Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

On Wednesday December 22, 2010 at 9:15am President Obama will be signing a bill that repeals Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

It’s about time.

Personally, I don’t believe in war. I don’t believe in killing. I don’t believe that the only way to keep peace is through violence. I don’t believe in retaliation (even though my mind goes there at times). As my buddy Shane Claiborne says,

“American needs the Amish to run Homeland Security and Jesus for President.”

I’m reading an impactful book right now by Tony Campolo: Choose Love Not Power: How to Right the World’s Wrongs from a Place of Weakness. It says everything I’m thinking about war and its implications in power. I’m tired of the slogan:

If only I (or a country or a group or an organization) were in control everything would be better.

That’s not how cultural or economic stability can ever be facilitated over the long haul. Regardless of my thoughts, our world works through a filter that believes the only way to have influence is through gaining power. All of this to say, though, if gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people choose to join the military, it just doesn’t make sense to deny them that choice.

I sure don’t want to fight. I don’t want to retaliate through violence. I don’t want to search for weapons of mass destruction. I don’t want to be the big brother fighting other people’s or countries battles. I don’t want to rule the world through war to gain the control of oil. And I don’t believe Jesus would want any of those things either.  

All that any of those things have gotten us are a bunch of enemies (which we ourselves called the Axis of Evil – thanks Bush), trillions of dollars of debt to China and everyone else because we keep taking unnecessary loans and printing more money (thanks Obama) and who knows what’s next…

Here is another post I wrote about this topic last year, speaking to some hard-nosed military lifers.

We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and if free and brave are defined by some people (including LGBTs) as an ability to join the military, then that is their right to do so. It was a ridiculous rule in the first place that President Clinton said he had to instate due to bi-partisan pressure (PS – since when do President’s fully give in to the other party’s demands?). So it’s long overdue that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is now history.

Much love.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mrs T

    As much as we may not have liked DADT, remember that before that, gays were not even allowed to serve in the military, which shocked me! Here I was 45 years old when Clinton was elected, & never knew that! At that time DADT was quite revolutionary. I kept quiet to my friends who didn’t even like that compromise.

    What has bothered me all these years is the practice of heteros in the military practicing such promiscuity(apparently encouraged)& gays were not even allowed in. That is so hypocritical. I’d like to see some ‘military discipline’ in that area, too. But I’m not a man & they keep saying that men are wired differently. But the Scripture has the same standards for both men & women. Comments, anyone?

  • Skeptic

    Andrew, did you ever respond to this article about you?

    Why did you say such crappy things about gay people, Andrew?

  • Debbie Thurman

    “We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    And there is a very good reason why we do, Andrew. We are free because of the brave who sacrificed their lives for that freedom. Real people who represent real evil in this world would love to see us bend the knee to their dictatorship. Freedom isn’t free, as the old adage goes.

    A strong, cohesive military (not bent on self-interest), to protect and defend free people like you and me, is a necessity in this fallen world. “Love” doesn’t fly in the face of godless evil. Let’s just go out and witness to Satan, shall we? Don’t we feel sorry for him? Maybe he just needs more love.

    Sorry that is so strong, but I believe it needs to be. There are many naive people who don’t know what they are talking about when they speak about the military and why it exists. I am disappointed that you have spouted off a litany of typical “progressive” blather about fighting for oil or power or retaliation. Those are not American values, nor are they why we go to war.

    Who of those brave men and women serving us takes delight in inflicting “violence” on another people? Now ask yourself how many want to and, indeed, have done violence to us. How would you stop them?

    I’m glad Tony Campolo is not our Commander-in-Chief. He can stay a man of the cloth. He’d have our soldiers holding hands in a circle while the enemy closes in, no doubt.

    • Bruce

      Thank you Debbie…. you saved me a bunch of typing…. (of which I am very slow…)
      I think that “Christians” who are expecting “Peace on Earth” as a present reality by passivity, are ripe for the picking of the next despot or tyranical dictator….
      The new Jerusalem is a future reality…. in the present, “wars and rumors of wars” will be what we experiance…. like it or not.

    • Lots to respond to here Debbie…I’ll give it a go:

      1. I think you might have taken my stance of not liking war or not wanting to participate in it as an insult against our military. Far be it! I respect the heck out of them and am very grateful they are willing to put their lives on the line in war (something I am not willing to do). But just because that is my personal choice doesn’t mean it’s a reflection of my feelings and gratitude towards them. In fact, whenever I’m in an airport (quite often these days), and I see a person in a military uniform flying somewhere I’ll always pay for their meal or drink or something. It’s my small way of showing how much I care.

      2. Just because you see war as a necessity in this fallen world today doesn’t mean it has to be a reality. Love conquers all evil. Cheesy? Yep. Biblical? Yep. I’m not against the military but I’m not for fighting. I know it’s a part of the world we live in, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or be pro-war. And there is freedom in Christ for free. It sounds like you’re laughing at the power of the Lord in relation to “witnessing to the devil.” I would take what you said much more seriously.

