Already, veteran chaplains from numerous denominations–including Lutherans, Southern Baptists, and Presbyterians–have spoken out to express their concern that repealing the current law that protects the military from open homosexual behavior will, among other things, harm religious liberty. Just yesterday, another major voice in the chaplaincy community, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Catholic Church’s Military Diocese, added his voice in defense of the military’s current law.
His argument was made on two grounds: First, repeal cannot be allowed to limit the First Amendment rights and duties of chaplains in their ministry to Service members. While those who practice homosexual behavior should receive “respect and treatment worthy of their human dignity,” “no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted. First Amendment rights regarding the free exercise of religion must be respected.” Similarly, “Catholic chaplains must show compassion for persons with a homosexual orientation, but can never condone–even silently–homosexual behavior.”
Second, in what Archbishop Broglio describes as “a more fundamental” issue, repeal would harm the ability of the military to be an effective fighting force. He reasons–correctly–that morality and “corresponding good moral decisions” are integral to “unit cohesion and the overall morale of troops and effectiveness of the mission.” Thus, normalizing immoral behavior, like homosexuality, through military policy potentially would have an “enormous and overwhelming” effect on military readiness. ”Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent, especially for the armed forces at a time of war.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Stay tuned for more news of other religious leaders speaking out against repeal.
If you’re a military chaplain, active or retired, and are interested in becoming involved in this issue or signing the Chaplains Letter, please contact us with your information.
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