DADT Repeal: The New “Religious Freedom” Issue

New Washington Post On Faith blogger Jordan Sekulow wrote on the eve of the DADT repeal, “social conservatives are not enraged about the end of DADT.” If that’s true, then halleleujah. But just one month ago Sekulow wrote in the same pages, “If DADT is repealed, the American Center for Law & Justice is committed to advocating for the ability of military chaplains to do their job according to the dictates of their faith. The ACLJ has a long history of defending military chaplains.” And he had previously told readers, “Take your head out of the sand and recognize that the teachings of the Christian faith direct America’s opinion of homosexuality.”

So Sekulow was not really telling the whole story in the “who cares” blog post. Perhaps it was a PR move to make the Post’s controversial new hire look more moderate.

Indeed the religious right is gearing up to frame DADT repeal as a “religious liberty” issue for chaplains and servicemembers. Alliance Defense Fund litigation counsel Daniel Blomberg said in a statement, “The Senate’s cave-in to pressure from activists to impose homosexual behavior on our military will place our troops’ religious liberties in unprecedented jeopardy. Indeed, the first official casualty of this hurried vote may well be the religious freedom of chaplains and Service members.”

Blomberg continued, “We hope that our nation’s leaders will work to ensure that none of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are ever made to choose between serving their country or obeying their God as result of this damaging policy decision. And ADF stands ready to defend Service members if they are ever unconstitutionally required to make that choice.”

What does that mean, exactly? Does ADF believe that serving with an openly gay soldier would cause a believing Christian to choose between serving country or obeying God? As usual, set-up is that gay rights and religious liberty are incompatible. The former can’t happen without undermining the latter. As ADF president Alan Sears likes to say, “the homosexual agenda and religious freedom are on a collision course.” That from a man who believes that said “homosexual agenda” “probably includes the abolition of marriage, but also the silencing of speech [condemning] homosexual behavior,” and thinks that gays recruit others through such insidious means as SpongeBob SquarePants.