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For months now, chaplains, organizations that are responsible for placing chaplains in the military, and prominent religious liberty organizations have warned that forcing the military to normalize homosexual behavior by dismantling the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law will harm religious liberty.  Now, the just-released report issued by the entity tasked by the Pentagon to study the effects of repeal confirms that the men and women who fight to preserve America’s religious liberty agree with those warnings.  Here’s a few comments by service members quoted in the report:  (Note: the report kept the identity of the service member confidential, only identifying the sex of the respondent and whether he or she was a chaplain.)

 “Military chaplains who have volunteered to defend the liberties protected in our Constitution shouldn’t be denied those very same liberties. Preventing chaplains from sharing the full counsel of their faith defeats the purpose of the chaplaincy and threatens the free exercise rights of Service members who depend on chaplains.”(female)

 “I served in the active military as a Southern Baptist Chaplain for over 9 years including two deployments to Iraq. I believe that allowing openly gay individuals will create problems such as openly gay chaplains which in many instances will destroy chapel congregations on army posts. Many of these congregations view the issue as moral and that is in their mind a sinful lifestyle that in the civilian sector the minister would be subject to dismissal as he would for any other unrepentant immoral behavior. Many of these congregations do not get to choose the chaplain that is assigned to the chapel and so would be forced to leave in order to find the spiritual leadership they desire and need.” (male chaplain)

“Forcing chaplains to deny their faith in order to serve in the Armed Forces is a grave threat to the First Amendment and to the spiritual health of Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who depend on them. If the military is forced to promote homosexual behavior, for the first time in American history there will be open conflict between the virtues taught by chaplains and the moral message delivered by the military.”(female)

“Repealing DADT will impact my religious liberty as a Christian chaplain. The Christian Scriptures make it clear that homosexuality—like fornication and adultery (which are, along with homosexuality, against the UCMJ)—is a sin. All sexual sins inherently break the law of God. If DADT is repealed, then that situation creates an unavoidable conflict with my ability to preach and teach the entirety of the Scriptures with impunity. What is the constitutional basis for the government ever curtailing my freedom of religion?” (male chaplain)

“Key questions to be considered: Will Chaplains be forced to integrate homosexuals into ‘family’ ministry? If so, what impact will this have on families that do not accept homosexuality? Will Chaplains be limited on what they can define as moral? Until the answers to these questions are presented and the resulting impacts clearly defined, DADT should remain in place.” (male)

“There exist potential ramifications for those who refuse couples counseling to gays. Chaplains who refuse to counsel gays on how to better their relationships or refuse to allow ‘married homosexuals’ to attend marriage retreats would be subject to discrimination charges even though to allow such things would directly violate many chaplains’ beliefs. If it then becomes mandatory to open these events to all couples, chaplains would quit offering the retreats. When family wellness is so important, this would do nothing but hurt the majority for the sake of a few.” (male)

Remarkably, while the report was largely based on a written survey that failed to ask a single question about religious liberty concerns (and had many other deficiencies), it admits that one of the primary objections given by the military to the dismantling of the policy is that normalizing homosexual behavior will harm the ability of service members to fully practice their faith.  Thus, our men and women in uniform have decided not to let their religious liberty go without a fight.  Given that they’re willing to fight for ours, that tenaciousness shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

Author: Gary McCaleb - ADF Senior Counsel

Psalm 107:23-30

Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.

Not a likely verse for a desert-dwelling attorney to favor.  But for five years, thirty years ago, those words reported my reality. For then, a ship was my home:  I stood the long watches of the cold war aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer.

For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

Foul weather brought stress and stole sleep as the ship pitched, yawed, rolled, and heaved.  Even wedged in your bunk, you constantly fought to stay in one place.  After a week, weariness supplanted wakefulness; fatigue was your constant companion.

They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery.  They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits’ end.

Alas, this is not mere hyperbole; in heavy seas the ship would oscillate vertically through 40 or 50 feet or more; one reeled and staggered in counterpoint to the ship reeling and staggering.  Wits’ end, indeed.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.

I often thought that the calming of the storm seemed a greater exhibition of power than creating the storm.  Chaos is easily produced; peace is produced not so easily.

He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven.

Happily, we always made it to our haven—a safe port, calmer seas; and after many months at sea and abroad, we would find the ultimate haven—the moment would come when a glimpse of green horizon promised our longed-for landfall in a special land—our land, America, our home.

Today, though, that homeland is in the midst of a bitter moral storm that threatens the military I once served.  The waves are stirred at the behest of the radical left, which demands that homosexual and bisexual behavior be normalized and affirmed in our military.

Intentionally injecting such confused sexuality into the military is foolishness.  But with the Commander-in-Chief and even career-conscious top brass pushing the left’s agenda, few are willing to speak truth to power.

Yet a few—actually, quite a few, are speaking:  66 veteran military chaplains, collectively representing 1700 years of service, spoke out very clearly, and America is paying attention to their message.

Take a few minutes to read their message and view their videos, so you get to know the integrity and honor of these men.  Then you, too, should speak up:  let the Commander-in-Chief know that buying into the homosexual agenda will sell the military down the river—and into a sea that has no safe haven.


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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It appears that those who have religious liberty concerns with DADT repeal are being told to shut up or ship out.

While homosexual advocacy groups are complaining that Service members who engage in homosexual behavior can’t speak up in support of DADT repeal (as if they needed more advocates with the Commander in Chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense on their side), it’s those who support keeping the current policy who are feeling the real heat.  The last Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lost his job for informally expressing that his religious beliefs supported current law, and a top general  received sharp criticism from Pres. Obama’s military leadership for merely suggesting that Service members share their opinions on repeal with Congress.  Apparently, Service members are discouraged from exercising their constitutional franchise, and instead should provide their feedback to the same politically-appointed leadership that has already said DADT must be repealed.

