Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Fantasy And The Reality Of DADT

DADT doesn't just remove gays from the military. It's used to remove women and minorities at a staggering rate relative to their actual numbers. No wonder Archbishop Broglio is not surrounded by any women or minorities.

Military archbishop urges Congress not to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Washington D.C., Jun 3, 2010 / 08:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military should not be changed, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said on Tuesday. Noting the need for strong rules against immoral activity, he said moral beliefs should not be sacrificed for “merely political considerations.” (This caveat only applies to gays, not straights, not nuclear weapons, not military incursions to support the oil industry.)

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, writing in a June 1 statement, reported that “a number” of chaplains and commanding officers have expressed concerns about the effects of a policy change. He said he also responded to a request from the Chiefs of Chaplains of the Armed Forces, voicing his “considerations and concerns” about proposed changes to legislation regarding servicemen and women with a homosexual orientation.

“Catholic chaplains must show compassion for persons with a homosexual orientation, but can never condone—even silently—homosexual behavior,” he wrote, voicing concern that a change in policy might negatively affect the role of the chaplain in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks and the office. (Maybe we need to get chaplains out of the military.)

He noted that Catholic chaplains cannot accept or bless same-sex unions and no restrictions on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted. (So, what's your point? You can't marry divorced straights either.)

The archbishop questioned whether the change would mean that homosexuals are authorized to engage in activities considered immoral by the Catholic Church and many other religious groups. He pointed out that morality has an effect on unit cohesion and overall morale.

“This Archdiocese exists to serve those who serve and it assists them by advocating moral behavior. The military must find ways to promote that behavior and develop strong prohibitions against any immoral activity that would jeopardize morale, good morals, unit cohesion and every other factor that weakens the mission.” (Has it ever dawned on the good Archbishop that some of us actually think Catholic priests participating as commissioned officers in a military organization compromises the Catholic mission?)

He also advised a “firm effort” to avoid any inadvertent injustices resulting because individuals or groups are “put in living situations that are an affront to good common sense.” (See below.)

“Those with a homosexual orientation can expect respect and treatment worthy of their human dignity,” Archbishop Broglio wrote. “The prohibitions regarding sexual harassment and intimidation refer just as much to homosexuals as to anyone else.” (Not women.)

The prelate then quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says Sacred Scripture and Catholic tradition recognize homosexual acts to be “of grave depravity,” intrinsically disordered, and under no circumstances to be approved. (So is the use of condoms, but I never hear any Catholic chaplain speak out about the military providing condoms to soldiers.)

His quotation continued, recognizing both the respect, compassion and sensitivity due to those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies and the need to avoid unjust discrimination against them.

Changes to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are potentially “enormous and overwhelming,” he added. “Nothing should be changed until there is certainty that morale will not suffer. Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war.”

“The Archdiocese for the Military Services… urges the Congress not to repeal the current policy for the Armed Forces,” Archbishop Broglio’s statement concluded.


Now some truth about how DADT really functions in the military:

'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Tougher on Minorities, Women
Bonnie Erbe' Politics Daily - 6/2/2010

Here's one thing you probably know about "don't ask, don't tell," the Pentagon policy on gays and lesbians in the military. As my colleague Patricia Murphy reports, a bill to dismantle this outdated policy is wending its way through Congress.

Here's one thing you probably don't know about the 17-year-old law that says, essentially, gays and lesbians can remain in the military as long as no one knows they are gay:

The ban has disproportionately affected minorities and women. The latest data, compiled by the gay rights group Servicemembers United from Defense Department numbers, show that in 2008, minorities made up 45 percent of troops discharged under "don't ask, don't tell," while minorities were 30 percent of the service. Women accounted for 34 percent of the discharges but comprised 14 percent of the military. (I didn't know minorities and women were that much more gay than white men like the Archbishop.)

