.- A federal court has again reinstated the U.S. militaryâs policy against open homosexuals in service. While military chaplains are âhopefulâ the policy will stay in place, some have been told they should âjust get outâ if the âDonât Ask, Donât Tellâ policy is repealed.
On Monday two of the three judges on the panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted a judgeâs order which forbade the enforcement of the U.S. militaryâs policy against open homosexuals in the armed forces.
The judges in the majority said they agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice that a federal district court judgeâs global injunction against the policy âwill seriously disrupt ongoing and determined efforts by the Administration to devise an orderly changeâ if such a change will happen.
The case will be âmootâ if the administration persuades Congress to eliminate the policy, the two judges added. They said four other federal appeals courtsâ decisions cast doubt on whether the lower court judge exceeded her authority and ignored existing legal precedents.
District Court Judge Virginia Phillips had ruled that homosexuals could not serve in the military without having their First Amendment Rights breached.
President Barack Obama has opposed the policy and has worked to end it legislatively. The Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual group, has been trying to overturn the policy through the federal judiciary.
CNA spoke about the ruling with Daniel Blomberg of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which is working with retired military chaplains opposed to repealing the policy.
He called Mondayâs ruling a âvery goodâ decision that protects the religious rights of those in service, but he warned of the consequences of a repeal.
âThe chaplains are very hopeful that military will continue to maintain the policy which protects both soldiers and soldiersâ religious liberties,â he explained.
While the chaplainsâ opposition to the policy change includes concerns with issues like military readiness, their specific concern is that religious faith âwill be discriminated against in favor of the new political correctness that will be imposed by the Obama administration,â Blomberg added.
Asked about reports that active chaplains can be accused of insubordination if they publicly oppose changes to âDonât Ask, Donât Tell,â the ADF attorney said that the servicemen have been informed through their chain of command that âthey should not be commenting on this at this time.â
âOne chaplain stood up in a high-level meeting created precisely for the purpose of getting service membersâ thoughts on the repeal of the policy. And he asked âWhat should chaplains do? What should people of faith do if this policy changes and we have problems of conscience with how itâs going to affect us?ââ Blomberg said.
âThat individual was told by a high-ranking member of the panel that they should just get out of the military.â
Blomberg noted this chaplainâs experience bore similarities to a Washington Times report that Army Lt. General Thomas Bostick compared opposition to allowing open homosexuals in the military to opposition to racial integration. The ADF attorney also acknowledged that the army has disputed the accuracy of the Times report.
However, such sentiments are also found in proponents of homosexuals openly serving in the military such as Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
"My heart doesn't bleed for these chaplains," he told the Associated Press in a story on the chaplainsâ concerns. "If you don't like it, there's a very simple solution: Fold your uniform, file the paperwork and find something else to do."
Blomberg reported that congressional opponents of the âDonât Ask, Donât Tellâ policy have added non-discrimination regulations to the relevant bill. The original language would treat homosexuality under âa form of class protection like you would see for race or sex.â
Because chaplains have officer proficiency reports like any other officer, they will be judged on whether they are complying with the equal protection goals of the military.
If the policy is repealed, Blomberg explained, âone of those goals will be being supportive of the militaryâs mission of incorporating and supporting homosexual behavior in the military.â
âThe concern of the chaplains is if they counsel, if they preach, if they do their ethical teaching duties, and indicate that homosexual behavior is not good, or is a form of sin, then they would be treated as if they had said being black is sinful, or being a woman is wrong. That would be viewed as on that same level of discrimination.â
Blomberg deemed the proposed change to be âvery far reaching.â
Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy J. Broglio has opposed repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In an interview with CNA last month, he warned of a âlatentâ danger to religious liberty in the agenda advanced by some people in the name of tolerance.
â(T)here is an agenda to force everyone to accept as normal and positive behavior that is contrary to the moral norms of many religions, including the Catholic Church,â he commented, voicing concern that teaching morality or forming young people in their faith could be misconstrued as intolerance.