Australian soldier, father of 6, fired after criticizing army for joining gay parade
An Australian soldier who has served three tours of duty in Iraq and who is a Catholic father of six was thrown out of the army by top brass in July for his public opposition to uniformed military participation for the first time in the 2013 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.
Major Bernard Gaynor, 35, from Queensland, was terminated in July after going public with his criticism of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for marching in the event. Like most western militaries, the ADF bars uniformed members from participating in political activities or events that insult and offend specific religions.
The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, organized around the theme of campaigning for national same-sex ‘marriage’ laws, included men dressed as nuns carrying signs with the message “Jesus is gay.” Participants ridiculed and vilified politicians and political parties opposed to same-sex “marriage.” The event also included public nudity and displays of same-sex sexual activity, such as almost naked same-sex couples embracing and instances of homosexual bondage.
About 120 army personnel marched in the 2013 event in full uniform.
‘Army does not share your views’
Gaynor told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview about what he described as anti-Catholic bias he experienced from the highest ADF levels because of his objections to the military marching in the Mardi Gras parade.
The major, who has served in army intelligence since 1999, first came under the army’s radar prior to 2013 for drawing links between Islam and terrorism on his blog and for stating in social media that he would not want homosexuals teaching his children in school. He had taken a leave of absence in 2011 while becoming involved in a political party, but had remained in the ADF’s reserve service. Because of his strong position on the threat of Islam to the West along with his pro-family statements, the ADF forbade Gaynor from participating in any Defence activities for one year.
While in reserve service, Gaynor criticized the ADF as a citizen on his personal blog March 8 for parading in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which took place 6 days earlier.
“I am happy to say what others believe privately but won’t mention because they are smarter than me and won’t jeopardise their careers. Defence’s policy directions on sex-change operations, the Mardi Gras and women serving in front-line combat roles are wrong,” Gaynor wrote at the time.
“Furthermore, the decision to allow soldiers to march in the Mardi Gras was offensive to many, many Australians. If Defence is truly equitable, it will now allow members to wear their uniform to any activity that promotes natural marriage,” he wrote.
But top brass decided to distance themselves from the criticizer. Major General and Deputy Chief of Army A.J. Campbell wrote Gaynor in a March 22 letter, saying his views were “offensive and divisive,” and suggesting that he resign.
“In short, Army does not share your views, which are both offensive and divisive, and not in the interests of Army or our people,” wrote the Major General. “Your personal values are not in line with those of Army, or the wider ADF.”
“It is not my intention to prevent you from having an opinion, but when that opinion is linked to your military service and is fundamentally inconsistent with Defence policy and values, you should reconsider your employment options. I offer to you that, under these circumstances, the appropriate course of action may be for you to tender your resignation.”
Instead of surrendering, Gaynor decided to fight back.
“MAJGEN Campbell has therefore decreed that my personal views, being views based on my Catholic faith, ‘are not in line with those of Army.’ He has made it crystal clear that ‘Army does not share my views.’ My Catholic views are ‘offensive and divisive.’ In addition, my Catholic principles ‘are not in the interests of Army or our people,’” he wrote on his blog at the time.
Gaynor lodges complaint
On April 15, Gaynor lodged a complaint through army channels against Chief of Defence Force General David Hurley for allowing the ADF to march in the homosexual event.
“His decision to allow ADF participation in the 2013 Mardi Gras constituted unacceptable behaviour of the worst order,” wrote Gaynor in the complaint.
Gaynor called for the general’s resignation and asked that the ADF publicly announce that it will not participate in any future Mardi Gras events due to its “anti-Christian character,” “overtly sexual nature,” and “pro-gay ‘marriage’ political activity.”
In his 26 page complaint, Gaynor argued that the Mardi Gras was a political event — pointing out that organizers stated this in their own articles of association — that was not only “anti-Christian” but contained “offensive sexual behaviour.” He presented evidence that the army's decision to parade in the event violated its policies on political activity, respect of religious belief, and unacceptable behavior.
Within 24 hours, the ADF’s Quick Assessment department reported to higher authorities in a now declassified document that Gaynor’s complaint “need[ed] to be carefully considered.” The department admitted that marching in the parade could give the public the impression that the ADF was “comfortable in supporting politically polarising issues.” It also agreed that the Mardi Gras event vilified Jesus Christ.
But the department went one step further, stating that if it had been Mohammed who had been insulted, the army would deal “severely” with the uniformed members attending the event. The department hinted that hypocrisy was occurring.
“If a uniformed member were to support a gathering that insulted strongly held beliefs of a religion other than Christianity (to use [Gaynor's] example, vilifying Islam with 'Mohammed is Gay' signs vs the 'Jesus is Gay' signs in the Mardi Gras) that member would be severely dealt with. In the case of the Mardi Gras, the opposite occurred.”
"Your public articulation of these matters whilst a member of the Army Reserve ... undermine my confidence in your ability to uphold the values of the Australian Army."
But instead of addressing the concerns raised by the report, Lieutenant Colonel Buxton, Commanding Officer of the Defence Intelligence Training Centre, dismissed them as a matter of “policy issue, not an unacceptable behaviour issue.”
“The issue raised concerning ADF’s involvement in polarising events is a matter for CDF [Chief of the Defence Force] and senior leadership,” he stated in an April 17 reply to the Quick Assessment report. He did not order any formal investigation.
Within five days, on April 22, Gaynor had seven charges brought against him by the Defence Force — 3 counts of failure to comply with an order, 3 counts of prejudicial conduct, and 1 count of disobeying a lawful command — all stemming from his outspoken criticism of the ADF.
