Last spring, after the Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had been disinvited to an Air Force prayer luncheon because of his support for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I wrote a piece called “The Intolerance and Bigotry of Openly Gay Military Service.”
My warnings were ignored and even dismissed by many conservatives as overblown. But Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has confirmed my worst fears today by calling for the dismissal of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos.
Amos’ crime? Like Perkins (who is himself a former Marine), Amos had the audacity to speak out in defense of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And, in Cohen’s warped view, this constitutes impermissible “bigotry,” or “one step short of being a bigot.”
“The Marines of today know that virtually the entire Republican Party stood up for bigotry,” Cohen writes. And “this is what concerns me about Amos. His views are on the record…. His subordinates know what he thinks of gays.”
Of course, Amos never said anything disparaging about gays per se. He simply fulfilled his constitutional duty, which is to give his best professional military advice and counsel to policymakers and the public.
Cohen doesn’t want to admit it, but homosexual dynamics within small-scale military units are inherently problematical and disruptive. Amos had not choice but to point this out and to state the obvious.
But Cohen is absolutely right about one thing: There certainly is bigotry at work here: intellectual bigotry and intolerance from leftists like him who cannot countenance dissenting points of view.
Indeed, I’m reminded of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s famous line: “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”
Cohen’s column, though, isn’t so much aimed at Gen. Amos as it is the next generation of Marine and military leaders. His column is a warning: If you dare to dissent from the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy on homosexuality, you will be branded a bigot and deemed unfit for military service. Traditional conservatives and religious believers need not apply. Keep your warped conservative views to yourself.
So it is that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Perkins’ own Family Research Council, a widely respected Washington, D.C. public-policy organization, a “hate group.” As Pat Buchanan explains in his column this morning:
The world has turned upside down. What was criminal vice in the 1950s -- homosexuality and abortion -- is not only constitutionally protected, but a mark of social progress…
Only in secularist ideology, [however], is it an article of faith that all sexual relations are morally equal and that to declare homosexual acts immoral is bigotry…
Not until recent decades have many in America or the West argued that homosexuality is natural and normal. As late as 1973, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Today, anyone who agrees with that original APA assessment is himself or herself said to be afflicted with a mental disorder: homophobia.
But as Buchanan observes, behind traditionalist beliefs about homosexuality,
lie the primary sources of moral authority for traditionalist America: the Old and New Testaments, Christian doctrine, natural law. Thomas Jefferson believed homosexuality should be treated with the same severity as rape.
The problems with openly gay service are exacerbated by the nature of military life, which is hierarchical, bureaucratic, and government-run and –administered. Indeed, as J.E. Dyer has observed at Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog:
Gays can already serve in the U.S. military; repealing DADT isn’t about allowing them to [serve]. It’s about endorsing their sexual orientation in military operations and culture.
The course of hands-off neutrality is not an option in these realms; their unique character is to require affirmative policy. Civilians should start by understanding this.
The quiescent tolerance they think of in relation to their own lives must translate, in the military, into endorsement and administration of an explicit position.
One question that will have to be answered, Dyer notes, is
whether eligibility for promotion or command will be contingent on explicit support for homosexuality. The issue will be forced by lawsuit if by no other means.
A 20-year veteran with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan may not be comfortable, for example, endorsing “Gay Pride Month” or participating in scheduled military celebrations of it.
He may be charged by a gay subordinate with creating a hostile work environment or ordered by a senior officer to get onboard with gay-pride celebrations.
Perhaps his chain of command would back him up and force the issue to a higher level. The serious question remains: what does this have to do with warfighting readiness?
As Perkins himself explained last spring, after he had been disinvited to the Air Force prayer luncheon:
Unfortunately, this is just a precursor of things to come in a post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military. This legislation would more than open the armed forces to homosexuals; it would lead to a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who disapproves of homosexuality…
Richard Cohen and the liberal-left establishment, of course, don’t disagree. Political conservatives and religious believers, they decree, better learn to shut up and censor themselves if they want to serve in our brave new military.
But Cohen and the Left needn’t worry: I’m sure they’ll be plenty of reeducation and sensitivity training to ensure that our military personnel think the right and appropriate thoughts. The “gay rights” advocates will make sure of that.