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Religious Tolerance logo

Gays in the U.S. Military: Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy

2010-DEC-27: Beliefs about homosexuals in the
military, based on religious & rights arguments

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An exchange of views between a conservative Christian and a political science student:

We include this exchange because it explains and contrasts a conservative Christian and a human rights arguments toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons with such clarity. Our webmaster has added comments at the end of this essay.

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A conservative Christian view:

Star Parker of the Scripps Howard News Service wrote an op-ed piece that was published in the Deseret News, in Salt Lake City, UT and perhaps 200 other newspapers. She is an African American, and president of the anti-poverty non-profit Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE). She ran for the U.S. Congress in California's 36th District as a Republican, but was unsuccessful. We have copied part of her article below. We had to remove two sections in order to reduce it to under 500 words, the normal maximum allowed under copyright "fair use" laws.

Ms. Parker wrote:

"... I'm feeling increasingly like a minority in our country. Not because I'm black, but because I am a Christian.

As a Christian, I believe in the truth of traditional morality as transmitted to us through our biblical sources. And I believe, along with George Washington, who stated this clearly in his farewell address to the nation, that religion and traditional morality are critical to the maintenance of our free society.

Homosexual behavior is unacceptable by these moral standards.

I also see no clash between this conviction and individuals being free and taking personal responsibility for living as they choose in our free country.

But private behavior and public sanction are different matters.

Our military is a quintessentially public institution. Its acceptance of behavior unacceptable by traditional moral standards means official public sanction of this behavior and, in my view, this is a big mistake.

[77%] Support from public opinion drove repeal of this law. ..."

"Yet, at the same time that Americans are increasingly at ease with homosexual behavior, the public says that the nation is not in good moral shape.

According to a Gallup poll in May, three times as many — 45 percent — say the country is in poor moral condition as those — 15 percent — who say it's in excellent/good moral condition. And, 76 percent say the moral state of the nation is getting worse compared to 14 percent who say it's getting better.

What's going on?

First, Americans are becoming more prone to believe that individuals cannot take personal responsibility for their sexual behavior. Thirty-six percent believe today that homosexual behavior is genetically determined compared to 14 percent who believed this 40 years ago.

Second, our sense of the meaning of morality has become relative and ambiguous. ..."

"It should be clear that what is happening is that any prevailing sense that there are objective standards for right and wrong is disappearing and that this is being displaced with a relativism and nihilism that values nothing other than tolerance of everything.

As Americans increasingly believe that behavior that traditional morality prohibits is genetically determined, the perceived seriousness of traditional religion and values becomes marginalized.

Obama said that repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell ' 'will strengthen our national security.'

I cannot think of anything more dangerous to our national security and the ongoing strength of our nation than the collapse of our sense that there are objective rights and wrongs. When we sanction ourselves to make everything up, who can the God that our Declaration of Independence refers to possibly be?

Why should Americans take the words of our constitution, that are a few hundred years old, seriously when we dismiss the truths of words that are thousands of years old?" 1

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A political science/human rights view:

Isaac Higham, a student majoring in Political Science at Utah State University, wrote a response to Ms. Parker:

"I recently had the opportunity to read your piece about homosexuality being publicly condoned but morally unacceptable as it was reprinted in one of our local papers.  In your piece you argue that as a Christian you adhere to Biblical standards of morality, and that these standards of morality make homosexuality unacceptable.  And you further argue that the nation must realign with those Biblical mores, and those of our original Constitution, if our nation is to be rescued from the precipice of moral collapse.

While many scholars disagree with the traditional interpretation of biblical condemnation of homosexuality, I shall set aside this issue and suppose for the sake of discussion that you are correct in saying Biblical Christianity condemns homosexuality.

The Bible is a book that lays out situations in which slavery is morally acceptable; situations in which rape is divinely condoned; instances where mass genocide is approved; the idea that women are property.  The list of biblical moral conundrums could be a mile long.

Because of this one must conclude that as a Christian you are either willfully ignorant of what the Bible actually says, or that you pick and choose which Biblical precepts are meant to be applied today.  If it is the first, then you hardly have credence to demand others adhere to moral principles that you yourself do not understand.  If it is the second, then you yourself are guilty of the moral relativism and adopting a sliding moral scale that you decry in your piece.

