Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Don’t Disagree

March 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has come under fire following remarks he gave during an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Responding to questions about the military’s policy of don’t ask, don’t tell, which allows homosexuals to serve in the armed forces so long as they keep their sexual orientation private, the general said: “As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior.” The general’s description of homosexual behavior as immoral and akin to adultery outraged gay advocacy groups, who have described his remarks as prejudiced, insensitive and homophobic, and have demanded that the general apologize. (Still to be heard from are the adulterers who no doubt are also upset at the description of their behavior as immoral.)

      The following day, the general retreated a bit from his position allowing that perhaps he spent too much time discussing his personal views.  However, he stopped well short of an apology.  Good for him!  

      Just for kicks, I would like to ask: is anything immoral?  And if so, on what basis are these decisions made?  Is it simply a matter of personal opinion? History?  Is morality decided by popular vote?  Certainly, a society’s notion of right and wrong is not arbitrary, it must have a foundation and that foundation must be more substantial than “it exists.”  Americans have largely based their ideas of morality on Judeo-Christian teachings found in scripture.  It is in fact these same moral teachings on which we based our entire system of government.  America was founded on the idea that there is in fact an objective truth that is the same for all of men throughout all time.

      There are a substantial number of Americans that share the general’s Christian upbringing and agree with him that morality is determined by scriptural revelation.  Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards is among them.  During a CNN interview, Edwards confessed that because of his upbringing he is struggling with the issue of homosexual marriage. His struggles with adultery are no doubt based on the very same upbringing and moral framework. 

      All Americans do not share this view of morality it’s true.  However, that is a reason for discussion and debate, not for apologies.  It is clear from where the general’s understanding of morality comes.  Other than an appeal to injured sensibilities, those that disagree with him have not made it clear on what foundations their conception of morality is based.  They may perhaps have a convincing argument; it is incumbent upon them to make it.

      That assumes of course that one is interested in discussion. The sputtering indignation and the new and odd belief that to hold ideas that are not “politically correct” makes one sick and in need of rehabilitation are all designed to prevent any civil engagement of ideas.  For those screaming the loudest at General Pace, there is no room for discussion.  All dissent must be silenced.  No doubt this is why when homosexual rights advocates express views that those of us that disagree with their agenda find offensive -tacking their struggle onto the back of the centuries old struggle American Blacks have waged for equality for instance — we do not hear apologies.  To the contrary, it is simply assumed that to disagree with them on this point
or any other makes one a bigot and a Neanderthal. 

      Homosexuality is not the biggest threat to our society.  Nor are the hurt feelings that invariably arise from the exercise of free speech.  Our culture is at a far greater risk when we attempt to intimidate those opposing points of view into silence and when we refuse to ground our notions of right and wrong in the terra firma of reason and an association with the divine.


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