So, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thinks gays are immoral. It’s nice to be counted lower than convicted criminals, as the ban on criminals being enlisted into the armed forces has been waived in some cases. But didn’t Jesus warn us about this?
Peter Pace is Italian-American, so imagine not so long ago his family’s name didn’t rhyme with “race” but meant “peace.” You can’t go to Italy today without seeing these flags everywhere. But faithful people have to remember that our sensibility, dignity and patience will be assaulted continuously, yet we remain sensible, dignified and patient that we can effect change and shape the world in a genuinely God-ward direction.
Put less sermonically, I’m not keen on “the nation’s top soldier” lecturing me on morality after the Abu Ghraib or Walter Reid scandals, and I laud those who are close enough to hold his feet to the fire. Shame on him. Yet his momentary inattention to the “real reason” open gays and lesbians are forbidden from military service re-opens the issue and draws attention to the changing national and military rank-and-file opinion about the issue.
Why does it matter? This time, speaking as a citizen. Without the opportunity to serve the nation, even unto the risk of one’s own life and limb, gays and lesbians are (as a class) held outside the full compass of rights and responsibilties of citizenship. No, I don’t want to enlist, and didn’t when I was young enough. But to forbid me is a subtle nudge away from other rights; that’s something I haven’t forgiven the last administration for, but this administration has made the alienation of rights an art form. And yet we remain sensible, dignified and patient . . . .