Military Policy: Don't Ask, Don't…Well, Just Don't Even Ask

Obama certainly has not distinguished himself as a champion of civil rights when it comes to gay issues. It’s not clear if this stems from his own deep-seated ambivalence about whether or not human beings who are homosexual are actually fully human and therefore deserving of the same consideration as all other humans or whether he is deathly afraid to torque off the bullying religious right.  Either option–bigot or coward–is pretty unappealing. Arguments have been made that this issue simply is not as crucial as some of the other big issues facing the country; health care, unemployment, economic collapse, etc. But I think you could make the case that tolerating discrimination in any form directly impacts all the big “significant” issues of the day.  After all, if it is okay to discriminate against a specific group of Americans, legally and codified in policy, what’s to stop policy makers from doing the same when decisions about access to health care, employment rights and equality in financial practices are on the table?  How is a gay man or woman who attempts to assert their right to serve their country only to be told that their ‘shameful’ condition means they have a different standard to meet than their hetero counterparts any different than a sick person who, legally for now, is discriminated against when insurance coverage issues are decided with the full support and acquiescence of the health care industry lackies in the United States Congress?  In both cases, their value and equality as humans is being called into question to satisfy the belief systems of the intolerant and/or to support the bottom line of the already wealthy

Now comes word that our military has taken their bigotry a step further, not just tolerating discrimination against gays, but actively recruiting the most hateful and ignorant of all human beings, neo-Nazi White supremacists, into their ranks. The balls out, aggressive, no-holds-barred stupidity of this policy, given our recent propensity to invade and occupy countries that are chock full of non-Whites, is hard to fathom. That this-literally-hateful policy is being used to defend an equally egregious policy, the so-called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, is simply unacceptable. DADT, which was the Clinton administration’s ham-fisted effort at compromise, ‘allows’ gays to serve their country as long as they never speak about or reveal their sexuality. It was always a dumb, childish and clearly discrimatory policy.  Essentially, it relies on what my children relied on when playing make-believe, i.e. magical thinking. Pretend something is one way and then that’s the way it really is. Since hetero soldiers are not required to keep their sexuality to themselves, DADT codified different treatment for different citizens and our elected officials, military braintrust and apathetic citizenry accepted it with little dissent. The rationale for DADT was that hetero soldiers, bigots that they were apparently all assumed to be, would not accept gay colleagues and the presence of gays in the military would cause dissension.  This rationale has now been kicked up a notch to justify discriminating against gay soldiers in favor of White supremacists (can’t believe I actually just wrote that and that it’s true), with our military apparently deciding that when it comes to bigots vs. gays, it is more justifiable to protect the psychological pathology of bigots than the civil rights of gay Americans.

At the bottom of all this ugly intolerance is the fanatical wing of the Evangelical “Christian” movement, which rails against gay marriage, but happily accepts and promotes violence to achieve its aims and embraces White supremacy without question.  Dangerous “Christian” extremism has infiltrated our military and institutions like the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (neighbor to James Dobson’s Focus on the Family militia) are now for all intents and purposes Evangelical strongholds (links for further reading are below). This not only violates the Constitution of the United States, but puts military might in the hands of people who arrogantly believe they alone represent God’s will.  Given a choice between carrying out God’s orders (which, by their intolerance of any other viewpoints, they clearly believe they are the only ones qualified to interpret) and orders of the Commander-in-Chief’s, it’s pretty clear where they would feel their duty lay.

As someone who was raised a Christian in a fundamental home, I bristle at the gall of these people to usurp the name of Christ to justify their bullying and bigotry and can’t understand why there isn’t a bigger backlash against it. It would be like the more rabid members of the NRA, all hunters, deciding that they were the only true followers of Ghandi, claiming they alone have the knowledge of what Ghandi really meant–his example and actual writings be damned. They would then mangle Ghandi’s message and call their belief system “Ghandianity” and self-righteously proclaim that efforts to bully others into accepting their misguided beliefs were noble attempts at ‘Evangelical Ghandianity.’ Hopefully, they would be treated as the absurd, ridiculous fools they are and yet no one sees or is willing to point out the parallels with some of today’s more noxious Evangelical Christians. Jesus must be so proud.  Those most vocally asserting their ‘Christianity’ support their absolute entitlement to personal wealth at the expense of others, accept and even embrace intolerance and bigotry, and have few qualms about the righteous justification of resorting to violence as a means to enforce their personal brand of morality.  Do any of these things sound like Christ?  Who do these people think they are fooling?  Us, I guess. And they are right. As long as we let them operate unchallenged and our elected leadership cowers in fear before them, we don’t need to be an official fundamental theocracy, we are one by default.  With policies like DADT excluding qualified soldiers based primarily on religious bigotry on one hand and accepting White supremacists into the military on the other, we are directly responsible for putting power in the hands of those least qualified wield it and most likely to abuse it. To reference an Old Testament parable (the story of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzer) “the writing is on the wall” and to ignore it is foolish and dangerous.

More info about Evangelical bias in military academic institutions:
Online Journal
New York Times
New York Times, II (our tax dollars at work!)

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1 Response to “Military Policy: Don't Ask, Don't…Well, Just Don't Even Ask”

  1. June 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Mickey, I just found your

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