      3. Don’t make the mistake that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to the military. I have good friends in the military who are fighting in Afghanistan right now. My wife works, er, worked on a daily basis with active members of the special forces. So you can get off you’re high horse, because I thought very carefully about every single word I wrote. I meant them; not from “spouting off a litany of progressive bather” but because I have personal experiences with people who I have known since kindergarten who are still fighting. And power and oil are American values. We’re not governed through a Christian worldview and that needs to held at the forefront when assessing our American values. I would love to hear what you think American values are…

      4. If they don’t take delight in inflicting violence on others, then why did they sign up? Why do you think the military gives HUGE signing bonuses and school reimbursement and the like? Because we wouldn’t have enough people to field a military if those things were not options!!!! I personally don’t know anyone today, including those who I do know who are in the military right now, who would have enlisted without those extra benefits.

      5. What other people or countries do to us is a totally different thought than what our response has to be. And PS – how many non-civil wars have been fought on American soil? ZERO. We look at 9-11 as the end all be all. That is one day worth of deaths in other countries through fighting on their soil…one day that is repeated day after day after day.

      6. I’ll forgive you for your insults about Tony, and those who believe the same as he does.

      • Debbie Thurman

        Andrew, tomorrow is Christmas Day, and it is ashamed that this controversy had to come at this sacred time for the world. I will defer to my desire for peace and to Christian love just now. I don’t want to get into a point-counterpoint contest with you. You and I see things quite differently on this topic.

        Just know that my being a Marine veteran doesn’t give me leave to get on some “high horse,” but it has given me experience that is worth something. And I have been married for 29 years to a Marine who served two back-to-back tours in Vietnam during his 21-plus year career. My military friendships are of a more long-term and intimate nature than most non-veterans’, FWIW.

        The Marine Corps’ core values are “Honor, Courage and Commitment.” Those work for me. There is nothing about “taking delight” in “doing violence” in them.

        Does God not mean for us to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and violently kill sin outright in ourselves? I believe He does. It doesn’t go any other way. I believe He allowed so much battle imagery in the Scriptures for good reason.

        There can be no peace in our souls or in the world while sin and hell hold us captive. I shall continue to don my Ephesians 6 armor and fight the good fight because I know spiritual warfare is real. The deadliest weapons of the enemy are the most subtle ones. The good is the real enemy of the best.

        • Geoff G.

          Debbie Thurman wrote:

          My military friendships are of a more long-term and intimate nature than most non-veterans’, FWIW.

          The Marine Corps’ core values are “Honor, Courage and Commitment.”

          It’s really a shame that you seem to think that gay men and lesbians are incapable of this kind of feeling.

          It makes me suspect that your information about what we’re actually like is derived from rumor, innuendo, gossip and stereotypes. Frankly, I would have expected better of someone with such a long history of personal service.

          FWIW, I’ve personally known several gay men who served in the Marine Corps (as well as the other military branches). They have uniformly been men of the highest personal courage and integrity.

          • Debbie Thurman

            The problem with the flow of comments here, Geoff, is they are in response to two threads of thought: DADT and the moral role of the military, or its reason for existing. You juxtaposed the threads in responding to me here. Then again, I suppose that would be easy to do. Sorry if I confused anyone.

            Of course I know gay people have served honorably in the Corps, and are at this very moment doing so. My husband and I had a good Marine friend who died years ago of AIDS. Wonderful man, but one whose way of living took him to his grave early (as it can and has for heterosexuals). It was a sad loss.

            No, those core values aren’t just for straights. I don’t derive my views of gay folks from gossip, innuendo or stereotypes. I have gay friends, and I am a “former” myself. That means I, too, am often stereotyped.

            • Jack Harris

              With all due respect Debbie, my partner is a veteran of the gulf war conflicts created by George W. Bush. He served his country admirably and his life would have been so much easier had been able to serve openly. You have got to be one of the passive aggressive people I know on here.

              • Debbie Thurman

                If he was your partner during his time of service, then I presume you are saying it would have been easier for him (and you) had he been able to acknowledge he had a same-sex partner. Of course it would have. Otherwise, to have proclaimed he was gay would not have given him more resolve to fight, would it? He came into the service knowing full well what he was up against. So, he either chose to accept that or he was a silent crusader for the gay cause.

                Your opening sentence in that comment is a perfect illustration of a passive-aggressive statement, BTW.

                If it is passive-aggressive to acknowledge that society has brought this conflict upon itself, too (you see it from one end of the lens, I see it from the other) then we suffer from the same diagnosis.

                We have become more sympathetic to the gay cause, while forgetting that God orders all things, including our infirmities and struggles, for His own purposes. We enthrone man over God. We recreate Him in our image. How dare we?

                Don’t forget that, as a woman, I have had to sort out lots of “stuff,” too. I accept that men and women are inherently different and reject the more ridiculous elements of feminism. I knew what I was getting into when I joined up, but my patriotism ran deep. I was publicly ridiculed by some men, patronized by others and respected for how I served (not for who I could never be). For me to expect for society to decouple women from their primary roles as keepers of hearth and home so that men could go fight because some of us were better equipped to to men’s jobs than others would have been short-sighted. FWIW.

              • Maybe the solution is that nobody, gay or straight, who joins the military should be allowed to have a family or date and if they do or if anyone finds out about it, they should be drummed out of the military. They are there for a job, not for a social life.

