Our 111th congress, in its lame duck session, has given America a Christmas present in the way of repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law.
Signing the repeal into law, President Obama said he’s “never been prouder.”
From my point of view, I’m feeling increasingly like a minority in our country. Not because I’m black, but because I am a Christian.
As a Christian, I believe in the truth of traditional morality as transmitted to us through our biblical sources. And I believe, along with George Washington, who stated clearly in his farewell address to the nation, that religion and traditional morality are critical to the maintenance of our free society.
Homosexual behavior is unacceptable by these moral standards.
I also see no clash between this conviction and individuals being free and taking personal responsibility for living as they choose in our free country.
But private behavior and public sanction are different matters.
Our military is a quintessentially public institution. Its acceptance of behavior unacceptable by traditional moral standards means official public sanction of this behavior and, in my view, this is a big mistake.
Support from public opinion drove repeal of this law.
Gallup showed 67% supporting repeal and a Washington Post/ABC poll showed support as strong as 77%.
Behind this is ongoing change in public sentiment regarding the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior. Just ten years ago, 53% said it was not morally acceptable and 40% said it was. Today this has flipped to 52% today saying it is morally acceptable and 43% saying it’s not.
According to a Gallup poll from last May, three times as many, 45%, say the country is in poor moral condition than 15% who say it’s in excellent/good moral condition
And, 76% say the moral state of the nation is getting worse compared to 14% that say it’s getting better.
What’s going on?
First, Americans are becoming more prone to believe that individuals cannot take personal responsibility for their sexual behavior. Thirty six percent believe today that homosexual behavior is genetically determined compared to 14% who believed this forty years ago.
Second, our sense of the meaning of morality has become relative and ambiguous.
When asked, in the same Gallup poll, for the principal reason that the moral condition of the nation is worsening, the greatest response – 15% - was “disrespect for others.” Only 2% said teen pregnancy, 3% homosexuality, 3% abortion, and 7% breakdown of family/unwed mothers.
When asked for the principal reason that our moral condition is improving, the largest response – 25% - was “better understanding about other people and cultures/more diversity/less racism.”
As Americans increasingly believe that behavior that traditional morality prohibits is genetically determined, the perceived seriousness of traditional religion and values becomes marginalized.
President Obama said that repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “will strengthen our national security.”
I cannot think of anything more dangerous to our national security and the ongoing strength of our nation than the collapse of our sense that there are objective rights and wrongs. When we sanction ourselves to make everything up, who can the God that our Declaration of Independence refers to possibly be?
Why should Americans take the words of our constitution, that are a few hundred years old, seriously when we dismiss the truths of words that are thousands of years old?