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The Stonewall and the Trapdoor

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

For over a year, ADF and decorated, high-ranking veteran chaplains have warned that DADT repeal will harm military religious liberty. One of the most significant threats is that the lack of strong regulations protecting chaplains and service members from “sexual orientation discrimination” complaints will chill free speech and freedom of religion. Simply put, uncertainty crushes confidence—confidence to speak, confidence to worship, confidence to openly be a Christian in the military after the military has formally endorsed the moral values of the homosexual agenda.

To prepare for what is behind this uncertainty, ADF asked the Department of Defense to hand over the written statements from combat commanders and military service chiefs regarding the impacts of the repeal—statements which Commander in Chief Barack Obama says justify imposing open homosexual behavior on the military. And while one might expect a “transparent” Administration to readily provide the information, ADF upped the ante by making its request under the Freedom of Information Act.

DOD’s response? Stonewall, stonewall, and stonewall. It waited a month before it agreed to respond to the request, then set a due date that was several weeks away. After those weeks ticked by, and past its own deadline to produce the information, it simply set a new due date: October 30th, over a month after the repeal would take effect.

So much for transparency. But why the blatant stonewalling? Is there political pressure on the Pentagon to be mum? It wouldn’t be the first time, especially if there is something to hide. And there is indeed something behind the DOD’s stone wall: it’s a trapdoor awaiting our troops.

And it is a trapdoor leading into confusion. As Representatives “Buck” McKeon and Joe Wilson—the chairman and subcommittee chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee—just revealed in a letter to the Secretary of Defense, “the policies and regulations to implement repeal are not complete.” Simply put, this is a lot like the Obamacare bill, except that the government won’t even show the missing regulations, much less let anyone read them. Indeed, many post-repeal regulations “have to undergo a review and comment period” before they are finalized, but the review period cannot even start until after DADT is repealed.

So chaplains and service members are not the only ones who are uncertain about what the post-DADT repeal military will look like—the entire nation is left in the dark. Representatives McKeon and Wilson properly find this “unconscionable,” calling on Secretary Panetta to delay repeal to prevent the “risk of moving forward…without giving service members and their leaders adequate time to study” the yet-to-be-seen policies.

What’s particularly troublesome about this trapdoor is the all-too-real likelihood that the post-repeal environment that our troops find themselves landing in will be one controlled by politics instead of military necessity. Already, the DoD’s Inspector General showed that the Obama Administration was cooking the data last year to get DADT troop survey results that matched its desired political outcomes.

Cooked data, political wrangling, and confusion is not what our military needs at a time of war. The DADT repeal put politics over reality from the very beginning, and that error should not be compounded by rushing into worsening uncertainty. Instead, Congressional and military leaders should remove the stone walls, nail the trapdoor shut, and draw a clear, firm perimeter protecting military religious liberty before it lurches down the misguided path of affirming homosexual behavior as the military’s new moral standard.

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