The first flush of speed-dialed and pre-composed e-mail reactions to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell came from gay clergy applauding the vote. Now, Sunday morning brings the conservative evangelical voices with dire predictions for its impact on military chaplains.
While some fret over the stress to those chaplains whose religion teaches homosexual behavior is unbiblical, others worry that members of our religiously diverse armed forces could be treated like a captive audience for evangelism.
The Alliance Defense Fund's Daniel Blomberg argues that by bowing to activists, the Senate is placing thereligious liberty of troops and chaplains in "unprecedented jeopardy.
... No Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs. We hope that our nation's leaders will work to ensure that none of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are ever made to choose between serving their country or obeying their God as result of this damaging policy decision.
A Pentagon study concluded that open service would not affect military readiness but it also included some concerns about military "prayerfulness." Some of the military's 3,000 chaplains voiced fears that they would not be able to preach the truth of a religious belief that homosexual behavior is unbiblical.
The Pentagon study summary said,
A large number of military chaplains (and their followers) believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, and that they are required by God to condemn it as such.
Terry Mattingly, founder of the religion media critique site Get Religion, writes in October that thepotential chaplain problem wasn't being fully addressed in the media.
What happens if the conservatives are right and that any advocacy of traditional doctrines by chaplains is labeled "hate speech," with offenders either being punished or simply denied the ability to advance in rank? If you read the views of theological liberals, there will be no problems after repeal, unless there are problems. No one is talking about "hate speech," except for those who believe that conservatives are already guilty of "hate speech."
A few years ago a Military Chaplain shared his concern with me that in the near future it would be the Christians in the Military who would be ordered to “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell… Your Christian Values!”
At the time I did not take his prediction very serious… However, driving to work today I heard the Marine Commandant on the radio saying "the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines." In other words… there will be “Zero Tolerance” for any Marine who does not fully accept Homosexuality as normal behavior. This is a very sad day for all Christians serving in the military.