Don’t ask, tell or legitimize

October 16, 2009


I am sympathetic to the story told by Joseph Rocha, who claims in a Washington Post opinion column that he was discharged from the Navy because he is gay, though he says he never told anyone. Rocha says his male colleagues concluded he was gay when he wouldn’t laugh at their dirty jokes about women or visit prostitutes with them.

Gay service members have a point when they claim a double standard exists for heterosexuals and homosexuals regarding sexual behavior. Rocha also alleges cover-ups by higher-ups about male sexual assaults on lesbians and the pressure he says lesbians feel to keep quiet because by “telling” they could face discharge.

But we are beginning in the wrong place. The place to start is whether citizens of this country, through their elected representatives and the military leaders named by them, have a right to determine what type of service members best serve the interests, safety and security of the United States. I contend we do. The military should not be a test lab. Pressure is building to put female sailors on submarines, along with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people presumably. That many heterosexuals find homosexual behavior immoral and not conducive to unit cohesion is of no concern to the social wrecking crew.

What gay activists apparently don’t care about is the effect reshaping the military in their image would have on our ability to fight and defend the country, which, after all, is the purpose of a military. If the armed services were open to all behaviors (as distinct from orientations), recruitment might become more difficult. Some of the services have recently struggled to meet their recruitment goals, though overall enlistment is up because of the economy.

At the Human Rights Campaign dinner last Saturday in Washington, President Obama said, “I will end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’” He also pledged to bring an end to The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Bill Clinton. Obama knows — or should know — that he does not have that power. He took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.

If Congress wants to repeal DOMA and change the military’s behavioral codes, it can do so through new legislation. But that would put “Blue Dog” Democrats at risk of re-election, since they serve mostly conservative districts. They know their political careers would be over if they voted in favor of either gay marriage or for gays in the military.

The gays in the military and gay marriage issues are part of a broader attempt by liberals to restructure society. Social activists despise biblical morality (which heterosexuals could use a little more of, too), traditional values that have been proven to work when tried and numerous other cultural mores. This is not an opinion. It is also not a secret. The more radical activists have written and spoken openly about their intentions. President Obama’s language (whether action follows is another matter) gives lip service to their cause.

Opinion polls have shown the public shifting in favor of gays in the military, including a recent Gallup poll which found that “Americans are six percentage points more likely than they were four years ago to favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, 69 percent to 63 percent.” That is mostly because there are few leaders who wish to give voice to opposing points of view. They fear being shouted down, or being accused of “homophobia.”

What we tolerate we will get more of. Sexual behavior is an important cultural and moral issue. President Obama won the election with just 52 percent of the popular vote and a margin of 7 percent over Sen. John McCain. This should not be seen as a mandate for him and his administration to make over America in a secular and liberal image. Neither should it be seen as an invitation to give blanket approval to homosexuality, considered by some to be against the best interests of the people who practice it, as well as the nations that accept it.


mom_of_three 8 years, 7 months ago

THey don't want to re-shape the military in their image. gays just don't want to hide any more. They have shown they are capable soldiers and capable of defending the country, as they have done by keeping their sexuality secret all these years. It's not going to change if they no longer have to keep their sexuality secret.

mickeyrat 8 years, 7 months ago

As usual, Cal serves up mush.

He says that accepting the reality that homosexuals serve in the military would have a negative effect on "our ability to fight and defend the country." Yeah, right. Besides not offering any proof, I seriously doubt many vets would say that they never served with one or more homosexuals, or that they were unable to defend the country because they were scared that someone was 'looking at them funny.'

More mush: paragraph eight's explanation that increasing public acceptance of homosexuals comes from a lack of "leaders" telling people... oh, whatever vitriol Cal would have them told.

And the Wild Mud-Slinging Award for today goes to paragraph seven: "social activists despise biblical morality." Yeah, those people opening soup kitchens are tools of the devil.

Cal should sit back down with his oatmeal and watch another rerun of Matlock.

denak 8 years, 7 months ago

Whether Cal wants to admit it or not, the military has always served as a test lab. The same scare tactics and arguments that Cal uses against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are the same arguments use to keep African-Americans from being integrated under Truman. The same arguments being used to deny women equal access to most jobs in the military. Cal fears that "unit cohesiveness" and "military readiness" will be compromised but what Cal and others do not want to admit is that unit cohesiveness and military readiness is already compromised under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Any time there is a seperation between the ranks, the unit is weakned. For years, women in the military were not able to train the same as men were. When I went through recruit training in 1987, women Marines weren't allowed to use grenades, were not able to learn hand to hand combat, did not have to have the same military fitness as well as other combat readiness skills. Male Marines use to call us "Wasted Money" and in reality, we were. We were the weak link in a unit because we weren't trained the same as men. Women Marines, today, are allowed in jobs that I could only dream about. And WM's are much better trained and more equal that we use to be. The homosexuality of a Marine (or soldier or whatever) does not have anything to do with how many pushups he or she can do, how well they cope with combat related stress, how well they shoot, how far they can run, or how well they carry out the mission. If there is a heterosexual soldier who doesn't like the fact that there is a homosexual soldier in his unit, to damn bad. The military doesn't revolve around the individual. It revolves around the team. And if that heterosexual soldier can't do his or her job, then he needs to be kicked off the team because it is his actions, not the homosexual soldier's actions, that are the problem and it is up to the command to put a stop to any discrimination. And if they don't, it is a failure of leadership and should reflect poorly on the command, not on the homosexual soldier. Lastly, as to the issue of sexual assaults on female military personnel, this is a serious problem and does not deserve to be so blithely dismissed by Cal. When I was in the service, I know of 4 rapes of Women Marines by male Marines. And as much as I would like to say otherwise, I doubt much has changed in the Marines and the other branches since I got out 17 years ago.


P.S. One more thing, under Don't Ask, Don't Tell a person can be dismissed from the military without actual proof. The way the law is written, the mere suspicion of homosexuality is enough to discharge someone. The military is suppose to defend the Constitution and yet, under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a suspected soldier isn't even afforded to same rights as a rapist or killer is out in the civillian world or even under the UCMJ.

Paul Decelles 8 years, 7 months ago

No Cal we are beginning in exactly the right place.

Here's a person who apparently has obeyed the law being punished because he didn't want to laugh at dirty jokes or visit prostitutes. So much for Cal's values.

Joseph Jarvis 8 years, 7 months ago

"Neither should it be seen as an invitation to give blanket approval to homosexuality, considered by some to be against the best interests of the people who practice it, as well as the nations that accept it."

  1. Adding "some say" before you speak doesn't mean you didn't say it.
  2. How presumptuous to say what's in the best interest of someone else.
  3. "people who practice it?" It's not an occult ritual. Nor would most LGBT people say they had much choice in being who they are.
  4. "nations that accept it" Tolerance is a hallmark of a civil society. It gives Thomas the freedom to write such horrible words.
  5. How offensive to say LGBT people damage America. We pay taxes, serve in the military, raise the next generations, give back to our communities, and engage in public life--just like other Americans.

Cal Thomas is a bigot. If he said equivalent things about African Americans or women, he wouldn't have a column. History will judge him harshly.

Joseph Jarvis 8 years, 7 months ago

Also, shame on LJW for publishing this piece. Their decision to carry it is offensive to such a diverse community. Thomas is free to write and syndicate as he likes. But LJW can decline to publish bigotry. This isn't a case of free speech, but rather one of poor taste and bad business.

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