“At the beginning of the school year, gay pride events at a military academy with titles like “condom Olympics” and “queer prom” would have been unthinkable. This week, they’re a reality.
Cadets in uniform at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy, participated Monday in sessions about handling bullying and harassment as part of the school’s first gay pride week. The events are believed to be the first of their kind on a military campus.”
According to the Associated Press, the Gay Pride activities will include panels and discussions on topics such as HIV testing, as well as a dance where same-sex couples will be welcome. Though this is happening less than a year since the ending of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, it seems like a celebration that has been overdue for much, much longer.
I never understood the objection to openly gay Americans serving in the military. Men and women who were willing to fight and die for our country should never have been asked to hide who they were while doing so. In reality, many of our troops couldn’t have cared less if their fellow soldiers were gay or not. But narrow-minded members of the military establishment and Congress worked together to ensure that anyone who had “the gay” would remain unwelcome in our armed forces, and this is something they should be ashamed of.
The Gay Pride festivities at Norwich University are a positive thing, to be certain, but it is worth noting that we still haven’t left the dark days of DADT behind us completely. Several prominent Republicans are in favor of reinstating DADT, and that includes Rick Santorum. Yes, even at this point in time, Santorum thinks soldiers being openly gay can cause problems for cohesion and effectiveness in a military unit. Of course, to be fair, he has a problem with women in active duty for the same reasons, so he’s not just picking on gay folks. He’s an equal-opportunity zealot.
For a bunch that claims to be good, church-goin’ Christians, some Republicans sure do have some problems applying their “What would Jesus do” standard to their views on DADT. They would do well to pay some mind to Carlos Pinkham, who is the faculty adviser of the Christian Fellowship group at Norwich University. As the AP reports, the Christian Fellowship has established a working relationship with the gay student club that is organizing this week’s Gay Pride activities. When asked about how the Fellowship is responding to the new openness of gay cadets at Norwich, here’s what he said:
“We make it clear to them that we use the bible as our guide and that as a result we can’t condone the stuff they do,” Pinkham said. “But the Bible is also equally clear, in fact, even more clear. … Being judgmental about the sin without extending love to the sinner is another form of sin.”
All I can say to that is “Amen”.