My take on Homosexuals in the Military

Ok, it's time for me to chime in.

First of all, let me cut to the chase. From a military perspective, I don't care if homosexuals serve in the military.

I have served on two ships, the USS Mobile Bay and the USS Antietam. In both of the ships, I lived in a berthing of 40 men or so. I've moved my mostly naked body in close proximity to other mostly naked bodies…usually sweaty. I've seen naked men and I've been around men naked. One loses a lot of modesty when one is that close to other men. It is a reality that we face in the military. Most of us get over it. Some of us never do. Those guys go to the shower in tee-shirts and shorts, which, in my opinion, is too much to deal with in a small space.

Don't get me wrong…I do believe homosexuality is a sin, at least the act of homosexuality is a sin. There is no getting around this. Living in California is killing me because of all this talk about equal rights. No one cares about God's rights (good thing he can take care of himself) and that angers me. If you are a believer, then you cannot read I Corinthians 6:9-10 and think that homosexuality is acceptable.

However, before I delve into a Biblical study that I'm not capable of performing, let me get back to the actual issue at hand. There are several reasons why I think we'll be just fine if Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) goes away. They are as follows:

1. Gays are already in the military.

I'm pretty sure I've served with at least three sailors who were homosexuals, and that doesn't count the ones that I know were and got kicked out. I never had a problem with these two men and witnessed on occasion to the one I knew most. I had no problem serving with these men. Well, actually, I didn't care for one of them, but I wouldn't have liked him if he were straight either.

2. Adulterers are also in the military…so are porn addicts, drunkards, and thieves.

This is why people who want DADT to remain in power aren't thinking straight (no pun intended). They are quick to get rid of the gays, but if the Navy got rid of the other men (and women) of ill repute, the military wouldn't exist. This is a simple bias and sick prejudice against one sin while accepting the other. Mark my words; God sees no difference between homosexuality and adultery. You plan on getting rid of all of us evil-doers?

3. Being gay does not mean being a poor sailor.

This is circumstantial to be sure, but so is the idea that they would be poor sailors. I can't speak for the other services, so I won't try, but the fact is, I've seen little women toss around 5 inch shells, so even the girliest of men can handle it. That's not saying that all gays are girlie. I'm just saying that if that is your stereotype, drop it.

4. Corinthians 6:11.

This is the crux of the matter. I am claiming to be a mentor/missionary to the military. If I refuse to minister to one people group because I am afraid of them or biased against them, then what kind of believer am I? Good for nothing, but to be trampled on the ground.

Verse 11: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” How do you think they will learn about Christ? The same way the adulterer will…by me telling them.

Look, I don't care if DADT stays the law in the military. I'm not actually arguing for taking it out. Furthermore, I promise I respect people who do want to keep it law. I do, however, believe that it's end is inevitable. What I meant to put out in this article was the reality I face as a sailor. We can survive the removal of DADT. In fact, it would provide more ministry opportunities. As I said, I can't speak for the Marines and Army, and won't pretend to, but for us…we will survive.

Ok, I know I'm in the minority. Feel free to say anything you want and I will do my best to respond!

14 comments:

Tommy P. said...

It's helpful to hear your perspective. I think you have a lot of wisdom on the topic and see your thoughts as valuable resource from a guy involved in ministry "on the inside". Thanks for sharing.

Jin-roh said...

I've often said that the only people who should really have a say in what happens in DADT policy are military personal. Interestingly enough, it seems that many military personal are of your same opinion.

Dan said...

Tommy, I appreciate your encouragement. I know that I don't share the common evangelical sentiment, but it's nice to hear that people at least respect my thoughts. Thank you!

Jin-Roh, of course I'm not a theologian like you, which means that I value what you just wrote more than you can imagine. Thank you. I try to keep my spirituality and theology practical, and this seems to be a practical matter.

Steve said...

Dan
I really appreciate your thoughts. From a military perspective; man, I just served in a different era, I suppose. Maybe it was the machismo that they tried to instill in us, but homosexuals and fat white men were the only targets of bigotry. I mean, we were straight up (no pun intended either) told that every sailor was "gray," i.e. we didn't see Black, White, Hispanic, or Pilipino sailors. Just gunmetal gray ones. Yet, right before we signed our pledge to defend the constitution and the presidency, we signed that we swore under penalty of law that we were not homosexual. (Oh, and somewhere in there I remember signing that I would stay under 25% body fat! Yeah, right. In boot and school, maybe. Haha.) When DADT came around I was long gone, but I remember thinking, " just another liberal subversion from Clinton!" I really thought it would fail because of the biases I remembered, real or imagined.
Over the years I have revised my thoughts somewhat , on Clinton and homosexuality. Mostly that change came from the effect Christ has had on me. I'm sure I would still be called a bigot by many, whatever. The Bible clearly, irrefutably, and without equivocation labels homosexuality a sin and an affront to our Holy God. However; as you so eloquently pointed out, (I and have said the exact same thing to every church I have pastored) adultery is labeled right alongside the prohibitions in the Bible. This is where many believers get off track. You see, God does not label sins. Only men do that. To God, the smallest white lie is a damning an act as homosexuality. If I am in New York city (not likely, but...) I can see all the building are of a different height. But in the space shuttle (again, not likely) they all look the same height. Same with God. His righteousness is so elevated above ours, that sin is just sin.
We are called to witness to the lost, including homosexuals, adulterers, liars, thieves, and even those who do silly little things like pad their expense reports. We are against abortion, but we do not bomb abortion clinics. What part of "Pro-life" let you think God wanted you to take several of them? We believe homosexuality is a sin, but we are called to love homosexuals. And love them enough to tell them the truth, but in a way that lets them know it is from concern about them, not judgmental of them. While my particular sins do not include homosexual behavior, they are just as repugnant in God's eyes. If we remember that, we will understand the old saying, "I not for the Grace of God, there go I."

