This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DADT debate on LinkedIn

As a former Air Force employee, I am a member of the US Air Force group on LinkedIn. Currently, there is a debate going on about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Here is what I have been saying:

All other issues aside, however, if good order and discipline is the reason for DADT, one must ask what about allowing gays to serve openly would violate GO&D (Good Order & Discipline)? Since DADT, the point that gay officers and airmen are required to lie to serve is gone, since no one asks anymore. Would gay service members flount there sexuality and behave in a manner that is unprofessional? If so, a gay ban is not necessary for that. What about the fact that gay sex is a violation of the UCMJ? That's easy to deal with, simply change the UCMJ to conform to civil law on sexual issues.

What is left? Is it the fault of gay service members that others object to their sexuality? The source of gay sexuality is entirely irrelevant, since under Lawrence v. Texas private sexual conduct is a matter of right - and by privacy I do not mean that it must be hidden but that it is a decision that society does not get a vote in.

If attitudes ABOUT gay service members are the issue than gay service members are not the problem at all and they should be allowed to serve openly. While people are entitled to their private thoughts about other service members, they are not entitled to let these thought affect how they deal with them. If they cannot help themselves then they need to question whether they are fit protectors of liberty.

There has been an issue (AFese for a problem) with religious coercion of zoomers by evangelical students and officers at the Academy. The problem does not rest with those who are discriminated against, but those who hold Dominionist views and who wish to impose those on other service members. This is the same kind of issue.

To put it bluntly, if there are people in the services who believe that God will somehow withdraw his protection from the United States for allowing gays to serve openly, it is best that they resign or not reenlist. We shouldn't force them to do so, however I suspect that they will.

This debate is an opportunity for people who object to gay service members to look at why they feel that way. If there objects are religious than, as a matter of honor, they should say that this is the case - or at least examine this question for themselves and if they find that religion is the issue, withdraw their objections, since such objections are innapproriate.

Someone then asked if I was out of bounds for allowing people to make such policy decisions based on their religious beliefs. My answer:

To be clear, their religious views are their business. However, they are no justification for denying other people the right to serve their country in the military or to somehow treat them differently as they serve. So, am I correct that religous beliefs on homosexuality are what is at the heart of the Good Order and Discipline argument?

UPDATE:

Is moral scorn by even a significant group of soldiers a constitutionally protected right under the freedom of relgion, which can be used to prove that allowing gays to serve openly would disrupt good order and discipline? Opponents of repeal can make that argument, if you wish. In fact, I wish they would. It would make my day if they started a petition drive and delivered those petitions to national command authorities and Congress. (Since the experience of our allies in ending such bans shows that conduct of gay service members themselves does not violate good order and discipline).

I suspect they won't, because moral scorn is not contitutionally protected speech (it is considered malice if it is a motivation for either private or governmental action) and is as related to the freedom of religion as fighting words are to the freedom of speech (not protected).

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