Defense Secretary Robert Gates has officially recommended that U.S. lawmakers repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, citing a Pentagon study — taking religious concerns into account — that reports allowing openly gay troops would cause only “limited and isolated” short-term disruptions to military readiness. A new poll reports that a majority of Americans now support repealing DADT, but most conservative Christians — including chaplains — remain opposed.
Meanwhile, columnist and gay activist Dan Savage appeared on The Colbert Report last night to discuss his “It Gets Better Project,” launched two months ago to create messages of hope for struggling LGBT teens contemplating suicide. The project now has more than 6,000 videos, including — as I posted previously — many from people of faith, addressed to youths experiencing spiritual despair as well as physical and psychological bullying. (Colbert, a devout Catholic, said he would contribute one soon, too — check back for that link.)
In response to Colbert’s question about why gay teens have it worse than bullied teens in general — clarinet players, geeks, etc. — Savage explained:
The clarinetist or the kid whose a geek who’s straight, who’s bullied for being a geek, doesn’t go home to parents who also bully him for being a geek. Home for straight kids who are bullied is a refuge, where you have a shoulder to cry on and parents who are supportive. And then that geek kid, geeky straight kid isn’t dragged to a church on Sunday where the pastor says ‘God hates geeks and sends geeks to hell,’ and ‘Being a geek or a brain or a clarinetist is a perversion and an abomination.’
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Also in response to the gay youth suicides, several prominent Christians have come out of the closet, including Jim Swilley, a Georgia megachurch pastor.
And, in related news, the Southern Poverty Law Center is classifying the Family Research Council and four other conservative religious organizations as “hate groups” — not because they oppose homosexuality, but because of the “falsehoods” they claim in their anti-gay statements. Not surprisingly, FRC president Tony Perkins calls this a “smear campaign.”
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.