  • Bruce

    By the way…
    Thank God Amlighty for those that have laid down their lives fighting for our freedom, whether they died or lived doing it. I can’t give thanks enough with one expression….

    • Bruce – As I said to Debbie, just because I don’t believe in war doesn’t mean I’m not thankful. Please read what I wrote in response to Debbie.

  • Bruce

    You know, I am not pro war in any way, but it is a reality that presents itself to us without our consent. If we choose to let the tyranical of the world rule… then we will have anything but peace… and pacifists will be culpable in it’s propagation.
    God hates war, but He is a man of war also. (that is scriptural)

    I have no judgment against pacifists, but I do have some against their judgment of those who are not.

    DADT was a bad policy, but removing it will not result in what most people want…. it will backfire in the end…

    And BTW… it is the “Prince of the power of the air” that has caused so much evil in the world… not Bush or the determination to protect ourselves.

    • “DADT was a bad policy, but removing it will not result in what most people want…. it will backfire in the end…”

      How do you mean?

      • Bruce

        You can’t legislate morality… I think the expectation is that this will fix a lot of problems concerning gays serving openly, but it opens more problems than it solves. Heterosexuals are not permitted to be active sexually in any way in most situations…. the same will have to be true of gays. Maybe now they can get base housing, once they can prove being married… but I think it will cause more problems, since even heterosexuals have seperate housing/showers avoid temptation… what are the gays to do?
        They should be treated the same as everyone else, and if they have sex in any situation that is prohibited for heterosexuals, they should find the same repercussions. If another soldier is “sexually advanced upon” in any way by someone if the same sex, it is sexual harrassment and should have the same penalty as in other situations.

        I just think it is going to backfire…. in many unseen ways also….

        • Gay soldiers are already showering with and living with straight soldiers. How is that handled now?

          Because of federal DOMA laws, it wouldn’t surprise me if legal gay spouses are not allowed to live on military bases or receive any benefits that heterosexual spouses qualify for under similar circumstances. Most likely, the military still won’t even notify gay spouses if the soldier is injured or killed.

          As far as fraternization and sexual harassment goes, I agree that it should be treated the same.

          Gays and lesbians currently serve in the military under DADT. The only major difference that will occur now is that those closeted soldiers won’t be serving under threat of expulsion if others learn that they are gay.

          • Debbie Thurman

            “Gay soldiers are already showering with and living with straight soldiers. How is that handled now?”

            Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, Jon, but there is a significant difference between not knowing and knowing the sexual orientation of one’s shower/bunk mates or between not having homosexuality officially condoned and what the repeal of DADT will allow. In the minds of significant numbers of service members, what is now planned (it first must be certified, amid some heavy reservations), will be tantamount to men and women showering and bunking together.

            Of course, folks will have to find ways to work it out and make it as comfortable as possible, to include finding greater comfort in numbers while in intimate and close quarters. Peer pressure will be applied if and when it is deemed necessary. You simply cannot force everyone to be comfortable with this. They may learn to tolerate it, or the ranks of the military may be decimated. That remains to be seen.

            I can’t see it affecting the Marine Corps as much as the other services because of their smaller numbers and the perception (am I wrong?) that gay men would tend to eschew the Corps (or it would weed them out). Women are another matter, as I can testify to, but only in garrison. They are still barred from combat arms.

            • The military heads have already indicated that they will allow for housing modifications to be considered.

              As far as gay men not serving in the Marines, I wouldn’t make that assumption.

              I’m not saying that everyone will like this. But I am saying that it’s not going to be the problem that many are assuming it will be. I also question the mamby-pamby sense of patriotism that so many seem to attribute to our country’s soldiers and officers. Do people really believe that huge percentages of military folk are going to abandon the military because someone might come out to them and not be immediately booted out?

            • Debbie – Please read this link. It’s active duty special forces officers who, have gay men under their command, who comment on such issues:


              Actual active special forces officers think you are wrong in what you said.

              • Debbie Thurman

                This secondhand info (what services does it even refer to?) is not representative of the whole when speaking of combat or “special forces” troops. CMC Gen. Amos speaks more aptly for Marines. The Corps has had to fight for its very survival thoughout much of its history. Maybe that’s why we don’t readily capitulate to popular sentiment. And maybe that’s why Marines have historically been the “last to know, first to go.”

        • The UK has allowed gay people openly in the military for a decade (and some other developed nations have done so for even longer) without significant unforeseen consequences.

        • Geoff G.

          As a former light infantryman in the Army (and also, incidentally, a gay man), I think I have a small amount of experience that can be brought to bear.

          In my five and a half years on active duty, I never once made any sexual advances on anyone in my unit. Not so much as a single glance. Not even while drunk.

          Why? Was I so morally superior to the other guys? Hardly, although I was necessarily more discreet about my fooling around. Was I scared of being exposed? Perhaps at first, but with time, after I’d established myself as a good soldier, I was confident that if my sexuality had been revealed, the overwhelming majority of the guys I served with would not have cared.

