A Christian friend recently told me that he wasn’t going to vote for a particular Christian candidate because “he voted for the repeal of the DADT provision.” In the eyes of my friend the DADT act was a “solid Christian law,” and he couldn’t see how a Christian politician could vote for its repeal. I asked my friend what made him believe that the DADT policy was a “solid Christian law.” His reply was that it banned sodomites from serving in the US military. Such is the opinion of multitudes of Christian voters in the US. They have made this act – and others – by Congress their litmus test for Christian politicians.
What I will argue here is that far from being a “solid Christian law,” the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was a hoax aimed at the destruction of the Republican foundations of our military, and therefore at the destruction of its originally Christian character. It was a fraud that was meant to (1) deceive Christians into accepting a new legal principle as normative, and to (2) pave the way for legislative tyranny by Congress. At the end, both the passing and the repeal of the DADT Act – and the inept opposition to that repeal – were part of a grander scheme, part of the paradigm shift toward more centralized government and political oppression.
Before we go to what the DADT actually did to the legal foundations and the regulation of our military, we need to bust two myths:
First, DADT did not ban sodomites from serving in the armed forces. They have always been banned from serving, since the very beginning of the Continental Army in 1775. Sodomy has been treated both as a mental state deserving psychiatrist’s care, and as a moral deviation which has a negative effect on the morale of the troops. The Critenden Report (a U.S. Navy study) of 1957 declared that sodomy “is wrong, it is evil, and it is to be branded as such.” The Army Regulation 635.89 of 1966 specifically addressed the issue of sodomy and said that sodomites “will not be permitted to serve in the Army in any capacity, and their prompt separation is mandatory.” The Regulation then listed the procedures for the mandatory separation of sodomites. There were many other Army, Navy, and Air Force regulations that banned sodomites from serving based on sodomy being either immoral or dangerous to the troops’ morale. The DADT policy, and specifically the extension of the U.S. Code concerning sodomites in the military, did not create a new policy or a new ban, it only moved the policy from the internal regulations of the armed forces to the level of Congressional legislation. As we will see later, this had great significance to the later development of the issue.
Second, DADT made it virtually impossible for the military to track the sodomites who entered service, and to separate them. The earlier regulations prescribed procedures for tracking and discovering sodomites, and for separating them before their sodomy was revealed in practice. Under DADT, only proven acts of sodomy were to be the basis of separation, and even then, there were multiple qualifications as to whether an act of sodomy should really lead to separation or not. The very name of the policy, of course, denoted its essence: the military authorities were banned from investigating for sodomy, and the servicemen were banned from disclosing their sexual deviations, if any. In other words, even though the law acknowledged that sodomy presented “an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline” of the armed forces, commanders and recruiting offices could not do anything to detect propensity to, or history of, sodomy in an individual who wanted to join or is in active duty.
For all practical purposes, the DADT policy was a compromise. It actually made it easier for sodomites to enter and serve in the armed forces; and it banned the military from investigating propensity to sodomy with the goal of preventing damage to the morale, order, and discipline.
But the compromise is the smaller problem. There is a greater problem with it. And the greater problem is that the DADT established a judicial precedent contrary to the very idea of Republican form of government; and as such, far from solving the problem with the sodomites in the military, it actually opened the door for the current government-enforced policies of compulsory acceptance of sodomy as a “normal” behavior.
Why do I say so?
To start with, §654 of the U.S. Code, “Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces,” is based on Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution where the Congress has the power to “raise and support Armies,” to “provide and maintain a Navy,” and to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” These texts in the Constitution seem to give Congress comprehensive power over the military and its regulations. And yet, for over 200 years, Congress did not use its powers to tell the military what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not within the military. For over 200 years it was left to the military command to decide their own rules for the internal regulation of the armed forces.
And it made sense. The powers of Congress, even though they were not specifically limited in the specific text of Section 8 of Article 1, were understood to be limited to the legislative and political function of Congress. The Congress of the United States was not meant to be an administrative body but a legislative body. The loyalty of the military to Congress was not taken to mean that Congress will meddle into the everyday affairs of the military. Yes, Congress would establish the functions and the purposes of the military; and will vote to declare war when necessary. The question of “What the military should be used for?” is undoubtedly an issue which by Constitution Congress is supposed to decide on. This question is a matter of legislation and a matter of policy, and therefore it was to be given to the legislative body of Representatives.
But does that mean that Congress should decide how the military should go about its business? For example, should we expect Congress to decide the calories content of the daily meals at the military bases? Should Congress decide the daily routine of the troops; or the training schedules? Should Congress pass laws about such things? Of course not. Common sense and good legislative practice requires that such affairs are better left to the specialists who know how many calories a soldier needs a day, or what daily routine he needs, or how much and what training he needs. For Congress to pass laws about such things that are better left to experts would be a serious overkill, and it would be bad policy. Representatives are not elected to be experts in everything from meals to training schedules, etc. There is a legitimate boundary to what Congress can and should pass laws about.
In addition to it, given the political nature and function of Congress, legislating about meals and training practices will introduce an unnecessary political element in those meals and practices. Once Congress decides to intervene in these issues, they will be a matter of political decisions, and therefore subject to political agendas. Various interest groups will lobby Congress to pass laws that favor their political agendas; not to mention various corporations who would lobby to have their specific products favored by the new legislation.
