Oh mercy, stop the pain!!

Ugh. First Sarah Palin, and now Tony Perkins. This is going to hurt.

I would like to start out by stating categorically that I utterly despise Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. I think he is an utterly poisonous individual, and his desire to inject his particular, narrow brand of Christian fundamentalism is anathema to me. That he is a despicable opponent to equality for gays, lesbians and their families (or, in other words, me, the Better Half and the Critter) cranks up the gas on my contempt, but I find his entire worldview pretty much the exact opposite of everything I admire and support in American politics.

I do not like the man.

But this (via the Dish) is wrong:
Questions surround what appears to be the censoring of a Christian leader by the U.S. military.

Nearly four months ago, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins received an invitation to speak at a national prayer luncheon held, Thursday, at Andrews Air Force Base.

It was not an unusual request. Perkins is an ordained minister and veteran of the Marine Corps.

But he's also a vocal opponent of rolling back the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in the military.


Two days after President Obama's State of the Union speech, in which he announced plans to repeal "Don't ask, Don't tell," Perkin's received a letter from the chaplain's office at Andrews rescinding the invitation.

The letter cited Family Research Council statements calling them "incompatible in our role as military members who serve our elected officials and our commander in chief."

Oh, this makes me feel oily and gross. I think the Administration was wrong to rescind this invitation.

In case you're new to this blog (and welcome, if somehow you just found us), being a Gay Homosexual myself, I am thoroughly in favor of the repeal of DADT, as well as just about every other piece of discriminatory nonsense that helps to keep me a second-class citizen. But I also expect Our Side (on which I include the POTUS) to be better than Their Side.

One of the trillions of things I hated about the Bush administration was its stifling of dissent. You weren't allowed to ask questions, speak your mind, or even show up at their events unless you had signed with the blood of your firstborn that you supported them on every single agenda item. It was an anti-democratic, narrow-minded and frankly dangerous way of running the country, and one I opposed vociferously.

I didn't like it then. I don't like it now.

I can understand why the Administration rescinded the invitation. Hell, let's be honest, I would probably have been pretty damn annoyed if I had learned about the invitation after Perkins had spoken. But I can't support having a dissenting voice cast out after an invitation has been sent because the opinion expressed is unpopular, even if it's one I would personally like to throttle with my bare hands.

Now I need to go shower.


  1. yeah, fair enough. It was a mistake to invite a lightning rod in the first place, but it is bad form to rescind an extended invitation. You are wrong about Freedom of Speech issue though, since members of military don't have it like you and I do (at least while in uniform or on bases) so it is not censorship in the manner we like to think of it. The military would have been well within its right to review and edit his comments, we are at war after all. If he would have agreed to having his speech censored (bear in mind I am talking about political content, not religious in the Jesus is our savior variety) then I see no reason why it should have been rescinded.


  2. What I really respect and adore about intellectually consistent and open minded individuals such as you, Dan, is that they stick to their principles regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the issue in question. Screaming about how unAmerican filibusters are when in power but using them rampantly when not in power is intellectually dishonest. This post, Dan, is a pretty awesome indicator of character. Good for you for seeing the same rules of dissent should apply regardless of what side someone represents in an issue. I wish everyone on the planet shared this quality with you.
    Besides, it would be unrealistic to have only spiritual advisors who agree with any Administration's policy speak to the troops, since most spiritual advisors are morally opposed to war and killing.

  3. NTW, both parties are intellectually dishonest by your standard; both sides wail about the filibuster when in power, and both sides use it when out of power. Personally, I think it makes sense to have a difficult hurdle for the majority on contentious issues.

    IIRC, no major religion is dogmatically opposed to all war and all killing, even the most pacifist religion I know, Buddhism. Everyone is opposed to unnecessary war and killing, and the question becomes what justifies war. Only small outliers, such as the Amish, claim war is always morally unjustified, but they freeload on the protections of the majority. There are no Amish in Pakistan for good reason.

  4. Charo, I think one could respectably criticize the decision to issue the invitation in the first place. Similarly, if Perkins had been told that he was welcome to speak, but that certain military policies currently under review were off limits, and had he refused to comply, then I think there's an argument about the appropriate limits of free speech in a military setting. But in this case, it appears that the invitation was rescinded because of ideological reasons as a whole, not concerns about what he would say in that specific instance, and thus I think the decision was wrong.

    And NTW, I try to write with a modicum of consistency and integrity. Sometimes I fail, of course, but that is (at least) the goal.

  5. yeah drdanny, I agree. It was bad form.