Gays already can serve in the U.S. military, but what about the rights of religious believers and cultural traditionalists?
The Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a hearing today about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gays in the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, are expected to testify about how the U.S. military will, over time, implement President Obama’s pledge to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Of course, gays in the military is not an issue that anyone, save for the gay lobby, really wants to discuss. It creates unease, discomfort and confusion — and so we ignore it and hope that it will go away. But it won’t — and nor should it necessarily.
We live, after all, in a free and democratic country in which people have a right to express themselves and to make their views known. And certainly, the gay lobby has been making well known what it thinks of gays in the military — namely, that they’re already there and should be allowed to serve openly and without any moral or cultural stigma.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that the gay lobby already has won this battle in large part. The U.S. military, after all, is a reflection of the larger-scale American society; and American social attitudes toward lesbians and homosexuals have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in recent years.
Indeed, Americans — including U.S. military servicemen and women — are far more tolerant, and even accepting, of lesbians and homosexuals than they were 20 or 30 years ago.
This is attributable in no small measure to a concerted propaganda campaign waged by Hollywood, television, and the media to depict lesbians and homosexuals in the most favorable light possible. Consequently, it is all but impossible to find a gay character, on TV or in a movie, who is bad or despicable — or who suffers from vices and compulsions that might be more common within the gay community.
More typical, in fact, are lesbians and homosexuals who are depicted as plaster saints or moral superiors. Think of Tom Hanks’ saintly character, Andrew Beckett, in the 1993 movie Philadelphia. Or recall Doug Savant’s martyr character, Matt Fielding, in the 1990s’ television hit Melrose Place.
There has been a “steady increase in gay [television] characters,” James Barrios told the Huffington Post last September. Barrios is president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Story lines… are becoming “more reflective of current issues affecting our lives,” [he] said in a statement.
Fair, accurate images of gay couples marrying, raising families, and contributing to their communities help fellow Americans “come to accept and better understand” their gay family members and neighbors, he said.
Examples cited by GLAAD include a gay couple marrying on ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” and a gay police officer on NBC’s “Southland” — a rare character for a crime drama.
So while most military service men and women — 58% according to a December 2008 Military Times poll — still oppose open homosexuality in the ranks, an equally strong majority are quite tolerant and accepting of lesbians and homosexuals.
Why, then, shouldn’t gays serve openly and freely? Is it not rank prejudice and discrimination to disallow this? Isn’t “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” outdated and unnecessary social policy? Has it not been superseded by a new set of social norms and mores?
Not quite. The confusion stems from the gay lobby’s own religious and cultural bigotry — and its failure to distinguish between tolerance and affirmation.
The vast majority of Americans — including the vast majority of U.S. servicemen and women — are extremely tolerant. However, many Americans — including a great many who serve in our armed forces — are also quite religious. Others who are not religious are nonetheless cultural traditionalists.
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