Chaplain: Military Double Standard on Religion, Homosexuality

Retired US Army Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews penned a blog at The Hill decrying the “double standard” in the US military between religion and sexuality:

I cannot help but reach the conclusion that, since the repeal of the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, homosexual advocacy has become a sort of “religious” force, and the American military gives it preferential treatment to established faiths in violation of its very own regulations…

Crews’ primary example is the recent decision by the Army to not support an Independence Day event at a church, while it did participate in the DC Capital parade celebrating sexual “pride.” Crews cites Army Regulations 360-1, saying

Section 3.2(a) specifically states, “Army participation must not selectively benefit (or appear to benefit) any person, group, or corporation (whether profit or nonprofit); religion, sect, religious or sectarian group, or quasi-religious or ideological movement; fraternal organization; political organization; or commercial venture.”

…The movement to advance homosexual legal and social demands within the military has taken on every hallmark of a “quasi-religious or ideological movement.”

It is by definition at least an ideological movement. But, in addition, it evangelizes, promises benefits to those who believe “the right view,” and decrees punishment for those whose consciences don’t fall in line.

Crews’ question, then, is why the Army is using that guidance to deny an honor guard to a church event, but not an ‘equivalently disqualified’ homosexual event?

The US government, and along with it the US military, has dedicated an entire month to “celebrating pride” in a specific sexuality. The military proudly publishes articles from servicemembers asserting that their view on sexuality is the correct one. Simultaneously, the military has appeared to sanction some US troops who have expressed contrary views to this affirmation of homosexuality, even when they have done so in a religious or private capacity.

The Family Research Council similarly noted that the military seems to be carefully, and intentionally, ‘carving out an exception’ for homosexuality [emphasis added]:

Indeed, the Supreme Court, in ruling on the Establishment Clause in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, has stated: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

Is it too much of a stretch to see that the government is doing that very thing here (indeed, is trying to carve out an “exception”) in the context of requiring certain beliefs about homosexuality?

In a particularly interesting observation, FRC’s Travis Weber wonders aloud if, by sanctioning one view and punishing those who hold the opposite religious view, the military isn’t creating a “religious test” for service in the military:

If one’s beliefs in LGBT promotion are the significant driver of one’s life choices, and these beliefs gain the approval of government “elites” (while rejection of such beliefs results in their disapproval), how is the religious test clause not implicated in this scenario?

It would seem Chaplain Crews’ question has been answered.