Southern Religion

Why repeal of DADT passed & will be implemented

In a defeat for evangelical conservatives, delivered with help from Republicans, DADT repeal passed Saturday:

Eight Republicans bucked their party in backing the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, potentially risking a backlash from the conservative base while giving the historic vote a stronger bipartisan finish than many expected.

The Republican senators voting “yes” with the Democrats on repeal were Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John Ensign of Nevada, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, George Voinovich of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins quickly responded:

Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Mark Silk of Trinity College’s Leonard E. Greenberg Center for Study of Religion in public life wondered:

When nearly 80 percent of the American public supports letting gays and lesbians serve openly in the military, you wonder exactly what the point is of asserting that this is a “radical social agenda.”

Even looking at active military alone, a heavy majority either favored repeal of DADT or didn’t care, as David Wood reported recently:

Tuesday’s Pentagon report [revealed] that things have changed in the ranks over the past two decades: today, the vast majority of troops (70 percent under age 30) either favor repeal of the law banning open gays from military service, or don’t care one way or another.

On some radical agenda list, or not, repeal of DADT enjoyed general approval. Which in pragmatic terms explains why it attracted the vote of North Carolina’s Sen. Burr, a Methodist who typically votes with religious conservatives. The weight of public opinion driving the change also predicts the political fate of efforts, like the one hastily announced by the Freedom Council, to repeal the repeal.

They may be best seen as drives to retain members and contributors in the face of a historic battle lost. Or to influence the details of repeal’s implementation. Otherwise, they’re doomed.


Analyst Nate Silver makes a simillar argument:

In what reflects a shift from the way that gay rights initiatives have been perceived in the past, however, other Republicans seemed to conclude they might have been taking on some measure of risk by voting to perpetuate a policy that a clear majority of the public wanted to see repealed.

For example:

Two other Republicans, Mark Kirk of Illinois, who won election by a narrow margin in November, and Richard Burr of North Carolina, who won re-election by 12 points in November but who has tepid approval ratings, may have cast a yea vote with an eye toward 2016..

December 19, 2010 Posted by | SBC | | 2 Comments

The worthwhile data would upend Richard Land’s logic

Accusing “the media” of “conflating figures” to justify repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Southern Baptist Convention ethics czar Richard Land responds with some truly dubious numbers:

Meanwhile, a survey commissioned and just released jointly by the Center for Security Policy and the Family Research Council shows that 63 percent of active duty and retired military families oppose allowing open homosexuals in the military ranks.

The survey Land cited questioned a group which is not representative of the active duty military — 70.58 percent of those questioned were over 50. Whereas 70 percent of the troops are under age 30. The age difference is fundamentally why the Land-recommended survey produced a negative outcome. As David Wood explained:

Tuesday’s Pentagon report [revealed] that things have changed in the ranks over the past two decades: today, the vast majority of troops (70 percent under age 30) either favor repeal of the law banning open gays from military service, or don’t care one way or another.

Or as the New York Daily News’ Michael Sheridan and Richard Sisk put it:

[Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and [Defense Secretary Bill] Gates spoke at a Pentagon briefing on a massive survey of active duty troops that showed 70% believe a repeal of DADT would have either a positive effect or no effect on their ability to complete missions.

The study is based upon answers provided by nearly 115,000 troops, along with 44,200 military spouses. The study group also visited various military bases and held town hall-style meetings with service members.

If the worthwhile data tends to invert Land’s logic, you may wish to invert his recommendation and call your U.S. Senator to lobby for repeal of DADT.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , | 2 Comments

Part of the DADT debate’s impact

Neither misleading headlines nor contrived statistics nor false appeals to religious liberty could stop legislative progress toward repeal of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. [Update via CNN]

Equally important in the long run, even the most cunning attempts to mislead — like those to which Tony Cartledge, Nick at Bold Faith Type and Mark Silk responded — have a cumulative self-discrediting quality.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , | Comments Off on Part of the DADT debate’s impact