Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Christian Shut Out over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

House GOP leadership wants Defense Secretary Robert Gates to explain why the Air Force cancelled an invitation to Christian leader Tony Perkins for a national prayer luncheon.

UPDATE 11/1/10: Documents show Perkins was cancelled due to his opposition to President Obama's policies

-- From "Perkins invite pulled over 'Don't Ask'" by Jen Dimascio, Politico 2/26/10

Tony Perkins, a critic of the president’s pledge to reverse the ban on gays in the military says Andrews Air Force Base pulled back a longstanding invitation for him to speak because of his views.

Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, is complaining publicly that he was invited last fall to speak [in February] at a prayer luncheon . . . on the Maryland base, but two days after the President’s State of the Union Speech, Andrews disinvited him.

The Family Research Council has been lobbying lawmakers to oppose the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. “Do not let our military be used to advance a radical sexual agenda,” says an item on the council’s web site.

Comments like that were too much for the military base.

Perkins argues that what happened to him is just the beginning of a trend in the military where civil rights will trump the religious freedom to oppose homosexuality. “People don’t understand that in the military there is a chain of command, and you have to follow orders,” Perkins said. “You’re not free to disagree.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Republicans Press Defense Secretary Gates to Explain Why Air Force Excluded Conservative Leader from Prayer Event" by Pete Winn, CNSNews Senior Writer/Editor 3/10/10

In a letter to Gates dated March 4, Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told the defense secretary they were “concerned” that a “new litmus test” was being applied when the Air Force . . . changed its mind about letting Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, participate in the Feb. 25 event “because statements posted on the organization he leads are purportedly at odds with the positions of the president” -- statements condemning Obama's intention to change the military policy on homosexuality.

“This action troubles us a great deal,” the congressmen wrote, “not only in this particular case, but because of the implications for anyone who might disagree with the administration in the future.”

They asked Gates: “Specifically, is it the policy of the Air Force and/or other branches of the armed services to allow only those individuals who agree with the president on all matters of policy to participate in ministry events they host?”

The congressmen labeled the Air Force action as a “new litmus test.”

“The luncheon in which Dr. Perkins, a former Marine, was scheduled to participate was designed as a time of prayer, not of policy discussion,” the congressmen noted.

The Cantor-Blunt letter, meanwhile, is not the only letter sent by a member of Congress concerned about the implication of the Perkins incident.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, sent a letter to Gates purportedly asking for an investigation of the incident. Though Pence’s office confirmed the letter was sent, it would not release the contents.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.