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The DADT Repeal Repertory Theater

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

September 21st, 2010

It’s official. The start of the process of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been put on hold. Both Arkansas Democrats, Blanche L. Lincoln and Mark Pryor, joined all 40 Republicans to sustain the filibuster against the National Defense Appropriations Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote at the last minute in a procedural maneuver that will allow him to bring the bill back to the Senate floor for a later revote. At this time, that vote will almost certainly not take place until after the November elections during a lame-duck session.

In the days leading up to today’s vote, Reid announced that he would allow a vote on only three amendments to the appropriations bill. One proposed amendment, which would have removed the DADT repeal language from the bill, would almost certainly not have garnered the sixty votes needed pass muster. A second proposed amendment, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who served in the U.S. military or who graduate from college, also likely would have failed due to Republican opposition and discomfort among some Democrats. A third proposed amendment would have placed limits on Senators being able to place holds on nominations.

Those were the only amendments that Reid would allow to come up for a vote, all of which were chosen by Reid for the political advantage they would give the Democrats in tough mid-term election campaigns. His gamble wasn’t really a gamble at all. In fact, his gambit was a win-win for Democrats, at least in how they see their strategy unfolding. If Republicans upheld the filibuster, then Reid could go home and say that it was the Republicans who blocked DADT’s repeal and immigration reform. If the Dems had prevailed on the filibuster, then Reid would have been able to get the Republican caucus on record on these two issues ahead of the November elections. Either way, what Reid actually sought to accomplish was political gamesmanship, not Senatorial statesmanship.

The Republican caucus insisted that they be allowed to bring proposed amendments up for a vote as well, a reasonable demand that in ordinary times would not have raised an eyebrow. But these are not ordinary times. Votes in the Senate aren’t about actually doing anything but positioning for the elections. I don’t know what amendments Republicans wanted votes on, but they were undoubtedly just as politically divisive as Reid’s chosen amendments. But by not even allowing debate on a very limited number of those other amendments, Reid doomed DADT’s repeal until after the election.

The sixty votes needed to break the filibuster had already been lined up, but that was before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to limit debates and votes on amendments. That led to a collapse in support in ending the filibuster. Servicemembers United, which has been campaigning for DADT’s repeal, saw through Reid’s political posturing. SU’s Executive Director Alexander Nicholson criticized Reid’s position yesterday on MSNBC:

“If Senator Reid would just budge a little bit and come to an agreement on a reasonable way to proceed, we could potentially get the votes. But so far, he’s not been willing to do that, unfortunately.”

Following today’s vote, Nicholson said called it “a failure of leadership.” Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis was more circumspect, saying:

Today’s Senate vote was a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law. We lost because of the political maneuvering dictated by the mid-term elections.

So if Reid had the votes to break the filibuster but squandered them in this procedural maneuver, why did he do this? The answer is simple. This was never a serious attempt to pass legislation in the best interests of the American people. It was nothing but political theater, and everyone on both sides were eager actors in the drama. All the Senators had a role to play, and everyone played to the audience. Even the White House was given a bit part. They issued a statement calling for an end to the filibuster, but according to SLDN’s Trevor Thomas, there was no lobbying behind the scenes.

And now that the vote has been taken, the play moves on to its second act: everyone now gets to go home and use it on the campaign trail. Republicans, even those who support DADT’s repeal, will be able to brag that they stood up to the evil Democratic machine. Democrats will be able to blame the evil Republican machine for blocking legislation that three-fourths of the American population agree on.

What happens in the third act — when the legislation re-appears in a lame-duck session after the elections — is anybody’s guess right now. It’s shaping up to be quite a cliff-hanger, so don’t touch that dial!

And what role do we in the gay community play? It’s the same role we always play. We’re the interesting and colorful plotline. It’s not much of a speaking part, but the dance moves are fabulous. And why should it be otherwise? It’s a role we’ve played so well over the years that it’s just expected of us. And we are happy to oblige. This time, we even have Lady Gaga making a guest appearance.

Which makes all of this really funny when you think about it. For all the talk of unbridgeable differences in today’s political landscape, Reid’s maneuver was a gift to all one hundred Senators of something every one of them wanted: a campaign issue. With today’s drama, everyone wins — Hooray for Reid! — everyone, that is, with the exception of the American people.

Comments

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Lost Choi
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Well written Jim.

John in the Bay Area
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Those Republican Senators that supposedly support repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell demonstrated clearly today that they couldn’t care less about gay and lesbian servicemembers. I am not happy about the way that Reid has conducted himself for the last 2 years. I think there should have been real filibusters with senators talking bills to death until they dropped over. It would have been a far more effective way to deal with Republican obstruction.

However, Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have demonstrated about as clearly as anyone can that they are not friends or allies of gay and lesbian Americans. They turned their back on gay and lesbian servicemembers when they needed them most.

Ray
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Just added this to my Facebook page. Thanks, Jim. A bulls eye.

Chris McCoy
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Excellent analysis, Jim.

We need to hold all Democrats, and Mr Reid in particular, responsible for this abysmal failure. We had a real, viable option, and Mr Reid blew in an attempt to rescue his own political career.

When you reach across the aisle to make a compromise, you do not snatch your hand back at the last second. This kind of election-year posturing is beyond the pale.

To paraphrase the late, great Desi Arnaz, “Harry, You got some ‘splainin’ to do”

Timothy Kincaid
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

The opinions expressed in this commentary DO reflect AT LEAST ONE OF THE other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Stewart P.
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

I have no problem with gays in the military. In fact, I am gay. I’ve been gay since I can remember.

Then again, I wouldn’t run out and join, even if the policy was changed. Nope, I’m fine as a civilian, thank you very much. You wouldn’t catch me joining the military even in peace time. And with these wars going on? Not a chance.

I don’t think most gays are itching to join, but…it’s the principle of the thing.

I just don’t think that religious people should be told to shut up or leave the service. That sounds to me like we’re instituting a new “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for people of faith.

I remember when Lt. Choi was on Maddow and he said that it went against all of the values he had learned at West Point to keep his sexual orientation secret. Well, wouldn’t the same concept apply to a Mormon soldier who had a moral objection to gay relations? Wouldn’t he have to lie and say that he didn’t? That doesn’t seem very fair.

Stewart P.
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

One more thing. Reid shouldn’t have attached this to a defense appropriations bill. He should have made it stand alone. What was he afraid of, that he’d lose the vote if he didn’t bury it inside of a bill designed to fund the troops in harm’s way?

Jim Burroway
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

I just don’t think that religious people should be told to shut up or leave the service. That sounds to me like we’re instituting a new “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for people of faith.

That is a strawman argument. NOBODY is saying that religous people should be told to “shut up or leave the service.” Where on earth did you get that idea????

Stewart P.
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

That’s what Lady Gaga wants.

“Lady Gaga railed against what she called the injustice of having goodhearted gay soldiers booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbor hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country. She suggested a new policy should target straight soldiers who are “uncomfortable” with gay soldiers in their midst.

“Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” she said.”

I’ve never been in the military, but that’s my understanding of how it works. My understanding is that military policy is not up for debate. No comments from the peanut gallery. If a soldier doesn’t like it, he “go home” (after his term is up, of course), but he can’t complain.

Jim and Tim–are you saying that you fully support religious soldiers airing their views? So if a Mormom/Catholic/Evangelical/Muslim soldier told a gay soldier that his sexual activities are disgusting, disordered, wrong, sinful, bizarre, unnatural, anti-God, or whatever, you would be okay with that? What if he didn’t say it directly to the gay soldier? What if he didn’t say “Hey YOU there, gay soldier, YOUR sexuality is wrong”? What if he just said that two men laying together is an abomination? Do you think he should be punished?

Even if you are okay with that, I don’t think that will be how the policy will work out. It seems that having openly gay servicemembers will mean that some people will not be able to say that they think it’s wrong to be gay.

Like I said, having gay soldiers is fine by me. I just don’t want similar discrimination to fall on religious soldiers as a result of their religious preference.

By the way, Tim, you don’t have to be rude. For real.

Amicus
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

I will chime in to say that not allowing additional amendments is most definitely not something new or unique to this bill or effort.

Reid has been doing it all along. It’s not, therefore, uniquely cynical in relation to gay legislation. (I don’t know his reasons, but I can surmise why he does it).

The position that Collins has is untenable. You don’t support the substance of something but vote against it because of ‘style points’. If she has some brilliant, undisclosed amendment to offer, let’s hear it. Otherwise, @#$&*##!!

