If it’s not scary enough to shower or bunk with a gay soldier, or for chaplains to feel their “religious freedoms” are restrained by a gay soldier, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has a new scare tactic to defend Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: the draft.
Barack Obama is opposed to the draft as a matter of principle, to be sure. So are most politicians in both parties. But the president’s drive to repeal the ban on open homosexuality in the military could have this unintended consequence: It could bring back the draft.
Perkins is so sure that so many people find gays and lesbians so very icky and disgusting that there is no way they will want to actually work side by side with them. Too bad that the military’s own survey of the troops show that this latest scare tactic from DADT opponents for what it really is: a lie.
Leaked results of the military survey showed that 70 percent of soldiers said they “expected positive, mixed or non-existent effects from lifting the ban.”
Since the survey doesn’t show the results Perkins and others like Arizona Senator John McCain want – then the survey must be flawed.
”[T]his study was directed at how to implement the repeal, not whether the repeal should take place or not,” McCain told NBC’s David Gregory Sunday.
Which is simply another red herring, because if soldiers were opposed to the repeal then they would be telling pollsters that having openly gay servicemembers would adversely affect unit cohesion. Instead, soldiers—who are already serving with gays and lesbians—know that it will be no big deal to allow their colleagues to be honest and open. In fact, it would help since their colleagues would not be subject to witch hunts and other disruptions within a unit.
A military recruiter interviewed by Perkins even refuted his fears of a mass exodus from the military:
”I would tell them to serve anyway,” [Sergeant First Class Benjamin] Ratcliff replied. “If all men of courage and men that had a moral compass were to leave the military, then we wouldn’t have a military. There would be nobody left to serve and protect. So I don’t really—I would serve regardless of what comes out of Washington.”
The survey presumes that homosexuality is like skin color. Well, it’s not. You can easily have a neighbor in military housing of a different race. That presents no problem for your military family. But if the neighbors are a same-sex couple, then your family is affected in a very serious way. You must explain to your children that their beliefs and deeply-held values about marriage, about questions of religious faith, must be suppressed.
Yes, your family is deeply affected by that same sex couple because that will challenge military families (or any family with same-sex couple neighbors) to actually rethink their prejudices. Perhaps they will see—just like those who vigorously opposed integration of the military—that John and Jim next door are just like Dick and Jane in every way but one, and they will grow to accept John and Jim as fellow human beings.
But, this is exactly what Perkins fears—that gays and lesbians will be seen as normal human beings—created and loved by God no matter what any religion or person has to say about it.
That is what truly scares the religious right.