It saddens me to think how many people may see today as a loss for conservative Christianity rather than a victory for our men and women in uniform. It is my hope that the anger and frustration of some does not touch the celebration of Gay men and Lesbians across the country.
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed by congress in 2010 but it officially takes affect today. Hallelujah!
Many of you, as I did until recently, may assume that such a discriminatory policy must have been enacted long ago. Unfortunately, the policy was only enacted in 1993 (this speaks to how much work we have left to do).
DADT gave the appearance of assisting gay military members. It expressly prohibited harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. The catch is you must be a closeted homosexual. DADT also prohibited gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the military from being open about their sexual preference. The consequences could go so far as discharge from the U.S military. According to my research, more than 13,000 service members from across the Department of Defense were discharged under DADT. 13,000 men and women who were willing to serve, and potentially, die for our country.
USA Today reported that the military had already spent upward of $363 million in 2007 to discharge gays soldiers and recruit and train their replacements. If your heart can’t get behind this repeal perhaps your pockets can (note the sarcasm).
I’m sure there are those who don’t appreciate my flippancy and question how a Christian woman could see this as a victory.
Not only do I support this repeal, my faith is what most strongly affirms my belief in the need for equality and acceptance. At the root of Christianity is a message (a command) for love and acceptance (not of something we might consider a sin but of people, ALL people). As Christians, we are first and foremost called to pursue peace, community, and love. Yes, there is scripture that can be used to justify Christian social and political outcries against homosexuality. There is scripture that can be used to justify anything when you look at through the right, narrow, lens.
If even after you search your heart and scripture, you cannot reconcile yourself with the idea that homosexuality is okay I would challenge you to consider it another way.
DADT was not about “saving souls”, walking away from sin, or “winning people for Christ”. The law was about secrecy. The goal was not to end homosexuality but to keep it in hiding. DADT forced brave men and women to live with a burden of shame and fear of being discovered. This sort of system eats away at the soul and creates fractures in the human identity. That, my friends, is not the heart of God.
The victory is in freeing the men and women who serve from that humility. The victory is in protecting their identity.
We are victorious when we let people know that they are loved for who they; without stipulation and without reservation.
I wonder how many phone calls like this were made today? I hope every parent responded with the same amount of love.