US Navy Appears to Equate Religious Sailors with Racists, Bigots
What used to be taboo has now become widely accepted by the Defense Department.
– Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus oversees the entire US Navy. He recently lauded the Department of Defense’s diversity — by seeming to denigrate a “diverse” view held by many US Sailors and their fellow troops.
During the Pentagon’s celebration of “LGBT Pride Month,” Secretary Mabus gave a speech (video) lauding the day. After describing the now-repealed DADT as “morally wrong,” Secretary Mabus seemed to equate those who opposed DADT repeal — that is, a large portion of religious American citizens and US troops — with racists and bigots [emphasis added]:
Throughout this debate…those opposing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell used exactly the same flawed logic as those who had earlier opposed racial integration or gender integration…
That’s a suggestion that is not only an insult to the professionalism of our armed forces, but it undermines our core values as service men and women and as Americans.
This is not an insignificant statement. The US military is only five years separated from allowing homosexuals to openly serve — meaning many who opposed repeal, for religious and other reasons, may yet still be serving. Those are the same troops who were told they would not be required to change their beliefs about homosexuality, and that they could still express those beliefs without reprisal.
Remember, the military’s report on DADT repeal said nearly a full third of the US military — including about half of the US Marine Corps, which Secretary Mabus directly oversees — outright believed repeal would be a bad thing.
Does the Secretary of the Navy believe all of these Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors are no better than racists or bigots?
What are his subordinates who have moral or religious objections to homosexuality to think now that the leader of their entire Service seemed to declare parts of their religious beliefs immoral and bigoted?
Intentionally or not, the message appears to be that opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality, however religiously or morally sincere, is not an acceptable belief system. In fact, not only is opposition unacceptable, but support is expected — as when Vice President Joseph Biden gave praise by-name to a West Point cadet during their graduation ceremony, highlighting that the cadet was homosexual.
To be clear, the military hasn’t cited any problems with the conduct of those who oppose acceptance of homosexuality. Rather, it seems mere beliefs that, say, call homosexual behavior a sin are little different than the beliefs held by those who look down on racial minorities.
This characterization, should it be official policy, has serious implications. For example, the US military categorizes groups that advocate “racial intolerance” as “extremist” — and severely restricts the ability of US troops to participate in those groups. (See, for example, DoDI 1325.06 on “Prohibited Activities”.)
If opposition to the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality is no different than racism, will the US military soon categorize churches, mosques, and synagogues that preach against homosexuality as “extremist” and restrict US troops from participating in those “groups”?
If during this month of “pride” the US military is supposed to reaffirm, as President Obama said, “belief in the dignity of all Americans,” where has the US military reaffirmed the dignity of those who, consistent with their constitutionally-protected religious beliefs, do not agree with the promotion of homosexual behavior?
Or is their diversity of thought, culture, and belief unworthy of respect and dignity?
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James weighed in on the topic as well, saying (video):
In fact, we now depend on diversity of thought, background, and culture. The things that make us unique are the same things that make us strong.
As both Secretaries said, the US military claims it values diversity.
Some might think, though, that when it comes to religion and sexual behavior, certain kinds of diversity are more valued than others.