“Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with G-d not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y. We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes. Once a disaster is unleashed, innocents are also victims just like in Chernobyl.

“We plead with saner heads in Congress and the Pentagon to stop sodomization of our military and our society. Enough is enough.” Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Spokesman, Rabbinical Alliance of America.

“So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Storm troopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Storm troopers, the Browshirts, were male homosexuals.” American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer.

“Repealing the ban on open homosexuals serving in the U.S. military would be a mistake of historic proportions.

First, there would certainly be a mass exodus of normal men from a homosexualized military, leading to the reinstatement of compulsory service. The entire premise of a military system based on voluntary service is that young men will want to serve. But will normal men want to volunteer when they know they will share close quarters with other men for whom they will be objects of sexual interest? It is a recipe for deep and widespread moral and morale problems.

Then there’s the likelihood of physical conflict among the troops. Will proud young men being honed to become weapons of aggression against America’s enemies tolerate being ogled in the showers or touched inappropriately or bunking near sexually active “gays“? Undoubtedly blood will spill over such (inevitable) indignities.

But what will be the political consequence? Once homosexuals are invited to serve, the authorities will be committed to integrate them into the ranks, which means “sensitivity” training, anti-discrimination policies, and all of the other “politically correct” nonsense that has been such a disaster in the other spheres of our society. These policies have smacked of pro-“gay” fascism in the civilian world; how much worse would it be in the rigidly-controlled environment of the military?”

Dr. Scott Lively President, Defend the Family International

The talking points of the religious and political right only get more hysterical and patently ridiculous from what I have just quoted.  Even going so far as to express the wild fantasy that sleeping soldiers would be in danger of experiencing force fellatio.

A closer read of the mentioned quotes will reveal what this is really all about: fear of sexuality.  Ever since Augustine we have lived in a world where the act of sex has been thought to be some how the dark side of humanity not to be enjoyed and celebrated but done only out of duty to procreate. The end result of this thought process has turned sex into a “power and control” game, with homophobia being the ultimate weapon of sexism at it’s worst.

The “biblical” arguments against homosexuality for the most part have in fact been disproven or at minimum so open to question of what was actual being said they have become a mute point.  In fact biblically speaking much stronger and pervasive arguments can be made for feeding the hungry, being merciful rather than justice seeking, loving one’s neighbor unconditionally and not bombing the world into a million pieces should be our priority rather than ones sexual orientation.

A little research will show most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members; of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, 22 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve; of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, three (United Kingdom, France, and Russia) do so. I might point out here most of these countries would consider themselves spiritual nations of one sort or another. If the reader wants to see the complete list of countries where this is a non-issue go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation_and_military_service.

Steve Chapman points out this interesting little thought: “Israel, being small, surrounded by hostile powers, and obsessed with security, can’t afford to jeopardize its military strength for the sake of prissy ventures in political correctness. But its military not only accepts gays, it provides benefits to their same-sex partners, as it does with spouses. Has that policy sapped Israel’s military might? Its enemies don’t seem eager to test the proposition.

You could argue that none of these experiences is relevant, since, being Americans, we are utterly unique. But our soldiers don’t seem to have any trouble fighting alongside gay soldiers from allied nations.”

Rabbi Steven Wernick, the Executive Vice President and CEO, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has this to say: “The United States was founded on the principles that all people were created equal. We know that sexual orientation is innate, and it cannot be God’s will to give gay men and lesbians less dignity than God has given the rest of us. We believe strongly, therefore, that every American citizen, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, should have the right to serve our country. And no American citizen should have to lie about the person he or she most loves. The “don’t ask” part of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” equation is on target – it is no one’s business, ever. But the “don’t tell” part is a violation of every person’s right to seek love, and the right that Thomas Jefferson affirmed for us, the right to the pursuit of happiness.”

As for the hysterical fear stating if DADT goes away sexual assaults will suddenly become a problem…please!  According to Marie Tesser a writer for womensnews, “Sexual assault remains a pervasive problem for women in the military, including those currently deployed overseas. Experts say the military’s hierarchy is ill-equipped and unprepared to deal fairly with rape complaints.”

According to CBS news, “Katie Couric asked Michael Dominguez, principal under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, how big a problem sexual assault is in the military.

“Sexual assault injures troops,” he said. “Injures readiness. So regardless of the numbers we have, it is by definition too much.

But how often does it happen?

The Pentagon only started a comprehensive program to track incidents in 2006, and only after Congress mandated it do so.

That year there were 2,974 cases of rape and sexual assault across the services. And of those, only 292 cases resulted in a military trial.

And in 2007 there were even fewer prosecutions.

“Of more than 2,200 servicemen investigated for sexual assault, only 181 were prosecuted?” Couric asked Dominguez.

“Yes, we absolutely have to get better,” he said. “[Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates himself is driving this initiative this year to improve our ability to investigate, to prosecute and convict. This is not where we want to be.”

And in a majority of cases, the punishment doesn’t seem to match the crime. Often most offenders only get a reduction in rank or reduced pay.

Seems pretty clear to me gay folks are not the sexual problem of the military.

The hysterical right will never admit the TLGBQ folks have been serving in the military all along, standing in harms way as much for them as you and I, spilling their blood for the country they love and have taken an oath to defend…generally suffering in silence, being denied partner benefits and pensions, being forced to lie, hide and sneak around.

Yes, we have been in the military for a long long time.  Denny Meyer writes: “In 2003, at a summer Pride rally in a small park in the heart of New York City, I met an elderly couple who had strolled into the park to see what the festivities were all about.  He wore a WWII VET baseball cap and had his arm around his wife’s shoulders.  Seeing that I was wearing a veteran’s garrison cap, he asked me what was going on.  I told him that it was a Gay Pride rally and that I was handing out leaflets advocating the right of gay people to serve in our armed forces.  He nodded and told me that he’d been in the Normandy Invasion and that on that dreadful D-Day, as they stormed the beach under an incessant hail of machinegun fire and artillery, there were five men in his unit that everyone knew were homosexuals.  He said, gravely, “The German bullets didn’t discriminate; we all took care of each other and covered each other.”

Our military leaders know our community has served and done it with distinction and true heroism, which why DADT is so hypocritical especially in a country where we hold dear and the military exists to defend: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The religious and political right in the days ahead will grow even more resolute and hysterical in their fight to stop this “house of cards” from falling.  Yet our community will continue to stand firm, continue to defend to the death the right of all people to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We will no longer hide in shameful silence.

We will always point out the hypocrisy of DADT until it is no longer the policy of deceit, hypocrisy and shame with these simple words placed on the gravesite of Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (1943–1988) who served his country with honor and distinction:

A Gay Vietnam Veteran
When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.

 


Rev. Paul M. Turner is the Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta. For more information, please visit www.gentlespirit.org or e-mail info@gentlespirit.org

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