will easily be solved. If "don't ask, don't tell" is in fact repealed, I think we will see casualties of friendly fire increase. That would solve the problem once and for all .If you are gay, why on earth would you want to join the military?
    And if you do, you should be prepared to accept whatever consequenses come from it, including the legal or not so legal discrimination which will inevitably follow.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Greg

      Really Lou? WOW>>>> OH My. So Lou have you ever served a day in the military, or are you too fat dumb and lazy picking up everybody else's trash.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • Greling Jackson

      Well, a lot of gay men join the military in a sad attempt to "cure" themselves. They see a need for such because of the propaganda spiel men like Perkins put that teaches them that they are "broken", "sick" and "depraved" from the moment they are born. For them, joining the military is a way to recover that masculinity that Perkins' type so says they lack.

      Also, some gay men join as sort of a way to commit suicide but change their minds mid-way when they realize that with the skills they learned during basic training that they can overcome obstacles and aspire to more in life. For some, the military saves their lives.

      But, most gay men join for the same reasons hetero men do: to serve their country, get stable employment, to see the world and learn to build character while having a means to pursue higher education with the G.I. Bill.

      June 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Talon7

    Why is CNN even posting this ignorant crap? I have it. From now on I'm getting my news for other sources, to hell with CNN. They're pandering to Christian morons, way too much.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  18. Steven

    Mr. Perkins, you are a close-minded bigot, nothing more, nothing less. The very man that founded your religion would be ashamed at what has become of his followers, you included.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  19. Brian

    Are you kidding me? I cannot believe CNN would allow this to be posted...Rubbish.........

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  20. Krista

    What I think is pitiful is that people are so hung up on what two consenting adults do when they're intimate with one another. I mean, come on people, get your mind out of the gutter. It's none of your business.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:17 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.