So, what has been the experience of those trying to speak up in support of current policy?  Decidedly one-sided.  Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, stated that those Service members who disagree with repeal can “vote with their feet” and leave the military.  A chaplain, speaking in one of the DADT repeal forums being held on military bases, asked the senior officer administering the meeting whether religious freedom would be protected in the wake of repeal and was told that, if the chaplain couldn’t affirm repeal, his only option was to just quit.  And now the survey being circulated to Service members about repeal, while valuable in some ways, seems to be another indication that “the fix is in.”   News reports are saying the survey “appears to lean heavily on questions about teamwork, performance, mission completion and morale…[It] asked how a repeal will affect the respondent’s likelihood of recommending military service to family members or close friends and their own continued service; and whether they personally know any gays, served with any gays and whether they were a leader or co-worker, and how well the unit performed.”  Notably, there’s not a single question about the potential impact of repeal on religious liberty for chaplains and Service members.

There’s another serious flaw in this approach, one identified by an active duty Service member who recently wrote me about the reports on the survey:

 To me, [the survey's questions] are all tactical “gotcha” questions.  I’ve worked for someone I have a suspicion was gay.  The unit performed just fine, there were no morale issues, etc.  Based on the survey answers, the military could very well say “well, then, let’s repeal the ban!”  That misses the point that suspecting someone is gay is not at all the same thing as working in an environment where such behavior is normalized – an environment that would ultimately be detrimental to the military’s effectiveness, performance, and morale.  It also misses the strategic level question we should be asking:  What is the impact of the military calling something “right” that is immoral?  They could ask, for example, if I’ve ever worked with a person who lived with someone who wasn’t their spouse (which I have).  The unit performed just fine, and there were no visible morale issues to speak of.  That doesn’t mean the military should abandon its support of marriage and families or support that lifestyle. 

 A lot of people have repeated the quote “you just have to shoot straight, not be straight” to support the repeal.  That, like the military’s apparent logic above, frames an argument of “we only care about the ends, not the means” – which is a type of thinking that has all kinds of ethical implications (mostly bad). 

Character means something, but character is measured in morality and ethical conduct, not just whether you can shoot straight.

Service members have this kind of sophisticated moral clarity, it’s disappointing that some of our country’s leaders don’t share it.  And, as an anonymous active-duty chaplain recently pointed out, losing moral clarity in an entity that must take human life is dangerous.   

It’s wrong that the President is willing to discourage the constitutional rights of Service members to speak and express their opinions to Congress.  It’s wrong that he is almost certainly sacrificing the free religious exercise rights of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to fulfill a campaign promise.

Stay tuned for yet more evidence that normalizing homosexual conduct in the military will diminish the constitutional rights of our Service members, who are fighting and dying to preserve those rights for us.

The author of the quoted section is an active-duty Service member whose name is withheld to avoid censure for expressing these views.  The views expressed are the author’s alone and do not represent those of the U.S. military.


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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ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

A lot of ink has been spilled in the mainstream media about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Some of it has even managed to cover how religious liberty could be threatened by such a repeal.  But not a single outlet has provided the kind of in-depth, thoughtful analysis that was just provided yesterday by WORLD magazine.  In 1,700 words, WORLD’s reporter, Edward Lee Pitts, manages to capture pretty much the entire issue, and illustrates it with moving stories provided by the chaplains he interviewed for the piece.   If there’s a single article you read on this issue, WORLD’s article should be it.

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ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

So what if Congress forces the military to make homosexual behavior normal?  Isn’t that just a military issue?  Why should average Americans care at all?

Because this change will change America.

Why is that?  For at least two reasons.  First, the military is a repository of American culture—it reflects, in a single institution, many of the highest values our society respects.  Honor.  Duty.  Sacrifice.  Fidelity.  Strength.  Courage.  Ingenuity.  Perseverance.  Victory.  Thus, forcing the military to affirm homosexual conduct will cram that conduct into the pantheon of American values.  As Al Mohler pointed out recently, the homosexual movement’s goal in repealing the military’s current policy has little to do military personnel policy and everything to do with changing American culture.  And by making this change to the way America perceives itself by changing the lens of the military, the homosexual movement will be able to grease the skids for other societal changes.  Like forcing Christian businesses—daycares, bookstores, para-church ministries—to employ individuals who openly and unrepentantly engage in immoral sexual behavior.  This will be accomplished by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”), a leftist effort to normalize homosexual behavior nationwide.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly admitted as much, saying her strategic approach to passing ENDA hinges on first repealing DADT.

And this leads to the second point: perhaps the only institution more deeply respected and widely recognized as the training ground for inculcating societal values than the military is marriage.  And normalizing homosexual conduct in the military will not only—as an ACLU attorney recently stated—be a cultural precursor to normalizing homosexual “marriage,” it will actually create the perfect storm for destroying the primary federal law protecting marriage—the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”).

Basically, it will go like this: a same-sex couple will get “married” in a state like Massachusetts.  One or both members of the couple will be in the military, and will press for married couples’ benefits, like housing and medical coverage, arguing that the military cannot discriminate against homosexual “marriages.”  And when the military denies the request based on DOMA, that Service member will sue in a sympathetic federal court to get DOMA declared unconstitutional.  And, quite possibly, the only federal bulwark against a nationwide redefinition of marriage will be breached.  Sound far fetched?  The first part of the strategy is already happening: a soldier in a homosexual relationship applied for married housing just after Defense Secretary Gates announced the goal of repealing current policy.  

So, other than the simple reason that we should protect the military because we respect it, why should we civilians care about what happens to the military?  Because we value our culture.  Because we value marriage.  Because we’re next.


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.

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts or follow us on Facebook to join the conversation.


ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

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