Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do Tell, Live In Hell

Posted March 3rd, 2009 by Wayne Besen


Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced a bill this week to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a law that prohibits gay and lesbian military personnel from serving openly. While this is welcome news, there is no guarantee of a “welcome mat” for gay and lesbian soldiers if the ban is lifted. In the years since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was adopted in 1993, there has been a rigorous effort to force religion into the barracks. Fundamentalist Christian groups have infiltrated some of our leading military bases and have made life uncomfortable for anyone who does not conform.

This first came to light in 2005 after the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs had become a bastion of Anti-Semitism and Christian proselytizing. The problem escalated as some cadets were reportedly harassed and called “filthy Jews.” A chaplain who complained about the Biblical abuse was unceremoniously demoted and shipped off to Japan. To stop the attempted conversions, the military brass had to meet with the Anti-Defamation League.

Sadly, the proselytizing continues with powerful military leaders behaving more like missionaries, than soldiers entrusted with fulfilling military missions.

“Why is it acceptable that soldiers are unable to serve this nation without attending state-led religious practices they find offensive and false?” Specialist Dustin Chalker, an army medic based at Fort Detrick, in Maryland, asked in The New York Times.

The Times article said that many service members are made uncomfortable by the outsized influence of private groups, such as Officers Christian Fellowship and the Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministry.

“You can’t and shouldn’t eliminate the spiritual component in the military,” argued Bruce Fister, Executive Director of Officers’ Christian Fellowship, in the Times.

Excuse me, why is there a “spiritual component” in a pluralistic military whose goal is to safeguard a people governed by the United States Constitution? The very document that they are entrusted with protecting forbids a state religion.


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