Wednesday April 28, 2010
Military Chaplains Urge Obama to Maintain Ban on Open Homosexuals in Military
By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over 40 retired military chaplains are urging President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to consider the impairment of religious liberty that would likely result from imposing a “non-discrimination” policy regarding open homosexuals in the military.
The Family Research Council (FRC) and the Alliance Defense Fund Wednesday released a letter signed by the chaplains expressing concern over what they claim would be a threat to Christian free speech if the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy on open homosexuals in the military were to be lifted. Defense Secretary Gates confirmed in February that, acceeding to the wishes of the Obama administration, the Pentagon would begin taking steps towards repealing the Clinton-era DADT.
“As chaplains whose cumulative service is measured in centuries, we are deeply concerned that these changes would threaten the religious liberty of chaplains and service members,” states the letter. The former chaplains note that, because they are retired, they have more freedom to speak, “unlike our active-duty brethren in the chaplaincy, who may risk accusations of insubordination or discrimination if they raise these concerns.”
The group says they fear that “chaplains might be pressured by adverse discipline and collapsed careers into watering down their teachings and avoiding – if not abandoning – key elements of their sending denomination’s faith and practice. Such a result would be the very antithesis of religious freedom and inimical to the guarantees made by our First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
The chaplains also say that homosexuals would soon demand that the Strong Bonds program, which supports military marriages and is administered by the chaplaincy, apply also to homosexual couples, if homosexuality were normalized in the armed forces. Chaplains administering the program, they note, “will either have to deny their religious beliefs to comply with the ‘non-discrimination’ policy or face the potentially career-ending consequences of a discrimination complaint when they deny their request.”
The letter continues: “Even if a chaplain never receives a formal complaint for exercising his religious beliefs, his career and ministry will be threatened simply by the existence of the ‘non-discrimination’ law. By raising homosexual behavior to the same protected status as innate, innocuous characteristics like race and gender, the armed forces will cast the sincerely held religious beliefs of many chaplains and Service members as rank bigotry comparable to racism.”
The chaplains point to several civilian cases in which Christians have been penalized in their professional capacity for upholding their beliefs in homosexuality as immoral. “Nothing will insulate armed forces chaplains from these issues already rampant in civilian life,” they state. “If anything, the uniquely close relationship between armed forces chaplains and the government will only intensify this divisive phenomenon, creating sharp and widespread conflict. …
“Opposition to normalizing sinful behavior is deeply rooted in our theology, and that opposition will come to a sharp head if the armed forces compel affirmation of homosexual conduct.”
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, FRC president Tony Perkins stated: “While we may not see – at least not immediately – proscriptions restricting what chaplains can or cannot say, rest assured, the appropriate gospel will be a politically correct gospel.”
“And while failure to preach this p.c. gospel may not lead to being drummed out of the military, there’s no question that it will be an obstacle to the promotion and the military careers of chaplains,” he added.
If chaplains are restricted in their ability to represent their faith, said Perkins, “you can look for orthodox Christian chaplains to exit the military, leaving an insurmountable void in fostering an environment that ensures that the men and women who wear the uniform are in their best mental, emotional, and spiritual condition necessary to defend the nation and the ideals that we represent.
“With two military actions underway, multiple deployments and one tour of duty, why would we ask these people to carry the burden of this administration’s political agenda?”