Pride and Prejudice: A Tale of the Modern U.S. Military

US Army Tent in Iraq (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

US Army Tent in Iraq (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

If you asked Americans what the mission of the military is, most would probably say to fight and win wars. And by wars, they wouldn’t mean the cultural wars. President Obama’s radical social policies seem to suggest the latter, as yesterday’s Pentagon festivities made painfully clear. The latest Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, who’s made more headlines for his attack on values than on terrorists, led the military parade for gay pride month at the Pentagon’s official party — which featured one of the Army’s “transitioning” officers, among things. To a standing room-only crowd, Carter’s biggest rah-rah moment was introducing Brigadier General Randy Taylor, who shared that he had to hide his relationship with his boyfriend under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).

Today, he’s pleased to say that he can show off his “husband” without fear of losing his job. For conservatives, now forced to closet their views, it was a sad irony to see this general applauded for his sexual choices when chaplains like Wes Modder can’t even cite Scripture in a private counseling session! As a party favor, Carter announced that for the first time in history, the military is breaking from tradition and turning sexual orientation into a “protected class” — violating a fundamental 2011 promise and setting off a chain of events that many (including our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin) think could change the Armed Forces forever.

Back during the congressional debate over DADT, the military’s service chiefs were promised that the Equal Opportunity guidelines would not change — which, like many other assurances, has turned out to be a bold-faced lie that greased the wheels of repeal. As we’ve witnessed in the four years since, once the camel’s nose was under the tent, the dominos started to fall. Under an affirmative action-type system, what troops do in the bedroom will transcend what they do in battle when it comes to key personnel decisions. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the military will start catering to gays, lesbians, and transgenders at the expense of good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. As they have with every incremental change, activists will leverage this new standing as a way to demand access and force affirmation.

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Yet Carter, who actually claimed that elevating LGBTs is a matter of national security, thinks people will buy his line: “We need to be a meritocracy. We have to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the things that matter most about a person is what they can contribute to national defense.” But obviously, we can’t be a meritocracy when sexual expression becomes more relevant than professional experience.

As General Boykin pointed out, “The military’s job isn’t to champion causes — it’s to fight and win wars.” Decisions like that don’t facilitate the mission, they distract from it — and further emasculate the warrior class. The administration likes to say, as Carter did Tuesday, that “Discrimination of any kind has no place in America’s armed forces.” Tell that to Christians, who are being shown the door the Pentagon just opened to homosexuals. Marginalizing faith has serious long-term consequences, as we learned 50 years ago in the public schools. Now the same thing is happening in the military, and what’s the result? We’re celebrating gay pride at the expense of American pride.

Ask Abilene Baptist Church in Georgia. Their annual Fourth of July event, which was once a celebration of American exceptionalism, turned into a national headline when the Army — after 20 years of doing so — refused to provide a color guard, claiming it violated policy to join a “religious service.” Our good friend Todd Starnes of Fox News broke the story, which continues to shock conservatives who thought they’d heard everything. As a Marine, one of my additional duties was providing color guard service — at funerals, churches, union events, you name it. Not once did we, who took an oath that included “so help me God,” turn down a request for being “overtly religious.” This was a church, incidentally, whose tradition of honoring our Armed Forces dates back to 1774 when the first pastor was a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.

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Faith and military service have been an inseparable piece of the American fabric for centuries. And to watch that fabric unravel at the hands of a radical few is painful — but not irreparable. Courage, the same kind that led the great men and women of this country to put on their uniform, is needed more now than ever. Pray for our troops — not only that they would have the fortitude to fight the enemies abroad, but the agenda within.

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Tony Perkins is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University and a Master’s Degree from Louisiana State University in Public Administration. Perkins is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and a former police officer and television news reporter.
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