Survey: Military Majority Backs DADT Repeal, Chaplains Protest
Despite General Conway’s prior anecdotal evidence, several news outlets have reported on “leaked” details of the Department of Defense’s study on the repeal of the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Reportedly, “a majority…would not object” to the service of open homosexuals.
The reports also indicated “some…but not a majority — objected strongly” and “said they would quit the military if the policy changed.”
Notably, whether or not personnel “objected” was not supposed to be the intent of the DoD study. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates repeatedly said the study was to determine how best to implement repeal, not determine whether to repeal.
Meanwhile, the previously reported response of retired Chaplains was revisited in the press, also at several different sites. A spokesperson for the Defense Department gave the first “official” response to the impact of DADT repeal on Chaplains:
The Department of Defense has not said specifically how it would address any potential conflicts with chaplains stemming from the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the military would not force chaplains to keep their beliefs silent. “Chaplains are allowed to speak according to the dictates of their faith,” she said.
“With great acumen, chaplains, throughout the Department’s history, have found means wherein they could strike a balance between faith group requirements and Department of Defense needs,” Lainez said. “Members who feel something is inappropriate may always utilize their chain of command, the inspector general or other systems already in place, to address their concerns.”
At this level, then, the military is saying “Chaplains are allowed to speak according to the dictates of their faith,” even if those dictates include opposition to homosexuality.
The next question is obvious: What about the non-Chaplain members of the military who have those same dictates of faith?