Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, uses the venue of CNN's religion blog to argue that ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would undermine religious liberty and subject believers to “pro-homosexual political correctness” that he claims pervades the military.
According to Perkins, a Marine veteran, the threat to religious freedom comes from the potential for nondiscrimination provisions to be added to the Department of Defense equal opportunity policy and related human relations training programs.
“While not in the defense authorization bill amendment approved by the House of Representatives and a Senate committee last week, this goal will undoubtedly be accomplished administratively as part of the ‘necessary policies and regulations’ mandated by that amendment.
“This means that all 1.4 million members of the U.S. military will be subject to sensitivity training intended to indoctrinate them into the myths of the homosexual movement: that people are born ‘gay’ and cannot change and that homosexual conduct does no harm to the individual or to society,” he writes.
Perkins says that the changes pose the greatest risk for military chaplains. His claims are refuted in a CNN religion blog entry by Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s religion and faith program and a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
“In reality, this isn’t about chaplains at all,” writes Knox. “Groups like the Family Research Council continue to characterize religious liberty and equality for LGBT Americans as an either/or proposition, willfully misrepresenting our nation’s historical experience and ignoring the realities of a nation of many faiths and beliefs that has dealt with such questions for centuries,” writes Knox.
“Such groups have claimed that federal hate crimes laws will silence preachers, ignoring those laws’ robust protections for free speech and religious expression, as well as the experience in the many states with such protections already in place.”