Jim Burroway
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

What if he just said that two men laying together is an abomination? Do you think he should be punished?

As long as you are dealing with hypotheticals, let me give you one. Right now, there are active White supremacists in the U.S. military. Many of them are part of what’s called the Christian Identity movement, which makes their white supremacist views religiously-based. If they told Black soldiers that God created them to be inferior to White people — which is their sincerely-held religious beliefs, do you think they should be punished?

Timothy Kincaid
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Jim and Tim–are you saying that you fully support religious soldiers airing their views? So if a Mormom/Catholic/Evangelical/Muslim soldier told a gay soldier that his sexual activities are disgusting, disordered, wrong, sinful, bizarre, unnatural, anti-God, or whatever, you would be okay with that? What if he didn’t say it directly to the gay soldier? What if he didn’t say “Hey YOU there, gay soldier, YOUR sexuality is wrong”? What if he just said that two men laying together is an abomination? Do you think he should be punished?

Southern Baptist Boys in the military may think that Catholicism is idol worship, but they don’t get to announce it. Catholics may think that Hindus are pagans, but they don’t get to “just say” so. Muslim soldiers may think that Jews are infidel dogs, but they will most definitely be punished if they do not accord them the dignity of a fellow soldier.

I don’t believe that gay people are due any less.

John in the Bay Area
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Somehow I doubt that Stewart P is gay.

If people in the military are going up to other servicemembers making unsolicited comments about their religion, race, ethnic backround or in any other way harrassing them, they should be disciplined, up to and including separation from the service. That is the current policy and can be inforced via the Equal Opportunity complaint process.

Mormon military members can believe whatever they want about gays, blacks, Native Americans, women or any other group that they currently or previously have looked down upon, but they have zero right to abuse, demean or harrass other service members. People who would behave the way that Stewart P. describes have no business serving in the military. Their behavior will impede their unit from completing it’s assigned mission.

Richard Rush
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Stewart P. said,

I remember when Lt. Choi was on Maddow and he said that it went against all of the values he had learned at West Point to keep his sexual orientation secret. Well, wouldn’t the same concept apply to a Mormon soldier who had a moral objection to gay relations? Wouldn’t he have to lie and say that he didn’t? That doesn’t seem very fair.

These are NOT equivalent concepts:

Person 1 (P1) is just trying to be open and honest about his own life regarding a matter that has no tangible adverse impact on others, despite their fantasies.

Person 2 (P2), such as your Mormon example, is a meddling busybody who believes that P1 is somehow obligated to live according to P2′s dictated moral values. And if P1 refuses, then P2 is justified in psychologically abusing P1.

Mnemosyne
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

I’m sorry, have you not watched the Republicans in action for the past two years? Not seen them claim over and over again that they were totally going to vote for a bill and then the Democrats just were so mean that they were forced not to? Watched as they denounced the health reform plan originally proposed by their own party as a horrible socialistic government takeover?

I’m sorry, but if you think that DADT would have passed as a separate bill, you’re living in a dream world. At best, it would have joined the 327 other bills that have been passed by the House but blocked in Congress.

Mnemosyne
September 21st, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, I misspoke — there are actually 372 bills waiting for the Senate to vote on them, not 327.

But the Republicans would totally have leaped on the chance to vote down DADT. You betcha.

PoliticallyIncorrect
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

OK this is not PC but it’s the truth: Harry Ried is a devout Mormon who brags about the Temple Recommend in his wallet. It is insane to think that a Temple-worthy Mormon would consider gay rights as anything other that a tactical, tangential issue.

Gay rights are not civil rights for Ried, that does not compute for him. At best, liberal Mormons like Reid view gays as afflicted and worthy of tolerant pity.

Disappointment that Reid isn’t ‘fierce advocate’ is super naive.

Evan Hurst
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Uh, several things, mostly directed at “Stewart”:

1. Crap is added to defense appropriations bills all the freaking time. The idea that this is somehow new or weird or different is a Republican lie intended for low information voters/the stupid.

2. Yeah, Lady Gaga said that if people are too bigoted to uphold their damn military oaths, they should go the hell home. I agree! DADT prohibits valiant soldiers from being able to put their damn spouses down as their next of kin. The alternative prohibits some bigoted hick from whatever-the-hell backwater bitching and moaning about how he, with his hairy back and four teeth, is scared that one day some gay might find him attractive, however unlikely that is.

Perhaps Stewart is as ignorant of the military as he says he is, but I’m not, having come from a family full of servicemembers, and let me tell you something: they have to shut up about a lot of things. If they don’t like certain policies, they have to shut up. They can’t appear in uniform in certain key ways, politically. Their system truly IS different from our civilian system. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS THE KEY THING: That is supposed to apply equally, for god’s sake!

You’re suggesting that people in the military should be able to talk about their spouses, as long as they have opposite genitals, but not if they match? Give me a f*cking break! That’s what this is about.

Any person who, once this awful policy finally IS repealed, has an issue with it is not having his/her rights violated in any way. They simply have to sit down, follow orders, and shut the hell up, EQUALLY with their fellow servicemembers, including the gay soldiers and sailors who have to roll their own eyes at the pig ignorance in their midst.

Evan Hurst
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

That said, I don’t completely agree with the contention of the original post, at all, but I’ll address that tomorrow, if I remember, due to I Am Tired Now.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Thank you, Jim, Tim, et al., for proving my point.

When I first posted, I said simply that gays should be allowed to serve openly, but that religious people should not have to shut up or leave. Jim’s response?

“That is a strawman argument. NOBODY is saying that religous people should be told to “shut up or leave the service.” Where on earth did you get that idea????”

Strawman arguments are against the comment policy, by the way. What is a strawman argument? It’s when a person argues against an idea that no one is actually advancing. Nope, NO ONE is saying that religious people should have to shut up or leave.

No one except everyone on this thread, including Jim, who contradicted himself in his very next post.

He wants to have it both ways. (A) changing the policy will not result in the disciplining and expulsion of people who honestly object to homosexuality, and (B) people who object to homosexuality will be disciplined and discharged, and rightfully so! I’m sure that he really believes both things at the same time. It’s nearly schizophrenic in nature, but I’m sure Jim (and other commentors) believe A and B at the same time.

Oh, and according to John in the Bay Area, I’m not really gay. You know, there are some very ignorant people who think that all gays look the same, talk the same, act the same, and think the same. I happen to know that that’s not true.

But then I go and say something like religious people shouldn’t be forced to choose between shutting the hell up and leaving the service, and all of the sudden, I’m not authentically gay. I’ve said something that’s very un-gay, which is that I don’t hate people who object to what I do in the privacy of my bedroom.

Look, I’ve made my point very clear. Gays in the military are fine, but we can’t just go forcing people into the closet about their religious beliefs. That’s the same thing they did to us!

Ben Mathis
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Voluntary religious beliefs are not the same as sexual orientation, sorry. I don´t support racist members of the military for being allowed to vocally decry having black members serve next to them, and no one should support religious bigots being able to be openly vocal about it either. You want to believe it, fine, do it quietly where it doesn´t harm other people. Me being gay doesn´t hurt anyone, someone openly preaching against me does, and that´s the difference.

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart, you are a fool. I did not advocate telling religious people to shut up and go away. I only asked you a question, one that you are too cowardly to answer. I’ll ask it again:

Right now, there are active White supremacists in the U.S. military. Many of them are part of what’s called the Christian Identity movement, which makes their white supremacist views religiously-based. If they told Black soldiers that God created them to be inferior to White people — which is their sincerely-held religious beliefs, do you think they should be punished?

By refusing to answer that question, you have only shown yourself to be either cowardly, or inconsistent. Please answer the question BEFORE we go on to whether you think that people who hold religious views ought to be expected to hold their views to themselves in the name of unit cohesiveness or not.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Stewart, you are a fool.”

Okay, now you’re just being verbally abusive. I thought this was a forum for open discussion. You’re insulting my intelligence. Stop it.

I haven’t refused to answer any question. I will answer it in this post, but please understand that I responded to your first comment first. Your first comment was that NOBODY is advocating telling religious soldiers to shut up or go home. That is ridiculous! YOU are advocating that, and so is every other commentor on this thread. So let’s be honest here–you are advocating discrimination against religious people under the logic that we already discriminate against people’s (racist) religious beliefs, so it’s okay. I’m not setting up a “straw man” argument that no one is actually advancing. I am taking your argument on directly.

