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  • “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal May Threaten Religious Liberty in Armed Forces

    Yesterday, the House Armed Services Committee heard testimonies from leaders in the armed forces on the impact of last year’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The hearing was one of the first full committee discussions of the topic in the House of Representatives since repeal of the law was mentioned by President Obama in last year’s State of the Union address.

    Such delayed discussion is one of the many concerns surrounding the reversal of the 1993 law banning open homosexuals from serving in the armed forces. A new paper from the Heritage Foundation highlights how last year’s campaign to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was marked by hurried legislation and limited deliberation. The short time frame between the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) report on the steps involved in changing the law and votes in Congress left concerned lawmakers and citizens little time to raise important questions about potential free speech and religious liberty ramifications. Likewise, the two brief hearings on the Pentagon’s 400-page report – held only in the Senate – and the limited debate time and prohibition on amendments all but excluded exploration of the CRWG’s often ambiguous recommendations.

    Without adequate deliberation on the ramifications of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” military chaplains and service members with moral and religious concerns were left with many unanswered questions: Can chaplains teach that homosexual conduct is immoral as they see appropriate? Can they participate in marriage counseling that promotes marriage between a man and a woman? Are service members allowed to civilly disagree with and discuss the policy change without risking their careers?

    Answers to these and other questions should be addressed by Congress and the Department of Defense. Specifically, Congress should monitor the repeal implementation process through hearings in both the House and Senate and conduct an independent survey of service members to determine the effects of the repeal on military readiness, unit cohesion, and religious liberty in the armed forces. The Department of Defense should likewise seek to clarify the rights of chaplains and service members to civilly express religious or moral views on the repeal and on the underlying policy issues.

    To keep track of developments on issues like these, subscribe to the Richard and Helen DeVos Center’s weekly Culture Watch.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal May Threaten Religious Liberty in Armed Forces

    1. Ned Flaherty, Boston says:

      Sarah Torre is unfamiliar with the DADT repeal law about which she writes. She’s wrong on 3 counts.

      Firstly, Torre writes — incorrectly — that DADT repeal may “threaten religious liberty in the armed forces.”

      That is untrue.

      The training materials on DADT repeal have been available to the public since January. They confirm that chaplains can continue teaching whatever their religion preaches about morality, marriage, etc. And service members continue to have the right to request another chaplain whenever desired.

      Secondly, Torre also worries — again, incorrectly — that service members might not be allowed to civilly discuss the new DoD policy.

      That also is untrue.

      The training courses, and the permanent chain of command, allow whatever discussion and/or inquiry is needed.

      Thirdly, Torre also asks why service members are not allowed to disagree with DoD policy.

      Because it’s policy, that’s why.

      Every service member already agreed to abide by all current and future laws and regulations, (including this one). Not complying with the new policy constitutes a violation of a lawful regulation, disobedience of an order, and dereliction of duty. Failure to comply risks administrative or disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. This is how the military has always operated. Nothing has changed.

    2. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      I thought there is a need to clarify one or two comments in my first post. First is the Islamic promise of reward for killing an infidel, especially a Jew or Christian if they die while doing so in combat regardless of what they have done in their life means, “regardless of what the follower of Islam has done during their life.”

      The second regards our relearning about Jihad. The first time our country learned about Jihad was during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. The pirates off the Barbary Coast (just off the coast of Tripoli) were Islamic pirates. The ambassador from that land met with President Jefferson and informed him it is the right of those Islamic pirates to kill, rape and plunder infidels off their coast as they are merely following the tenants of Islam as they are written in the Koran and other Holy Islamic writings as Jihad. The ambassador continued to tell President Jefferson the killings will in fact continue. President Jefferson responded by sending in the Marines. That is one of their exploits captured in their service hymn. Jefferson was right to deal with them harshly to protect American lives, interests and business and we need to return to such a policy now without hesitation.

    3. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      Apparently my first post went into the ether. Please find it below:

      Congress should restore the ability of military chaplains to perform their duties to the fullest of the tenants of their faith without fear of retaliation of any kind and without fail. If I remember my history well, that is the way George Washington implemented the military chaplain program. That would counter the rather overt “pro gay” message this administration strongly wants to push. While the so-called three major represented religions in the military all denounce homosexuality the only one that still has a tendency to render capital punishment, and usually by stoning is: Islam.

      That brings the most significant problem with the practice of Islam in America which is to kill all infidels who refuse to convert to Islam. And that has been incentivized by guaranteeing the follower of Islam goes to heaven IF he or she dies while in combat with a Jew or a Christian regardless what they have done in their life. We got to relearn that the hard way thru their concept of Jihad. With such promises and directives in the Koran, and as we have witnessed either personally or in news reports on television, that makes the practice of Islam incompatible with the laws of the United States of America and, as such should be banned from being practiced in this country and NOT allowed in the military chaplain program.

      Please keep in mind the latest study results of American society indicate that ONLY 1.7% of the population is homosexual. Why should we ever let such a small sliver of total American demographic force us to accept their alternative lifestyle we know as a perversion? Our laws should be supporting the basic building block of society, the family as other laws should penalize such unacceptable reprehensible behavior as another way to protect society from this abomination and all the ancillary side effects associated with that perversion.

      In conclusion, I agree with the repeal of “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” PROVIDED we returned to the previously established standard of allowing only heterosexual applicants be processed and accessed onto the roles of our military.

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