Airman Highlights Conflict with Religion, Homosexuality

SrA Kayla Dale talks with other participants in the gay pride parade, June 7, 2014, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. (USAF photo, SSgt Jake Barreiro)

The 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs ran an interesting human interest story on Senior Airman Kayla Dale, describing how she escaped the “dark realities of inner-city Chicago” to become an Air Force Airman.

Perhaps as a result of the June celebration of “LGBT pride” in the DoD, the article highlights sexuality, noting she is a “double minority” as an “African-American lesbian.” The article even quotes her Aunt — and takes the time to point out that she, too, is a lesbian.

More interesting, however, is that Dale notes her personal conflict between religious belief and sexuality: 

“I’m struggling right now with my feelings toward the Bible,” said Kayla. “…It’s a struggle I still have. I love me, I love who I am, and I love the Lord. In my mind, the Lord can’t be angry with me for loving someone, despite what a book says.”

She also voiced her opinion of how others view religion and sexuality:

Instructed in Christianity growing up, Kayla still has a strong faith in God, and said it hurts when people use religion to attack homosexuality…

“Even if you don’t think it’s the best thing in the world, I don’t see how anyone can be ok with depriving people of human rights,” said Kayla.

Dale’s comments are notable because the military has previously been hypersensitive about the expression of religious views and homosexuality. Clearly, however, both Dale and the Air Force felt comfortable with her expressing her beliefs, and in an official Air Force venue, no less.

While a Senior Airman’s statements do not make military policy, Dale’s statements are notable because the military says it protects religious freedom — which, by law, includes expression of one’s religious beliefs. Thus, from a military point of view, her expression that she believes God “can’t be angry” over homosexuality is an acceptable expression of her religious beliefs.

Her statement is no different than another Airman expressing his beliefs that God declared homosexuality to be a sin.

Notably, however, US troops who have expressed those beliefs in the past have been threatened with punishment and the ends of their careers; they haven’t been granted the forum of an official public affairs release to publicize their views.

Perhaps the publication of SrA Dale’s comments will serve as a reminder that religious expression is permissible, even in an official forum, and even when the expression may be controversial or offensive.