Two Republican heavies have now weighed in. Ex-Sen. Alan Simpson, in a Post column, "Bigotry That Hurts Our Military," says he has grown since voting for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and now calls it "prejudice" to sever active homosexuals from the service.
He relates the story of professor Alan Turing, a British homosexual who helped crack the Nazi code. "Would Pace call Turing immoral?" asks Simpson, who went from the GOP caucus to Harvard and now as faithfully parrots the latter's values as once he did the former's.
Good question. From what Simpson relates, Turing was a hero. But if Turing spent his nights cruising SoHo, he may not have led a moral life and ought not to be bunking in the barracks of Fighter Command. One may be patriotic in public service and immoral in private life. Lots of folks have been -- even a few presidents.
It is John Warner, however, ex-chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who hit the issue squarely. Of the moral beliefs of his fellow Marine, Parson Warner declared, "I ... strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral."
This brings us to the heart of the matter. Is homosexuality -- not the orientation, but the activity -- inherently immoral?
On Pace's side, that homosexuality is immoral, we have the Bible and Koran, 2,000 years of Christianity, Orthodox Judaism and natural law, the moral beliefs of virtually every society to the present, and the laws of every state before the 1960s. Up to 1973, psychiatrists treated it as a disorder. Nations where homosexuality is rampant have been regarded as "decadent."
Who, Sen. Warner, are the moral authorities for your assertion that homosexual conduct is moral -- other than the Bishop Robinson wing of the Episcopal Church?
What this uproar tells us is that America is no longer a moral community. On the most fundamental issues -- abortion, promiscuity, homosexuality, euthanasia, sterilization, cloning, and the creation of, and buying and selling of, fetuses for research -- we are at war. What part of the nation sees as progress, the other sees as depravity.
And where there is no moral community, there will not long be one country. For in a religious or culture war, there is no peaceful coexistence.
One side wins, the other side loses.
As President Bush said, he who is not with us is against us.