The Facts -- On Don't Ask, Don't Tell
I posted yesterday my thoughts on testimony by the Chair of the Joint Chiefs concerning Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Admiral Michael Mullen testified that it is time to allow gays to serve openly in the military, and that the current system encourages deceit and secrecy.
As it was with civil rights advancement, the military (as conservative an institution as it is supposed to be) took the lead in society. That is, it integrated before society did. Indeed, the military is more integrated today than the church is.
As we ponder this question of lifting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," it is helpful to look at a document prepared by three retired military chaplains, people working directly with the members of the military, and they call for an end to the policy, and again note that it is an inappropriate encouragement to deceit and secrecy. What is important is that they answer the critics with the facts. And the facts say that most members of the military have no problem with serving with gays and that gays serving openly in the military does not impede unit cohesion -- point in case -- the Canadians, Brits, and Israeli's all include openly gay members of their military with no problem.
The experience of our foreign military allies is unequivocal proof that the presence of known gays in the military has no negative effect on combat readiness. Our British, Canadian and Australian allies, currently fighting with us in Iraq and Afghanistan, allow gays to serve without restriction. They report no negative impact on military effectiveness. Furthermore, the Israeli Defense Forces, charged with defending a country that is constantly threatened by its neighbors and virtually always in a state of war, have long allowed known gays to serve. Each of these allies has reported that when they lifted their bans on gay military service, contrary to the fears of negative impact on good order and discipline of some in the military and their supporters in the public, the result was a "non-event." Most importantly, the U.S. military clearly has the leadership and professionalism to manage this issue, as it did when African Americans were fully integrated into the military and as it did when the roles of women in the military were expanded.
When the facts are looked at, they tell us that this is a policy that should be overturned, for the good of society and the good of the military! Remember, one of the codes of the military is honor -- surely this policy undermines that code of honor. And for my pacifist friends, even if not pro-military, I'm sure this is a cause that you can support, for it is a call for equality and fairness in society.
H/T to Pastor Dan's piece at Bold Faith Type (Faith in Public Life).