As an African American and as a woman one would think you would be critical of traditional Biblical traditions and the original Constitution.  For under both documents you would have been enslaved and controlled simply because of your skin color and your gender.  You would have been subject to slavery, ineligible for certain marriage rights, unable to own property, and unable to vote (let alone start your own organization or run for the United States Congress as you have done).

As an American that loves this country and our Constitutional freedoms and protections, I am disappointed that you would gladly accept the progress and advancements in society that have allowed you the opportunities to pursue your dreams, but at the same time try and condemn those same advancements when they offer protections and opportunities to others.

Pride and hypocrisy are Biblically immoral and condemned by Jesus himself, Ms. Parker.  Perhaps you should start with the beam in your own eye before addressing the mote you perceive to be in the eyes of your American brothers and sisters.

Thank you for putting your name to your opinion unlike the ever increasing anonymous attacks in today’s political discourse.  May God bless you and yours in the coming New Year. 2


Comment by the webmaster:

Ms. Walker quoted public opinion polls that asked American adults whether homosexual orientation is caused by genetic factor(s) or is a chosen orientation. We suggest that this is not valid information in which to argue a case for or against equal rights for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

Today, in North America, we have two main approaches to understanding the workings of nature:

  1. Science, in which scientists use the scientific method. This is a multi-stage process:
    • A problem that needs to be solved is defined.
    • A possible hypothesis, which may be correct or invalid, is created.
    • An experiment is designed in which the truth of falsity of the hypothesis is tested.
    • If the experiment is successful, the hypothesis is tentatively believed to be correct.
    • It is reported in a peer-reviewed journal and subsequently evaluated by other scientists some of whom attempt to duplicate the experiments.
    • If the evaluations are successful, the hypothesis becomes more credible. Over time, it may become a theory.
    • This entire process is done without reference to the Bible or any other source of religious information.

  2. Religion: Conservative theologians interpret the Bible in various ways to learn the workings of the universe, typically without reference to the findings of scientists. In case of conflict, the Bible rules.

    Religious liberals and progressives consider their interpretation of the Bible's content -- which differs from that of conservatives -- but give greater weight to the scientific method where there is a conflict between science and religion.

Human sexuality specialists have studied identical twins who were separated at birth, placed in different homes, and raised independently. They concluded that the basic cause of a homosexual orientation is genetic, and that the "gay gene(s)" are turned on or off by some environmental factor in early childhood before the individual reaches school age. Other scientists have taken other investigative paths and have reached the same conclusion. More details. The vast majority of religious liberals, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, therapists, social workers, and some mainline Christians accept the understanding that sexual orientation is basically genetic.

Some conservative Christian theologians have studied the Bible and concluded that a person's sexual orientation is chosen by the individual during or following puberty. Events during their childhood, like poor parenting or sexual molestation, make it more likely that they will choose to have a homosexual orientation. This belief is very widely accepted by fundamentalists, other evangelicals, conservatives of other religions, and some mainline Christians.

The results of a public opinion poll on this topic really only show from which source American adults pick up their information: science or religion. A poll gives no information about which beliefs are true.

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Subsequent DADT developments...

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Star Parker, "Homosexual behavior publicly condoned but morally unacceptable," Scripps Howard News Service, 2010-DEC-27, at:
  2. "Eric", "Star Parker: Gays in the military are killing the country, ’cause the Bible says so," Pride in Utah, 2010-DEC-27, at:
  3. book cover image Nathaniel Frank, "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America," St. Martin's Griffin, (2010).   Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  4. Nathaniel Frank, "Accountability and DADT: A Framework for Assessing Predictions of Disruption Caused by Openly Gay Military Service," Dropbox Blog, 2011-DEC, at:
  5. Nathaniel Frank, "Will Defenders of DADT Stand By Their Dire Predictions?," Huffington Post, 2011-DEC-21, at:

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Copyright © 2010 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JAN-01
Latest update: 2012-SEP-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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