I’m glad you brought up the issue of race. The reason I mentioned this in the first place is because I used to work with a guy who had been in the Navy. He told me that interracial dating was quite common in the military, and that no one was allowed to say a word about it if they didn’t approve. So I assumed that when and if DADT is ever repealed, the same rule would apply. In other words, repealing DADT isn’t only about letting gays serve openly, it’s about policing attitudes about gayness.

You could argue that we already police attitudes about race, and that would be true. But you cannot argue that no such policing would occur, so religious people should just calm down and stop resorting to false alarms about how their free exercise of religion will be adversely affected. It’s not a false alarm, you and I both know that. If this policy goes through, Catholics (and Muslims, and Evangelicals, and Mormons, and whoever) will be treated like skinheads. You’ve already made the comparison. It’s clear that you want millions of followers of peaceful, mainstream religions to be treated like they’re members of an obscure neo-nazi sect that holes up in Idaho. I read you loud and clear.

Your attitude is why I think a lot of people feel threatened by the repeal of DADT. They have to ask themselves, “If DADT is repealed, am I going to be treated like a racist just because I hold certain religious beliefs?” If the comments on this website are any indicator, the answer is yes! Religious people will be treated like racists, and they will be offered a choice–shut up or go home.

You have told me that “nobody” is advocating any such thing. That’s fundamentally untrue. My theory is that opposition to gay soldiers would evaporate if people undertstood that we don’t care what their religious beliefs are and that they will not be punished for belonging to the “wrong” religion. In other words, your “my way or the highway” attitude is a barrier to getting DADT repealed!

Now, to answer your question. I don’t think that the Christian Identity people should be punished. I think the black soldiers should learn that other people have other opinions. The military should not be deciding which religions are okay and which are not.

If you want to argue that members of the military have sworn an oath to follow orders, then fine. But then you’re only lending creedence to the argument that ordering gays to be silent about their sexuality is fine because we swore the same oath to follow the same orders.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

By the way, when you compare members of mainstream religions to violent skinhead orhanizations, you reveal your bigotry. You sound just like people who compare gays to child molestors, necropheliacs, and animal-defilers.

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I made no such comparison Stewart. You are revealing your own insecurities.

You were the one who raised the religious exemption to be paramount over all others. I’m just trying to understand whose religion merits extraordinary protection over which other religions. I might just as well include religions what support and bless same-sex unions which are discriminated against under DADT. Don’t adherents to those religions have the same rights as the ones you are so eager to protect?

Your inconsistency and illogic amazes me.

Désirée
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

not quite Stewart.
The difference is that comparing gays to child molesters has no basis in fact. There is nothing about being gay that is similar to being a child molester.

Comparing homophobic religious beliefs to racists beliefs is entirely accurate in that a racist holds an (unfounded, illogical) belief about a class of people that presents that class of people in a negative light. A homophobic religious belief holds an (unfounded, illogical) belief about gay people that presents gays in a negative light.

See? Same thing. And yes, when DADT is repealed, homophobia will not be tolerated in the same way that racism is not tolerated… because they are the same thing.

LOrion
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

So, per VP Biden we sold our STOP-LOSS for passage votes and didn’t get them. So do we get our STOP-LOSS now, oh spineless one?

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart– it’s just another example of this” if gay people are treated the same as everyoneelse, then the rights of religious people are in danger.”

When you have nothing else, claim victimhood at the expense of people who are actually victims.

Here’s the quesiton to answer: why is it that as a Jew I can reject the totality of conservative christian theology, and this bothers no one but the most rabid fundamentalist. But let me say that I am gay and reject this itty-bitty part of ocnservative Christian theology, and all of a sudden, freedom of religion is endangered?

All it tells me is that for some people, bigotry is so deeply ingrained in them that nothing– not liberty, not truth, not compassion, noyt justice, and certianly NOT unit cohesion,– are EVER going to get in the way ofthat bigotry.

Amicus
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I don’t think that the Christian Identity people should be punished
=====
You are incorrect.

The purpose of the military – the sole purpose, as we are constantly reminded – is to fight and win wars.

If anyone wants to evangelize, to preach the gospel, or hold forth their religious beliefs other than simply by living them, they should not join the military. (Indeed, part of our law even accommodates people who fall into conscientious objector status).

Nevertheless, one can lead a “good Christian life” within the confines of current military policy and one can continue to do so, even if gays and lesbians were allowed to serve openly. Period.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart P,

You are making what I call the Maggie Argument – that allowing gay citizens equality will infringe on the rights of those who oppose equality by casting them in a negative light. The presumption is that “religious freedom” mean the ability to hold religious positions without criticism.

The fear of being “treated like a racist” is telling. It is not really a fear of physical punishment or institutionalized discrimination. They know that no military structure is going to punish servicemen for religious ideology.

What they really fear is what they refer to as refer to as the “normalization of homosexuality.” They fear that they will lose the debate in the public conscience and lose so completely that their views will not only be rejected but will be scorned.

They fear that they will be treated similarly to those who hold other prejudicial assumptions of superiority (by race, religion, social standing, etc.). Once their brand of rejection and condemnation no longer has social recognition and institutionalized approval, they know that they will be judged by their own character and attitudes.

What they want is to retain their social superiority, but also to not be judged by it. They want to consider themselves to be superior to gay people but not have anyone else view that attitude as arrogant, dismissive, or prejudiced.

And so they hold desperately to any social, institutional, legal or other measures in which gay people are deemed inferior, inadequate, or a threat. This confirms their prejudice and assures they that they are “in the majority” and projecting (and protecting) the “mainstream” position. As long as everyone agrees with them, they can’t be considered to be of ill will.

But the truth is that as anti-gay prejudices reduce – and that is happening regardless of DADT – those who continue to espouse views of prejudice based on sexual orientation will be considered, as you put it, to be “like racists.” Not because of any changes in military policy or civil law, but because one of the core values of our society is equality and those who oppose it are viewed askance.

They cling desperately to DADT and DOMA and the like, because the cannot fathom society considering them (them, the moral people!) to be “bad”. And they really, really don’t want to think of themselves that way.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Brilliant, timothy. You expressed exactly what i was thinking of writing, except that i have too many other things to do.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim said: “I made no such comparison Stewart. You are revealing your own insecurities.”

Uh, yeah you did Jim. “If they told Black soldiers that God created them to be inferior to White people — which is their sincerely-held religious beliefs, do you think they should be punished?”

You were obviously drawing a parallel between the two. Now, can you, for the love of all that’s good, please admit that repealing DADT does have something to do with policing the attitudes of soldiers, many of which will be informed by religious beliefs? Can you admit that those who express unacceptable religious beliefs will be disciplined and kicked out? You called that a “straw man” before. Please tell me that you’re willing to reconsider.

Jim, Tim, and everyone else on this page, I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. Well, I don’t think you’re trying very hard to understand either. I’m in favor of repealing DADT because I think that gay soldiers should be able to serve without having to hide their sexuality. I also think that religious soldiers should be able to serve without having to hide their religious beliefs. What could be more equal than that? Religious folks have to tolerate (but not affirm) something that they don’t like, and gays would have to tolerate (but not affirm) something that they don’t like. Get used to working with people who hold different ideas than you do. It’s called America.

For all of the commentors on here who think I’m so out in left field, please answer me a very honest question. Which of these completelty contradictory statements do you agree with?

A) Repealing DADT will have no effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality. This is a false alarm. No one is telling them to shut up or go home.

B) Repealing DADT will certainly have an effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality, and rightfully so! We should not tolerate any dissent in this regard. Gays have every right to be in the military and people who don’t like it should be treated the same way as racists.

This isn’t a hard question. They are mutaully exclusive.

All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t replace one discriminatory policy (DADT) with another discriminatory policy (shut up or go home if you don’t like it). That’s just called being fair. As Tim mentioned, equality is one of our values. Gay supremacism is not.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim said: “I might just as well include religions what support and bless same-sex unions which are discriminated against under DADT. Don’t adherents to those religions have the same rights as the ones you are so eager to protect?”

Sure, I suppose.

You bring up a good point, Jim. Certain religions are very warm toward gays. Adherents to that religion will be able to express their religious beliefs all day long, right?

So now the military has decided that some religions are acceptable and others are not due to the fact that some hold beliefs that are acceptable while others do not.

Government must remain neutral on religious matters. Singling out one belief for discipline is endorsing its opposite. Our government is prohibited from endorsing a religion.

What the commentors here are suggesting (that some religious beliefs should be rooted out) is textbook discrimination. Is that what you believe in?

