For millennia, faith-based principles have attempted to guide the forces of war and peace between powers and nations. I challenge any Catholic or other Christian – or any person of good will, for that matter – to educate yourself on some of these philosophical and theological principles. We do not subscribe to any version of “might makes right” or “my country, right or wrong.” We must hold our leaders and military to strict standards that reflect our deepest values.
The Catholic Archbishop for the Military Services, Timothy Broglio, yesterday joined the reactionary crowd of those seeking to retain the military’s discriminatory “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay men and women in the military. That policy flies in the face of common sense and basic human decency. In this season of First Communions, even a 7-year old knows that telling a lie is a bad thing; yet this is what the archbishop and his ilk would have thousands and thousands of well-qualified Americans do if they wish to serve their country in uniform. Instead of being honest and open about who they are as God created them, Broglio would have God’s gay and lesbian children remain in the darkened closet of lies and dishonesty.
Broglio’s outrageous comments demonstrate not only the intellectual emptiness of the position held by most current church leaders, but also raises the question of whether religiously affiliated chaplains who are unable to uphold and adhere to all military policies should continue to serve in the military as military officers — paid for with taxpayer dollars. Even when many military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support moving away from this failed policy, Broglio continues to repeat the old canard that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly will hurt “unit cohesion.”
Not only is Broglio’s position a slap in the face of gay men and women, it’s also insulting to America’s straight soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. Apparently the archbishop thinks they are not as mature as their international counterparts in countries like the UK and Israel, where gays and lesbians have served openly and successfully for years.
Not only is it time for “Dont ask, don’t tell” to be laid to rest, it’s also time for the archbishop to realize that military policies should reflect the non-discriminatory values that represent the best of what it means to be an American.