“My crime was to express personal opinions, based on my Catholic beliefs, regarding homosexuality and the Islamic religion,” Gaynor wrote on his blog.
But the Director of Military Prosecution dropped all charges due to lack of evidence.
Catholic views unwelcome
Top brass were now desperate to rid themselves of Gaynor. In an August 2013 letter to Gaynor, General Hurley made it clear that a Catholic’s “public articulation” of his beliefs was unwelcome in the army and indicated that Gaynor’s termination was immanent.
“I respect your religious beliefs and your right to have, and express, opinions contrary to ADF and Government policy. However your public articulation of these matters whilst a member of the Army Reserve, whether or not you are on duty, or in uniform, undermine my confidence in your ability to uphold the values of the Australian Army and your effectiveness as a leader in today’s Army,” the letter stated.
Then, in January 2014, General Hurley wrote to Gaynor that he would be terminated, despite admitting in the same letter that Gaynor’s statements arose from his faith.
“I accept your submission that your statements are informed by your personal beliefs and your faith,” the General wrote in the termination letter.
Gaynor blogged about everything as it unfolded.
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“Unfortunately, in the clash between Christian values and homosexual political activism, the ADF hierarchy have made it clear that Christians are going to lose their voice or be sacked,” he wrote at the end of January.
“I have presented graphic evidence that the Australian Defence Force has given support to adults who exposed themselves and engaged in sexually-explicit acts in front of children. Unfortunately, this evidence has been ignored. Instead, the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, has decided to terminate my commission because I objected to this scandal,” he wrote in February.
But Gaynor did not receive the official termination order until July 10, the last day of General Hurley’s position as Chief of the Defence Force. The delay was due to Gaynor having lodged a complaint in February with the military that protocols had been ignored regarding his termination.
Later that same month Gaynor launched a suit in federal court against General Hurley to have the termination decision overturned.
In spite of Gaynor’s efforts, the ADF decided this year to again march in the controversial Mardi Gras, stating in a memo it wanted to emphasize that “inclusivity and diversity are crucial to Defence’s ability to operate at peak performance and demonstrate maximum capability.”
LifeSiteNews asked the ADF if General Hurley’s statement against Gaynor’s “public articulation” of his faith meant that a Christian cannot publicly give expression to his faith and be a member of the Australian Army at the same time. Without giving an explanation, a Defense spokesperson responded by e-mail with a simple, “No.”
Attacked from all sides
Not only has Gaynor been terminated from the army, but a homosexual activist has now dragged him before an Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for alleged homosexual vilification where he is facing fines up to $100,000 AUD ($93,100 USD).
The homosexual activist accused Gaynor of vilification for objecting on his blog to naked homosexual men exposing themselves to children at the Pride parade in Toronto and for highlighting remarks made recently by an Australian judge who justified incest because of an acceptance of homosexuality.
The tribunal has agreed to hear the case.
Surrender is not an option
Gaynor told LifeSiteNews that he now feeds his family and pays his bills exclusively through donations that come via his website where he writes bold articles about the loss of values in modern society and its impact on all aspects of life. His Catholic faith influences everything in his life, especially his political views, he said.
In one article titled Homosexuality & Islam: strange bedfellows, Gaynor writes that an encroaching Islam is not Australia’s biggest problem, but cultural apathy caused in part by the homosexual movement’s “corrosive force” on Western morality.
“The LGBT movement is one of the biggest reasons our society has become so weak, confused and emasculated,” he writes. “As a society, we no longer have a collective sense of values, nor do we know what we believe in.”
“If we had any survival instinct at all, there would be no Islamic problem in this country because it simply would not have been allowed to take root and grow. Islam is only here because we are too weak to say no. Or, to put it another way, a crisis in moral and political leadership and our own lack of self-belief is the problem and the growth of Islam is a mere symptom of it.”
“I think we need to be much much bolder in what we stand for. ... There is too much of a desire to try to work things out peacefully behind the scenes. We think that we can’t afford to say anything because it might offend."
What drives Gaynor to tell it as he sees it, bucking political correctness in the process, is his children’s future.
“I have six children. I want them to live in a world where they are able to freely express their faith. On the trajectory where things are going, that won’t be possible in 10 to 15 years time. So, we’re looking at the next generation facing a whole bunch of much tougher battles than we’ve had to face, and we’re going to expect them to fight these battles? Have we really, as a generation of adults, shown any example in how we should be fighting? I don’t think we have. So that is something that drives me as well.”
Now is not the time to surrender, he says, but to fight more audaciously for Christian truth in the public sphere.
“I think we need to be much much bolder in what we stand for. I think there is too much of a desire to appear ‘nice’ and there is too much of a desire to try win support from people who are never ever going to support you. There is too much of a desire to try to work things out peacefully behind the scenes. We think that we can’t afford to say anything because it might offend,” he said.
“The enemies of family and life are not timid in their approach. They are black and white, blatant, and full on about what they want. And they make no concessions to anybody, but they always seek ways to force us to compromise.”
Gaynor believes that Christians need to make a firm line in the sand by stating clearly and unequivocally their beliefs. Only then will people be able to make a choice about what side they are on.
“We need to understand that there is no grey area in matters of life and family. Once we make concessions, we have lost the ideological strength of our beliefs and are playing on the enemy's home turf. Defeat always follows,” he said.
Gaynor is asking fellow Christians to join him in praying for Australia.
“Without God’s assistance, our efforts are futile,” he said.
Find out how you can support Bernard Gaynor here.