Advancing Religious Liberty
9/21/10 at 12:56 PM 0 Comments

Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and George Washington

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Author: ADF Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence

On Monday, Lady Gaga appeared at a rally in Maine to proclaim her support for repeal of the federal law that bans people from the military who engage in homosexual behavior. She said at the rally, “I am here today because I want to propose a law … called, ‘if you don’t like it, you can go home.’… A law that sends home the homophobes, that sends home the prejudiced.”

Now, the media is reporting Lady Gaga’s comments as if she is making a substantive contribution to the debate, as if her remarks are well-researched and based on careful thought. It is hard to keep a “poker face” in response to her comments, because she is no more informed on this issue than someone on the street. The fact that she is a celebrity does not make her an authority.

For example, if Katy Perry came out with a new single called, “California Drills” or (“Dryllz”), with lyrics favoring aggressive drilling for oil off the Santa Barbara coast, in order to meet our nation’s energy needs, the media would probably not report it, or say, “what does she know about energy policy, she’s a singer!” Bingo! It seems that the media is reporting Lady Gaga’s comments as informed mainly because they agree with her views, rather than because it means something in the debate. (Note: to my knowledge, Katy Perry has taken no public positions on oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast, lest her publicist call me and ask for a clarification – this blog being so widely read and all).

ADF has been publicly commenting on the real threat to religious liberty and the right of conscience for military chaplains. Major religions and the major branches of Christianity define marriage as one man and one woman only, and teach that certain sexual behaviors, such as same-sex activity, are immoral. How will military chaplains from those religions be able to counsel servicemembers and preach to them if the chaplains believe in doctrines that conflict with new military policy?

The celebrity I want to bring forth to match Lady Gaga would be someone else who likes to wear wigs made of white hair – George Washington. And he was a “rock star” in his own way back in the late 1700’s. Did you ever wonder what he thought about soldiers serving in the military who engage in homosexual conduct? He was against it. For example, on March 14, 1778, he issued an order separating a soldier from active duty for attempting homosexual conduct with another soldier:

At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778), Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment [was] tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false accounts, [he was] found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and [we] do sentence him to be dismiss’d [from] the service with infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; The drummers and fifers [are] to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose.

So, the U.S. military has had this policy since the time of the Revolutionary War. It would be best to study history and military thinking on this issue, rather than listen to uninformed people like Lady Gaga.

This post originally appeared here.

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