There are numerous arguments pro and con on the issue of homosexuality in the military, but the survey of Service members released by the Pentagon on Tuesday has decisively proved at least one argument against the current push to overturn existing law, and decisively refuted at least one argument in favor of that effort.
The Comprehensive Review Working Group report actually identified these arguments in their summary of What We Heard about the issue. One argument against repeal was described as: Why now? We are at war. Many have argued that with our armed forces stretched by the demands of two wars, this is not the time to impose further strain by implementing a radical change in personnel policy to appease a political interest group. (FRC does not believe there would ever be a good time for such a changebut the immediate circumstances are nevertheless a legitimate concern for lawmakers facing an immediate legislative vote).
It has been widely reported that soldiers and Marines in combat arms units were more likely to predict negative impacts from repeal of current law than were other Service members. While 62% of all Service members expected at least some negative results if current law were overturned, the same was true of 74% of all Marines and of Army combat arms soldiers, and 82% of Marines in combat arms units. An outright majority of the latter group, 57.5%, declared bluntly that it would affect their task cohesion either negatively or very negatively, while a minuscule 9% foresaw a positive impact.
The people on the front lines of our wars are the most concerned about repeala compelling argument against it.
On the other hand, the CRWG described the advocates of repeal as arguing, We need everyone willing and able to serve. In other words, the military simply cannot afford to lose the skills of existing or potential homosexual Service members. This is an issue of recruiting and retentionwhat policy will provide the military with the personnel that it needs.
Here again, the results are overwhelming. The surveys showed that the number who would be less willing to recommend a military career if open homosexuality is permitted is four times higher than the number who would be more willing to recommend it. In addition, the percentage who would themselves leave the military sooner than planned or consider doing so if current law is repealed, was more than six times higher than the number who would stay longer or consider doing so.
Its clearthe personnel losses to the military as a result of repeal would vastly outnumber any gains from allowing homosexuals in the ranks.
These are two strong points against the effort to overturn current law, even in a report designed to support that effort.
The Pentagons Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) on the issue of homosexuality in the military, which issued its report yesterday, was extremely selective in the way it crunched the numbers when reporting the results of a survey of Service members. By following the CRWGs lead, the media has missed the biggest storythe fact that more Service members expect negative consequences than positive consequences if the current law is overturned, according to virtually every question that was asked.
You would not know that from the way the findings were reported. Speaking of the possibility of overturning the 1993 law which codified the militarys longstanding ban on open homosexuality in the ranks, they said
70% of Service members predicted it [repeal] would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.
Here is the question on which the 70 percent figure is based:
If Dont Ask, Dont Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would it affect how service members in your immediate unit work together to get the job done? (this is a measure of what they refer to as task cohesion).
The choices for response were:
1) Positively or Very Positively
2) Equally positively and negatively
3) No effect
4) Negatively or Very Negatively
The responses were:
1) Positively or Very Positively: 18.4%
2) Equally positively and negatively: 32.1%
3) No effect: 19.9%
4) Negatively or Very Negatively: 29.6%
The CRWG arrived at the much-repeated 70% figure by adding together the first three categories.
However, the homosexual activists who are pushing for repeal do not argue that there would be equally positive and negative effects. They argue that there would be no negative effects whatsoever, or at least that the positive effects would overwhelmingly outnumber the negative. Therefore, contrary to the way the CRWG and the media have presented it, the equally positive and negative answer should not be taken as supporting the case for overturning current law.
In fact, only answers 1 and 3 (positive or no effect) should be considered supportive of the case that is usually made for repeal. Answers 2 and 4 both indicate that repeal would have negative consequences. Viewed this way, we can argue that
62% of Service members predicted at least some negative effects from repeal, while only 38% predicted only positive or no effects.
However, I would go further and argue that the no effect response does not support the case for repeal, either. I realize that homosexual activists appeal to concepts like justice and equality to argue that if there is no effect, then the law should be changed. But there is no constitutional right to serve in the military, and the exclusion law is fundamentally based on behavior, not identity, so justice and equality are not at stake here.
Furthermore, in many cases the ratios of Negative or Very Negative responses to Positive or Very Positive ones were very dramatic. For example, repeal was:
More than four times more likely to have a negative than a positive impact on your willingness to recommend to a family member or close friend that he or she join the military (27.3% negative to 6.3% positive).
More than six times more likely to have a negative than a positive impact on your military career plans (i.e., intentions to remain in the military)23.7% negative to 3.5% positive.
