(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Burton)
Supporters and opponents of the military's current legal stance on gays serving for the U.S. took the opportunity on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) to give contrary progress reports on the policy. While a military chaplains group says there is mounting evidence that shows a negative consequence inside the military because of the repeal, an LGBT media group points to a recent academic study revealing that there has been no adverse effect on the military's readiness overall.
"The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not as social experiment lab in which our troops serve as human subjects," said Chaplain (Colonel Retired) Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. "While many will ignore the negative impacts, or pretend that they don't exist, threats to our troops' freedom are mounting."
However, a first-of-its-kind study by the University Of California Los Angeles Palm Center found that "the new policy of open service has had no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale," according to LGBT Weekly.
"Even in those units that included openly LGB service members, and that consequently should have been the most likely to experience a drop in cohesion as a result of repeal, cohesion did not decline after the new policy of open service was put into place. In fact, greater openness and honesty resulting from repeal seem to have promoted increased understanding, respect and acceptance," LGBT Weekly quoted from the study by UCLA's Palm Institute.
Crews told The Christian Post on Tuesday that the report from the Palm Institute comes as no surprise.
"The Palm Center is known to be one that promotes the homosexual agenda," said Crews, who released a statement that included the sentiment that the anniversary of the repeal (enacted on Sept. 20, 2011) was no cause for celebration. On the contrary, he said DADT's repeal immediately created major problems for service members.
In his statement, Crews gave examples of the negative consequences that include the following:
- Senior military officials have allowed personnel in favor of repeal to speak to media while those who have concerns have been ordered to be silent.
- Two Airmen were publicly harassed in a Post Exchange food court as they were privately discussing their concerns about the impact of repeal.
- A chaplain was encouraged by military officials to resign his commission unless he could "get in line with the new policy," demonstrating no tolerance for that chaplain's religious viewpoint.
- At an officer training service school, a male service member sexually harassed another male service member through text messages, emails, phone calls and in-person confrontations. The harassing male insisted the two would "make a great couple." The harassed serviceman reported the harassment, but the command failed to take disciplinary action.
- A chaplain was threatened with early retirement, and then reassigned to be more "closely supervised," because he had expressed concerns with the policy change, again demonstrating no tolerance for that chaplain's religious viewpoint.
- Service members engaged in homosexual behavior protested an Army school's open doors policy for all students that prohibited the closing of room doors for sexual purposes. The protesters were upset because they claimed that they had a right to participate in sexual behavior with their same-sex roommates.
- A senior chaplain was stripped of his authority over the chapel under his charge because, in accordance with federal law, he proclaimed the chapel as a "sacred space" where marriage or marriage-like ceremonies would only be between one man and one woman.
- Same-sex ceremonies have been performed at military chapels, including one at Fort Polk, La., a state that constitutionally defines marriage as one man and one woman.
- The Navy has allowed sailors openly engaged in homosexual behavior to choose their bunkmates.
"This list of problems and incidents that have arisen mere months after this administration imposed its will on the armed forces is disturbing to say the least, and we know it is only the beginning," said Crews. "Compounding the outrage, service members are not free to speak out about these matters. This ensures that distrust in the ranks will increase and morale will decrease as the number of silenced victims grows."
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has worked with members of Congress to enact legislation to protect freedom of conscience for chaplains and those they serve. This legislation has passed the House of Representatives, but is awaiting action in the Senate.
"The fact that this administration is using the military to promote a radical social agenda is the biggest concern," Crews told CP. "That's not what the military is supposed to be. The military is to protect and defend this country and to train men and women to defend this country. It is not a social engineering entity, but yet this administration is turning it into that.
"I believe this action is intentional because if they can drive this social agenda through the military that will help the homosexual agenda across the board in America," he explained. "This is at the risk of changing the focus of our armed forces. As a military veteran and a citizen of this country that is a concern for me."
When asked about his Christian perspective on the issue of a homosexual agenda, Crews said, "This violates the very standards that we hold dear from Scripture as to why God created us as men and women, as to our purpose of marriage, and as to the purpose of our sexuality.
"For the first time, the military is condoning and promoting a lifestyle that I believe is offensive to God. That concerns me about this country."