Letter Urges Senate to Oppose Repeal of Military Policies on Homosexuals and Abortion
Efforts are underway in Congress to overturn longstanding policies restricting open homosexuals from serving in the military and barring elective abortions on military bases as a part of the Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454). The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, strongly opposed to using our military to advance radical social policies, sent a letter Sept. 16 to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging him and his colleagues to oppose any vote to advance the Defense Authorization bill unless provisions to repeal the policies on homosexuals and abortion are removed. The letter is reprinted below and is viewable in PDF here (137 KB PDF).
September 16, 2010
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Republican Leader
United States Senate
S-231, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Leader McConnell:
We write to express our strong opposition to the proposed FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act. While the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission believes Congress should authorize the resources necessary to support our troops, we regret that we cannot support the bill due to the inclusion of troublesome social measures. Our primary concerns are twofold.
First, the bill includes an amendment that would overturn the 1993 law, commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” that recognizes “the prohibition against homosexual conduct” as “a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.” We do not believe it is in our nation’s best interest to allow those who engage in homosexual behavior to serve in the military. As stated in the findings of the law, passed with bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate and signed by President Clinton, there is no constitutional right to serve in the military. This assertion has been upheld multiple times in court. In fact, the military has numerous service restrictions, because, as the 1993 law finds, “[m]ilitary life is fundamentally different from civilian life.” The admission of openly homosexual individuals into the military would engender sexual tension and thereby negatively impact troop morale, unit cohesion, and order. We are also gravely concerned that repeal would result in the resignation of large numbers of personnel who are currently serving in our all-volunteer services, and that it will be extremely difficult to recruit their replacements.
Second, the Defense Authorization bill includes an amendment sponsored by Senator Burris to repeal Section 1093(b) of Title 10 of the U.S. Code barring elective abortions on military installations in the United States and abroad. We strongly oppose this amendment. Our taxpayer-funded military hospitals should be centers to help restore sick and injured troops, not to take the lives of our servicewomen’s unborn children. Furthermore, many military doctors have moral objections to performing abortions. Adoption of the Burris Amendment would place them in the difficult position of standing on their deeply held convictions or compromising in order to satisfy military expectations. Such a policy shift would also discourage pro-life physicians from joining the military.
It is an outrage that the needs of our men and women in our nation’s uniforms are being turned into a political vehicle to advance liberal, divisive issues. We therefore strongly urge you and your colleagues to oppose any action on the Defense Authorization Act, and to support a filibuster if necessary, unless these provisions on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and abortion are removed.
Richard D. Land