You think you’re so different from the people you hate, but you’re not. You’re their mirror image.

Priya Lynn
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart you’re hiding from this question:

“If they told Black soldiers that God created them to be inferior to White people — which is their sincerely-held religious beliefs, do you think they should be punished?”

You are unwilling to answer that because your answer would be yes and that would reveal your hypocrisy. You’re not only a hypocrite, you’re a dishonest one at that. You’re also a hypocrite for demanding that people answer your questions when you’ve refused to give them the same courtesy.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I already answered it, Priya Lynn. If you read the entire thread you would know what I said already. I’m not hiding.

“Now, to answer your question. I don’t think that the Christian Identity people should be punished. I think the black soldiers should learn that other people have other opinions. The military should not be deciding which religions are okay and which are not.”

Now, will you please answer the question. Do you agree with statement A or statement B?

dc
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Exactly. This is perfectly articulated. I wish I had been able to say it so well.

Dennis W
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I completely follow Stewart P’s argument. The issue I have with this is his basic assumption is that if an opinion, belief or construct is wrapped in the cloak of religion it is in some way valid and without challenge. One can have any religious belief they choose and that is protected as long as it is your belief and used to guide your own life. When your belief becomes my problem, you cross the line. There are military members that are ‘religious’ (pick the construct you like) but there are not ‘Religious Soldiers’ in the US military. If you want that flavor, look to the Crusades

Joshua
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

There’s a big, long and wearying discussion here about whether or not religious people would be expelled from the military if they got in their gay comrade’s face about how icky they find his “gayness.”

It’s missing the point. I am currently in the military, and all of you are partially correct, but a lot of you – Stewart especially – are wrong in substance. Here’s where the analogy breaks down.

As someone pointed out, there are currently white supremicists, black power advocates, neo-nazis, you name it serving in the armed forces. I’ve even served with a man who very vocally voiced his preference for prepubescent girls at every opportunity, but as long as he didn’t actually do aything we couldn’t get rid of his sick ass. The difference between these folks and gay folks is this: If these folks become a problem, we just give them an order to shut the hell up – like I did the pedo jerk. They can talk about it all they want with their friends after the mission is complete, but shut up about it at work. If a gay person became a problem, I as a leader would like to be able to do the same thing – tell him to shut up, and get to work. Instead, I have to fire him, no matter how I came across the information and no matter how great an asset he is to my team.

In fact, he doesn’t need to say anything at all about being gay at work. There’s ots of ways to get found out that are governed by the law of unintended consequences. An example: in the military, you are required by law and by policy to declare your dependents. I know of a lesbian couple who have a child, and they are both on the certificate of adoption. If they turn that in to the personnel office, they will be fired. If she doesn’t turn it into the personnel office, her child doesn’t get military health benefits that she has earned, and she can still get fired when people wonder why she didn’t declare her child. Quite a dilemma.

Religious bigots, racist zealots, pedophiles, whomever, are allowed to SAY whatever they want in their off-duty time, though they may be told on occasion to stop talking about controversial subjects while at work. Gay people are not allowed to say anything about being gay, date anyone, or even write private correspondence without risking being fired – on duty or off. Even if they say “I’m gay” while they are off-duty, they get fired. By the military’s application of “don’t tell,” even telling your family is considered an admission of homosexuality, and can get you fired – and it has happened tat way in the past. Don’t even try to compare the situations, because the comparison doesn’t hold.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart P,

I’ve tired of addressing your strawmen and false dichotomies.

Religious soldiers will continue to have the right to object to homosexuality, just as they have the right to object to fornication, gambling, drinking, and smoking. No one else is seeing the conflict which you have imagined, so if we are unable to address your fears it is probably not due to inadequacies on our part.

All I can advise is that it’s probably not best to take your talking points from NOM.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Actually, I will add something. the husband isn’t home so he can’t tell me to get some “real” work done.

Stewart: every argument I have EVER heard– and I’ve been listening, far more attentively that I would like to, to this crap for more than 40 years– boils down to one of several statements.

1) I hate queers.

2) My religion tells me to hate queers, but we’ll call it love and hope no one catches on.

3) I’m superior to queers.

4) My religion tells me I’m superior to queers, but well chant loudly “we’re all sinners, but some of us are sinnier than others” and hope no one catches on.

5) Anything about sex frightens the holy crap out of me.

6) I’m a queer, and anything about same sex sex offends, entices, obsesses, and frightens the holy crap out of me, but I’ll just project and deny and self-hate madly and hope no one catches on. (Good luck with that one, dr. Rekers).

As I asked you earlier, and to which you did not respond, why is it that I can reject the totality of Christian belief and this offends no one’s religious belief, affects no one’s religious freedom, hurts and offends and scares no one but the most rabid of fundamentalists…

yet let me say that I am gay and reject just this itty-bitty little ditty of conservative religious belief, a belief which many moderate Christians (for example) no longer share…

let me just ask for the same respect that, let us say for example, fundamentalist Christians ROUTINELY grant to all of the other people that they believe are going to burn in hell for ever, sent there by a just, loving, all-knowing, and above all MERCIFUL god for the crime of not believing in him properly, or because they didn’t get the universal salvation memo…

then suddenly, every one’s freedoms of religion, conscience, speech are suddenly endangered? How did us poor, disgusting perverts manage to get that kind of power, when the most powerful religions and institutions in the country and/or the world DON’T?

Of course, for a hitherto unknown minority who have brought down the mighty empires of the world, destroying the foundations of liberty, our constitution, and military preparedness should be child’s play.

I could do it after my first cup of coffee, if I wanted to. But I don’t want to.

Per my list above, it all boils down to one of three things.

1) If you are going to claim that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to participate fully in our society simply because of your personal animosity, at least be able either to back up the reasonableness of your animosity with facts and logic, or have the balls to admit that it is animosity without rationality or truth. Bigotry, for short.

But bigotry is such an, oh, ugly word, isn’t it? Kinda calling the kettle black, y’know?

2) If you are worried about your “sincere religious beliefs” being offended, then either explain why the wholesale rejection of all of your religious beliefs doesn’t offend you at all, or explain why all of the laws against discrimination on the basis of religious belief– laws which exist at every level of government in our society– somehow don’t apply to you at least in this instance.

Saying it with a cross in your hands doesn’t sanctify it, or make it true, or make it right. Bigotry isn’t really any prettier if you dress it up in an ermine cloak and prada pumps.

3) If it is simply a belief in your inherent superiority, then please explain why you are superior, and thus entitled to superior privilege and superior rights and superior treatment from our government, which is mandated to treat everyone equally. I am a taxpayer, a citizen, a law-abiding, contributing, and productive member of my community. Why does your wholly imaginary superiority trump my equality before the law?

In any case, be prepared for me to dispute it with you. Because here is the difference between you and me. I can allow you to believe whatever you like and not see it as a threat, except of course when you are trying to threaten me. I might disagree with your beliefs, may even think they are dead wrong, bigoted, and motivated by less than honorable intentions and nothing resembling fact or reason.

But I would never tell you that, because it is not polite. And I would never try to legally disadvantage you, because I can disagree without being disagreeable. I don’t need to use the coercive power of the state to enforce my beliefs on people who do not share them, any more than having to live with Muslims in the military forces you to be a Muslim.

The only thing you are ever forced to do is to live with people who believe differently than you do, allowing each other to believe as each chooses. And you don’t even need to do that. If you are in the military, and you cannot possibly stand the thought that the person next to you may prefer something that you don’t, or believes something you don’t, or is entitled to the same respect you demand for yourself…

then you can just quit. and isn’t that what you are advocating for gay people, after all?

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim said: “I made no such comparison Stewart. You are revealing your own insecurities.”

Uh, yeah you did Jim. “If they told Black soldiers that God created them to be inferior to White people — which is their sincerely-held religious beliefs, do you think they should be punished?”

That was not a comparison. Do I have to define simple English terms to you?

I offered a different example based on a religious exemption that some believe ought to be carved out for one set of religious beliefs and not others. I wanted to draw out whether you held a similarly inconsistent belief.

I’m glad you answered it:

Now, to answer your question. I don’t think that the Christian Identity people should be punished. I think the black soldiers should learn that other people have other opinions.

I’m glad to see that there is some consistency in your answer, although I have to say, I have a feeling that African-American soldiers have, somewhere along the way, “learned” that other people hold racist views.

Now, can you, for the love of all that’s good, please admit that repealing DADT does have something to do with policing the attitudes of soldiers, many of which will be informed by religious beliefs? Can you admit that those who express unacceptable religious beliefs will be disciplined and kicked out? You called that a “straw man” before. Please tell me that you’re willing to reconsider.