Ummm. wow. I just wrote a novel up there. Sorry!?!?!!? If that is too preachy I won't be offended if you don't publish.

Steve

Dan said...

Steve,
Man, I was afraid I had offended you and ruined our friendship because I hadn't heard from you! Thank you for chiming in and giving the perspective from both a preacher and a former military member.

Joking has changed everything. People act gay in the Navy as a joke now, which has paved the way for it to be less frowned-upon. I do think that many people have also realized the inevitibility of it all and just accepted it. Finally, I think society as a whole has gone closer to accepting it (for the wrong reasons) and as the military is a reflection of society, that means that more sailors accept it as well. Now they just don't like fat guys. Well, actually, people like me, but that doesn't stop the snickering, particularly against some of our really big brethren.

I remember the form you talked about. I came in in '96, right after DADT. They were still using the form that promised penalty of law for being homosexual. I remember the sailor up front of the class saying, "Look, I can't ask you if you're gay, which is why it's blackened out, but if you are, you might as well leave the room. We'll find you out." I doubt they ask that anymore.

Steve said...

Just been busy. Sorry for the delay in commenting.

Inevitibility is right. I told a pastor friend this week that in 10 years (prob less) gay marriage will be the norm, and give it another five before it's illeagal to preach Romans 1 from our pulpits.

Dan said...

I think it won't take that long for gay marriage. The stuff in California is the first nail in the marriage coffin. I say 5-6 years. Once the Supreme Court makes it an issue of equality, all states will have to change their constitutions.

However, I do think it will take longer for churches to be affected. No one wants to touch that one yet, and the church (politically, unfortunately) is still very strong. I would switch your time frames, but it's all inevitable.

Preston said...

When we're banned from speaking the Word, that's when I'll shout Alleluia! I'll mourne how dark the days will be, but I'll have even more joy that God's word is being fullfilled and that He is being glorified in that.

Steve said...

Dan, I meant 5 years later, ie 15 from now. haha.

Preston, very true. And it will no doubt be a season of growth. Perhaps the latter rains Joel spoke of. The church ALWAYS grows under tribulation and persecution.

Pastor Dave said...

Dan, just found your blog from a comment you posted on my blog, and what is the first one I read...the one about homosexuality. I want to say that after talking about this subject with many believers, your position is beginning to be the norm, rather than the exception. I think a lot of followers of Christ are beginning to realize the damage they have done by isolating this one sin and pounding it into the ground. I am not and never have been in the military, and have never understood the issue with gays in the military, so your take on the issue is very enlightening. Although I don't think the government should recognize gay marriages as it puts their stamp of approval on something that God has called an abomination, personally I think the government should stay out of marriages all together....the only reason they don't deals with taxes and certain legal issues that have risen up surrounding marriages (visitation at hospitals, etc.). The only area I disagree with you on is the indication that homosexual behavior is just a sin as any other sin. Certain sins in the Scriptures carried worse punishments than others, and some were considered an abomination unto the Lord. All sin is only equal in that all sin separates us from God and all sin brings about death (either physical death, or death of reputation, death of relationship, etc.). Other than that, I think your comments on the subject are right on...and may the church move even more to the point where we can minister to the homosexual, loving the sinner, yet hating the sin. This will be even more neccesary in the coming years as I too agree that gay marriage is a "batttle" that has been lost in the public sector and will soon be law across the land. It is also my belief that either persecution or revival will come upon the US within the next 25 years or so...or maybe both...maybe persecution will bring about revival.

Ok, now I'm off to read some more around your blog.

Dave

Dan said...

Dave,
I am not, nor have I ever been, a pastor, so my theology is suspect at the moment (little joke there). I think I can agree with you regarding the severity of sin (abomination). In the end, as I understand it, separation from God in hell is separation from God in hell, and anyone who doesn't believe will be there, so that was where I was headed with that.

More than anything, I appreciate your thoughts on the subject from a preacher's perspective. I count many preachers as my friends, and hope to do the same with you. Keep commenting and keep writing your great posts!

Pastor Dave said...

Dan, Yeah, I get exactly what you are saying. I'm enjoying reading your blog. I may be a pastor, but I am self taught when it comes to the Scriptures...in othe words, I've never been to seminary or bible college. I have been mentored by a few great pastors and I read a lot..ususally at least a book a week, and use all the online tools I can to dig deep into the Word (esword, etc.). Our church is growing right now. We began with ten people about six years ago and are now running around 90, in fact, I just had the blessing of leading a man to the Lord tonight..he is 38 and we will baptize him next week. Keep up the good work Dan, and yes, you can count me as a friend...and a brother.

Dave

Dan said...

Man, I can't tell you how much I enjoy hearing salvation stories! I hope you'll post pictures of the baptism to your blog! So cool! And well done on the church growth battle! Also good news!

Phil said...

Dan
This is the first time I've read this post. I think it's helpful to hear it from someone's who's been and has experienced the Navy. I appreciate your thoughts and I think they're spot-on.

Phil