Here is a rather novel argument as to why Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell cannot be repealed: doing so would be a violation of the separation of church and state and amount to an establishment of religion.
Even more amazingly, this line of argument is being put forward by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Religious Right legal organization founded by James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and others, which has traditionally focused its efforts on claiming that there is no separation of church and state and defending government expressions of religion.
A team of top-drawer civil and religious rights lawyers is accusing President Obama of establishing a religion for the U.S. military through his demand to promote open homosexuality in the ranks.
“If chaplains with beliefs that contradict the proposed policy are kept from roles that are likely to generate conflict – like preaching or counseling – then they, the faith groups the represent, and the soldiers whose religious beliefs they serve will all be marginalized,” a letter today from the Alliance Defense Fund to Obama said.
“The military would effectively establish preferred religions or religious beliefs,” the letter said. “That is a constitutional offense that carries a very pragmatic consequence: just what will happen to recruiting efforts if Christians become second-class soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines.”
The letter, addressed to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, referenced Obama’s campaign to allow open homosexual behavior in the U.S. military. While that behavior is formally forbidden under current law, the military acts under a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy adopted by President Clinton.
The letter was signed by Gary McCaleb, senior vice president and senior counsel; Jordan Lorence, senior vice president and senior counsel; Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel; and Kevin Theriot; senior counsel.
“Military chaplains who have volunteered to defend the liberties protected in our Constitution shouldn’t be denied those very same liberties,” said Theriot. “Forcing chaplains to deny the teachings of their faith in order to serve in the armed forces is a grave threat to the First Amendment and to the spiritual health of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen who depend on them.”
He said if the military is forced to promote homosexual behavior, “for the first time in American history there will be open conflict between the virtues taught by chaplains and the moral message delivered by the military.”
“In such a conflict, it’s obvious who will win and who will lose. If the state favors the demands of the homosexual activists over the First Amendment, it is only a matter of time before the military censors the religious expression of its chaplains and marginalizes denominations that teach what the Bible says about homosexual behavior,” he said.