I will not reconsider such a preposterous position. Repealing DADT has everything to do with guaranteeing the equal rights of ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS! It only has to do with “policing the attitudes of soldiers” insofar as those soldiers find it impossible to work alongside LGBT soldiers regardless of whether they approve of them or like them. In that regard, it only has to do with “policing the attitudes of soldiers” who hold similar views toward African-American soldiers, Muslim soldiers or women soldiers. Your novel term of “gay supremacism” is not the danger here.

This all began when you said:

I just don’t think that religious people should be told to shut up or leave the service.

And I said that it was preposterous to say that repealing DADT requires that religious people should be told to shut up or leave the service. There are plenty of examples of people holding and voicing all sorts of opinions in the service and not being kicked out because of it — all sorts of people except one: gay people.

But you have been trying to cram your words in my mouth ever since. Except here:

You bring up a good point, Jim. Certain religions are very warm toward gays. Adherents to that religion will be able to express their religious beliefs all day long, right?

So now the military has decided that some religions are acceptable and others are not due to the fact that some hold beliefs that are acceptable while others do not.

Now you’re just talking in circles. You say that somehow DADT’s repeal will somehow place some religions “unacceptable” while acknowledging that this already is happening. It appears to me, therefore, that it is you who are only concerned with the religious views of only some religious beliefs.

Singling out one belief for discipline is endorsing its opposite.

Repealing DADT doesn’t itself do that. Or did you forget that, according to your definitions, the U.S. military is already doing that?

Really, Stewart, which is your preferred state of affairs? Your talking in circles is leaving me exhausted.

You think you’re so different from the people you hate, but you’re not. You’re their mirror image.

I called you a fool, and you whined about it. Now, you are effectively calling me a bigot (at least a “hater”), which crosses a line. You think you know me so well, don’t you?

If you’re going to accuse me of hatred, then I have a right to demand that you provide evidence of it.

I don’t hate, although I do admit to impatience. But when it comes to religion, I have been a staunch and consistent defender of the rights of everyone to practice their religion. Some of those religions are very unpopular right now and I have caught holy hell in defending them. But I will continue to do so, whether they are Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, Evangelical, Jewish, Orthodox, whatever… That doesn’t mean that I won’t vicorously criticize faith leaders or some of their adherents. And I have no shame whatsoever in defending all religous adherents and nonadherents against attempts to codify in the law one set of religious beliefs over others with respect to civil marriage, DADT, etc. If that is what you mean by “hate”, then I suspect you’ve engaged in a bit of “hatred” yourself. I don’t buy that definition.

I think it’s time you looked into your own mirror and re-evaluate your assumptions about me, someone who you do not know.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Ben in Oakland

“Here’s the quesiton to answer: why is it that as a Jew I can reject the totality of conservative christian theology, and this bothers no one but the most rabid fundamentalist. But let me say that I am gay and reject this itty-bitty part of ocnservative Christian theology, and all of a sudden, freedom of religion is endangered?”

Freedom isn’t endangered. Unless, of course the official policy is that no one is allowed to hold amother belief, or at least say it out loud. That’s my understanding of the policy after the welcomed death of DADT. Just as no one is permitted now to object to interracial dating, no one in the post-DADT future will be able to object to same-sex dating.

Therein lies the problem.

See how I attempt to answer your questions as simply and honestly as possible? Could you accord me the same respect rather than sticking words in my mouth and lying about what I believe? I would appreciate that.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, let me address some of your points. You’re clearly as confused as everyone else here when it comes to my point of view. Have you read anything I’ve said, or have you reverted to full-on attack mode? I’m not your enemy, Tim.

“…that allowing gay citizens equality will infringe on the rights of those who oppose equality by casting them in a negative light. The presumption is that ‘religious freedom’ mean the ability to hold religious positions without criticism.”

Now it is you who’s advancing the straw man argument. I never said that a gay soldier had to like the religious soldier’s belief. (Nor does the religious soldier have to like the gay soldier’s sexuality) I certainly never said that the gay soldier should have to operate under a gag order. I said that a religious soldier should not have to choose between shutting up and going home. In other words, he should not be kicked out! Criticism has nothing to do with it. By all means, criticize away!

If gays have the right to serve without hiding their sexuality, religious people have a right to serve without hiding their beliefs. WHAT IS SO DAMNED HARD TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT?

“It is not really a fear of physical punishment or institutionalized discrimination.”

Yes, kicking people out of the military because they exercise their constitutionally protected right to ascribe to a faith that Timothy doesn’t like is institutionalized discrimination. It’s the very definition of discrimination. That’s exactly what I’m saying we should avoid.

I’m not saying that religious people should be able to say what they want without criticism. I’m saying that they should still be able to keep their jobs. Guys shouldn’t be yanked off the front lines in Afghanistan because they mentioned to the other guy in their foxhole (who may or may not be gay) that their religion finds sex between men to be sinful. If that’s going to be the policy, then we are certainly talking about INSTITUTIONALIZED DISCRIMINATION.

“Once their brand of rejection and condemnation no longer has social recognition and institutionalized approval, they know that they will be judged by their own character and ATTTITUDES.”

And here we are back at the beginning. I began this post by saying that allowing gay soldiers to serve openly is fine, but policing attitudes is not fine. That was apparentyly a straw man argument. That’s what Jim told me. No such policing would go on, he said. Nope, none at all.

“They want to consider themselves to be superior to gay people but not have anyone else view that attitude as arrogant, dismissive, or prejudiced.”

And you want the same thing, in reverse.

“And so they hold desperately to any social, institutional, legal or other measures in which gay people are deemed inferior, inadequate, or a threat. This confirms their prejudice and assures they that they are “in the majority” and projecting (and protecting) the “mainstream” position.”

Look in the mirror.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

So Tim, can I conclude from your post that you think that people of faith SHOULD be treated like racists? Is it fair to assume that once DADT is dead, the policy will treat all objections to gay sex as the equivalent of racism? You realize that we as a society have a low tolerance for racism? So you’re saying that we should have a low tolerance for other people’s religious beliefs?

If that’s the argument you’re making, then by all means, go ahead. But be honest and upfront about it. Tell the public up front that repealing DADT will necessarily result in a loss of religious freedom. Tell the public that people in the military will have to shut up or go home, just like Lady Gaga said. Tell them that Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals will be treated exactly the same way we treat the Aryan Nation and the KKK. Don’t hide your intentions behind the argument that you just want gays to be able to serve openly. That’s not all you want. You want to outlaw dissent.

Then see how quickly the support we’ve worked so hard for wastes away. Your pushy tactics don’t help the cause. They turn people off, alienate the majority of people who have come around to our way of thinking.

Ryan
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Unless, of course the official policy is that no one is allowed to hold amother belief, or at least say it out loud. That’s my understanding of the policy after the welcomed death of DADT. Just as no one is permitted now to object to interracial dating, no one in the post-DADT future will be able to object to same-sex dating.”

Your understanding is horribly flawed and incorrect. What you want, is for no one to be allowed to object to anyone objecting to same-sex dating, and sorry, that’s not going to happen. If a bigoted religious solider wants to mock and deride a fellow gay solider, he will be punished, just as if the gay solider wanted to mock and deride a religious solider. If you consider that a “problem”, then I don’t really know what to say.

Richard Rush
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

This jumped out at me: Joshua said,

I’ve even served with a man who very vocally voiced his preference for prepubescent girls at every opportunity, but as long as he didn’t actually do aything we couldn’t get rid of his sick ass.

So, while the US military fires soldiers if they acknowledge attraction to adults of the same sex, pedophiles are safe from being fired, as long as they are heterosexual.

That’s good to know.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart P,

I’ll not be addressing your strawmen, false dichotomies, imagined scenarios, or deliberate distortions of the comments of others.

You are simply here as a contrarian and I don’t have time for that. Frankly, I suspect that your assertions about yourself are fraudulent; you use language that is familiar to me, but not common within the gay or secular communities.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

In other words, Timotht, you concede the point.

Thank you for confirming what I already knew.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Is anyone going to answer my question? Any of you? Let me repeat it:

Which of these completelty contradictory statements do you agree with?

A) Repealing DADT will have no effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality. This is a false alarm. No one is telling them to shut up or go home.

