Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DADT and Amendment 10-A

Today is a unique day in the United States military. As of today, same gender loving (sgl) individuals may serve openly without the fear of losing their career, their benefits and their ability to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary for the defense of their country. The Don't Ask; Don't Tell was a devil's bargain struck during the Clinton administration as a political compromise on a campaign promise by the then presidential nominee to gain the votes of the GLBT community. I say devil's bargain because men and women continued to suffer the effects of discrimination that should have ended in the 1970's rather than masquerading as a "kinder, gentler" form of discrimination.

Likewise, it is a unique day in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta as local presbyterians seek a compromise policy that will allow congregations opposed to the change in the national constitution to allow the ordinations of openly gay and practicing gays and lesbians for service to the church. Once again, this body is coming to grips with change following an ecclesiastical compromise by the reuniting northern and southern churches that had called for ordination standard to include requirements of fidelity within marriage and chastity without. Those noble and lofty spiritual arrows were aimed specifically at same gender loving Presbyterians.

The military has taken from December 2010 to September 2011 to prepare soldiers to perform their duties in this changed environment. You would think that heterosexual soldiers had never been in combat or served with homosexual soldiers and thus a whole new culture is required to integrated SGL soldiers into the service. Likewise, the Presbyterian church is struggling to create a spiritual climate that avoids schism and everybody can "just get along."

Well, here is my take on it all. The United States Armed Forces did not collapse when President Truman issued an executive order that integrated our military. And Presbyterians have always gotten mad, created new Presbyterian denominations (there are currently 9 PC denominations in the U.S. alone), and continued to discern the will of God on earth.

So, the sun will rise tomorrow. Same gender loving soldiers will go to their jobs and yield outstanding service while preparing to "give the last full measure of their devotion" for the cause, and Presbyterian churches will open their doors on Sunday with heterosexual and homosexual parishioners singing from the same hymnbooks.

Grace and peace and Semper FI to you all.