Distinguished military chaplains announce opposition to overturning ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law

Press conference will announce release of letter to President Obama expressing religious liberty concerns over possible changes to law
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WHO: Chaplain (Brigadier General) Douglas E. Lee, U.S. Army, Retired; Chaplain (Colonel) Richard R. Young, U.S. Army, Retired; FRC President Tony Perkins; ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence
WHAT: Press conference announcing letter signed by veteran military chaplains opposed to changing so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law
WHEN: Wednesday, April 28 at 2 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Family Research Council, 801 G St. N.W., Washington

WASHINGTON — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence and Family Research Council President and Marine veteran Tony Perkins will join veteran military chaplains at a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The event will announce the release of a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, signed by more than 40 retired military chaplains. The letter addresses the chaplains’ religious liberty concerns with the proposal to overturn the law against the practice of open homosexual behavior in the military, frequently referred to as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

A live webcast will also be available of the press conference.

“Military chaplains who have volunteered to defend the liberties protected in our Constitution shouldn’t be denied those very same liberties,” said Lorence. “Changing the current law is a grave threat to their First Amendment protected rights because it could force them to deny the teachings of their faith in order to serve. That, in turn, would be detrimental to the spiritual health and morale of the men and women in uniform who depend on them for guidance and support.”

The letter states, “Put most simply, if the government normalizes homosexual behavior in the armed forces, many (if not most) chaplains will confront a profoundly difficult moral choice: whether they are to obey God or to obey men.  This forced choice must be faced, since orthodox Christianity--which represents a significant percentage of religious belief in the armed forces--does not affirm homosexual behavior…. By raising homosexual behavior to the same protected class as innate, innocuous characteristics like race and gender, the armed forces will cast the sincerely held religious beliefs of many chaplains and Service members as rank bigotry comparable to racism…. If chaplains are limited in teaching and counseling on their beliefs, then the men and women in uniform who share their faith and rely on their instruction will necessarily face a reduction in the free exercise of their faith.”

The letter outlines numerous practical ways that normalizing homosexual behavior in the military would necessarily harm religious liberty for both chaplains and service members.

In March, ADF sent its own letter to Obama and Gates expressing concern over how proposed changes to the law will affect military chaplains.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

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