Tuesday, July 10, 2012

U.S. Military chaplains curiously unaffected by DADT repeal

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D.A.D.T. / Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Remember all that outraged squawking from far-Right groups as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was finally repealed last September? All those dire warnings about how anti-gay soldiers and Military chaplains would be so oppressed in their sincerely held religious convictions that they’d leave en masse, leaving the armed forces critically weakened (and susceptible to more gay barrack orgies)?

Well, just as Pentagon officials declared three months ago (six months post-repeal) that the effect of enabling LGBT soldiers to serve openly was “negligible, if that”, a new report finds that, to the assuredly tremendous shock of doomsaying wingnuts everywhere, chaplains have not been walking out and are, in fact, adapting to the situation as demanded by their duties and professionalism:

Prior to repeal, various conservative groups and individuals — including many conservative retired chaplains — warned that repeal would trigger an exodus of chaplains whose faiths consider homosexual activity to be sinful. In fact, there's been no significant exodus — perhaps two or three departures of active-duty chaplains linked to the repeal. Moreover, chaplains or their civilian coordinators from a range of conservative faiths told The Associated Press they knew of virtually no serious problems thus far involving infringement of chaplains' religious freedom or rights of conscience.

"To say the dust has settled would be premature," said Air Force Col. Gary Linsky, a Roman Catholic priest who oversees 50 fellow chaplains in the Air Mobility Command. "But I've received no complaints from chaplains raising concerns that their ministries were in any way conflicted or constrained."

Wagoner, who commands five other chaplains at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in central New Jersey, said the chaplaincy corps was responding professionally and collegially to what he called a "balancing act" precipitated by the repeal.

"We're good at this stuff — we want to take care of our folks," he said. "We have to respect the faith requirements of the chaplain and we have to take care of the needs of the airman."

It’s kind of perplexing how the same Rightists who are so quick to cheerlead for soldiers are also the first to assume that they’ll all just turn limp-wristed and abandon their duties and comrades the first moment they find out that some of the men and women they’ve been serving with for years were actually gay all along. How’s that for a show of confidence?

Granted, I’m no fan of chaplains as a concept – the last thing any military needs is more religious influence – but I still recognize that the majority of them are undoubtedly qualified and responsible professionals who do what they do out of a love of serving their country and their comrades. I’d imagine they would thus presumably be quite peeved at the insinuation that they’d all turn coward and desert their posts at the first sign of teh ghey in their ranks.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)