USA Today, reporting the study, contacted Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith who said the military does not know why there is a disproportionate number of discharges for minorities and women and, under the ban, can't look into the question. (Apparently DADT means the military can't ask but straight white male soldiers can "tell".)
Nonetheless, I was shocked to find out that service women are more than twice as likely to be discharged under DADT, based on the Servicemembers United's numbers crunching. And for persons of color, the rate is 1.5 percent. Our armed services are not yet gender-blind or color-blind, although it is a goal the services are working hard to meet. But I am still curious as to why the discharge rate is so disproportionately high for women. I posed the question to Servicemembers United Executive Director J. Alexander Nicholson III, and he responded this way:

"Ultimately we do not know exactly why women are disproportionately impacted by the 'don't ask, don't tell' law, but we do know that this law is often used as a tool for sexual harassment against women and sometimes even a tool to enable sexual assault. Often times women are accused of being lesbians if they do not succumb to the sexual advances or the romantic interests of others, and this sometimes leads to unfair targeting of women under 'don't ask, don't tell.' It should also be noted that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell.' All of these facts fly in the face of the claims that this law is working. A law that impacts women, and especially women of color, at twice the rate of their presence in the military is clearly not working." (Must be working for somebody.)

So let me get this, er, straight -- servicemen threaten servicewomen with "outing" them as lesbians unless they succumb to the men's sexual advances? What kind of "Through the Looking Glass" parallel universe have the Armed Forces become under DADT? And why is our volunteer, body-strapped military firing otherwise perfectly credentialed soldiers because they happen to be gay or lesbian?


Essentially what the good Archbishop is asking for is the continuation of a law which is effectively used to target women unwilling to be used for sexual pleasure, and to harrass minorities of color. DADT is just another club to beat down women and minorities in the military. The US doesn't need to enshrine this law, they need to get rid of it. Period.
Here's a suggestion Archbishop Broglio. Why don't you advocate for the entirety of Catholic sexual morality and extend DADT to all single service people, insisting on their maintaining celibacy in the interests of unit cohesion and morale? It might leave us with very little in the way of a military, but at least it would be a military that conformed to Catholic sexual morality.


  1. Almost anyone looking at world economic data post WW2 would conclude that the USA could not continue as the predominant world power for much longer than it has. As Europe rebuilt and Asia began to modernize it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world would catch up to the USA.

    What takes me by surprise is the sclerosis that comes from those who would attempt to keep the economic and military hegemony. They've given up what little commitment they had to democracy, to science and technology, to justice and equality. They never were progressives so it would be foolish to expect them to embrace change or to further those causes.

    So the mood of the Fox News conservatives is sour. They don't want anything to do with anything new. They distrust science on climate change, peak-oil, crime rate statistics, rehabilitation, education, and paying for the projects that Adam Smith himself would have been glad to support for the common good. But these people somehow continue to have a choke hold on the levers of power.

    Candidate Obama, in my opinion, was just stating the truth when he said:

    "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them,... And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    And just because nobody's served openly in the American military they think it can't be done, shouldn't be done. The US public, with some exceptions, has become more and more insular.

    Gays have served openly in the Canadian military since 1992. Do you admire Israel's IDF? Gays have served openly there since 1982 and without any restrictions since 1993. How about those NATO allies? 24 of 26 countries allow gays to serve. (Exceptions USA, and Turkey)

    What about the voice of the people? Gallup shows a solid long standing support for gays serving openly in the military. About 70 % of Americans polled, up from 63% in 2005 support the idea, with support in every major subgroup polled.


    The word verification ghost still has a sense of humor: boten or the opposite of verboten when translated from German!

  2. I am always amazed that people like Archbishop Broglio try to appear so knowledgeable about gay people and throw off comments like; “moral beliefs should not be sacrificed” as if he really knows how any gay person single or partnered expresses affection and/or love.

    These days I would also be quite skeptical of any Roman Catholic cleric making a pronouncement on sexual matters. I think these men have to reestablish their credibility because as a class it seems that many of them would fall into that category of psychosexually underdeveloped. If this is a harsh judgment, it seems that events of the past decade put the burden of proof on them. For now it would be good if they just kept quiet on issues like DADT.

