Monday, March 12, 2007

Immoral Policies

So General Peter Pace, United States Marine Corps, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has gone on the record as saying that people who are openly homosexual should not be allowed to serve in the military, according to the Chicago Tribune. (The Trib may require registration to see old articles, so this link may or may not be useful. Here's an Associated Press story in the Washington Post.) The reasoning behind this is that the General feels that, in allowing people who openly engage in immoral acts to serve, the military is condoning immoral activities. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way," the General says.

To this you can really only say one thing: "Then I guess we're screwed."

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Just about every non-Christian religion on the face of the Earth does SOMETHING that "Christianity" defines as immoral, but doesn't otherwise violate United States law. Yes, I'm assuming that General Pace is referring to commonly accepted precepts of Christian morality. Given that the United States is overwhelmingly Christian (of one sect or another), I think is this a reasonable assumption to make. (Note that since there isn't a single monolithic Christian sect, just who or what constitutes "Christianity" can be subject to a LOT of debate.) If we assume for a moment (taking it on faith, as it were) that Christianity is in fact the One True Religion, you could make the point that simply allowing non-Christians to preach their religions (or pass them on to their children), as part of "the free exercise thereof," and thus lead people astray, is decidedly immoral.

Now, I'm not going to say that General Pace is deliberately stating that he finds the First Ammendment to be "a policy that says it is okay to be immoral," but I don't think that he really thought out what he was saying. Many people have played the "immorality card" against homosexuals, and I think that they tend to do so without thinking of all of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted (and that our military is supposed to be fighting for) that can also fall under strict (or even loose) definitions of "immoral." (Not to mention the sorts of day-to-day activities that we turn a blind eye towards.)

I'm okay with that from some joe I meet at the bus stop one day. From the highest ranking officer in the military, I think I'm allowed to expect a little more thoughtfulness.

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