So, while the Constitution does seem to give full power to Congress over the government and regulation of the military, there are clear boundaries dictated by common sense. Crossing these boundaries may seem to be justified by the Constitution; but it will be only a step against the spirit of the Republican organization of government, toward legislative tyranny.
In my lecture at the 2010 Worldview Super Conference, “Europe as a Mirror to America,” I made the following notes on the nature of the medieval European society as a republican society:
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The idea of the division of powers was known long before Montesquieu, and it has been operating in Europe for centuries. It was the division of powers established by the Law of God, and it was a real division between institutions in the society: family, church, and civil government. In addition to this there were local provincial governments (parlements in France), trade and economic alliances (the Hanseatic league), there were communities like cities and cantons with their own laws and customs, there were universities, student’s fraternities (properly called “nations”), guilds, religious orders, clans, charitable institutions, chartered ports and settlements for maintenance of mountain passes, etc., etc. They all enjoyed what today would be called “legislative immunity” from other institutions, including royal authority. They owed allegiance to the church and to the civil authorities but they were not controlled by them; and they jealously guarded their liberties against both church and state. . . .
“Res publica” was properly understood not as a form of government, but as a restraint on government; a “public thing,” a society where no one has the absolute power to control the society, not even the king. John Adams, of all people, defined the British form of government as a “republic” (imagine that!) because it was not a government of one man, because the King himself had to comply with the limits imposed on him by the Parliament. “Republic” was a negative notion, not a form of government. Any form of government could be a republic – monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy – as long as power was not in the hands of one man or one institution only.
In that sense, until 1993 the government and the regulation of the military was truly republican, that is, the military owed political allegiance to Congress who decided on matters of war and peace; but as far as the inner workings of the armed forces were concerned, those were to be free of political intervention and legislation, and therefore left to the military itself. The issue of how the armed forces were to achieve technically and organizationally the political goals set by Congress was left to the armed forces themselves. The military had legislative immunity, protected not by law but by tradition and by the dictates of common sense.
Interestingly enough, the section of the law we are talking about here does begin by acknowledging the validity in the matters of sodomy of that military tradition and custom established long before there was any official act by Congress:
the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.
And then again:
The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.
But what is that “military law”? There hasn’t been any law passed by Congress about that. Obviously, the very legislators who passed §654 admitted that the inner regulations of the military had the power of a “law.” The experts in the military itself knew very well what was good for the armed forces, so they codified it in their own “military law.” The military did not need the members of Congress – many of whom had no military experience whatsoever, and almost none had any experience with military recruiting or psychological assessment of the troops – to know what people and what behavior deviations would be dangerous to the morale and the discipline of the troops.
But then they proceeded to change that precedent and establish a new precedent: That from now on, the decision as to who will be eligible to enter the armed forces will be made by Congress, in official legislative acts. Which made just as much sense as to have Congress pass laws on what soldiers should eat and what kind of training they should receive. While there may be some political considerations – like limiting the eligibility for military service to U.S. Citizens – the decisions concerning the morale and the discipline of the troops, and who or what behavior could be a danger to it, should have been left to the military law and its “longstanding elements.” Behavior, morale, discipline, from now on would not be a matter of professional principles but a matter of political decisions and expediency. And by becoming a political decision, the issue of sodomites in the military was open as a battlefield for political agendas, and subject to the political balance of power in Washington DC. And this was done by a Republican Congress. Instead of simply codifying that Congress will not meddle in the internal affairs of the military when they pertain to the administration of everyday life and practices – as is according to republican principles – the Republican representatives made the military entirely dependent on political agendas in a matter that should have been left to the experts, as common sense requires.
The things could only go from bad to worse from there. It was only a matter of time before the balance of political power shifted in Washington DC and a new political agenda took over. The repeal of the DADT wasn’t a tragedy – in fact, the law and the policy weren’t supposed to be passed in the first place. The tragedy was that the DADT created a judicial precedent which is now used by the enemies of God to impose a new political agenda on the military – the compulsory acceptance of sodomy as a “normal” lifestyle and “sexual orientation.” And it was the Republicans – the supposed “conservatives” – who destroyed the republican principle of government and regulation of the military in the first place, and gave the liberals the tools to subvert the armed forces. When tyranny is imposed with good intentions, it is only a matter of time before that same tyranny is used for evil.
In his recent article, “A Constitutional Agenda for Social Conservatives,” Gary North makes it very clear:
The social conservative is inconsistent. The social liberal is consistent. So, the social conservative politician, when in office, attempts to pass laws that set legal precedents for the social liberals to use in the next election cycle: extensions of federal power. Then, in some future election cycle, the social liberals repeal the conservative laws by passing new laws that extend the power of the federal government. The new laws make illegal local practices that social conservatives favor. What the politicians do not do in this regard, the federal courts do. In both views, the federal government becomes messianic. It becomes a means of implementing federal control over local practices. We have seen this in action ever since 1788. It has done what the opponents of ratification said it would do, but on a scale undreamed of by the Anti-Federalists.
The DADT is just one example of how this works in practice. It was a hoax. We as Christians have been too gullible for generations to buy the lies of the political establishment, conservative or liberal. Time to wake up.