          No, the thought of my fellow soldiers as sexual objects never crossed my mind because I respected them as soldiers. These were the guys I would give my life for, and who would give my life for me. That bond I had was of an entirely different nature from and exclusive of the sexual attraction I feel towards other men.

          Frankly, I find all of this talk of showers and uncontrollable sexual urges incredibly disrespectful of my own professionalism and honor, and that of other gay and lesbian servicemembers.

          And I can’t help but think that that is the real point behind it: to demean us by turning us into sexual predators and monsters.

          • Debbie Thurman

            Many young, virile, straight military men have been historically known to have uncontrollable sexual urges. Seems to come with the territory. A “manly” thing from their viewpoint.

            It’s not the fear of gays soldiers being sexual predators that this discussion seriously turns on, at least not in my viewpoint. What concerns me most is where this will all lead in terms of a social domino effect. Is there any reason to believe it will not open doors wider for gay marriage? That’s a good thing from the viewpoint of many here. I am not one of them. Will it open doors for women to serve in combat arms, something I also find good reasons not to support?

            It’s one thing for folks to want to demean gay people as human beings. We have no call to do that. It’s another for them to conscientiously object to changing policies that can and likely will have long-range effects that we might not want or be able to foresee just now.

            This also cannot really be equated to ending racial segregation in the armed forces. There is a genuine moral debate here. What is the role of equality in a military environment? What justifies the full sanction of gays as a disenfranchised class of people in society at large, or in one of society’s most closed and disciplined institutions? How does the fact that significant numbers of men and women have eschewed their former gay identities (i.e., been transformed to some meaningful degree, as I was) impact this debate?

            • I forgive you for thinking my marriage and family are bad things, Debbie.

              Here’s another question to your list in the last paragraph: What justifies the expulsion of an entire group of otherwise capable men and women from military service?

              Also ex-gays — who it can be demonstrated to have been sexually active with people of the same-sex — can and have been drummed out by DADT. You were fortunate.

              • Debbie Thurman

                Perhaps I was fortunate in that I only sinned in my thought life now and then in that way. It didn’t go beyond that until later in life. No, it was being a woman attracted mostly to men than was the larger problem for me. I was thrown into close quarters with relatively few women, but with a lot of men.

            • Geoff G.

              Many young, virile, straight military men have been historically known to have uncontrollable sexual urges. Seems to come with the territory. A “manly” thing from their viewpoint.

              This is true. But that’s why you have a chain of command, Article 15, and the UCMJ generally. If someone’s behavior is causing problems, then you deal with it appropriately.

              You undercut your own arguments here: if young straight men are so apt to misbehave (and I agree, many of them do do some pretty reprehensible things; worst thing I saw was one guy who slept with his best friend’s wife behind his back), then why hasn’t the entire military fallen apart as a result?

              And if the military can deal with these behavioral problems, is there any reason to expect that it can’t deal with the problems posed by gays and lesbians in the service?

              What concerns me most is where this will all lead in terms of a social domino effect.

              The idea of social domino effects rests on the idea that people are incapable of applying judgment and critical thinking to different scenarios. It’s a form of “all or nothing” belief that really doesn’t mirror how people think in real life.

              It’s also, pardon me, rather intellectually lazy, in the sense that you can avoid coming up with reasoned arguments against one change in policy (DADT) by suggesting that it will automatically lead to a scary scenario (people marrying dogs, to borrow Rick Santorum’s turn of phrase)

              Is there any reason to believe it will not open doors wider for gay marriage?

              I think it might lead to repeal or substantial modification of DOMA in order to help provide better support for the people who support soldiers. I’m assuming that most people think that everyone out in the field should be permitted whatever support they can get.

              Will it open doors for women to serve in combat arms, something I also find good reasons not to support?

              Again, speaking as a light infantryman and therefore someone who was used to walking around with my house on my back, my attitude, both then and now, was that women would have been fine, as long as they were physically up to the demands the combat arms imposes.

              That includes being able to carry up to 100+ pounds in gear and equipment. It includes carrying an M240B and the ammunition that goes with it.

              Effectively, I would say that would eliminate the overwhelming majority of women from the combat arms. Personally, I’d welcome the presence of the few that could make it. They’d probably be insanely scary on the battlefield.

              How does the fact that significant numbers of men and women have eschewed their former gay identities (i.e., been transformed to some meaningful degree, as I was) impact this debate?

              I suppose this all depends on what you’re definition of “gay” really is. Lots of social conservatives limit the definition to purely sexual behavior. You’re only gay if you actually have sex with members of the same gender.

              Most people in the LGBT community will tell you that this definition is far, far too limited. They will say that their sexuality is really something that is very deeply embedded in who they are, irrespective of their actual behavior. Some Christian religions (like Catholicism) recognize this.

              There are conservative, religious people like Eve Tushnet who recognize this and are completely open about bother their sexuality and their religion and who accept the implications of both.

              And there are those in the ex-gay movement who recognize that in many cases, the best that can be “achieved” is an alteration in behavior rather than a change in sexuality.

              None of this is meant to belittle your own personal experience. I’m very glad that you’ve been able to find a way of life and identity that works for you.