    When Archbishop Broglio wrote “those with a homosexual orientation can expect respect and treatment worthy of their human dignity” does that mean a single gay man could be “out” and serve in the military?

    Your comments, Colleen, point out the twisted logic of clerics like Archbishop Broglio. It is just another reason for the archbishop not to make pronouncements on something he seemingly is not knowledgeable.

  3. Colleen -

    You idea that Ab Brogliio require sexual continenace & even celibacy from the Heterosexual servicemen & deadly on spiritual target!:)

    After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

    This comes after watching History Channel documentaries on officially sanctioned (by the US military..) prostitution in Hawaii & elsewhere......and then watching that creep Broglio "preach".

    (if you can call it that....)

    In his sermon at the Memorial Dar Mass at the official Basilica of Catholic Blue Lodge Freemasonry.....(I refer to the DC Basilica & the Knights of Columbus).....Broglio was nothing surprising. He sang the company song.

    He is the very model of an Opus Dei prelate. (sadly, this phrase does not work well in the famous Gilbert & Sullivan song I am spoofing....).

    Frankly, I find him disgustingly smug, elitist, even inhuman. But perhaps that is to be expected in light of the previous paragraph:)

    As to Broglio's remarks that 'gay persons can expect..." equitable treatment, he is either:

    1) light of the way the military has & does treat gays.

    2) A complete liar, spouting rhetoric that anyone in the Church or military mileau knows very well is false.

    I perceive nothing honorable in this 'man'.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. The idea that military effectiveness is improved by excluding gay men is ludicrous to any one willing to take a simple look at history. For some of the most impressive fighting units of the past, homosexuality was a requirement. The classical "Sacred Band of Thebes" was composed exclusively of pairs of male lovers. In Japan, the famed samurai culture had experienced warriors taking and nurturing younger men as lovers/pages. Similar systems operated in parts of Africa.

    In Renaissance Europe, at the height of the hysteria against "sodomy", it was assumed that homosexual practices were particularly prevalent among the military (oh, and also the clergy).

    I think it may have been Churchill who updated the phrase about the Royal Navy running on "rum sodomy and the lash", by noting that in the modern Royal Navy, homosexuality was strictly forbidden - until the ship was out of territorial waters, when it became compulsory.

    As with the Catholic Church, the pretence of hight- minded principles to restrict healthy sexual lives is no more than a mask for bigotry.

  5. It truly is a "Looking-glass World" we are living in. Logic and consistency have become irrelevant.

  6. FdeF unfortunately this is all logically consistent if you accept the underlying assumptions. If you don't accept the assumptions it's legalized enshrined bigotry.

  7. Yes, lets get some gays, women and blacks in that picture with the Archbishop. I didn't realize that minorities and women were discharged in higher percentages under DADT. Doesn't this Archbishop realize that some of the people that he is ministering to are gay or lesbian? In his statement the Archbishop talks about respect and compassion but he doesn't show any. When will he get a clue?

  8. I think what the Archbishop really means by that statement is gays and lesbians will get all the respect they deserve as long as they stay in the closet and can then be considered straight and treated like straights.

    In other words the Archbishop will honor and respect you as gay, as long as you yourself suppress, deny or lie about your gay truth.

    Which is most likely his own decision about his own sexuality--gay or straight.

  9. I didn't think there was much difference between the US and Canada regarding the Church hierarchy, but there is!

    Today's Toronto Star has this story:

    Church reconciles with gay altar server

    Note the letter writing campaign by some parishioners. Incidentally the last four priests at our parish have complained openly at the pulpit about the number of people complaining to the bishop about their performance. In my opinion have been very good priests, even if they weren't to my liking.

    The other thing that occurred to me when I read this story is that one woman in our parish considers herself the self-appointed catechist for the parish. Is this Opus Dei at work?

    The threat of taking the Church before the Human Rights Commission is hollow. Churches are specifically exempted on most matters regarding membership and worship. However, if they rent a hall to the public or provide services such as soup kitchens then they must comply with the anti-discrimination laws.