A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell....

Over a year ago, I discovered a fascinating blog penned by a UNC-Greensboro student, Matthew Hill Comer. Through the comment sections of his blog, Matt and I have discussed various subjects ranging from the nasty antics of Religious Right Republicans to the Democratic Party's lack of a prophetic voice. While we do not always agree with one another, I've learned alot from our discussions and his posts.

Last Thursday morning, Matt made the national news after he was refused enlistment into the United States Army.


Because Matt is gay.

Read the whole story at the DailyTarHeel...

(Greensboro, North Carolina) Nine people were arrested Thursday at a military recruiting station in Greensboro, North Carolina where they were protesting the military ban on gays serving openly. The demonstrators were all members of the Right to Serve campaign organized by the LGBT nondenominational group Soulforce. Four members of the group entered the recruitment office to sign up for the military. When they said they were gay they were automatically rejected under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" The four, joined by five others who got into the office, staged a sit-in. Police were called and the nine were hauled off in handcuffs. They were charged with trespassing and later released a Soulforce spokesperson said.

I just don't get "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Only one law in the United States mandates firing someone because of his or her sexual orientation, and that law is the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. An average of two people per day are discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission Report sponsored by the University of California estimated that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has cost taxpayers over $360 million. Among the 11,000+ servicemembes discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were more than 800 personnel with skills critical to national security (including at least 55 Arabic speakers, 9 Farsi speakers, and over 244 doctors, nurses, and medical specialists).

I don't know about you - but government-sanctioned discrimination doesn't settle too well with me.


Blogger A. Lin said...

I live an hour away from Greensboro, and this is the first I have heard about this. Thanks for posting it.

12:14 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Check out Matt's site.

He has a list of all the tv channels, state news sources, and national media outlets who covered the story.

It also seems that the Greensboro-Triad area has ALOT of bloggers who have mentioned the event as well.

2:01 PM

Blogger posttinebraelux said...

Big Daddy,

I like your site; I, too, am curious where the "Joshua Convergence" will head. I also agree with you, in general, about governmental discrimination based on sexual preference. In most cases, it should not be the government's business what a person's sexual persuasion is - especially with respect to hiring/firing practices. In the military, however, I believe that not only are the rights of the gay members at stake, but the rights 'straight' members as well. Because of the 'close quarters' nature of the military's sleeping, dressing, bathing, and other facilities, I believe it is quite understandable that 'straight' enlistees would - and in most cases are - uncomfortable being the object of unwanted sexual attention. It's akin, I think, to having women bathing, dressing, and sleeping 'with' heterosexual men - even though there may be a 'hand's off' directive, the ogling and suggestive behaviours would be enough to create an uncomfortable environment. One possible solution would be to 'seperate' gay men/women from straight men/women and have seperate sleeping, bathing, etc. quarters for each group. The only problem with this situation, however, is that - if I was gay I think I'd enjoy being in the 'straight' quarters so that I could 'get my fill' of ogling the straight guys. In which case, we're back to the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. It's not perfect, but I think - in this situation - it's the best answer we've got.



10:25 AM

Anonymous Paul said...

"I don't know about you - but government-sanctioned discrimination doesn't settle too well with me."

If you look at the law, you will see it is thick with 'government-sanctioned discrimination'. Teenagers can't drink, kids can't vote, blind people can't fly planes or drive cars.

It isn't enough to cry "discrimination," you have to look at the nature of the discrimination and ask if it is reasonable. Posttinebraelux mentioned just a few reasons why it is a reasonable action for the military to not have open, practicing homosexuals in its ranks.

2:04 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


Your "blind people can't fly planes" snippet made me laugh.

Would you use that same line of reasoning to support the segregation of public facilities? I wonder.

I respect the opinion from posttinebraelux. But discrimination is discrimination. Watch the video below. It's humorous but hits the nail on the head. I'd rather have uptight men be paranoid of gay-stares than discriminate against a rather large group of people.

8:35 PM

Blogger posttinebraelux said...

Big Daddy,
Your logic in the statement, "I'd rather have uptight men be paranoid of gay-stares than discriminate against a rather large group of people." is faulty. First, you are making the assumption that all men (or women for that matter) who do not welcome untowards advances by homosexuals are 'uptight men'. Second, you are making the assumption that sexual harrassment (which includes - in my opinion - lascivious stares/actions by gays toward heterosexuals) is less offensive than discrimination. Finally, you are assuming that 'uptight men' comprise a smaller group than gays who want to: (a) be in the military and (b) be open about their sexual preference.
Is the issue a difficult one? Absolutely. Do we sacrifice the rights of the heterosexuals (the rights not to be ogled and otherwise made to feel uncomfortable in their environs) for the rights of gays (the right to be open about one's sexual preference while being involved in our nation's military)? I just don't think that's just or prudent. Do we sacrifice the rights of gays for the rights of heterosexuals? Not 'per-se', but rather, with a 'don't ask - don't tell' policy. Again, it may not be the Utopian solution desired by gays, but it is, in my opinion, the most acceptable.



8:44 AM

Blogger posttinebraelux said...

Big Daddy,
Your comparison of an open gay policy in the military to segregation of public facilities is faulty as well. The examples cited by Paul all involve the legitimate infringement of others' rights (the rights of other drivers not to be on the road with blind people due to the inherent risk of injury. There is no legitimate infringement of rights involved with desegregation of public facilities. Should I have the right not to use a restroom which has been used by someone of a different sexual preference, race, nationality, or religious affiliation? Absolutely. Should the government require segregation of facilities based only on the prejudices of the majority? Never. There must be a legitimate threat (in my opinion) for the government to impose discriminatory mandates (juvenile intoxication and voting, blind drivers and pilots, etc.).



9:00 AM


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