I’m just gonna use the word “gay”. It’s easier, we’re all adults and know the issues and definitions. In the same way it annoys me to read “him- or herself” in manuals or text, having to slog through “homosexual or lesbian” throughout … just deal with it.
At various times in my life I’ve felt more or less strongly about gay issues, and I think those times have coincided with different gay friends and coworkers I’ve had. For some years I don’t give much thought, other times I wonder why this is such a huge issue when I see my pals living regular lives, much like mine, caring about their pets, their grades, their moms, striving to do quality work, contributing to our community, playing sports, working through life’s strife.
I ponder why conservatives and Christians have such a problem with gays in the military. I’m going to try to keep my focus on that issue. My premise will be largely the same whether I’m talking about gays in other roles of society, but this is the issue of the day. I concede that the Bible has some straightforward things to say about the sexual acts of homosexuality:
I Corinthians 6 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 1 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
So Christians and some conservatives point to God’s word as their reason to deny gays the honor of serving in the military. AND I WOULD ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THEM! … if … they used the same passages/measurements of worthiness to also deny that honor of military service to people who are adulterers, thieves, greedy, slanderers, swindlers, deceivers, those with malice, envy, the arrogant, insolent and boastful, the gossipers, the heartless, the ruthless as also listed in those same Biblical passages.
The Bible says in Isaiah 59
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Sin is sin. And if one sin disqualifies you from military service then all should, because we are separated from God by any and all sins. Equally. We are not MORE separated from God because of homosexuality than we are by greed. Or envy. Or gossiping. We are not FURTHER away from His Grace because of an immoral … or shall I say to many the “distasteful” sexual sin of homosexuality than we are of the quite socially acceptable sin of regular boy/girl sexual immorality. Or even adultery. Are divorced/remarried people unfit for military service? Are men or women who have cohabitated with the opposite sex unfit for military service? Because God’s Word judges those sins on a completely equal footing as homosexuality. Do we disqualify liars from military service? Arrogant men? Greedy women? It is we humans who provide a sliding scale of which sins are worse, or more wrong, or less acceptable, or disgusting. So if it by the Biblical definition of sin that we keep gays out of the military, then I cry FOUL!
I’ve never served but I’m pretty tired of having folks who HAVE served tell me about the morale issues and so on. What morale issues? You think that a soldier who has qualified mentally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically for military service is going to be peeking at you in your well fitting uniform? Leering at you across the shooting range? Copping a feel in the foxhole? SERIOUSLY? The women in the military have learned to deal with blatant sexism and harassment, and you’d be a fool and disingenuous to argue otherwise. Grow up.
There are gays serving heroically and wonderfully in positions and roles with incredibly high stakes already, life and death situations. Doctors. Police officers. Firemen. And yes, in the military.
Now there can be other conversations we have about gay marriage. Gays adopting children. And I will say that any overt sexual display in public whether it be at a Gay Pride Parade, or a Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans makes me uncomfortable. But that is not tonight’s discussion.
My conviction is that we should accept patriotic Americans as soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, coast guard and honor and respect their dedication to putting themselves in harm’s way and keeping us safe.