Monday, December 27, 2010

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" is Dead!

SKEPTIC: America took a giant leap forward in civil rights when the congress voted in favor of and the president signed into law the repeal of the oppressive "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for the military. No longer will gay Americans who put their lives on the line be forced to live a lie. Of course, true to form, leaders on the religious right then proceeded to throw a collective hissy fit, warning that this change will lead to the demise of America and claiming that now "we are no better than Sodom and Gomorrah."

PREACHER: Since when is the expression of your sexual attraction and the right to serve in the military a civil right? Are you so sure that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is oppressive?  Weren't those with alternate sexual attractions already allowed in the military as long as they had kept their sexual feelings private? Is one really forced to live a lie when he is required to not publically reveal his sexual attractions?  I don't think so.

SKEPTIC: Thousands of highly qualified gays in the military were booted out, not because they told everyone they were gay, but because they were outed by others. Some, however, publicly proclaimed their sexual identity in order to challenge the DADT policy - something which to me is a mark of courage on their part. So yes, I'm sure that DADT was oppressive. I certainly didn't see anyone kicked out of the military because they were busted for being straight.

PREACHER: There would be some for whom sexual attractions have become their primary identity, therefore more important than defending our country. Really, should such a person be trusted with that kind of task? Who are these thousands of highly qualified gays? It seems when we say "gay" that you and I aren't even talking about the same group of people.

SKEPTIC: So your point is that gays can't be trusted to be good soldiers because they're more concerned about their sexuality than about defending the country? Seriously? That's where you're coming from? These are highly skilled young men and women who voluntarily joined the military and are willing to die in order to defend your freedom. They are honorable and in many cases highly decorated soldiers who have earned the respect of their brothers-and-sisters-in-arms. When you question their commitment and ability based solely on the fact that they're gay, you totally disrespect their service to America. Apparently you're willing to support our troops - but only if they're straight.

PREACHER: I am willing to support them even if they are gay as long as they keep their sexuality to themselves while they serve. What they do on leave is their own business. I don't really see that repealing the policy improves anything. Indeed, there are a number of officers in the military that are considering resigning over this. My son who is in the military says that almost no one he knows likes the idea of repealing the policy. Not only are they wary of a Sodom and Gomorrah situation, they really believe that people who insist that they have a right to a lot of sex in their favorite color whenever they get the drive, would be detrimental to the effectiveness of the armed forces. One would also wonder if someone who requires sex in his favorite color on a regular basis, and would value that more than protecting his country would even want to join the armed forces in the first place.

Unfortunately for the secularists, a large number of those who are patriotic enough to join the armed services are also of the religious right persuasion. Secularists are very good at posing themselves as some sort of moral authority, trying to tell other people what is right even when they espouse moral relativism. Very hypocritical! The religious right rejects secularists as their moral authority.

SKEPTIC: First of all, I don't believe that you'll see a significant number of officers resigning in protest. If any of them do resign - fine - the fewer homophobes in the military, the better. Second of all, I don't know what "sex in your favorite color" even means, but apparently you believe that gay soldiers are just a bunch of sex-crazed perverts who run around molesting every guy they can get their hands on. If that's your contention, then you need to provide some evidence of that. But you won't, because you can't. It's ridiculous and insulting. If any sort of sexual offense does occur, then that person should face the consequences - whether they're gay or straight.

And nobody's "posing themselves as some sort of moral authority." DADT was repealed because it was the right - the moral - thing to do. President Obama got it exactly right when he spoke these words when signing the repeal:

"We are not a nation that says, 'Don't ask, don't tell.' We are a nation that says, 'Out of many, we are one.' We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we upheld today."

PREACHER: As soon as someone states that something is the right - moral - thing to do they are posing themselves as a moral authority. For the record, the religious right doesn't recognize president Obama as our moral authority either. And, in this next year as Congress will have become a more conservative body, they will probably reverse the decision made by this lame duck Congress. It is not about just repealing or keeping "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". It is a clash between two divergent worldviews that is much bigger than just a policy that the military has.

"Sex in your favorite color" is a phrase that I am using for illicit sex which includes gay sex. So, you really believe that there are very honorable and qualified gays (meaning those who are regularly sexually active; those who choose to abstain are not a problem)that should serve in the armed forces. Let them state their case!

SKEPTIC: Well, they have stated their case, and their case has been validated by both the military and the American public, who have indicated in polls and surveys that they are overwhelmingly in favor of this change.

I get that you want to divide the gay community into two camps - the good gays
(those who don't have sex), and the bad gays (those who are sexually active). Do you then want to base policy on this distinction? Do you want to have sex police in the military whose job it is to find out if soldiers are having sex and with whom? This doesn't strike me as a very realistic (or legal) approach to making policy.

As to your contention that the new congress will repeal the repeal - if that's what you want to hang your last hope on, please feel free to dream on. But it ain't gonna happen, because history goes forward, not backward. Gays won't ever again have to be afraid that their sexual preference will get them kicked out of the military, just as blacks will never again be segregated, and women will always have the right to vote. Welcome to the 21st century. Time marches on!


  1. Yes, time marches on, but to what? If it is to the tune of moral relativism and decadence, the march is heading straight into a quagmire.

  2. I would highly recommend Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape. Finally someone is applying the scientific method to morality. Euthyphro's Dilemma finally had it's effect......

  3. Thanks for your comment, Peter. One question to ask would be: What kind of assumptions does the author of the book have? Those assumptions will no doubt influence his conclusions.


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