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“Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and George Washington” by Jordan Lorence – ADF Sr. VP; Sr. Counsel

On Monday, Lady Gaga appeared at a rally in Maine to proclaim her support for repeal of the federal law that bans people from the military who engage in homosexual behavior. She said at the rally, “I am here today because I want to propose a law … called, ‘if you don’t like it, you can go home.’… A law that sends home the homophobes, that sends home the prejudiced.”

Now, the media is reporting Lady Gaga’s comments as if she is making a substantive contribution to the debate, as if her remarks are well-researched and based on careful thought. It is hard to keep a “poker face” in response to her comments, because she is no more informed on this issue than someone on the street. The fact that she is a celebrity does not make her an authority.

For example, if Katy Perry came out with a new single called, “California Drills” or (“Dryllz”), with lyrics favoring aggressive drilling for oil off the Santa Barbara coast, in order to meet our nation’s energy needs, the media would probably not report it, or say, “what does she know about energy policy, she’s a singer!” Bingo! It seems that the media is reporting Lady Gaga’s comments as informed mainly because they agree with her views, rather than because it means something in the debate. (Note: to my knowledge, Katy Perry has taken no public positions on oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast, lest her publicist call me and ask for a clarification – this blog being so widely read and all).

ADF has been publicly commenting on the real threat to religious liberty and the right of conscience for military chaplains. Major religions and the major branches of Christianity define marriage as one man and one woman only, and teach that certain sexual behaviors, such as same-sex activity, are immoral. How will military chaplains from those religions be able to counsel servicemembers and preach to them if the chaplains believe in doctrines that conflict with new military policy?

The celebrity I want to bring forth to match Lady Gaga would be someone else who likes to wear wigs made of white hair – George Washington. And he was a “rock star” in his own way back in the late 1700′s. Did you ever wonder what he thought about soldiers serving in the military who engage in homosexual conduct? He was against it. For example, on March 14, 1778, he issued an order separating a soldier from active duty for attempting homosexual conduct with another soldier:

At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778), Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment [was] tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false accounts, [he was] found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and [we] do sentence him to be dismiss’d [from] the service with infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; The drummers and fifers [are] to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose.

So, the U.S. military has had this policy since the time of the Revolutionary War. It would be best to study history and military thinking on this issue, rather than listen to uninformed people like Lady Gaga.

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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.

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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. http://www.facebook.com/SpeakUpChurch

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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.

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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. http://www.facebook.com/SpeakUpChurch

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ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

As we’ve discussed repeatedly here (and I really mean repeatedly), repealing the law against open homosexual behavior in the military will almost certainly harm religious liberty for chaplains and service members, especially since Congress has refused to include an exemption for religious liberty in any of its repeal efforts.

But, as the Catholic Archbishop for the Military Diocese, Timothy Broglio, recently pointed out, other fundamental concerns are also at stake.  Namely, the moral voice of the military is in danger of being silenced at a time when its guidance is most in need to an institution which—because it must daily make life-or-death decisions—requires a trustworthy moral compass.

Shutting the mouths of chaplains—who not only provide religious services and counseling, but also regularly teach courses in ethics to military leaders and are specially tasked to provide ethical gudiance to commanders of their units—sends a message that their guidance isn’t trustworthy in the real world of the military.  As a fighter pilot I was talking to recently pointed out, this will be extremely difficult for young Service members trying to come to grips with the morality of war and their place in it.

Even in a best-case scenario following repeal, where chaplains are allowed some small freedom to, for instance, preach about their beliefs on sexual ethics within the confines of a chapel, reliance on the military’s most-sought moral guide—the chaplaincy—will still be irreparably damaged.  A soldier listening to his spiritual chain of command in chapel services will hear one thing, but outside the chapel will to be ordered by his military chain of command to do the opposite.  This cannot help but to create a deep impression in such a soldier’s mind: religion is a curiousity for non-serious matters, but has no application to how the job is done. 

This bleak best-case scenario would not last long.  The military cannot become divided against itself and remain an effective fighting force.  And there’s no question who will lose the battle between chaplains and military command.  Thus, chaplains who believe in something more permanent than the whims of shifting political majorities will find themselves increasingly marginalized and, ultimately, discharged.

And then a huge swath of Service members will find themselves without chaplains who share their faith to turn to for moral guidance in these war-torn days which try soldiers’ souls. 

Is that a sacrifice worth making for political correctness?

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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. http://www.facebook.com/SpeakUpChurch

Author

ADF Litigation Counsel - Church Project

My generation (I graduated high school in 1984) seems to get the biblical teaching about mercy and forgiveness. After all, we willingly forgave Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions in the Oval Office with very few questions asked. But we often miss the fact that Christ also taught observance of the law and justice. For instance, He admonished religious leaders to consider their own sin before stoning the woman caught in the very act of adultery, but instructed the woman to go and sin no more.

Perhaps this inability to balance justice and mercy, as Micah 6:8 instructs, explains the failure of many church-going Christians (at least one survey says “most”) to understand why normalizing homosexual behavior in the military is unwise. But even if we put aside the direct effect this rejection of biblical morality will have on our nation’s moral health, the indirect effects on religious freedom are alarming.

In a series of blogs, ADF attorney Daniel Blomberg is doing an excellent job of pointing out how the repeal of the current so called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law (often referred to as “DADT”) is going to muzzle our military chaplains. Forcing the military to condone homosexual behavior will necessarily restrict religious freedom by limiting the ability of military chaplains to preach and provide counsel to service members about the dangers of this sin.

If you think this restraint on religious freedom will be confined to the military, you’re wrong. We’re already seeing the conflict between the radical homosexual agenda and religious freedom in the civilian context. An April 28, 2010 letter from numerous chaplains opposed to repealing the ban on homosexual behavior in the military catalogues numerous examples: prison chaplains disciplined for not permiting homosexuals to lead their services, religious student groups restricted for not allowing homosexual leaders, businesses fined for not participating in same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, and churches penalized for not making their facilities available for a same-sex relationship commitment ceremony. More importantly, giving ground on DADT will make it extremely difficult to hold the line protecting marriage. Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act will undoubtedly be next.

If we don’t rein in this mad dash for mandated acceptance of homosexual behavior, it’s just a matter of time before government officials come after pastors for disseminating “hate speech,” when all they’re doing is preaching biblical morality. It’s already occurring in Europe and evidence of it heading our way can be seen in Canada.

As Dave Welch recently pointed out in his article, pastors have long had the right and obligation to speak up on things like repeal of DADT. Exercising this right is the best way to avoid a future where protection for it is weakened, or eliminated altogether.

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ADF Senior Counsel - Church Project

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