              But I do think that one virtue that people who grow up gay or lesbian do have is that we recognize that different people will experience sexuality in strikingly different ways, and that to apply our own experience as a universal is almost always a mistake.

              • Debbie Thurman

                “You undercut your own arguments here: if young straight men are so apt to misbehave … then why hasn’t the entire military fallen apart as a result?”

                No, I tried to explain that behavior wasn’t the real issue. Gay is not defined by behavior alone. It’s an accepted (or rejected) identity, and a social movement. It’s the latter that will worm its way into the armed forces.

                There are some women and some smaller men who are better suited for certain kinds of military ops than the Rambos. Stamina and wiliness are more valuable than brute strength sometimes. But brute strength is pretty darn essential in combat.

                Bottom line: gays do and will continue to serve honorably. Society will adjust itself, for the most part, to their open presence in the military. Some will like that, some won’t and others won’t care either way.

                Finally, it’s not my experience that I apply universally. It’s God’s code of conduct and marriage model. My experience fell woefully short of that standard.

              • Geoff G.

                If all we’re concerned about is the question of identity, I sincerely doubt there will be much of an issue at all. Frankly, the current generation that’s doing the brunt of the fighting right now simply doesn’t care. Support for pretty much the entire gay rights agenda is pretty broad and deep in the 18-30 year old age group.

                I hate to break it to you, but you and I are getting old, and to quote a song from your own youth, “The Times, They Are A-Changin.” 🙂

                I think we completely agree on the physical standards for combat troops and why that will largely keep women out of combat. You have to have the strength and stamina to do the job. The Army learned that particular lesson in Korea. That must always be the first and foremost consideration.

                With respect to God’s code of conduct, I must respectfully submit that, even within the Christian religion, that code varies considerably from denomination to denomination. When you expand the ambit to include all of the religious beliefs represented in the services, which range from traditional Native American to Judaism to Islam to Neo-Paganism to nothing at all, I would hope you can understand that deciding government policy, especially as applied to the military, on the basis of one particular interpretation of one particular religion is rather problematic.

                In short, no, your particular interpretation of the Christian religion (i.e. “God’s code of conduct”) is not universally accepted.

              • Debbie Thurman

                “In short, no, your particular interpretation of the Christian religion (i.e. “God’s code of conduct”) is not universally accepted.”

                That’s quite obvious. Governments are instituted by God, but run by flawed men and women. God judges both individuals and nations. We make discerning “judgments” of what we see in order to seek to improve ourselves. But there is only one way to improve the condition of our hearts.

                And yes, we older folks (Boomers and beyond) do see things differently from the younger generation, for better or worse. Again, I live in one kingdom, but for another. Nothing to fear.

    • Kevin Harris

      “You know, I am not pro war in any way, but it is a reality that presents itself to us without our consent. If we choose to let the tyranical of the world rule… then we will have anything but peace… and pacifists will be culpable in it’s propagation.”

      It seems to often to be oversimplified and even assumed that there are only two options when it comes to resolving international conflict. Either a disengaged pacifism or a full out war bent on the defeat/destruction of an enemy. And I agree with you that pacifism in and of itself can will not solve the world’s problems as it is basically a state of mind. But non-violence is an active concept which can take many forms in seeking to oppose unjust policies or violence being done against a people.

      Just in the last century, we have seen it play out overseas as Gandhi helped to lead India to push back the British who were utilizing violence and killing others in their efforts to colonize India to the civil rights movement where different forms of non-violence overcame unjust policies and violence being done to a people. In each case and many others where different forms of non-violence were used, groups had to seek to harness their collective imagination to overcome what was seeking to keep them down or even destroy them. And violence so often seems to embody the opposite, a failure of the imagination. I think Andrew was onto something when he said “I don’t believe the only way to keep peace is through violence.” There are countless avenues that we can pursue as we pursue peace with those around us, but we so often seem to see war as a default that we must resort to when faced with conflict. Violence and war are not going to bring about true peace in the end anyways, as they are in their nature contradictory. “The means that we use must be synonymous with the ends we wish to achieve as the means are preexistent in the means. Immoral destructive means do not bring about moral and constructive ends.” (paraphrased from MLK Jr.)

      “God hates war, but He is a man of war also. (that is scriptural)”

      Jesus who came to us as the embodiment in human form of God was described as the prince of peace. It seems hard to make such definitive statements about God being a “man” of war when Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, turn our cheek, and showed us the redemptive power of unearned suffering to overcome the ‘power and principalities’ by dying on the cross. Violence says that suffering can be a powerful social force by inflicting suffering upon another, but Jesus showed us that our strength does not lie in exerting power over others and destroying them in the name of peace.

      • Bruce

        I think there is a place for both…. much depends upon who is the instigator and what their purpose is. The classic example is Hitler’s Germany…. though there are many more.

        I hate war… but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. Non-violence can work in some cases, but will fail in others. The wisdom to know the difference is key.

        And for the sake of Jesus the Prince of Peace, He is also:
        Rev 19:11,15
        11 The Coming of Christ: And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war .
        15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
        This is also Jesus…. the Lion, not the Lamb.
        The “Lord of Hosts” means the captain of the armies…

        He is both, though in the end, we will finally lay down all of our weapons, and swords pounded into pruning hooks etc. It is called “this present evil age” for a reason…. but it is a temporary reality. Peace will reign forever…. hereafter.

