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Would Open Homosexuality in the Military Expose Religious Liberties to Greater Attack

Perkins Expresses Disappointment and Concern over Rescinded Invitation

Contact: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, 866-FRC-NEWS, both with Family Research Council 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- In October, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins received an invitation to speak at a National Prayer Luncheon on February 25 at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C. on the theme "Getting Back to the Basics."  Perkins, who is also an ordained minister and a veteran of the Marine Corps, accepted this invitation to assist members of the armed forces "refocus on these Divine and 'basic' principles."

However, in his State of the Union address on January 27, President Obama called on Congress to lift all restrictions on service in the military by open homosexuals. Perkins and FRC spoke out against this policy proposal and urged Congress to retain the current law which excludes homosexuals from openly serving in the military.

On January 29, Perkins received a letter from the chaplain's office at Andrews AFB rescinding the invitation to speak at the prayer luncheon, citing FRC statements "which are incompatible in our role as military members who serve our elected officials and our Commander in Chief."

In response, Perkins today issued the following statement:

    "As one who took the oath to defend and protect our freedoms, I am disappointed that I've been denied the opportunity to speak to members of the military, in a non-political way, solely because I exercised my free speech rights in a different forum. It's ironic that this blacklisting should occur because I called for the retention and enforcement of a valid federal statute.

    "I am very concerned, however, that this merely foreshadows the serious threat to religious liberty that would result from repeal of the current military eligibility law. Such legislation would not merely open the military to homosexuals. It would result in a zero-tolerance policy toward those who disapprove of homosexual conduct.

    "Military chaplains would bear the heaviest burden. Would their sermons be censored to prevent them from preaching on biblical passages which describe homosexual conduct as a sin? Would they remain free to counsel soldiers troubled by same-sex attractions about the spiritual and psychological resources available to overcome those attractions? Any chaplain who holds to the millennia-old tradition of Judeo-Christian sexual morality could be denied promotion, or even be forced out of the military altogether.

    "I understand the untenable situation that this creates for chaplains and the men and women in uniform.  I urge Congress, the President, and the top leadership of our military to place the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty ahead of the fashionable political correctness of a special interest group."