The Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, if passed, will ensure protection of military chaplains in the refusal to perform religious rites and rituals to homosexuals. As long as the refusal is based on "religious or moral beliefs," the chaplains cannot be fired or otherwise persecuted.
In addition, the bill also proposes that any "marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the unity of one man and one woman" be banned on property owned or used by the military.
While chaplains are predominately mentioned in the bill, it retains to all military officials. The bill states that "a service member cannot be denied promotion or other training
opportunities for any sincerely held beliefs he has about the
appropriate or inappropriate expression of human sexuality."
I do not disagree with every aspect of this bill. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Nobody should be accused of discrimination for having an opinion on sexuality. In fact, the bill ensures that homosexuals cannot be discriminated against for their belief that homosexuality is not inappropriate.
However, the majority of the remainder of the bill focuses on the rights chaplains have of choosing who they perform religious rites and practices on due strictly to their sexual orientation. Brig. Gen. Douglas Lee expresses his agreement in the protection of chaplains.
According to Brig. Gen. Lee, "chaplains (and other Christian service members) no longer have to violate their faith groups" by performing Christians rites and services to homosexuals. While I do not want to go into a long rant about Christian values, I will quickly mention one thing. The Bible (based off of the reference above to Christian service members), while it does say that homosexuality is an abomination, it also says that no sin is worse than another, and that we are all sinners. If Christian chaplains followed every verse of the Bible as closely as those that condemn homosexuality, things would be different.
Lee then makes the following quote:
"The litigation of the homosexual lobby over of the last 20 years shows
that they can't tolerate groups that are against them or would suggest
that their decisions are wrong or sinful."
This seems rather natural, in my opinion. If a group of people is being unnecessarily discriminated against or even talked badly about by a larger group of people, it's hard to tolerate. I would be interested in seeing how well General Lee would tolerate if a group of people surrounded him, yelling about how members of the military are wrong.
In another interview, Huelskamp tries to back up the reasoning for homosexuals not being married in military facilities.
At first, Huelskamp mentioned that the Defense of Marriage Act says a marriage is between one man and one woman. This in itself would be an okay defense. However, he goes on to say, “Military installations exist to carry out the national defense of our nation, not to facilitate a narrow social agenda.”
If this is the case, that military installations are supposed to defend our nation and not carry out a social agenda, then marriage in general in military facilities should be banned.
One thing that needs to be pointed out is the wording the supporters of the bill are using. The bill states that chaplains can refuse to perform rites that are "contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain." However, in the articles, the supporters of the bill mention only the religious beliefs. Nowhere in the articles are the morals listed. And there is a difference between religious beliefs and morals.
While morals often go hand in hand with religion, the term "moral" is defined as "principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct."
In essence, this bill is allowing religious leaders to refuse to perform religious rites and rituals for reasons other than religion. However, publicly, the supporters of the bill are making it sound as if chaplains are only allowed to deny rites and rituals to homosexuals based on religious beliefs.
While the politicians aren't totally lying, they aren't being completely honest and clear on the bill, either. This is inappropriate. The politicians who are making our bill and those promoting the bill need to be honest with exactly what the bill says and means.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis is strongly opposed to the bill. Sarvis released a statement in late January voicing his opinion on the bill.
"There is no place for that prejudice in our armed forces or our country," Sarvis said. I have not heard a truer statement in a while. The United States Military should be protecting the citizens of the United States rather than discriminating against their own soldiers.
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