        I admit, this is a subject requiring much consideration, but I don’t think the answers are either simple or consistently one thing or the other.

        • Bruce – That is God’s final battle for all of eternity and is not generalizable to America playing judge and/or gatekeeper in the world today. Those are two different things. It is not hermeneutically correct to use the Bible in that fashion.

          • Bruce

            I would like to know how hermeneutically accurate it is to take all of the passages like “turn the other cheek”, and “love your enemies” and apply it to national policy. Jesus was talking to individuals…. there is no Christian nation.

            Please show me where He gives instruction in such a way that applies to any government. There is none, and there is plenty of other places that instruct leaders to protect it’s citizens and defend the right…. including the use of the sword. It is civil authority, not spiritual.

            Gandhi was only successful in his non-violent campaign because his “enemy” was the Brits (people with a moral foundation)…. if it had been Hitler, he would have had nice time of solitary confinement in a gas chamber…. same with Stalin, Mao, Bin-Ladin etc, etc, etc….
            It is incredible naive to think otherwise.

            Exodus 15:3: The Lord is a man of war..
            One of His Names is the “Lord of Hosts” (Lord of the armies)…. it is not incongruent with His character and Nature to be both the Lamb and the Lion, the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Hosts. He didn’t start war, but He will conclude it. It is a present reality, and until all is completed, it will be “wars, and rumors of wars…”

            • A bunch of individuals are what make up a ‘nation.’ Thus, Jesus’ commands hold true individually as well are consistent to the individuals in the nation. You can’t kill a ‘nation’ without killing those individuals in the nation. So ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love your enemies’ are quite applicable to ‘nations’ as well.

              Also, when Jesus talked about bringing the sword, he wasn’t talking about violence that he or his followers will bring, he was talking about the violence and wars that will happen because of his countercultural life and message; not that he will initiate or participate in any of the violence/wars (hence the reprimand of Peter during Jesus’ arrest: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword”).

              • Bruce

                I wasn’t talking about that passage… but more like Rom 13… and it is one thing to have and use a sword, and another to live by it.

                It is also not equal, that individuals make a nation, therefore the nation is to act like an individual. Read Rom 13…. there it speaks to nations, and civil authority. They will be judged for using their authority rightly, but they have authority and a sword, “for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” That is a clear mandate… not to instigate, but defend the right, with force… by the will of God as His “minister”.

                You haven’t answered my point concerning Gandhi…. non-violence would not work in the scenarios I presented.

                I’m not talking about or trying to justify any specific war, but what about a just war? What about stopping genocide? What about a direct invasion of a country by a tyrannical despot? Can that nation defend itself?

                I know this was originally about DADT…. sorry for the bunny trail….

              • No prob. And I have no idea about Gandhi. I’ve never studied him, this thoughts or work. I don’t base my beliefs or thoughts on having anything to do with Gandhi or his teachings.

                But I dont’ necessarily think I would call myself a pacifist. I have no problem righting injustice, such as stopping genocide or physically stopping someone from raping another person if you find yourself in that situation; or things of the like. But none of those situations are what have occurred in the last however many wars America has gotten involved in. This current one was based on retalitation. Retaliation is to God.

    • Bruce – I don’t know where you’re getting that I’m judging those who are pro-war. I’m not. In fact, I never said one thing that would even make it sound like I’m judging those who are. Throughout my entire post I used the word “I” to make sure I’m speaking for myself and not anyone else – including those who are pro-war. My broader point was that if LGBTs want to enlist, they should have every right to because I, and a ton of people I know, are not going to enlist.

  • “We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and if free and brave are defined by some people (including LGBTs) as an ability to join the military, then that is their right to do so. It was a ridiculous rule in the first place that President Clinton said he had to instate due to bi-partisan pressure (PS – since when do President’s fully give in to the other party’s demands?). So it’s long overdue that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is now history.”

    I’m not sure that he fully gave in to the GOP or the Democrats opposed to gays and lesbians serving in the military. They wanted a total ban. He came up with DADT.

  • Hemant

    DADT was wrong and it’s nice to see you support the repeal. Now, do the right thing and publicly support gay marriage. Christians don’t have to like it or condone it in their church, but everyone should have the right to marry.

    • I see what you’re saying, and what I think what you’re talking about is the civil right for every person to have equal legal rights as everyone else in our democratic nation. I believe that legal power (matters of the State) should be taken out of the pastor’s hands. There is a separation between church and State, and that is too convoluted these days; mostly from a Christian perspective. As one of my Christian friends who recently got divorced said, “The pastor that married me 27 years ago is no where to be found acting as a lawyer in the courtroom when I got divorced, so why did he have the power of the State to bind this contract in the first place?” Great question.

