"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost," according to the old proverb. "For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost … for want of a rider the battle was lost … and for want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."
Someday, historians will record the Senate's repeal last week of the imperfect "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexual behavior in the military as the loss of a battle. The lost rider who cost us that battle could be any one of the repeal supporters who sat astride a lost "horse" best identified as a federal government increasingly distanced from any sense of moral obligation to its people and their history.
That culture, in turn, is the missing shoe … a society that has lost its footing as it stumbles farther and farther from its Judeo-Christian beginnings and beliefs. And the nail … well, the nail, of course, is the symbol of those beliefs, and the cross that embodies them.
The repeal of DADT was wrong not, primarily, because the changes it will bring will radically transform both the U.S. military and its relationship with key allies all over the world, and inevitably undermine the security and defenses of our nation. Nor even because it was passed over the vehement objections of the great majority of America's fighting servicemen whose daily lives and service it will soon and drastically impact.
No, ultimately there's only one reason to oppose the repeal – and it is, of course, the reason that almost no politician or military officer is willing or able to say, right out loud.
The repeal was and should be opposed because it endorses homosexual behavior – and homosexual behavior is morally wrong.
The hue and cry begins. An outrage! Intolerance! Bigotry of the most blind and blatant sort! Religious zealotry! Radical homophobia!
The protestors doth protest too much. Because – beneath all the hubbub and clamor – we're agreed on this.
That is certainly true of the advocates of homosexual behavior. It is why, despite all their press releases and sound bites, they're no longer working for social acceptance. They don't need to secure a place of tolerance in the culture – that's long since been achieved. What they want – and increasingly admit to wanting – is not the acknowledgement or embrace of society, but a revolution in society. The elimination not of discrimination, but of standards … of marriage … of religious faith, insofar as it criticizes homosexual behavior.
These are the actions not of people who know their beliefs to be morally justified, but of people determined to forcibly rewrite morality to justify their beliefs.
Even the Obama administration, in its way, confesses that homosexual behavior is wrong – albeit in a typically roundabout way. Vice President Biden recently said that he and Obama still believe tax cuts for the wealthiest are "morally troubling." President Obama himself has stood on platforms around the world decrying the unfairness and inequality of America in its employment practices, housing, education, and health care.
Where do these ideas come from? This supreme conviction that the wealthy should share with the poor? That every person should be treated equally before the law, in the schools, in the hospitals? That employment, that insurance, that life itself should be "fair?"
What in nature – human or otherwise – would ever compel us to such a conclusion?
Nothing. Because these ideas come not from our demonstrably selfish, competitive, cutthroat instincts, but from something – from Someone – Who calls us to move beyond those instincts to a life more selfless, more giving, more compassionate, more fair.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus Himself asked (Luke 18:19). "Only God is good."
And it is predominantly the Book that testifies to His goodness that tells us the wealthy should consider the poor … that we should treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated … that we should, like faithful soldiers, willingly lay down our lives for each other.
How do we say that such a distinctively Judeo-Christian morality applies to our economics, but not to our culture? To our charities for strangers, but not to our schools for our own children? To the administration and ethics of business, but not the administration and ethics of our courts?
How do we command our soldiers to be so morally grounded and upright that they refuse to kill with indiscriminate hatred … to enjoy torture … to rape and pillage and feed the bloodlusts of battle – but not so upright as to frown on the self-destructive passions of immoral sexual behavior?
With the repeal of DADT, we are handing the men charged with protecting our borders and defending our freedoms a moral compass with no "magnetic north." We are telling them to "be good" in the ways we want them to be, and to ignore "bad" as it suits our politically-correct purposes.
And that is not because we as a nation are no longer sure of what is "moral" and right, but because we do know – and are agreeing to ignore the truth that is in us.
The loss of that nail just cost us a crucial battle. And unless we replace it, it will soon cost us a kingdom as well.