Military clergy should not fear ministering gays

Freedom New Mexico

Jesus dined with prostitutes and far, far worse sinners. He even dined with tax collectors, perhaps the worst sinners of all. Jesus loved sinners, representing to them the power of God’s love for humanity. He was truth and he had no fear of sin. He knew that love always conquered hate and that truth always conquered lies.

So it will be disappointing if military chaplains, most of whom are supposed to preach the principles taught by Christ, try to distance themselves from men and women in the military who choose to be honest about having same-sex relationships.

The military’s 1993 policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which forced homosexuals in the military to hide their sexual orientation, was repealed in December. The Pentagon is reshaping its personnel policies. Soon, some gays in the military will go from leading secret lives to open lives that some chaplains consider sinful.

Other than the lifting of secrecy, however, nothing will change for the chaplains.

Yet a group of retired chaplains wrote to President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates late last year to say that serving God and the armed forces would become impossible for chaplains if “Don’t ask, don’t tell” went away.

Frankly, their concern sounds bizarre. Those who have preached that same-sex relationships are sinful have been preaching it to gays and lesbians who led closeted lives. How will those chaplains be compromised by preaching the same beliefs to gays and lesbians who are honest and open?

Furthermore, Christian ministers are supposed to emulate Jesus. Can anyone imagine Jesus telling tax collectors and prostitutes, let alone a gay soldier serving his or her country, to shut up and pretend? Would Jesus threaten to leave a soldier who didn’t obey such a command? Not the Jesus most Christians know and love.

All preachers of all religions are surrounded by sinners of all types, whether they’re heterosexual sinners or homosexual sinners. Every person in every congregation has sinned. Asking anyone to hide and pretend seems far afield from Christian principles.