On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that the Pentagon will start to ease its enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway says he wants to avoid housing homosexual soldiers with heterosexual soldiers. He stated, “I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that’s homosexual if we can possibly avoid it…and to me that means we’ve got to build [barracks] that have single rooms…I want to preserve the right of a Marine that thinks he or she wouldn’t want to do that – and that’s the overwhelming number of people that say they wouldn’t like to do so.”
Conway wants to redesign the way barracks are constructed from multiple resident rooms to single resident rooms to keep homosexuals and heterosexuals apart, or two homosexuals apart, based on a poll. Tell me, in what other area of military policy-making are enlisted members this involved in? That would be “none”…
Just when you think the last vestiges of unconstitutional state-sanctioned sexual harassment were about to be abolished, you get a military top-dog coming up with an idea that can end in disaster. What happens when a poll comes out that states heterosexual soldiers would rather see all the homosexuals put in separate barracks because being in the same building with them would be “uncomfortable”. What a lovely target that would be for a homophobe with access to high-powered weapons. Of course, it never occurs to those who discriminate against homosexuals in the military that soldiers who are incapable of maintaining discipline because of overwhelming homophobia are weak-minded, and these are the people who are supposed to be protecting our country. That’s not the kind of military we need defending us.
A good search engine will afford you many arguments against allowing homosexuals into active military service. After you wade through all the wingnut quotes from people like Bill O’Rielly, Glenn Beck and the rest of the chicken-little buffoonery at Faux News, you will come to the “expert opinions”. They will cite what appear to be legitimate, scientific evidence to support their positions and even include colorful charts and graphs, as well as quotes from some pretty important people. Don’t be fooled by this turd-polishing. It’s still homophobia, but with sensible shoes and a matching purse.
Broken down, this all comes from one, undeniable source. Religion. Right now, some of you are shaking your head and rolling your eyes, thinking “Why does he attribute everything bad to religion?” By now you should already know the answer to that. Religion does, indeed, poison everything. Religious homophobia can be summed up best by Jerry Falwell, who stated:
“They are brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system that will utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven”
Or the revered Billy Graham, who said:
“All homosexuals should be castrated”
Or the ever popular conservative personality, Michael Savage, who stated:
“Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should get AIDS and die, you pig! Why don’t you see if you can sue me, you piece of garbage? Go eat a sausage and choke on it. Get trichinosis.”
Do I really need to expound on how this type of prejudice results in negative stereotyping and discrimination? Religious homophobia can contribute to increased suicide rates, depression, anxiety, difficulties with intimacy, self-hatred and polarization of families.
John Sheehan, a former U.S. and Nato General, stated that he believed gay soldiers were to blame for Dutch troops being overrun during the Srebrenica massacre, which led to the murder of 8,000 people. He believes that allowing homosexuals to serve had led to a collapse in morale. He even stated that the Dutch told him this was so, which was vehemently denied by the Dutch.
What he did not explain was that Srebrenica was a UN safe haven under the protection of 600 lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers who found themselves facing off against the Serbian forces. Repeated pleas to Nato for help failed, in spite of an available and formidable Nato force. It should be noted that Sheehan led the U.S. Atlantic Command and served as the top NATO commander in the mid-1990s, the height of ethnic cleansing in former-Yugoslavia. Coincidental?
Hang around any high-school, particularly in the South. Listen closely (or not so closely) and you will hear the jokes, insults and negative speech about homosexuality. Inquire about why an effeminate male student or a tom-boyish female student has been assaulted and more often than not it will be for perceived homosexuality. Hang around an elementary school and when you hear a student call something unpalatable “gay”, you are witnessing the birth of a homophobe. Ask these young people why they are against homosexuality and you will likely be given a religious reference.
The indoctrination against homosexuality begins at a very young age in Sunday Schools all over the country and until there is a paradigm change in how homosexuality is perceived, homophobia will be alive and well in all areas of American Society, especially the military. Making a policy against discrimination against homosexuals in the military will not solve the problem of how anti-gay military personnel perceive homosexuality. It will only make it illegal to convey those feelings or make decisions based on those feelings.
Homophobia is a symptom of a much more sinister disease that gets an early start and given a lifetime to fester. The only way to eradicate the disease of homophobia is to cut it out at it’s source, and that source is religion. Until then, we will still be using valuable resources to combat a problem that should not even exist in this day and age, and this country will continue to foster leadership such as Judge Roy Moore, who aspires to the Governorship of Alabama, who stated:
“…the homosexual conduct of a parent — conduct involving a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender — creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody of his or her own children or prohibiting the adoption of the children of others…. Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society — the family….It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.”
Our Military is the strongest one in the world but the weakness of homophobia – legal or not – will divide our armed forces, and as the religious love to say, “a house divided will fall”. This should not be a reason to exclude homosexuals from the military, but to include them, unconditionally. Patriotism does not have a sexual preference.