WEDNESDAY
March 28, 2001
volume 12, no. 87

Call for Bush to Restore Ban on Gays in Military

By Reverend Louis P. Sheldon , Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition


    Washington, DC – The court martial of Air Force Tech. Sergeant Eric Marcum is a good argument for banning homosexuals from serving in the military. Last May, Marcum was sentenced to ten years in prison for desertion on charges of sodomizing young soldiers who were training to become Air Force linguists. Marcum also received a dishonorable discharge.

    More recently, lesbian Air Force Sergeant Sharon Dejesus Harris was arrested for molesting a 13-year-old girl. Harris had pretended to be a boy on the Internet to attract young girls for sexual seduction. In fact, Harris continued to pretend to be a boy even as she was sexually molesting her female victim. Investigators are convinced she has attempted to molest other girls through her Internet connections.

    These molestation cases point up the need for President Bush and the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to reinstitute the Congressional ban on homosexuals being allowed to serve in the military. The Pentagon is on the verge of issuing a Clintonian era anti-harassment policy to protect homosexuals from verbal or personal attacks, but this isn’t the correct solution to this problem.

    The solution is to abolish the Clinton "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy and establish sound policies based upon Public Law 103-160, passed by Congress in 1993. This law clearly states that persons who engage in homosexual conduct pose an unacceptable risk to the Armed Force’s standards of morale, good order, discipline, and unit cohesion.

    Both Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell have spoken out strongly on the issue of homosexuals in the military. As Secretary of Defense, Cheney wrote: "Remember why we have a military. The reason is to be prepared to fight and win wars. That is our basic, fundamental mission. The military is not a social welfare agency, it is not a jobs program. We aren’t there to run social experiments. We are there to fight and win wars."

    Former General Colin Powell, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once wrote: "I have given a great deal of thought to my position and continue to hold the view that the presence of homosexuals in the military is prejudicial to good order and discipline."

    U.S. Army Major Melissa Wells-Petry (Ret.), writing in Exclusion: Homosexuals and the Right to Serve, points out a fundamental point frequently missed by homosexual apologists: No one has the "right to serve" in the military. The military "discriminates" against people with medical conditions, prison records, handicaps, mental conditions, and height and weight problems. Four-hundred pound men, for example, make poor soldiers. The military also has a right to discriminate against men who wish to have intercourse with other men.

    Retired Marine Colonel Ron Ray, in his thoroughly researched book, Military Necessity & Homosexuality notes that the sexually transmitted diseases spread by homosexuals is a compelling reason why they should be banned from military service. Ray writes: "Among the most obvious dangers homosexuals pose for the military is the threat of AIDS, which would increase for all military members if homosexuals were openly admitted to the services." He also points to numerous studies that have shown that homosexuals frequently have as many as 1,000 sexual partners over a lifetime. The more partners they have, the more likely they are to spread a variety of venereal diseases—thus impacting military readiness. The military should not be converted into a government hospice for those dying of AIDS or suffering from crippling venereal diseases.

    Our President and Secretary of Defense would do well to study the well-reasoned works of Major Wells-Petry and Colonel Ray before they perpetuate a Clintonian pro-homosexual policy that will only undermine the military’s readiness—and punish those in the service who oppose sodomy.

   

The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality as could be applied to homosexuals in the military is subsequently referenced below.

    The definitive position of the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality is presented in a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual persons” given at Rome, 1 October 1986 by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The major excerpts from that letter follow.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

    In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.

    Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God.

    In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts.

7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.

    To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

    There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.

    The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.

    (During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, approved this Letter, adopted in an ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and ordered it to be published.)

Given at Rome, 1 October 1986.

JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER
Prefect

ALBERTO BOVONE
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia
Secretary

    Again, please note that the following document on the Catholic response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexuals comes from the highest teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church next to the Pope himself, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1992

Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons

Foreword

    Recently, legislation had been proposed in some American states which would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. In some Italian cities, municipal authorities have made public housing available to homosexual (and unmarried heterosexual) couples. Such initiatives, even where they seem more directed toward support of basic civil rights than condonement of homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle, may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society. Such things as the adoption of children, the hiring and firing of teachers, the housing needs of genuine families, landlords’ legitimate concerns in screening potential tenants, for example, are often implicated.

    While it would be impossible to foresee and respond to every eventuality in respect to legislative proposals in this area, these observations will try to identify some principles and distinctions of a general nature which should be taken into consideration by the conscientious Catholic legislator, voter, or Church authority who is confronted with such issues.

    The first section will recall relevant passages from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person” of 1986. The second section will deal with the applications.

I. Relevant Passages from the CDF’s “Letter”

1. The Letter recalls that the CDF’s “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” of 1975 “took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions,” the latter which are “intrinsically disordered” and “in no case to be approved of” (no. 3).

2. Since “[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (above-mentioned) Declaration ..., an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good,” the Letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not” (no. 3).

3. “As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood” (no. 7).

4. In reference to the homosexual movement, the Letter states:

    “One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (no. 9).

5. “There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved” (no. 9).

6. “She (the Church) is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy” (no. 9).

7. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one as any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase” (no. 10).

8. “What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well” (no. 11).

9. “In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life” (no. 17).

II. Applications

10. “Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. “Letter,” no. 3).

11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the consignment of children to adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or coaches, and in military recruitment.

12. Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including that of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.

13. Including “homosexual orientation” among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action, the filling of quotas in hiring practices. This is all the more mistaken since there is no right to homosexuality (cf. no. 10) which therefore should not form the judicial basis for claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection of homosexuality. A person’s homosexuality would be invoked in opposition to alleged discrimination and thus the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of basic human rights.

14. The “sexual orientation” of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual’s sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not want or see no reason for their sexual orientation to become public knowledge. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc. does not arise.

    Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be “either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing” (cf. no. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to “manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws” (cf. no. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that “any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people ... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (cf. no. 9).

15. Since in assessing proposed legislation uppermost concern should be given to the responsibility to defend and promote family life (cf. no. 17), most careful attention should be paid to the single provisions of proposed measures. How would they effect [sic] adoption or foster care? Would they protect homosexual acts, public or private? Do they confer equivalent family status on homosexual unions, for example, in respect to public housing or by entitling the homosexual partner to the privileges of employment which might include “family” participation in the health benefits given to employees (cf. no. 9)?

16. Finally, since a matter of the common good is concerned, it is inappropriate for Church authorities to endorse or remain neutral toward adverse legislation even if it grants exceptions to Church organizations and institutions. The Church has the responsibility to promote the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values, not simply to protect herself from the application of harmful laws (cf. no. 17).

Submitted by Gary L. Morella


March 28, 2001
volume 12, no. 87
USA News
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