      Here’s a post I wrote over a year and a half ago, and I’m believing in the professors ideas now more than ever:

      At the beginning on next year I will be doing a more full series on gay marriage.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Kevin wrote: “There are countless avenues that we can pursue as we pursue peace with those around us, but we so often seem to see war as a default that we must resort to when faced with conflict. Violence and war are not going to bring about true peace in the end anyways, as they are in their nature contradictory. ‘The means that we use must be synonymous with the ends we wish to achieve as the means are preexistent in the means. Immoral destructive means do not bring about moral and constructive ends’”

    There are, indeed, other avenues to resolving conflict than resorting to war. It is a most horrible business when it becomes necessary. It is to be employed after all other avenues of diplomacy fail. Men take up arms sometimes to oppose a despotic power has already begun to war or brutalize innocents; hence no opportunity for diplomacy was afforded, or too many turned a blind eye to what was coming when perhaps something might have been done to avert it.

    What will “bring about true peace in the end”? Only the return of Christ. Until then, there will be “wars and rumors of wars,” no matter how many peaceniks wish otherwise.

    “Immoral destructive means do not bring about moral and constructive ends.” Yes, MLK was right about that. The sticky thing is discerning when military force is both moral and necessary.

    If we lived in a world that more closely resembled what Christ meant for it to, this would all be a moot point. That is not the world we live in. Christ and the peace he came to usher in are rejected wholesale.

    • Bruce

      Amen Sister!!! Well said….

    • Debbie – Just because the Bible says there will be ‘wars and rumors of wars’ doesn’t mean we, you, or I have to actively participate in them.

      • Debbie Thurman

        We’d better be darn glad somebody’s got the guts to do it, then!

    • Kevin Harris

      Debbie – The fact that Christ has not come back yet does not simply give us permission to function according to the ways of the world (i.e. utilizing violence) as Christians. It seems like a cop out to rationalize that since Christ has not come back, that gives us justification to just behave in the same manner as those that do not believe in the peace that Christ came to bring. The Kingdom of God is not something that we are to sit around and wait for and use the lack of its final consummation as an excuse to justify behavior that is not in line with it. We should be seeking to usher in the kingdom through our everyday actions that are in line with it. What happened to being a holy people that are set apart? How are we supposed to be distinct and point towards Christ, and the peace he came to bring, if we are baptizing bombs and behaving in the same manner as everyone else that is not faithful to what Jesus taught?

      Even if wars are inevitable, that does not mean that Christians should participate in them. As it has been mentioned, we cannot expect for nations to function according a Christian belief system, but that is all more the reason that we need to behave in counter-cultural ways that point to the hope we believe in. We definitely should stand up to injustice, violence, etc. like you are saying, but we don’t have to take eye for an eye. There are a number of examples that are living this out, like Christian Peacemaker Teams.

      They are seeking to answer the question, “What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?” Alternatives to violent confrontation have not been sufficiently entertained to the point to conclude that there are no other viable options in resistance. But the work of those that are dedicating their lives to confront violence and injustice, by not shedding any blood other than their own, are living out the witness and justice of Christ in ways that can not be dismissed as idealistic peaceniks (disparaging slang primarily used in the 60s).

      • Debbie Thurman

        Christians can be conscientious objectors, but the truth is we live as part of two kingdoms — in the world (City of Man) and in Christendom (City of God). We can object to war and moral upheaval till Christ returns, but we will not love the world into submission. Prophecy says otherwise. Most people will still travel merrily down the broad path to hell, causing as much collateral damage as they please in the process.

        No one would like to see it unfold differently more than I would. I know better. God has opened my eyes, and I am far from being alone.

  • Homosexuality and War?! Hot button topics… I love this discussion. We will never all have the same views politically or spiritually but I’m glad we are all finally choosing to have safe and mature discussions about it. Andrew, I love your book… almost finished with it! Any chances you’ll be writing another one??

    • Thanks! I will start writing book #2 come the new year. I’m very excited, and quite nervous about it, but pumped none the less. PS – I just listened to your music and downloaded it from iTunes. Loved it!

      • Wow, thank you Andrew… I appreciate it!
        And am so excited about your next book! No matter what folks might say – it’s a needed ministry and God’s evident and present in it all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

        • Angie

          Also sidenote… my old guitar player, Micah, lives in Boystown with his wife and he’s the worship director at Soul City Church. I feel the two of you should meet eventually.

          • We should! And I know Soul City really, really well…just haven’t been yet because I haven’t been in Chicago on a Sunday since they launched. I’ll have to make a point to say hi when I’m there.

  • Lynne S.

    Look at how women are treated in the military by heterosexual men… the blatant sexual harassment, the rape… about 85% of women soldiers complain of sexual transgressions against them as women by straight male soldiers, and it is almost impossible to get justice, because, well straight men control the military.
    Women are afraid to go to the latrines in Iraq and Afghanistan for fear of being raped by THEIR own side. So all of this obsession about showers and sex and fear on the part of straight men, is they fear the gay male as sexual preditor because they themselves prey on women. It’s as simple as that.

  • Lynne S.

    It doesn’t seem like the comments go in order of posting, or seem to be hard to follow. I notice Dec 23 comments jump back and forth, and a Dec 23 comment is preceeded by a Dec 24 comment, for example. Clearly something in the technology here. Is there anything you can do about this? Perhaps consult other blogs where the comments actually go in date order, or at least that’s the case with most sites out there. Just a suggestion.

