“This Christmas, the upper chamber is hoping to deliver another unwanted present: repeal of two centuries of military conduct policy against open homosexuals in the military”
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Advances Again to Senate
“Similar to white mainline Protestants, more Catholics support gays and lesbians serving openly than oppose it, 63 to 21 percent.
Interestingly, Americans who attend services weekly or more are evenly divided at 40 percent. The survey also indicated that the less frequently one attends services, the more likely he or she is to favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military.” Survey:Evangelicals Go Against Tide
“In a 12-page brief, the department asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to stay her Oct. 12 order that halted worldwide enforcement of the 17-year-old Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which prohibits homosexuals from serving openly. The department’s brief also “respectfully” asked her to rule on its request by Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern, after which the department said it would ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay her injunction, assuming she does not rule by then. The brief made clear the department was appealing the ruling”
Tuesday, U.S. District Judge … issued a permanent injunction, ordering the government “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Act.”
See also When Rights Threaten Freedom
Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin Sept/Oct 2010. All rights reserved.
During the 2010 GARBC Conference, messengers of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches passed a “Resolution on the Open Practice of Homosexuality in the Military,” urging churches to contact U.S. senators and representatives who are in the process of changing current policies that prohibit gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. In the resolution, which passed unanimously, the messengers expressed our position that “no further changes to the current policy be made into law.”
The GARBC resolution recognizes that chaplains are “providing compassionate Christ-like care to all service members and their families,” even those who are practicing homosexuality. But chaplains also have a responsibility to faithfully preach and teach that homosexual practice is Biblically wrong. The resolution concludes by calling on churches in the GARBC fellowship to “express Christ-like compassion without condoning the behavior of those who proclaim a homosexual lifestyle, and to pray for our government and military leaders (I Tim. 2:1–2).”
Earlier in the year, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board invited Chaplain John Murdoch, director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, to write a response letter summarizing the GARBC’s position on the proposed changes. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had established the Comprehensive Review Working Group to study how the changes would affect the military. In turn, the CRWG asked the Armed Forces Chaplains Board to request responses from each of the 202 endorsing groups. Prior to writing his response, Murdoch contacted GARBC chaplains for additional input.
“What protects chaplains from accusation of hate speech or crimes, and punishment for preaching, teaching, or counseling from their faith traditions?” Murdoch wrote in his official response. “The GARBC believes that freedom of speech and freedom of religion will be impacted significantly if the [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] policy is repealed.”
Murdoch is a U.S. Army veteran who was a GARBC pastor for 27 years and formerly the chief of chaplains for the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. He is actively involved in the endorsing community in Washington, D.C., where he has served on the executive committees of both NCMAF (National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces) and ECVAC (Endorsers Conference on Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy). He was elected president of the Military Chaplains Association for 2004–2006. As official endorser for GARBC chaplains serving in the U.S. military, his contacts on behalf of the GARBC are significant.
Murdoch expressed gratitude for the opportunity to address the issue, even if the media considers the repeal of a military ban on openly gay members a done deal. “It doesn’t matter what the outcome is; it is our responsibility to speak.”