It pains me to say this as a veteran, but the American military is engaged in a terrible double standard. It claims to want to respect people for who they are, but in reality, it is involved in an almost cult-like determination to advance the hyper-homosexualization of the military, and as a result, it is tearing apart the good order and discipline which holds our armed forces together.
This can be an uncomfortable subject to discuss, and I know all too well that people risk immediate condemnation for even stepping into this debate in this day and age because the topic is the third rail of today’s politics.
But I cannot help but reach the conclusion that, since the repeal of the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, homosexual advocacy has become a sort of “religious” force, and the American military gives it preferential treatment to established faiths in violation of its very own regulations.
Take the most recent example involving the use of military honor guards at public events.
Abilene Baptist Church has had honor guards from nearby Fort Gordon participate in its Independence Day celebration for two decades. The soldiers have flown the colors whether the event was held at the local park or right in the church building.
This year, however, the Army refused. Officials cited a May 2011 regulation, Army Regulation 360-1, that says they must not selectively benefit, or appear to benefit, any particular religious group. They said they cannot support an event that promotes, endorses, or sponsors any religious group.
Let’s set aside for a moment that the honor guard has participated in this event after the May 2011 regulation. Let’s set aside for a moment that, while the celebration may include prayer, it is first and foremost a celebration of our nation’s hard-fought independence…an independence, by the way, earned in part by the very first pastor at Abilene Baptist Church, who was a chaplain in General Washington’s Continental Army.
Let’s turn instead to the fact that just weeks before this church holds its celebration, a military honor guard will be marching in the 2015 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C. In fact, an honor guard marched in last year’s Capital Pride Parade and in two separate “gay pride” events at the Pentagon.
Now, what the Army seems to have glossed over in its rejection of Abilene Baptist Church’s request are the actual words of Army Regulation 360-1.
Section 3.2(a) specifically states, “Army participation must not selectively benefit (or appear to benefit) any person, group, or corporation (whether profit or nonprofit); religion, sect, religious or sectarian group, or quasi-religious or ideological movement; fraternal organization; political organization; or commercial venture.”
Since the day that the commander in chief insisted on the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the movement to advance homosexual legal and social demands within the military has taken on every hallmark of a “quasi-religious or ideological movement.”
It is by definition at least an ideological movement. But, in addition, it evangelizes, promises benefits to those who believe “the right view,” and decrees punishment for those whose consciences don’t fall in line.
So, why doesn’t Army Regulation 360-1 apply to the Capital Pride Parade as well?
The military asked people to have faith that repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would not impact good order and discipline—that it would not impact recruiting and retention.
Senior military leaders met with chaplain endorsers like me and many of those whom Chaplain Alliance represents. They told us that the Department of Defense would not make homosexuals a separate class. Just last week, the Department of Defense reversed this with a new Equal Opportunity policy, ignoring promises made to chaplain endorsers and to Congress.
While the Pentagon bends over backwards to advance homosexual issues within the ranks, it goes out of its way to bully Christians who serve.
Christian soldiers who share their favorite verses from Scripture are punished. Christian service members who dare to leave their Bibles in plain view are disciplined. Chaplains who counsel from biblical standards are removed from their positions. They are on the losing end of the military’s double standard.
When Abilene Baptist Church’s first pastor went off to fight in the Revolutionary War, he couldn’t have possibly foreseen this future. The freedom he fought for started with religious liberty—words that the military barely gives lip service to any more.
Crews is executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers, the faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains. The endorsers in the Chaplain Alliance speak for more than 2,600 chaplains serving the armed forces.