B) Repealing DADT will certainly have an effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality, and rightfully so! We should not tolerate any dissent in this regard. Gays have every right to be in the military and people who don’t like it should be treated the same way as racists.

werdna
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Before it gets lost in the flood of concern troll vomit, I’d like to recommend people read all of Joshua’s comment above. He addresses the concrete realities of life in the US military, rather than wasting time with vague worries and feigned confusion.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Frankly, I suspect that your assertions about yourself are fraudulent; you use language that is familiar to me, but not common within the gay or secular communities.”

Thanks, Tim. I’ll say again what I said before.

“You know, there are some very ignorant people who think that all gays look the same, TALK THE SAME, act the same, and think the same. I happen to know that that’s not true.”

You really are a character, you know that? You know I’m not really gay because I don’t TALK like I’m gay! That’s got to be the funniest thing I’ve heard this week.

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

(sigh!)

Even though I already answered the question, I will again humor you one last time.

A) Repealing DADT will have no effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality. This is a false alarm. No one is telling them to shut up or go home.

That will be true, to the same extent that it is true for anyone who hold religious views against a racially-integrated military, who holds religious views hostile to fellow Muslim soldiers, and who holds views that run against having women in the military. I do not believe that there would be an exception carved out for gays that is inconsistent with other standards of military conduct. As far as I know — and as observed by Joshua’s comment, repealing DADT won’t have much of an impact on any soldier’s right to hold or express an opinion.

And frankly, what Joshua describes isn’t any different from virtually any other workplace, public or private.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

You still want it both ways! This is unbelievable! You picked A and then negated your answer by saying that of course you think religious beliefs should be policed, just the same way that they already are!

Please come up with a coherent thought before you speak, Jim. It doesn’t reflect well on you.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Look Stewart,

If you are trying to argue that religious people in the military should be granted a special dispensation to publicly condemn gay people in a way that they cannot condemn others and, incidentally, in a way that is already forbidden by military policy, I doubt that you are going to find many here who agree with you or find that notion to be reasonable.

Stewart P.
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Tim,

Nope, I’m just asking for a free speech and free exercise of religion. It’s clear that I won’t find any supporters of that here either.

You already conceded defeat, Kincaid. Now take your ball and go home.

Jim Burroway
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart, this is the last time I will explain this to you. Nobody will be told to shut up and go home. They have freedom of speech today, they will have freedom of speech tomorrow, they will have the same freedom of speech after DADT is repealed. They will, however, be held to behavioral standards that are not disruptive. Nobody has a right to be disruptive in the workplace. Anybody can be fired or disciplined if they are disruptive. This is no different from what is happening today, and it will not change based on DADT. And this is true in the military, outside of the military, in public employment, in private employment. It is even true in the public square. Freedom of speech is protected quite vigorously and will continue to be protected now and in the future, regardless of faith or lack of faith.

If you cannot understand simple English or logic, then I cannot help you.

I am done trying to reason with someone who behaves as though he is devoid of the capacity for reason.

Chris McCoy
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart P wrote:

Which of these completelty contradictory statements do you agree with?

A) Repealing DADT will have no effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality. This is a false alarm. No one is telling them to shut up or go home.

B) Repealing DADT will certainly have an effect on the rights of religious soldiers to object to homosexuality, and rightfully so! We should not tolerate any dissent in this regard. Gays have every right to be in the military and people who don’t like it should be treated the same way as racists.

Answer:

C) Repealing DADT will not affect anyone’s constitutional right to their firmly held religious belief, or their constitutional right to free speech.

Religious soldiers who object to open displays of homosexuality will still be free to voice their opinions on the subject as they can now.

The only difference is that those religious objections will not prohibit said homosexual soldiers from continuing to serve openly in the military.

Other soldiers who object to the bigoted remarks of the religious soldier will also be free to mock and ridicule said religious soldier, or said join in mocking and ridiculing the homosexual soldier as is their constitutional prerogative.

The military was officially desegregated over 40 years ago – yet racism still runs rampant. Is detrimental to unit cohesion? Sure. Are soldiers drummed out of the military for being racist? No.

Your false dichotomy is false.

Erin
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Religious views should not influence public or military policy. If a guy wants to say being gay is against his religious beliefs, repealing DADT won’t take away his right to do that. If he wants to make that statement in the form of harassment, then yes, obviously he should be disciplined.
I want to know how a gay man defends a policy that discriminates against gays with the reasoning that other people have religious beliefs against being gay?! That makes no sense at all. Call me ignorant all you want, I second John in the Bay area.

Erin
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Yesterday Stewart was standing up for McCain. He said all gay service members have to do is serve quietly and not tell. False. I already made my answer to that on the post about McCain. Stewart, if you can’t recognize OTHER people’s beliefs about your own identity as being misguided and not at all a valid reason to discriminate against you as a gay man, then you must have a lot of work to do in the way of self-acceptance.

For a gay man, you sure aggressively defend fallacious anti-gay arguments.

Clancy Nacht
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Repealing DADT does not change the harassment policy of the military.

Much like you cannot walk into your place of work and insult your coworkers over race, religion, or sexual orientation and expect to keep your job, the military are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner no matter their religious or personal beliefs.

Being told that you may not personally insult people on the job is not oppression, it’s professionalism.

Unlike with DADT, however, the military is not going to open a full investigation on someone’s religious beliefs or behavior to decide whether they may stay in the military or not.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

concern troll

In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with “concerns”. The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you’re an ally. Concern trolls who use fake identities are sometimes known as sockpuppets.

I suggest we stop engaging.

And for what it’s worth, I found the email address that Stewart P. used to be included on a compiled list of scam-emails.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Steward: I apologize for “sticking words in your mouth”. The “you” in my post was a generic “you”, not necessarily you personally.

But having said that… I can’t hlep but think you are being obtuse, either wilfully or no. You wrote: “Just as no one is permitted now to object to interracial dating, no one in the post-DADT future will be able to object to same-sex dating.

Therein lies the problem.”

Indeed, therein lies the problem. this is why your objection is a patently false one, as Jim has tried patiently to explain to you.

Let’s take your example. You’re a service man who does not believe that god intended people to mix the races, and you tell me and my black girlfriend all about it.

First, of course, it is absolutely none of your business. It has no effect on you, other than to offend your religious sensibilities.

Secondly, it’s rude, and outside the bounds of polite society and professional communication. You telling me all about your beliefs makes you more than just a bigot. It makes you an a$$hole (not to malign a perfectly useful orifice). What effect does that have on unit cohesion?

You may not like serving with me and my black girlfriend. But you either do YOUR job and keep your personal beliefs to yourself, or you leave. No one is telling you that you can’t believe it. I certainly won’t be demanding that you leave, but if you offend enough people with bigotry, if you create a hostile enough work environment because you can’t be professional, no one is going to want to serve with you.

So how is this issue different from the gay issue?

you can believe what you want to believe and say what you want to say. It is not about what you think, and takes nothing away from you, except the social agreement about the wholly imagined superiority of heterosexual people. It is about how my government treats me.

and i want that to be exactly the same as it treats you. no special excpetions, no special rights,.

Joshua
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Uber-religious people in the military are already discouraged from going on and on about how awful sinners are at work, and adding The Gay to the mix isn’t going to change that at all. It’s not official policy, and no religious people get kicked out for being annoyingly religious – it’s just that most of us in the Navy, at least, are enthusiastic sinners and just don’t want to hear about your invisible man while we’re underway.

I expect that the gay folks will be treated the same way once this policy mistake is finally repealed. If you’re annoyingly gay, I’m going to tell you to shut up, and so will the other members of the unit. If you don’t shut up, we’re going to harass you just as much as you’re harassing us until you get the point and shut the hell up.

If you’re annoyingly religious, we’ll tell you to shut up about that, too. If you don’t shut up, we’re going to harass you just as much as you’re harassing us until you get the point and shut the hell up.

What we will NOT do is kick you out. Therein lies the moral difference. We’re kicking the gays out at a rate of two per day, and that’s wrong.

Stewart, I’m there, serving and leading right now. I live this life. You’re wrong. So are the activists who are feeding you this line that allowing gay people to live under the exact same rules as the rest of us is somehow infringing on religious liberty.

Amicus
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’m surprised the discussion has gone as far as it has, hitching a bogus ride on the free speech / religious persecution arguments popularized by NOM, et. al., for the civilian population.

