“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Even Think It”

March 15, 2007

Marine Gen. Peter Pace has violated a cardinal rule of our politically correct culture: stating his opinion that homosexual behavior is immoral. While some of his critics say they are upset he uttered his remarks in his official capacity, that’s a mere sidebar. Their real beef is with the content of his remarks, not in what capacity — official or personal — he made them.

Had Gen. Pace, in full dress uniform, expressed approval of homosexual behavior, do you think there would be a similar uproar? Or would he have been celebrated as a man of courage and enlightenment?

But that’s not quite what he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which essentially provides that as long as homosexuals don’t engage in homosexual conduct, their orientation will be irrelevant and certainly not disqualifying.

Pace said he believes, “that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts.” But he was clear that he was expressing his personal views “as an individual.”

After activist groups and politicians went ballistic over Pace’s remarks, he said he regretted emphasizing his personal views and that he should have “focused more on the policy.” But he refused to apologize.

The advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) issued a statement on its website that, “Gen. Pace’s comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in the armed forces. Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country, and deserve Gen. Pace’s praise, not his condemnation. … prejudice should not dictate policy.”

But Pace did not show disrespect for or demean the sacrifice of homosexual service members. In fact, he said he supported the policy, which allows homosexuals to serve, and that it does not make “a judgment about individual acts.” In his support for the policy, it’s obvious he believes homosexuals can and do make valuable contributions to the services.

Contrary to SLDN’s statement, the policy is not grounded in prejudice against homosexuals, or even morality, for that matter — it does not make “a judgment about individual acts.” It is based primarily on national security concerns, which experts evidently believe would be compromised by permitting homosexual behavior.

Pandering politicians expressed their indignation as well. Similar to SLDN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implied that Pace was challenging the patriotism of homosexual service members, which he manifestly was not.

Congressman Marty Meehan, D-Mass., who introduced legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” said Pace’s opinions were in the minority in both the civilian and military populations. Assuming for purposes of argument that Meehan’s dubious assertion is true, it is completely irrelevant. We don’t formulate our moral positions based on the polls. Certain values, such as opposition to homosexual “marriage,” in the words of Pope Benedict XVI — and I’m not Catholic — are “nonnegotiable.”

Meehan also said the military’s policy discriminates against homosexuals. But it doesn’t bar homosexual orientation and, actually, tacitly condones it. It only forbids homosexual conduct. Many, many laws discriminate against certain behaviors.

Whether, given his official position, Pace should have offered his personal views on the morality of homosexual conduct instead of confining his remarks to the military policy is one thing. But that’s not what this flap is really about.

Pace’s hanging offense is having passed moral judgment on homosexual behavior and those engaging in it. Certain opinions are strictly forbidden in our society, whether you utter them in uniform or civvies, in public or in private.

If Pace’s unpardonable sin is being judgmental, aren’t many of his accusers guilty of the very same thing? Are they not passing moral judgment on and demeaning him for passing moral judgment on homosexual behavior?

Many homosexual activists and others, while demanding “tolerance,” want to silence and demonize those who disapprove of homosexual behavior. For them, it’s not just “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It’s “don’t tell, and don’t even think these thoughts.”

Pace is right not to apologize for the content of his remarks, which would be insincere. While I’m certainly not trying to be offensive, and people are free to disagree, Pace’s moral position on this has been affirmed by virtually every religion and society throughout history, and by “Nature’s Law,” upon which this country was founded. He has just as much right to express it as his critics have to express theirs.

If the tolerance police are looking for a target against whom to direct their wrath, they should consider Sen. Hillary Clinton, who, with characteristic courage and forthrightness, declined to answer whether “homosexuality” was immoral, saying that was for “others to conclude.” Like Gen. Pace, perhaps?