This Journal is sponsored by the Assn. for Christian Conferences, Teaching and Service.

ISSN: 2354-8315 (Online)


A Soldier's Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army's Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession? - Challenge & Opportunities continued
PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
A Soldier's Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army's Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?
Background & Context
Background & Context continued
The Evolving Culture of Hostility toward Religious Presence and Expression
Evolving Culture of Hostility continued
The Army's Professional Ethic
Army's Professional Ethic continued
The Challenge and Opportunities to the Leader of Faith
Challenge & Opportunities continued
Opportunities for Leaders of Religious Faith
Why Not Just Let Soldiers of Religious Faith Leave the Army?
All Pages
Supporting an Annual DoD-Sponsored Gay Pride Month.

In simple terms, the DoD report for implementation of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy recommended that soldiers be treated as soldiers, with dignity and respect based on performance without regard to their sexual orientation.33 But, in making their recommendations, the report authors (Honorable Jeh Charles Johnson and Army General F. Carter Ham) were also careful to note the sincerely held “moral and religious objections to homosexuality” of a significant number of service members.34 Regarding these beliefs, they stated:

In the course of our review, we heard a large number of Service members raise religious and moral objections to homosexuality and to serving with someone who is gay. Some feared repeal of [DADT] might limit their individual freedom of expression and free exercise of religion, or require them to change their personal beliefs about the morality of homosexuality. The views expressed to us in these terms cannot be downplayed or dismissed.35

In a later part of the report, the authors further made it clear that “We do not [emphasis in original] recommend that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin as a class eligible for various diversity programs. . . ."36

In their recommendations, the authors were recognizing something that we believe is now being ignored in the follow-on designation by the DoD in June of each year as “Gay Pride Month.” Not all religious Americans consider homosexual behavior to be in violation of their own moral understandings, but many, including within the military, do so for reasons arguably consistent with the theology of their religion. In finally allowing gay soldiers to serve openly without prejudice, the DoD is rightly saying to all soldiers and their leaders that they must accommodate gay soldiers without prejudice regarding their nonduty-related behavior. But in establishing an officially sponsored “Gay Pride” month with related publicity and public functions, the DoD is requiring (or at least strongly encouraging) those soldiers who object on moral grounds to homosexual practices to not just accommodate gay soldiers, but to join in the institutional endorsement and celebration of homosexual behavior. That, many soldiers of religious faith cannot in good conscience do, and we argue they should not be asked to do so.

As can be seen from these examples, for many individuals, their reaction to an increasing number of situations may be particularly intense because of the strength of their personal faith-based beliefs. This can be expected to create critical moral dilemmas for these Soldiers, especially those responsible for leading and developing others, when conflicts arise between their personal conscience and the orders or ethical demands of their work. However, experience has taught us that, for every challenge, there is also an opportunity. In this case, it is the opportunity that is available to all leaders, regardless of personal morality, to leverage Soldiers’ personal beliefs and practices in their professional development and in the development of the climate and culture of the entire organization. We address how the leaders of the Army Profession can address these opportunities in Section IV.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 09:22