Joshua, it is indeed the _policy_, but not current practice, that people who annoyingly evangelize can be kicked out or disciplined:

“The words have to be “to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, or conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.” Military members have gotten into trouble for calling officials “fascists,” “thieves,” murderers” “tyrants” “fools” and “gangsters.”"

http://www.nlgmltf.org/leaflets/GI_Rights_free_speech.html

Joshua
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

The link you posted refers to political speech in its entirety, and rightly so. Just as I get angry when Mr. Choi wears his uniform to lend extra weight to his personal opinion at news appearances and protest actions, I get annoyed when people who swear an oath to the constitution and the constitutional leadership of the nation attend violent anti-government rallies.

Religious speech is not officially curttailed in any way that I know of. It is actively discouraged by peers, however.

Once again the moral difference is this: we’re firing the gay folks for speech. We may occasionally tell other folks to stop disruptive forms of political speech, but we’re not firing them unless they willfully disobey orders. On the other hand, if a gay guy tells his mom on the phone that he’s got a boyfriend and I just happen to hear that, I don’t think it’s right for me to have to fire him.

Amicus
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

My understanding is all speech subject to good order and discipline, which makes perfect sense, given that the military are there to fulfill the mission.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/summer/extremists-in-the-military

Joshua
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

There’s reasons for that, reasons which are directly tied to the concept of civilian control. If you have violent anti-government extremists leading men with tanks, things can get very dicey in a hurry.

What Judge Phillips’ decision pointed out, and I agree with, is that there has to be a reason to officially gag people – a reason that goes well beyond “I think The Gay is nasty.”

You can paste all sorts of links about prohibitions on anti-government speech all night long, and I’ll keep agreeing that this prohibition exists. Hell, officers aren’t even allowed to call Congressmen “jackass,” no matter how much we’d like to. What I won’t agree with, and what you’ve utterly failed to back up so far, is your claim that religious speech is gagged by military policy. It isn’t.

Joshua
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

AS an addendum, let’s get back to that phrase, “prejudicial to good order and discipline.” Here’s what it means. Don’t say things that cause the chain of command to break down.

Example: Lt Umptyschmuck says that General Whoopdeedoo is a moron in front of his entire platoon. He gets punished. Why? Because his “contemptuous remarks” are “prejudicial to good order and discipline.”

Getting back to my example, telling your mom “I’m gay” on the phone does nothing to hurt the chain of command, but I have to fire you for that – while Lt Umptyschmuck above just gets yelled at and written up.

You can sea-lawyer this all you want. I’m telling you reality. I’ll trust my learned understanding over that of someone who googled a few phrases out of boredom to prove a point on the internet.

Amicus
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Josh, your points are well taken and we are not at cross purpose or understanding, that I can see. The broad restrictions in the military make sense (to me) and it also makes sense how they are currently implemented (although the restrictions on mil blogs, for instance, raised eyebrows).

Eric C.
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“One more thing. Reid shouldn’t have attached this to a defense appropriations bill. He should have made it stand alone. What was he afraid of, that he’d lose the vote if he didn’t bury it inside of a bill designed to fund the troops in harm’s way?”

This is simply not a legitimate argument. The original DADT was attached to the DAB. So why on earth would we not want to attach the repeal of this discriminatory and hateful piece of crap? Bottom line is this: Republicans voted against even allowing debate on the repeal of DADT and every single one of them voted against the military, our country’s defense and the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans. That when 75% of the public believes DADT must be repealed. SHAMEFUL!!

Priya Lynn
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Stewart said “Now, will you please answer the question. Do you agree with statement A or statement B?”.

Neither.

Mike B
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Steward Wrote:

“I’m not authentically gay. I’ve said something that’s very un-gay, which is that I don’t hate people who object to what I do in the privacy of my bedroom.”

If you think my sexuality is reduced to a series of sexual acts preformed behind closed doors (re: The Bedroom), you need some serious help.

I don’t pretend to speak for all lgbtqaa folks. However, that statement about privacy and bedrooms is a marker for an uneducated (if not well meaning) straight person. I know of no out, comfortable, gay folks who speak of themselves in such shameful and marginalized terms.

Mike B
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I meant Stewart. Sorry about this misspelling.

William P. Homans
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

You giddy idiots. It was not the Democrats who were playing dirty-tricks politics. It was the Log Cabin REPUBLICANS, who not only brought the suit to repeal DADT, but set the agenda of what the LGBT movement would make its primary legislative focus.

Not Civil Union legislation, which without a lot of controversy would have ensured the entire LGBT community’s civil rights including the right to bequeath to one’s same sex partner, the right to insure said partner under one’s health insurance plan, the right to not be discriminated against in housing, the right to not be discriminated against in medical/pharmaceutical care, and other social, civil rights which straight Americans take for granted.

No, the LCRs cynically pushed DADT, an issue which only pertains to LGBT people who either want to join, or want to remain in, the US military. The LCRs knew that this gay-community issue had the least chance of passing and the most determined opponents.

From the LGBT (I am bisexual) left I accuse the Log Cabin Republicans of betraying the LGBT civil rights movement. LGBT folks, we have been Republican dirty-tricked. No more LGBT civil-rights legislation will be brought to the legislative floor for the rest of this presidential term. The Log Cabin Republicans are not fit spokesmen for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people anywhere. They are REPUBLICANS first, and gay sometime, somewhere afterwards.

My name is Bill Homans, and I live in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I am 61, and have been part of movements since I returned from Vietnam in 1970, having received a general discharge under honorable conditions for having come out in Vietnam. I would be a gay activist, if it were not that agents provocateurs like the Log Cabin Republicans are determined to force the gay community to act counter to its best interests, and furthermore, if it were not that idiots without a shred of understanding of public relations are insisting, loudly and flamboyantly, that they be called QUEER.

“Hi, I’m Josh Kupferberg, and I’m a kike. So’s my girl Yetta here. Hey, us and our nigger friends Taisha and Rashaan are going to the movies, wanna come?”

Do you think you would ever hear any Jewish person talk like that? Or any black person who would put up with it? What makes anyone think that if they call themselves the very worst slur one could use against non-heterosexual-exclusive people (when I was growing up, “queer” was a fighting word, and I did fight), that they are creating any progress among the unreconstructedly homophobic?

Nope, there’s just no future in being a gay activist. The Republicans have already co-opted you all.

Timothy Kincaid
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t think Homans is being satirical.

William P. Homans
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

You’re damn right I’m not. Did someone opine that what I have said is satire!?

I’ll say it again, it was shrewd– devilish– Republican politics to mke sure that THIS gay civil-liberties issue came up first in the course of President Obama’s first administration.

And you people can say whatever you want about whether Obama is or isn’t an advocate for the GLBT community. But if you get such a full head of elephant poo that you vote for a Republican against him, and for Republicans in the midterm congressional elections, then you will find out just what magnificent advocates Republicans are for the GLBT community!

Yeah, the gay community got futtered. And the first thing that the REAL gay community– not just the small subgroup of soldiers or soldier-wannabes, but the millions of LGBT people who are neither of those things– should do is be sure that Log Cabin Republicans are never again trusted to set the agenda for the political activism of the GLBT community. They must be shunned. Expelled. They must leave the table. They are traitors in gay clothing, piggybacking their anti-gay program like a virus on the shoulders of a few impeccable-record GLBT ex-soldiers.

Shame!

William P. Homans
September 24th, 2010 | LINK

Hey, I remember another gay soldier with an impeccable combat record who gave himself willingly (and violently, I must add) to the service of ultra-Rightists and their leader (who had a paintbrush mustache).

That soldier’s name was Ernst Rohm. What a role model for our young, idealistic gay soldiers!

For the benefit of any young gay who is hoping to join the military so he can go raise h-e-double-toothpick abroad: if you ever read the papers, you can see that the US military mission in the Middle East is FUBAR, and is based on lies. And for your own part in that mission: the job of the soldier is TO KILL OTHER MEN AND WOMEN, not to LOVE THEM. And your job is to do it somewhere, anywhere else but here at home.

Young gay American: We– all of your fellow Americans– need you more HERE than your country can ever use you killing Afghanis, or Iraqis, or Iranians, or any of the other places where you may be ordered to stomp your military bootprint. DO NOT ENLIST IN ANY BRANCH OF THE US MILITARY SERVICE. No matter what you may be doing here in the US, I don’t care if it’s flipping burgers, it has more dignity than being a pawn in the hands of murderous geopoliticians.

Don’t get me wrong. I was a soldier once. A gay soldier. I came out, with a huge dose of naivete, by telling my company commander in Vietnam that I had missed a formation because I had been sleeping with one of my fellow GIs (my first lover– siggghh…) I honor the warriors. But not the wars. HOW FREAKIN GAY IS WAR, ANSWER ME THAT!

