Pride and Christian Prejudice
If you asked Americans what the mission of the military is, most would probably say to fight and win wars. And by wars, they wouldn’t mean the cultural wars. President Obama’s radical social policies seem to suggest the latter, as [Tuesday’s] Pentagon festivities made painfully clear. The latest Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, who’s made more headlines for his attack on values than on terrorists, led the military parade for gay pride month at the Pentagon’s official party — which featured one of the Army’s “transitioning” officers, among things. To a standing room-only crowd, Carter’s biggest rah-rah moment was introducing Brigadier General Randy Taylor, who shared that he had to hide his relationship with his boyfriend under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
Today, he’s pleased to say that he can show off his “husband” without fear of losing his job. For conservatives, now forced to closet their views, it was a sad irony to see this general applauded for his sexual choices when chaplains like Wes Modder can’t even cite Scripture in a private counseling session! As a party favor, Carter announced that for the first time in history, the military is breaking from tradition and turning sexual orientation into a “protected class” — violating a fundamental 2011 promise and setting off a chain of events that many (including our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin) think could change the Armed Forces forever.
Back during the congressional debate over DADT, the military’s service chiefs were promised that the Equal Opportunity guidelines would not change — which, like many other assurances, has turned out to be a bold-faced lie that greased the wheels of repeal. As we’ve witnessed in the four years since, once the camel’s nose was under the tent, the dominos started to fall. Under an affirmative action-type system, what troops do in the bedroom will transcend what they do in battle when it comes to key personnel decisions. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the military will start catering to gays, lesbians, and transgenders at the expense of good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. As they have with every incremental change, activists will leverage this new standing as a way to demand access and force affirmation.
Yet Carter, who actually claimed that elevating LGBTs is a matter of national security, thinks people will buy his line: “We need to be a meritocracy. We have to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the things that matter most about a person is what they can contribute to national defense.” But obviously, we can’t be a meritocracy when sexual expression becomes more relevant than professional experience.
As General Boykin pointed out, “The military’s job isn’t to champion causes — it’s to fight and win wars.” Decisions like that don’t facilitate the mission, they distract from it — and further emasculate the warrior class. The administration likes to say, as Carter did Tuesday, that “Discrimination of any kind has no place in America’s armed forces.” Tell that to Christians, who are being shown the door the Pentagon just opened to homosexuals. Marginalizing faith has serious long-term consequences, as we learned 50 years ago in the public schools. Now the same thing is happening in the military, and what’s the result? We’re celebrating gay pride at the expense of American pride.
Ask Abilene Baptist Church in Georgia. Their annual Fourth of July event, which was once a celebration of American exceptionalism, turned into a national headline when the Army — after 20 years of doing so — refused to provide a color guard, claiming it violated policy to join a “religious service.” Our good friend Todd Starnes of Fox News broke the story, which continues to shock conservatives who thought they’d heard everything. As a Marine, one of my additional duties was providing color guard service — at funerals, churches, union events, you name it. Not once did we, who took an oath that included “so help me God,” turn down a request for being “overtly religious.” This was a church, incidentally, whose tradition of honoring our Armed Forces dates back to 1774 when the first pastor was a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.
Faith and military service have been an inseparable piece of the American fabric for centuries. And to watch that fabric unravel at the hands of a radical few is painful — but not irreparable. Courage, the same kind that led the great men and women of this country to put on their uniform, is needed more now than ever. Pray for our troops — not only that they would have the fortitude to fight the enemies abroad, but the agenda within.
A Hippie, an Ambassador, and a Civil Rights Leader Walk into FRC…
What do a former hippie, a U.N. Ambassador, and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King have in common? A belief that marriage matters! [Tuesday], FRC’s own Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment Ken Blackwell, who was also America’s Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, was joined by Dr. Alveda King and Deacon Keith Fournier in addressing a packed house here at FRC about the likelihood that the Supreme Court will find a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage.
Drawing from Scripture and the legacy of Dr. King, Ken reminded us that we must “ready ourselves” to “do this battle for what is right,” however politically incorrect it might be. As Ken said as to God’s design for one man, one woman marriage, “No Court can take away what they didn’t give you.” Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries.
She told the audience, “We have an obligation to speak out” and not to give up in the face of a potentially “cockamamie” Supreme Court decision. Dr. King speaks with authority as one who has faced great odds. The survivor of two abortions, she came to know the forgiveness and new life Christ offers in 1983 and now works to encourage love for the unborn and their mothers across America. She quoted the prayer of her late uncle celebrating marriage: “Creator of Life, thank You for holy matrimony, the privilege You grant man and wife as parents to aid You in Your creative activity.”
Her uncle didn’t quit in his battle for equality, nor must we quit in the battle for marriage. And self-described “former hippie” Deacon Keith Fournier, who serves as both a minister in the Catholic Church and as a top attorney with Liberty Counsel, counseled, “Marriage cannot be changed. It is intended for life, open to life, and formative of family.” Echoing Ken, the Deacon said, “No court can change the nature of truth.” “The early Christians were persecuted as enemies of the state,” he noted, saying that “We’re moving into something of a parallel nature.”
All three speakers left the audience with a spirit of hope grounded in faith and in showing love and respect to everyone. “Person to person, heart to heart, we have to engage” on the issues of marriage and sexuality based on our common human dignity, Ken concluded. Watch the full discussion below and be encouraged to stay faithful in standing for marriage and family, regardless of the outcome of the Court’s decision.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.