    • Some of the confusion has to do with original comments vs. those replying to earlier comments.

  • Lynne S.

    Guess you have to scroll back and forth.

    Don’t see what all the fuss is with gays in the military. There is a long tradition of gays and lesbians in homosocial environments. One guy on a radio show described his WWII naval career. There were about 2000 men on a ship, and about 400 of the sailors were gay. It was known on board, but no one seemed to care all that much.
    Any institution that has same sex dominance/exclusivity— the navy, a convent, the Vatican, women’s colleges, men’s colleges, male only clubs, women’s clubs etc. is going to have a much higher number of gays in them than the general population. Gays helped create these places of safety, and in the case of same sex religious orders, it was a way to have social status and escape marriage to opposite sex people, or escape having children.
    It’s why so many lesbians were in the miliary throughout history. Just about all my friends of a certain age are ex-military women. Lesbians in their 70s loaded up the WACS and the WAVES and the WASPS. We just don’t honor the truth of history, and cover up gay existence. Ex-gays are merely bi-sexual, no big deal there. If they want to conform, they can stay married to the opposite sex. They need to be honest, and just be that.
    I’d say a lot of women are bisexual, and just get roped into the dominant gig.
    Marriage to a man and children is kind of the no thought default. To be gay requires quite a bit of courage and originality.
    It is the truth that straights seem to have a hard time with. The truth reveals all about what is real about human beings, and I think the last 50 years has been about truth, honesty and civil rights for all. There are a lot of people, probably bi people who get afraid of gay feelings, because, well they are bi. I’ve never been a fan of the military, but I must say, those ex-military lesbians are really fun to talk to, and they are much more interesting than the average straight woman in her 70s. It was a great way for working class lesbians to escape stifling small towns and horrifying heterosexual suffocation– go see the world, get a life, training, discipline.
    I met many gay men who escaped poverty and racist awful small Texas towns by joining up. Lots of bronze stars, heroic accomplishments, they saved many straight men’s lives. No good deed goes unpunished.

  • It’s been a while since I’ve commented on anything here…or read anything for that matter…I was having a crisis of conscience…not sure if it’s over yet, but here goes.

    While I completely disagree with your assessment of the need for military power, Andrew, I respect your right to hold that opinion, so I will refrain from comment on it. I would, however, offer the following on DADT:

    I am glad it’s gone. It was a stupid rule based on naive and misguided attitudes. It’s repeal is long overdue. I would add, though, that certain groups who shall remain nameless, but who’s name rhymes with Lumen Nights Champaigne, used the issue to shamelessly promote their organization and raise funds for it.

    While I’m certainly congnisant of the fact that this particular group is not the only organization to practice this sort of political prostitution, I find their entire campaign on the issue to be intellectually dishonest. They decry organizations who use homosexuality as a means of ginning up controversy to raise funds, but that is precisely what they did in this case. Secondly, they demand equality in the military with one side of their mouths while trashing our armed forces with the other side. I’m sorry, but “that just smells of day old roadkill” as my dear grandad would say!

    Anyway, good riddance DADT; shame on the Lumen Nights Champaigne; and I hope your desire to end war doesn’t cloud the fact that a strong military is a necessity in our world!

    • Sans: How has HRC trashed our armed forces?

      • Perhaps I overspoke. They may not have (publicly) trashed the military itself, but I seem to recall them being fairly outspoken critics of our most recent war efforts. If I’m incorrect in that, my apologies, but my point remains: let’s not kid ourselves into believing that the HRC is a group of warhawks!

        • I’m not saying that the organization is either pro- or anti-war efforts. I seriously don’t know and was curious. I don’t financially support the HRC and I’m not their biggest fan, but pretty much everything I’ve heard from them has focused solely on GLBT-related advocacy and fund-raising.

  • Fair enough, Jon.

  • You know, I just took the time to read the entire thread of comments and, once again, I find myself profoundly saddened. Frankly, it makes me hopeless for the future of our nation and our world.

    Lord Jesus, come quickly.

    • Sans – I’m not exactly sure where the hopelessness comes from. This is a discussion between people who care very deeply about their convictions about a very controversial topic. There are bound to be disagreements, but my prayer is that they are done in a way that gives everyone the ability to refelct that they might be wrong – even if they don’t change their mind. Bud indeed, Lord Jesus come quickly! I’m all abotu that.

      • Andrew – the hopelessness is not because of this thread or necessarily anything said in it. I suppose I just look around and see how far apart we all are on EVERYTHING and find myself floating around out here in the middle with nobody around.

        I don’t know…maybe I’m just generally hopeless…

        • I hear you brother. I guess the way I think of it is that no matter what the topic, controversial or not, there will always be people that are so far apart on all of it. That is esepcailly true, and much easier to see, on the internet. I believe that providing a constructive space to talk to each other instead of about the other is important, and that is what gives me hope. I think the outcome, in many of these situations, is secondary because it can’t be controlled. It’s the intentional communication that matters.

  • Agreed. Maybe I’m just negative these days.

    • Let’s not even get into how negative I can be to myself 🙂