This past weekend, many cities and towns in the United States and in other parts of the world celebrated Sodomy Pride events. In President Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago, some estimates indicated that as many as one million persons turned out to enjoy the Sodomy Pride Parade and the extra fun activities that followed. Most of Chicago’s best-known politicians also participated, including former President Obama’s Chief of Staff and now Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel. (The Chicago police reported that only nine people were arrested for fighting and stabbing, and a number of persons were injured, including one police officer. Unusually for Chicago, there were no deaths reported at this year’s event, even though murders are up 38 percent in 2012 over last year’s comparable total.)
While the Sodomy Pride Parade has been a major event in large cities throughout our nation for decades, 2012 also saw the first ever Pentagon Sodomy Pride event. Coming just ten months after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” this past Tuesday, the Department of Defense held its first ever event commemorating and honoring its lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgendered military personnel at the Pentagon. Among the 350 persons in overflow attendance, Army Nurse Corps Captain Angela Shrader sat with her arm around her female partner of twenty years and marveled at the occasion. “In my lifetime, I never thought this would happen. To be able to come dressed in my uniform with my partner and be open, I can’t tell you how excited and proud I am!” Staff Sgt Stephen Bee of the U.S. Air Force was quoted after the event as saying, “I never thought I’d be in the Pentagon for an LGBT event. This was amazing,” and Naval Lieutenant Kevin Naughton added, “I did get teary-eyed. It’s exciting.” Part of the excitement, of course, comes as Tuesday’s event took place just weeks after both President Obama and Vice President Biden announced their support for homosexual marriage. Yes, it is an exciting time in which we live.
At the celebration, a number of speakers, including Defense Secretary Panetta, spoke of the struggle for homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered rights for members of our nation’s armed forces. Officials also praised the military services for adapting readily to the law that permits homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons to serve openly in our nation’s armed forces. Jeh Johnson, the military’s general counsel, stated at the event, “For those service members who are gay or lesbian, we lifted a real and personal burden from their shoulders. They no longer have to live a lie in the military.” Further, in videotaped remarks at the event, President Obama said that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” made it possible for the Department of Defense to honor “openly gay service members who defend our country with honor and integrity.”
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (“SLDN”), an organization that provides legal services to LGBT military personnel against “all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” an estimated 66,000 LGBT troops are presently on active duty. In light of the total number of active duty military personnel, that number seems high to me given the proportion of LGBT in the broader society. Moreover, I am unsure whether a military career was or is a huge draw for LGBT personnel, notwithstanding the assertion in the late 1970s song by the Village People that “in the Navy, you can sail the seven seas, in the Navy, you can put your mind at ease. . . . In the Navy, come on, protect the motherland, in the Navy come and join your fellow man.”
The Pentagon, in a survey sent to 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops, a separate questionnaire sent to about 150,000 military spouses, responses submitted to an anonymous online drop-box seeking comments, and responses from focus-group participants, found that approximately thirty percent of military personnel surveyed say that the change in policy has made a negative difference within the ranks, and those military personnel were opposed to serving alongside openly homosexual and lesbian troops. Forty percent of the Marine Corps were opposed to lifting the ban on openly serving homosexuals and lesbians. Further, a significant number plan to leave the military much earlier than they had originally planned based upon the change in policy. (I bet you missed that from the mainstream media!)
But if one were to imagine that what Congress and the President giveth, Congress and a (new) President can taketh away, disappointment may await. In recent days, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) says that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is settled and won’t be revisited, even if Republicans win the White House and Senate in November. (You see: elections do have consequences!) Representative McKeon said, “We fought that fight. . . . That’s not something that I would personally bring up.”
Of course, homosexual conduct (and all sexual conduct outside of marriage) is a deeply moral question. When Marine Corps General Peter Pace was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said in a March 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune, “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.” At that time, General Pace was subjected to harsh criticism by leftists and homosexual activists who despise biblical norms of conduct. As one example, SDLN demanded an apology from General Pace as it found that the General’s remarks were “outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful.” I suppose they forgot to add that the remarks were also homophobic and intolerantly bigoted. But then again, such an added statement by the SDLN could have been too over-the-top as the glittered makeup and dress (or lack thereof) worn by revelers at the San Francisco Sodomy Pride Parade.
Yes, this is no longer your father’s military, and is quite a change from even one year ago when the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” passed in the lame duck session of Congress after many of its supporters, in both the House and Senate, had been turned out of office by the voters a month earlier. At that time, many viewed the action by Congress as contemptuous of voters. (George Berkin writing in NJ.com, equated Congressional action with “punching the boss between the time you get fired and when you clean out your desk. It is like spilling your drink on your fiancé just after she dumps you a week before the wedding.”) Of course, homosexual behavior that could lead to a court martial as recently as last year is now celebrated. Chaplain (Colonel) Ron Crews, USAR retired, and executive Director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, was quoted in The Christian Post, “For the first time ever, the Department of Defense is making a positive event over behavior (sodomy) that had been a court martial offense a year ago. Now the DoD is wanting to honor that behavior. That’s the stark reality that we’re living in now.” Indeed it is, and I fear that while Representative McKeon considers this matter settled, this change could lead to more divisive cultural wars in the decades to come. It is clearly foreseeable that such experiments in social engineering seeking to restructure long-held traditions in our society can jeopardize the national security of the United States as many hundreds of thousands of troops leave a United States military that no longer respects traditional values.
Over the years, I have counseled and encouraged numerous young men interested in pursuing military careers to do so after they completed their studies. Today, however, I would discourage devoutly Christian and patriotic young people from serving in our nation’s military. And in particular, I would discourage young people from serving for this President who, in a candid and unguarded moment last month, famously referred to “those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf.” Really? On his behalf? In any event, when the full import of what President Obama and his administration have done becomes clearer in the years to come, I fear that the devastation will be complete and far too late.