Our New Transgender Military

Announced on Friday afternoon during the week of a snowstorm: The Pentagon must now accomodate homosexual and transgendered soldiers. I'm having a hard time trying not to picture what this will look like, or what it might have looked like in the past. Guys in skirts storming San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. Paratroopers--their dresses flying up--landing in France on D-Day.

Does anybody really think that--if our military is forced to accept applicants who consider themselves transgendered--that they will not also be forced to allow male transgendered soldiers to dress in feminine clothing, if that's what they feel best conforms to their identity?

Those who support throwing the military open to anyone who wishes to serve, gender confusion notwithstanding, don't seem to understand that military service is about giving up one's identity for the sake of the group, not insisting that the group accomodate the individual. No competent military could otherwise function. The most powerful military in the world, one that protects many countries besides itself, should stand up to those who demand it knuckle under to accomodate special interest groups, particularly those who represent people who are--and yes, I know I am taking my life in my hands by saying this (that is, telling the truth) in a time and place in which intense pressure is brought to bear by a tiny but vocal and powerful minority upon those who don't conform to their "standards," which appear to be based primarily upon hatred of faithful Christians, orthodox Jews, and orthodox Muslims--sexually disordered.


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And I love it even more when I post in the right place.

My excuse is that I was giddy.
Cross-cultural communication
Rolley, I'm not sure Jason is fluent in Duck. If you had said "Little Gidding is where Charles I sought refuge after the Battle of Naseby," all would have been clear - for one of us, anyway.

That said, I love it when you gid us.
"I still don't agree"

That's OK, Ben; you're still young, and can still grow in wisdom. ;-)

"So, what about for children who grew up in a sheltered, Christian culture? Would you expect some of them to grow up homosexual, too?"

If I understand you correctly, then yes - I absolutely would. And not because they were "born that way", but rather because I don't believe there is any single thing that can be done in the past that will insulate a person from sin in the present. That is the essence of the doctrine of Original Sin: all of us are perpetually inclined toward various kinds of sin (as catalogued by Paul). It is only in taking up their cross daily, continuously, that anyone can hope to avoid a lifestyle that is deeply offensive to God. (And I'm quite well aware of the various doctrines of sanctification, including those of the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition. Even in that particular system it's possible to backslide from the most spiritually advanced position. "I'm very proud of my humility," etc.)

I've personally seen many parents follow some set of rules that were touted to guarantee to some extent that children would grow up to be strong Christians for life. I've rarely seen them succeed. I've even seen it in families that had very close relationships, in place of or even in addition to the rules. There is no silver bullet for sin. It's a struggle we all face, and will face, constantly.

The issue at hand here, as in Shane's post on incest, is how actively a society should act to 1) help individuals avoid sinning as much as possible; and 2) protect itself from those individuals who insist on sinning in spite of society's best efforts to get them to stop. It's a particular concern to PFM, since society's protection comes in the form of police and prisons. That reminds me that Oscar Wilde was notoriously tried on charges of homosexuality in an England that wanted to protect its boys from becoming male prostitutes. I commend to you Ravi Zacharias's book "Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure (Great Conversations)" for some excellent insights on Wilde in particular and this topic in general.

The problem that Anne was trying to address is the problem that a society with no barriers is a society that cannot defend itself from threats, either threats from without or threats from within. There are many examples of entire civilizations that became decadent and then were overrun, but alas, our historian has left the building, thank ya, thankYaVeryMuch. (I'd say his every performance is a classic, but that would seem too much like a pun.) We have no reason to think that our case will be any different.

In fact, I'm somewhat torn over whether it would be better for me to learn Mandarin Chinese (as you and I already discussed, I think), or Arabic. Certainly English is the universal language at the moment, as Greek once was, and Latin after that, but it's not obvious which one will be the replacement.
Ben, continual flaming is getting tiresome and one can see no end. It is really based on incompatible assumptions. Therefore, you can have the last word in a spirit of fair play and I intend to be off.
In the first place Ben, to bring up the argument that other military's do permit gays, may I remind you that they do not however allow unrestricted expression of identity. In the British army a man who enlists in the Gloucester's cannot wear a kilt on parade and if he wishes to do that he has to join the Black Watch. In the Israeli army you don't get to have non-kosher MREs simply because you have a pork fetish. In the German army you are not permitted to wear World War II era medals. And in the French Army you cannot wear a burqa. Why is this any different? DADT was perfectly fair given the circumstances.

In the second place, homosexuality like any sexual deviance is at best a "hobby" at worst, a vice. If someone chooses to tribalize a hobby, let alone a vice, by what right does he demand that others play along any more then they want to?

In the third place you are still not getting the point, that whatever theoretical non-effect of the changing of policy the fact is that this whole matter is about the use of the military as a social experimentation laboratory, for the presumed benefits of a pariochial group. Furthermore the "slippery-slope" is not "nonsense" as we have demonstrated. The fallacy of slippery slope can only apply to inevitability. Politics operates by inertia; a faction at rest tends to stay at rest and a faction in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an equal or superior force. That has been the observed tendency of politics for thousands of years, so long that any appeal to a misapplication of the "no slippery-slope" argument, shows signs of denial. You sound rather like Mr Morden telling Lando that the Vorlons would not blow up Centauri Prime just because they had blown up all the other planets where The Shadows had landed.

