Barack Obama’s presidency-long campaign to expand privileges for same-sex duos, from the right to practice homosexuality openly in the military to his refusal to defend federal law describing marriage as between a man and a woman, may be about to blow up into a controversy, just as the 2012 election reaches its peak.
It’s because the U.S. military apparently has flaunted a same-sex “marriage” that was performed on a military based by a chaplain – in a state where such “unions” are illegal.
“Some heads should roll for this,” a Vietnam veteran who volunteers at Glory Chapel at Ft. Polk in Louisiana said in a letter to Rep. Howard McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“I am disgusted over the matter and to even make matters worse, [the presiding chaplain] is being allowed to be a Sunday School teacher in the main post chapel. Here is a chaplain that should be fired for his actions and yet he is being allowed to teach Sunday school. What does he have to teach?”
The situation which developed over the summer has been documented by Elaine Donnelly of Center for Military Readiness. Her organization previously reported that the Department of Defense decided to let military chaplains perform same-sex “marriages” in states where they are legal. But dozens of states by law or by constitutional amendment have defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.
In a letter to Sen. John McCain, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she said, “It is not the role of Congress to resolve religious issues, but the problem here has been caused by the Pentagon’s circumvention of the Defense of Marriage Act, and by the lack of protection for the rights of conscience and religious liberty in the repeal legislation.
“The incident calls into question claims that LGBT law has been universally accepted and smoothly implemented,” she continued. “The Pentagon is not recognizing or admitting problems because there is no way that military people can express their concerns on matters such as this.”
Her group assembled letters from a variety of those in the Ft. Polk community, and forwarded them to Congress.
It was the Vietnam veteran who wrote when he discovered a same-sex “marriage” had been conducted in the chapel he attends, “I literally felt sick at my stomach.”
“It was a totally and direct disregard for the Louisiana state law that does not acknowledge same-sex marriage,” he wrote.
Donnelly told McCain that the evidence supports the belief that the ceremony has “caused serious division in the faith community.” She outlined that the ceremony was held May 19, 2012, even though the state does not allow for same-sex “marriages.”
The same-sex union-promoting chaplain apparently did not let the installation chaplain know of the plans ahead of time, but the base also did not pursue any disciplinary action. The result was that several dozen members of the congregation also signed a letter to the base, stating, “As a congregation, we are asking that you remove [the presiding chaplain] from leadership roles within the Protestant service. [We are] … asking that he not be allowed to preach in our service.”
They continued, “The Gospel service is especially grieved that, regardless of how you may argue the building is neutral, spiritually that is our regular place of worship where we meet several times a week to worship our God. It has been sanctified as His Sacred, Holy Sanctuary and it has been defiled by immorality.”
A letter from a community volunteer at the chapel wrote, “Many parishioners have left the Protestant congregation due to this matter.” A prayer team member added, “The chaplaincy was created by Gen. Washington for the purpose of preserving the good character of soldiers living virtuous lives.”
A policy analysis by the CMR noted that Congress and the military are advocating for the “constitutional rights” of those who support same-sex “marriages” but they have not been protecting the rights of those who do not.
The foundational procedures, in fact, are a threat to constitutional rights, the analysis said.
“The Army’s ‘Tier One’ Training for chaplains in 2011 confirmed that those who are unable to ‘reconcile’ their beliefs with the new [pro-homosexual] policy would have to request or accept the withdrawal of official endorsement by their sending faith group,” the analysis said.
It noted that the Pentagon has stated an expectation of “the loss of an undetermined number of chaplains who are not able to reconcile their beliefs with the new policy.”
Same-sex “marriage” and religious liberty, then, are put on a collision course, it said.
“Recent events have demonstrated the discord and division already occurring among members of faith communities. … The Ft. Polk incident demonstrates the divisiveness of LGBT law and related policies. People of faith who view marriage as a matter of morality, and who expect compliance with state and federal law, are demoralized by regulations that have imposed a ‘chilling effect’ on base chaplains who no longer feel free to express sincerely held religious beliefs in settings other than worship services.
“Rights of conscience and religious expression are protected for some … but not for others.”
Donnelly told WND that Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., recently introduced the Military Religious Freedom Act that would outline how the Defense of Marriage Act should be applied to the Department of Defense.
The senators’ announcement, in fact, said the bill would prevent military chaplains from being forced to do a marriage ceremony if the chaplain objects for reasons of conscience and would disallow marriage or “marriage-like” ceremonies at military facilities that are not a union of one man and one woman.
“The Defense of Marriage Act remains law, and as policy changes are implemented by the Department of Defense, the statute must be followed,” said Wicker.
Donnelly told WND that the mainstream media has been virtually silent on the Ft. Polk conflict.
But the worry is there.
“The congregation is quoting the Bible, but the installation chaplain seems to be quoting Defense Department policy memos that have taken sides on a matter of deep conviction for chaplains and people of faith,” she wrote.
And it’s unlikely this is the only location where conflict has arisen, she noted.
“The issues facing this congregation and probably others are important and deserving of attention by Congress. The people at Ft. Polk appreciate your leadership, and hope that their letters will be helpful in the coming months,” she wrote.
“The Defense Department is attempting to circumvent the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by omitting the word ‘marriage’ from authorization of same-sex ‘ceremonies.’ Even though benefits are not authorized, it is likely that same-sex unions and marriage-like ‘ceremonies’ will happen on military bases again, even in states that explicitly define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” she said.
