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GUEST COLUMN

End of DADT paves way for new discrimination

On Sept. 20, 2011, a date that will live in infamy, the U.S. armed forces were deliberately and successfully attacked by advocates of the scourge of homosexuality. The elimination of the last vestige of moral restraint on sexual perversion in the U.S. military, commonly known as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, ushers in a new Orwellian era in which the military leadership of our nation will proclaim the unnatural as natural, the unhealthy as healthy and the immoral as moral.

On Aug. 25, 2010, before the DADT policy was rescinded by Congress and the current president of the United States, I wrote the following in a guest column in Stars and Stripes (“Chaplains in no-win situation on ‘don’t ask’ ”): “A ‘nondiscrimination’ policy would surely mutate into approval and celebration of the ‘gay’ lifestyle, followed by ‘affirmative action’ recruitment of homosexuals, politically correct ideological indoctrination throughout the armed forces including family members, and, finally, active discrimination against — and persecution of — those who dare to express a dissenting opinion.”

Perhaps in another year or so we shall know with certainty whether that prediction was exaggerated or prescient. However, several portents of the latter prospect are already evident.

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Wasting no time, U.S. Marine Corps recruiters accepted an invitation from the executive director of a “gay rights” center in Tulsa, Okla., to “celebrate” the end of DADT on Sept. 20 by setting up a recruitment booth near the center’s AIDS quilt. The New York Times reported that the USMC was “the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar”. That gives new meaning to the Corps leading the way.

Last April, still five months shy of the mandated expiration of DADT, the U.S. Navy chief of chaplains, Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, publicly embarrassed himself and his Chaplains Corps when he proactively paved the way for homosexual weddings by U.S. Navy chaplains in certain U.S. Navy chapels. In a memo dated April 13, Chaplain Tidd announced: “Consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization, a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with a state that permits same-sex marriage or union; and if that chaplain is, according to the applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages.”

He also gave the green light for Navy chapels to be the venue “if the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal”.

What the admiral and his legal advisers somehow overlooked was the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which does not countenance such faux “weddings” in lieu of marriage between one man and one woman. Since Navy bases fall under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and are federal territory, the admiral, in his eagerness to accommodate a sexual minority, was effectively authorizing a violation of federal law. Four weeks later, after a storm of protest across the nation, particularly some 63 outraged members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the admiral ordered a right full rudder reverse starboard, changed course, and suspended his directive “pending additional legal and policy review.”

Most ominous, however, was the punishment that a military chaplain had to endure as long ago as March, fully six months before the official commencement of the new post-DADT era. That chaplain’s endorser — that is, the religious authority who approves clergy of a particular faith group or denomination for military service — informed me on background that the eager minister’s orders for an assignment in Germany were suspended by the service component’s Chief of Chaplains office, and that the minister would have to be “supervised closely.” Why? The young chaplain had forwarded an email opposed to repeal of DADT and to homosexuality on moral grounds.

There we have the first punitive action, to my knowledge, against conscientious chaplains who dare to dissent from the new ideological groupthink that has captured the minds of the American military leadership. If my prediction last year proves correct, I fear that chaplain’s fate will be suffered by many.

As an Orthodox priest who still loves all of the troops I served as a chaplain for a quarter of a century, I pray that God the Holy Trinity will preserve and protect the U.S. armed forces — especially in this new Dark Age.

Father Alexander F.C. Webster, an archpriest in the Orthodox Church in America, retired in June 2010 as an Army Reserve chaplain at the rank of colonel after more than 24 years of military service. He is the author or co-author of four books on topics of social ethics, including “The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West.”

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