It was exciting that the Senate passed legislation to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by a vote of 65 – 31, and it must have been a relief for the brave men and women who have had to hide their sexuality while serving in the military. Repealing the law was the right thing to do and it had nothing to do with security or unit cohesion; it is a civil rights issue. It must have been difficult for some Senators to vote for repeal because not all Americans supported it, and in some areas the constituents will make their legislators pay at the ballot box.
Although the majority of Americans supported repealing DADT, and 65 Senators agreed with the majority, it is the minority who shame America’s guarantee of equal rights for all its citizens. There were 8 Republicans who joined Democrats in voting for the repeal and Democrats praised Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for her efforts in bringing 7 other Republicans on board.
Senator Collins said that, “It takes time for people to change long held beliefs. I believe if we held this vote five years ago it would not have passed.” Collins is right that change is slow, and if this vote were held just a year ago it wouldn’t have passed, but it doesn’t make it right to deprive any citizen their equal rights under the law. John McCain (R-AZ) doesn’t agree that every citizen is worthy of equal rights, after the vote he said that, “Today is a very sad day.” It is a sad day, but only for bigots and religious fanatics who cling to Stone Age tenets of Jewish mythology found in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Every civil servant in America whether a school teacher or a United States Senator must sign a “loyalty oath” that says they will protect the Constitution as a condition of employment. The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal, and the 14t Amendment guarantees equal protection for all citizens. It is especially egregious that United States Senators are willing to deprive any citizen of their Constitutional protections, or that they allow a soldier to die for our country as long as they hide their sexual preference.
Although the objections to gays serving openly in the military are based on bigoted religious grounds, some made the argument that the ability to defend our nation will be diminished if gays are open about who they love. That argument falls short of the mark because gays have always served in the military, and many decorated war heroes have been dismissed because someone found out they were gay.
The idea that the military is weakened if a soldier discloses their sexual preference is ridiculous, and the opponents of repealing DADT offer twisted-logic arguments to support their nonsense positions. Tony Perkins is president of the Christian organization the Family Research Council and he said, “Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda.” Perkin’s group promotes and is founded on what it calls “the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built.”
Although Perkins feigns concern for the ability of the military to fulfill its mission, it is religion that drives the organization’s and Republican legislator’s politics, and they are using the military to mask their blatant bigotry. Perkin’s group is more concerned about losing control of America than a weakened military and he admits as much when he says, “This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission.” Perkins equates equal civil rights with a movement to impose a radical social agenda on the country, and many Americans, including 31 Republican senators agree with that sentiment
Senator Collins is correct that society changes slowly, but Republicans, conservatives, and religious bigots prefer to stay in the dark ages and deprive gays of the equal rights and freedoms that are guaranteed to every American. Using the despicable argument that the military will not function at the highest level if gay soldiers are not forced to stay in the closet is childish and as believable as the ancient Jewish mythology it is based on.
Repealing DADT is a civil rights issue and nothing more. It is not about imposing social change on the country and is not an attack on any religion or the family. The senators and opponents of repealing DADT are attacking the civil rights of every American, and are attempting to impose their bible-based radical agenda on all Americans. Now that the Congress has repealed DADT, maybe they can repeal religion that imposes bigotry on America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.