Nearly six times more likely to have a negative than a positive impact on your level of morale (27.9% negative to 4.8% positive).
The report makes much of the fact that those who say they are already working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian give more positive responses. However, it is important to note that even among this group, negative responses outnumber positive ones on every question.
For example, even those currently serving with a gay or lesbian colleague say repeal is:
Nearly two and a half (2.48) times more likely to have a negative than a positive impact on your immediate units effectiveness at completing its mission in a field environment or out at sea (37.5% to 15.1%).
More than two and a half times more likely to have a negative than a positive impact on your units ability to train well together (26.5% to 10.0%).
To take these surveys as supporting the case for overturning the law is a grave misreading of their findings.
WHAT: News Conference of organizational leaders and military experts in support of the current law on homosexuality in the military, commonly referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The speakers will discuss the release of the report by the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) on the issue of open homosexuality in the military as well a new survey showing 63 percent of military families oppose overturning the current law. An amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would turn military medical facilities into abortion clinics will also be discussed.
* Tony Perkins, Marine Corps Veteran and President, Family Research Council
* Retired Colonel Dick Black
* Lt. Colonel Bob Maginnis, FRC’s Senior Fellow for National Security
* John Hagan, former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
* Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy
* Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
* Rep. John Fleming, M.D.(R-La.), former Lieutenant Commander of the Navy
* Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO, Americans United for Life
The Lords commands invite obedience and fear. His actions, such as his death and resurrection, provoke awe and thankfulness. But his questions prompt our participation, inspection, and reflection. His questions draw us into the mind of God and invite us to grow as we walk with him. As we grapple with Jesuss questions, we learn what we truly believeand what we dont.
Jesus Christ is the most famous and influential historical figure that ever lived. People are fascinated by Him, as exemplified by the huge numbers who flock to movies like Passion of the Christ or the speed at which books like The Da Vinci Code fly off the shelves. More books have been written about Him than any other figure in history. A large proportion of the books penned about this man seek to ask and then answer questions about Him, from a variety of different perspectives. What did He think? Who was He, really? Another approach involves studying his commands and actions to better illuminate His character. But All That Jesus Asks, a recent book by Christianity Today editor Stan Guthrie, takes a different approach. He turns traditional frameworks on their heads and allows Jesus the opportunity to do the inquiring. Sometimes our most important beliefs are expressed through our questions, and Guthrie engagingly leads a more expansive look at Christs humanity and his mission by breaking down the themes expressed through what Jesus asks of those around him. The New Testament contains almost 300 of these questions, spanning a wide range of themes and through Guthries thorough examination of each of these questions, we gain a deeper insight into who Jesus is and what He asks of us, by understanding the themes and questions that are of most importance to him.
Sentimental and superficial pictures of Jesus, ones crudely manufactured from our own attempts to fit Him into our own framework of beliefs, require neither commitment nor conviction. Commands and Thou shalt nots are often ignored or even sneered at. But questions create dialogue and discussion, which may allow you to meet Jesus in a way you never have before. This comprehensive examination will be spiritually encouraging, but also challenging. Some of the questions raised may be unsettling, uncomfortable or feel confrontational, but they will force the reader to confront very real issues of Life and Death, Love and Hate, or Heaven and Hell and Guthrie explains why the correct answers may very well change your life.
One of the most striking things Defense Sec. Gates said during his remarks today regarding the military’s survey on homosexuality related to what he called “feelings:”
Views towards gay and lesbian Americans have changed considerably during this period, and have grown more accepting since Dont Ask Dont Tell was first enacted. But feelings on this matter can still run deep and divide, often starkly, along demographic, cultural and generational lines not only in society as a whole, but in the uniformed ranks as well.
The objections many men and women in uniform, and their families, have toward allowing homosexuals to serve in the Armed Forces are not grounded in “feelings.” A feeling is an emotion, something that can change depending on one’s blood-sugar level.
What Sec. Gates seems to have tried to articulate, but not summoned the moral courage to state outright, is that people who believe homosexuality is morally wrong are poor (that would be demography), uneducated (there’s your lack of “cultural” maturity), and habituated to bigotry (“generational”).
He is as wrong as he is condescending: Homosexuality is described as a sin against God in both biblical Testaments. Those of us who believe the Bible’s commands transcend time and any society’s “growing acceptance” (Sec. Gates’ phrase) will remain opposed to the “mainstreaming” of homosexuality, period.
That’s a moral statement, Mr. Secretary. It’s not a feeling. It will not change until the Bible changes, which is, for the record, never.