Gays and Lesbians in the Military
Kurtz, Paul, Free Inquiry
Some of the opposition to President Bill Clinton's decision to end discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians in the military is based on the argument that these sexual orientations are forbidden by the Bible. Indeed, the Christian Right has begun a Holy War, using homophobia as its chief rallying cry against liberalism and secular humanism. Pat Buchanan recently declared: "Gay rights activists seek to substitute, for laws rooted in Judeo-Christian morality, laws rooted in the secular humanist belief that all consensual sexual acts are morally equal. That belief is anti-biblical and amoral; to write it into law is to codify a lie." Randall Terry, militant head of Operation Rescue, which until now has battled against abortion, has added opposing acceptances of gays in the military to his battle plans. "We are avalanching members of the Congress with phone calls and letters," said Terry, who labels his new political movement "The Resistance." Terry claims that he is attempting to lead "a rebellion against President Clinton because sodomy is against God's law, just like baby-killing is against God's law."
Surely not all of the opposition to gays in the military is religious, and many people express a genuine concern that to lift the ban would undermine combat effectiveness. What is often overlooked is the fact that gay people have always served in the military as draftees or enlistees, many with distinction. Plato thought that comrades in arms would be invincible because of their bonds of friendship. No doubt he had Achilles and Patroclus of the Homeric legends in mind. While it is difficult to corroborate the sexual proclivities of historical personalities (virtually all of whom were forced to remain in the closet), there is some evidence that Alexander the Great, Hadrian, Julius Caesar, Richard the Lion Hearted, Frederick the Great, British General Horatio Kitchener, and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (Allied hero of El Alamein and Normandy during World War II) were either homosexual or bisexual. If the disciples of moral purity had their way, they would likewise have been excluded from the military.
In World War II blacks were not considered fit for combat service. …