William P. Homans
September 25th, 2010 | LINK

Let me describe for you a scenario that perhaps no one has even thought of with regard to gays in the military. Suppose a couple of gay guys post DADT-repeal are lovers, with 11-Bravo (that’s INFANTRY, for those who have never served) MOSes (MOS means Military ocupational Specialty).

They go on patrol, are ambushed by the enemy, and one of the two sweethearts is killed. The other watches him die. What happens psychologically to the survivor? Does he just say, “easy cum–uh, come– easy go,” and find himself a new lover, and go on doing his job of killing people?

Or does he look at his lover lying dead on the ground and freak out, become an uncontrollably bloodthirsty GI-person lusting for revenge? Or withdraw completely into himself– the mother of all PTSD cases– become unable to do his job, have to be discharged on grounds of psychological unsuitability, get sent home (honorably discharged, of course) and then sooner or later appear in the newspapers as a crazy combat vet who freaked out during a combat flashback and killed several brown-skinned people on the street before turning the gun on himself?

If he decides to file for compensation on grounds of PTSD, what is the response of the VA claim evaluators when he declares that “they killed my lover in Helmand Province (that’s in Afghanistan)?” Does he get the 100% VA disability that a straight vet gets for being in heavy combat and watching, and causing, too much death and destruction to psychologically compartmentalize along with the “normal” civilian life veterans are expected to live after their traumatic experiences in combat?

Suppose only one of the soldiers is 11-Bravo, and his lover is a 71B20, a clerk in the rear areas, and the infantry lover is killed doing his job. Is the clerk whose lover has been taken from him also entitled to the 100% VA disability? What makes that clerk any different from a civilian who must deal with his/her wife/husband’s murder? Those civilians don’t get any PTSD disability, thought they may, case-by-case, be entitled to “victims’ compensation” from the killer.

According to the current rules, the scenario I suggest can not happen, because soldiers who are lovers don’t officially exist. But I don’t think all the people who want to see DADT repealed because of the civil-rights issue that it is (though affecting only a very small fraction of all LGBT people) have given Thought One to the eventual ramifications of guys who are openly gay and serving.

Here’s a couple more: what about “unexplained deaths by friendly fire”? If soldier A is a rabid homophobe, and soldier B, a member of his platoon, is gay, and real up-front about it publicly– even goes out of the way to twit soldier A for his homophobia– “Yeah, I’m a queer, get used to it”– what is going to stop soldier A, under “the fog of war”, from taking advantage of the chaos, out in the bush, and putting a bullet through soldier B?

What if soldier B had a lover, soldier C, and the lover suspected, by the behavior of soldier A when soldier B was “being gay” around him, that soldier A had offed soldier B? What then happens when soldier C takes matters into his own hands and makes sure soldier B doesn’t return from patrol?

What does soldier C get charged with, if he doesn’t get away with it? What is his legal defense? And if he does get away with it, where does the widening circle of revenge-killing stop?

Heck, I don’t know if even the military opponents of gays serving openly have given any thought to THIS kind of “breaches of order and discipline.” And I’m quite sure that the young gay-soldier-wannabes– the twinks– who would be the “beneficiaries” of the repeal of DADT haven’t ever given these kind of scenarios any thought. They’re twinks, not psychologists, not even mature adults. They don’t think about anything but how good the sex is.

They’re not all elite West Point miltary brain-workers like Lt. Choi, they’re just the boy next door who may never even have given any thought to the possibility that he might be gay or bi until suddenly they are surrounded with an all-male uniformed environment.

Suppose neither of the lovers (or, lets add another soldier, soldier D, to the mix, the lover of both soldier A and soldier C– that’s right, a threesome of young men who would do anything for each other) gets killed. Suppose the three go from deployment to deployment together, dozens of confirmed kills among them. Is this kind of killer gay the kind of people that the gay community wants to foster and increase? Men who kill for their livings, but f*** each other on their downtime?

I think DADT-repeal proponents had better think long and hard about what actually happens in the service, and in combat, because it’s not so cut-and-dried, almost CORPORATE, as the officer Joshua is suggesting that the military environment is. Undoubtedly a commander like Joshua looks at the business he is in as an executive, a professional. The average PfC, Lance corporal, or Spec-4– the low-level enlistees– have not gone through ROTC or OTS or had any corporate-ethos training.

And for those buck-private basic trainees who arrive at the Replacement Center after enlisting– haven’t even been issued their gear or had their hair cut yet– and see what they think is the hottest twink they ever met, what does the miltary do about such people, who can’t even keep their hands and lips off each other during basic training?

Most gays don’t know what basic training is all about, but I can tell you, there is scant time to be fucking around, and for young men– multiples of young men– to be having balls-to-the-wall sex in the barracks after a day out on bivouac might very easily be seen as a gross breach of order and discipline. What does the BCT company drill sergeant say?

“Uh, hey, you two, knock it off until you get out of Basic Training! You’re in MY company now, when you go to bed, you go to your own bunks, and you stay there! And all this making out on the rifle range during smoke breaks has to stop!” In the old days, Sarge would have added “maggots” or “little girls” or “faggots” to anything that he hollered at his trainees. Now he won’t be able to.

And if he does, and one of the raw recruits, having kept up with the repeal-DADT fracas and having decided to enlist because of the repeal, answers the sergeant, “Yeah, that’s right, we ARE faggots– we’re QUEERS– and you better get used to it!”, what is the sergeant’s recourse? Is that not a gross breach of order and discipline?

And if this kind of disciplinary breach became widespread and repeated throughout squads, platoons, companies, battalions, brigades and Corps throughout the services, do you think that the proponents of DADT repeal might have some eentsy second thoughts about what they had unleashed?

I will tell you, Mr. Burroway, Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Arana, and Mr. Gonzales, the reason I have come here at all is because there is an ageist, Social Darwinist, anti-bisexual, shrill Log Cabin Republican from DC who posts regularly on http://www.hypercrites.com, a political discussion forum I also frequent, and this person has linked to this site, and has in fact cut-and-pasted the article to which I react, and the next article after it, theoretically to defend DADT repeal, but in fact his agenda is to throw gayness in the faces of all the straight people he hates so much. He was among those who helped plan or took part in the demonstration of six discharged LGBT soldiers earlier this year in Washington.

He is precisely the kind of person whom I would least want to be, were I to choose to be a gay activist, or even (as is the case) if I chose not to. His name is Trent, though unlike myself, and yourselves, he does not have the guts to sign his own name after the words he posts. He’s like Dick Cheney, a chicken hawk, who would never dream of actually joining the military, but rather, wants to make sure that OTHER gays get to go and fight for him.

These kind of gays need to be told to shut the bleep up by GLBT persons of good will. They have their First Amendment rights under the Constitution, of course, but the concatenation of no guts, no sense, ill will, and cynical political motivation makes such people the very most dangerous gays one could ever hope was not on one’s side.

William P. Homans
RA68105638
PfC, 1st Signal Brigade, Repulic of Vietnam, 1969-1970

William P. Homans
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

Sorry to all for the confusion. This paragraph should read:

Suppose neither of the lovers (or, lets add another soldier, soldier D, to the mix, the lover of both soldier B and soldier C– that’s right, a threesome of young men who would do anything for each other) gets killed. Suppose the three go from deployment to deployment together, dozens of confirmed kills among them. Is this kind of killer gay the kind of people that the gay community wants to foster and increase? Men who kill for their livings, but f*** each other on their downtime?

Erin
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

Bill, I don’t agree with these 2 wars either. If I could convince every soldier to quit and every other American not to join in the future (until we’re really spedning our defense money on actual defense and not Imperialism) I would. The reality is, the same circumstances that inspired public support for these 2 wars also inspired public support for legislation that has stripped us of many of our civil liberties and pretty much invalidated the bill of rights. I’m speaking of the Patriot Act. And all around the country, more and more cases of illegal searches and arrests by local and federal law enforcement are being brought to light. Each time judges ruling in favor of the cops and the feds. Being a soldier is supposed to be about protecting our freedoms, but these days they are just pawns for the elitists who keep taking our freedoms away here at home while extending their power and wealth abroad.

Mundus
September 26th, 2010 | LINK

I am literally amazed at the contempt in which DADT supporters hold their military.

Do they REALLY think that the US armed forces are so vastly inferior to the military forces of numerous other nations that they would be unable to successfully integrate gays and lesbians openly serving, without detriment to readiness and cohesion, as so many other countries apparently have ?

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