In a stunning display of disrespect for the nation's war dead and their families during the Memorial Day season, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to lower the standards for service in the U.S. military. Members of Congress voted
234-194 to adopt an amendment to a Defense Department spending bill which would permit active homosexuals to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The amendment repealed a law enacted by Congress in 1993 which forbid individuals with a "propensity or intent to engage in homosexual conduct" from participation in military service. That law codified longstanding military policy that homosexual behavior was "conduct unbecoming an officer" and "conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
chose to ignore a year-long study underway commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to determine the impact of a change in the law on the operations of the Armed Forces. Speaker
Pelosi also chose to ignore the pleas of the heads of the branches of the Armed Forces, who each stated that now was not the time to implement such a radical change.
Speaker Pelosi also chose to bypass the Chairman of her own House Armed Services Committee, Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton, and bring the issue directly to the floor for a vote with only 10 minutes for debate. Skelton had made his position known: "I support the current policy and I will oppose any amendment to repeal [the current law]. I hope my colleagues will avoid jumping the gun and wait for the Department of Defense to complete its [study]."
Missouri Congressmen Todd Akin, Roy Blunt, Blaine Luetkemyer, and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson joined Skelton in opposing the repeal. Congressmen Russ Carnahan, William (Lacy) Clay, and Emmanuel Cleaver voted for the amendment. Congressman Sam Graves was absent for the vote.
Akin was sharply critical of the House action: "Our military exists for wining wars, not for advancing a liberal social agenda. This amendment tells those who put their lives on the line to protect our country that Congress doesn't care what they think. Congress has ignored the voices of American citizens too often, and now we are ignoring the voices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. This is unconscionable and must be stopped."
Akin was also highly critical of the manner in which the vote occurred heading into the holiday weekend. "Only allowing 10 minutes of debate on something that the majority of men and women in uniform oppose, and which the leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have said they oppose, is clearly an attempt to sneak this change by without the American people noticing."
The last time Congress confronted the issue of homosexual service in the military was in 1993 when President Clinton implemented a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. While the l
aw explicitly prohibited avowed homosexuals from serving in the military, Clinton's policy ordered military authorities to refrain from asking enlistees about their sexual preference.
A Military Working Group study completed at the time by the Department of Defense concluded: "The presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
Military experts have also expressed concern about the impact of a change in the law on military recruiting and readiness. More than 1000 retired flag and general officers
signed a letter to President Obama last spring expressing strong support for the current law on homosexuality. They warned that repealing the law "would undermine recruiting and retention, impair leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to the military service, and eventually break the all-volunteer force."
We have reported before on the threat the change in the law poses to military chaplains. Men and women who serve as chaplains and preach and teach what the Bible declares regarding homosexual aspects of sexual immorality may
find themselves silenced. They may be charged with "discrimination" and "hate speech" for preaching the Word of God. They may also find themselves under pressure to preside over homosexual "marriages" or "bless" homosexual "unions." Chaplains already find themselves under fire if they fail to offer "non-sectarian" prayers that omit the name of Jesus.
It is interesting to note that only 25 of the world's nearly 200 militaries allow open homosexuals to serve. The fact that the U.S. military is an all-volunteer force adds an entirely different dynamic. All-volunteer forces must be sensitive to
the risk of alienating current and prospective members. During the 1993 study, a total of 125 focus groups of military personnel were conducted, and the overwhelming opinion was that the presence of openly homosexual men and women would undermine unit cohesion.
Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council, and a former U.S. Marine, puts the issue in very practical terms: "Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. Our military exists to fight and win wars, not engage in radical social engineering."
President Obama promised in his election campaign that he would work to repeal the homosexual exclusion law. During his State of the Union address earlier this year, he
announced that he would prioritize its passage by Congress this year. However, the members of his own Joint Chiefs of Staff have expressed strong reservations about his agenda.
The Senate Armed Services Committee also recommended late last week by a vote of 16-12 that the current law be repealed. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill voted in favor of repeal. Senator John McCain and other conservative senators have threatened to filibuster the bill when it comes to the Senate floor.
You can learn more about this issue by going to the website of the Family Research Council, where you can sign a petition opposing the change in the law. You can go to the dedicated page on this issue by clicking this link:
You can let Senator McCaskill know how you feel about her vote by using this link:
You can let Senator Kit Bond know your views on this subject by following this link:
You can let your Congressman know of your thoughts on this subject by clicking this link:
We pray in thanksgiving this Memorial Day for the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that our freedoms given by God might be preserved from the tyrannies of men. We pray as well that the reputation and character of each of the branches of the service that these faithful men and women served unto death will not be tarnished by this shameful unGodly agenda.