WND reported only a day earlier that a chaplain’s organization had released a listed of discriminatory actions chaplains who subscribe to a biblical perspective of homosexuality had been forced to endure.
Those documented by officials with Chaplain Alliance included:
- Two airmen were publicly harassed in a post exchange food court as they were privately discussing their concerns.
- A chaplain was encouraged by military officials to resign his commission unless he could “get in line with the new policy.”
- A commander refused to take disciplinary action over a male service member “sexually harassed” another male service member, “through text messages, emails, phone calls and in person confrontations, insisting the two would ‘make a great couple.’”
- Senior military officials have allowed personnel in favor of repeal to speak to media while those who have concerns have been ordered to be silent.
- Service members engaged in homosexual behavior protested a service school’s open doors policy for all students that prohibited the closing of room doors for sexual purposes. The protesters were upset because they claimed that they had a right to participate in sexual behavior with their same-sex roommates.
- A senior chaplain was stripped of his authority over the chapel under his charge because, in accordance with federal law, he proclaimed the chapel as a “sacred space” where marriage or marriage-like ceremonies would only be between one man and one woman.
- Same-sex ceremonies have been performed at military chapels, including one at Fort Polk, La., a state that constitutionally defines marriage as one man and one woman.
- The Navy has allowed sailors openly engaged in homosexual behavior to choose their bunkmates.
“This list of problems and incidents that have arisen mere months after this administration imposed its will on the armed forces is disturbing to say the least, and we know it is only the beginning,” said alliance spokesman Ron Crews. “Compounding the outrage, service members are not free to speak out about these matters. This ensures that distrust in the ranks will increase and morale will decrease as the number of silenced victims grows.”
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty said it has worked with members of Congress to enact legislation to protect freedom of conscience for chaplains and those they serve. The proposal has passed the House of Representatives but is awaiting action in the Senate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the request of one congressional member of the House Armed Services Committee, WND sent to committee members, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, as well as staffers, 150 copies of the special Whistleblower issue, “DROPPING THE ‘H’-BOMB: As Obama and Congress force open homosexuality on America’s military, soldiers are fighting back.” Get your copy of this power-packed Whistleblower issue that has been widely acclaimed by Medal of Honor recipients and other military heroes as the best single argument against repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The Center for Military Readiness also previously reported on a “chilling trend” in sexual assault in the military, documenting that the military itself confirmed that violent attacks and rapes, which includes male-on-male rapes, “have nearly doubled since 2006, rising from 663 to 1,313 last year.
WND also reported on the apparent manipulation of the data to promote the idea open homosexuality in the military was endorsed by the ranks. That was confirmed by the government itself, which in an inspector general’s report marked “For Official Use Only” said numbers were combined to present the image that members of the military approved of Barack Obama’s plan for open homosexuality.
It was the military’s original and now-suspect report that famously was quoted as affirming “70 percent” of the nation’s military members believe the repeal of the long-standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” practice of allowing homosexuals to serve as long as they kept their sexual lifestyle choices to themselves would have either “a neutral or positive impact on unit cohesion, readiness, effectiveness and morale.”
However, the IG documents uncovered by Donnelly revealed the actual figures for military members were: those who believed the change would impact units “very positively” (6.6 percent), “positively” (11.8 percent), “mixed” (32.1 percent), “negatively” (18.7 percent), “very negatively” (10.9 percent) and “no effect” (19.9 percent).
The only way the 70 percent figure can be reached is to combine “very positively,” “positively,” “mixed” and “no effect.” But this combination counts people with “neutral positions” as favoring the change, Donnelly reported.
Donnelly explained that taking those same figures and putting them on the other side, that is, lumping them with “negatively” and “very negatively,” would produce a total of almost 82 percent of the soldiers who believe the results of the change would be “negative or neutral.”
The IG report uncovered by Donnelly said exactly that:
We considered that the primary source’s likely pro-repeal sentiment was further demonstrated by his/her inclusion of the key 70 percent figure in the information provided to the Washington Post. … Had [the source] desired to further an anti-repeal bias for the article, he/she could likewise have combined four results categories from that same survey question to conclude that “82 percent of respondents said the effect of repealing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy would be negative, mixed or no effect.”
In one side effect that rebounded on the White House, a Senate committee, in an attempt to ensure the law conforms to the new policy, voted to repeal the ban in the military on bestiality, an issue that White House press secretary Jay Carney didn’t consider a serious question.
The Senate quickly backtracked when its work was revealed.
That documents how the co-chairman of the commission working on the assessment of the impact on the military, Jeh Johnson, “read portions of ‘an early draft’ of the executive summary … to a former news anchor, a close personal friend visiting Mr. Johnson’s home” three days before service members even were given the survey.
“Contrary to most news accounts, the ‘Comprehensive Review Working Group’ process was not a ‘study,’” Donnelly told WND. “Its purpose was to circumvent and neutralize military opposition to repeal of the law.”
She described the study “was a publicly funded pre-scripted production put on just for show.”
“The … report, completed on April 8, 2011, reveals improper activities and deception that misled members of Congress in order ‘to gain momentum in support of a legislative change during the ‘lame duck’ session of Congress following the November 2, 2010, elections,’” she wrote.
Donnelly explained that days before the survey was distributed, Johnson “was seeking advice from a ‘former news anchor’ on how to write the report’s executive summary more ‘persuasively.’”
Further, “The DoD IG report concluded that someone who ‘had a strongly emotional attachment to the issue’ and ‘likely a pro-repeal agenda’ violated security rules and leaked selected, half-true information to the Washington Post,” she explained.