At the CPAC panel on “How Political Correctness is Harming America’s Military,” Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness continued her campaign against gay and lesbian members of the armed forces serving openly and honorably, but she was upstaged by GOP congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who insisted that America is meant to be a Christian nation and that the military must reflect biblical values.
CPAC: A Christian Nation Needs a Biblical Military
Donnelly’s remarks were a mostly unsurprising reprise of the arguments she used in her failed effort to prevent Congress from repealnig Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She slammed the Pentagon for advancing equal opportunity “to an extreme” and recycled arguments about living in close quarters and chaplains supposedly being forced to abandon their religious beliefs.
One of Donelly’s main arguments did not seem exactly respectful of our armed forces: she said repeatedly that servicemembers can’t be counted on – or trained – to control their sexual urges. That’s why, she said, we are losing so many ship captains due to sexual misconduct. Sexual mistreatment of women in the military is not their fault, she said, but it’s not surprising.
But Donnelly’s comments seemed thin gruel compared to the Religious Right red-meat hurled into the crowd by Ilario Pantano, a former and current GOP congressional candidate from North Carolina. Pantano, a former Marine, didn’t dwell about the specifics of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because he wanted to talk more broadly about the threat of moral relativism to the nation and the military.
He insisted that America is and was meant to be a Christian nation and that our problems come from denying the truth of Jesus: “The ultimate founding document of the United States is the Bible.” The nation’s problems were unsurprising given that we have kicked God out of classrooms, courts, and foxholes. Pantano’s made attacks on the “Ground Zero Mosque” part of his 2010 campaign.
It’s time to start offending people, he said, and time to start talking about God’s truth. He said that America’s media, academic and cultural institutions have been infiltrated by agents of atheistic, socialist and communist regimes. (In Q&A with reporters afterward, he confirmed that he was not speaking only about our history but also about today.)
The divide between the east and the west, he said, boils down to Christian and non-Christian. America was “undeniably” founded as a Christian nation and to suggest otherwise “is simply untrue.” He argued that members of the military have to be grounded in biblical truths, and blamed the thousands of suicides among veterans on the “God-shaped hole in our hearts.”
Pantano, who said he and his children are learning Chinese, asked, “What are the Chinese afraid of?”
“It’s not capitalism, it’s not Google, it’s not Wal-mart, it’s not Boeing, it’s not Islam. They’re afraid of Jesus Christ.”