In the fourth place if my daughter who wanted a later Saturday Night curfew was a sweet little girl who asked respectfully I might grant the request. If however she was a little brat who sulked whenever she wasn't given her desires, and insisted that her ambition was to be a Victoria's Secret model and that daddy was being mean to interfere with that ambition, then I might have second thoughts about extending the curfew.
Ack, that's just my bad communication, Jason. Yes, I support secularism; I think it's the only way for everyone to live together peacefully. But I'm not trying to brag that secularism is gaining ground, I'm just acknowledging the truth that it is, indeed, gaining ground. Because of this, I think anything in that group, "more secular", is probably subject to the slippery slope. Those issues have Constitutional support, as well as support from growing numbers of Americans (particularly libertarians, young Christians, and the non-religious).

This is the same trend that has already brought the legalization of contraception and interracial marriage (so not all bad results, even if you disagree with the reasoning). I expect that it means future legal acceptance for issues like DADT, gay marriage, and maybe eventually polygamy. Bestiality and sodomy are already legalized (part of the same trend), but incest is not, and it faces a larger barrier to legalization due to secular concerns about inbreeding. The secular cases against animal-human or child-adult marriages are even much stronger than that against incest, so they will probably make bad examples of the slippery slope argument.

For this current issue... Secularists are not arguing for the right of gays to overturn military policy, so that is a strawman position of their beliefs.
The slippery slope argument that follows is also nonsense; that gays will be able to demand and receive special treatment in bootcamp, or that they will be allowed to wear feminine clothing just because they prefer it. The obvious difference here: repealing DADT has no effect on military effectiveness, but allowing a minority group to wear dresses and order their commanders around would hurt our military capabilities.

An analogy: you have a teenage daughter who wants a later Saturday night curfew. You don't see how this will hurt her academic effectiveness, so you grant her the request. Does this mean that she has free reign over the home now? Obviously not. Will she be allowed to walk out the door in the morning wearing whatever she thinks is fashionable? Heh. Just let her try it.

LQ - an interesting take on Romans. I still don't agree, but it's something I hadn't heard before. So, what about for children who grew up in a sheltered, Christian culture? Would you expect some of them to grow up homosexual, too?
Ben, dear friend (and please note that for me the word "friend" is sincere and not merely an honorific, as it was for the Senator many years ago who rose in rebuttal and said "The honorable gentleman from Virginia is a scurvy cur."), please avoid the one-to-many fallacy. In Romans 1 Paul is talking about the vast sweep of humanity. It doesn't matter how many examples of homosexuals you trot out who are fine people (currently two of my best friends in all the world are gay - one co-worker and one personal association), nor how many homosexuals you know who claim Christ or serve in churches. Homosexuality exists, Paul tells us, because people want a "god" who is scientifically comprehensible and predictable. ("Just give him some fruit once in a while and he'll see to it that it rains" is the tagline of "Ba'al for Dummies".) The true and living God, in contrast, is larger than our finite brains can encompass, since infinity is greater than finitude, duh. When a computer has inadequate airflow, it overheats and becomes damaged. Similarly, when a society does not direct its *collective* passion toward an infinite object - an object capable of absorbing all that passion - then that society will direct its excess passion into sexual thoughts and actions. The result is a culture in which individuals find themselves immersed in lust, pornography, homosexuality, violence, and so on. In fact, it's a culture that can even consider legalizing incest (q.v. Shane's post).

But how, exactly, does this relate to some Robert who becomes a Roberta via surgery and lots of drugs, then wants the VA (actually, taxpayers) to pick up the tab for the remaining transformation? (And besides, aren't you in favor of a *smaller* military budget?)
"There's a slippery slope of rights and secularism, and I see that trend continuing. "

Ben have you ever considered that when you say that, you sound remarkably like "We are the secularists, you will be assimilated, resistance is futile?"
Ben, if that is the case then you are trying to have it both ways. You are first of all saying I am arguing against a strawman, then you are saying the strawman is really cool.
Lee, my friend: in two places in Romans 1, Paul draws a causal connection between idolatry and homosexuality (vs 24 and 26). I think it's fair to say that when Paul says "for this reason", it implies that this is indeed the reason these people were homosexual.

Likewise, he adds "God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;"

If you have met, as I have, homosexual Christians who grew up in the church, who serve God faithfully and exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit, these Christians being very clearly *not* full of covetousness, envy, and strife... how can you say that these people are the ones who Paul was condemning?

Does *anything* about the people described in Romans 1 seem Christian? Plainly no, correct? So how could a truly generous, loving and kind Christian homosexual be one of these people?

Jason: Often, slippery slope arguments *do* makes sense. In general, we've progressed towards more sexual freedom and equality: sodomy was legalized, then contraception, then abortion, then some states created civil unions, and now gay marriage is an issue. But this is a movement towards equality, not towards legally favoring homosexuality over heterosexuality, as you claim.

So it makes sense to say "gay marriage will become legal", because heterosexual marriage is legal. It does *not* make sense to say "gay PFCs will be able to determine military policy", unless you think that straight PFCs will have the same ability.

There's a slippery slope of rights and secularism, and I see that trend continuing.

Also, there are plenty of "slippery slope" predictions that have not come to pass. Gays shutting down homophobic free speech? Hmm, the Supreme Court just shot down that one, 8-1, upholding the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest at funerals. Pedophilia? No closer to legal acceptance now than ever. Incest and bestiality? Same. And women do not have all the power in the home now (despite the early predictions of anti-feminists), and Social Security did not lead to us becoming a communist country.

So why not construct actual arguments for your position, rather than just say "it's a slippery slope, and slippery slope predictions have come true in the past"? What sets your slippery slope apart from other ones? Why will *your* predictions come true?

Besides: forget about the future, I believe you're still wrong about the present. You think that it's homosexuals who are changing the current policy, not the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The reason those positions are so Ben, is because it was not so long ago that people predicting them as results of gay rights were accused of building strawmen. But that is exactly what is happening now.

But honestly this argument is at an impasse. If you cannot accept what I say there is no reason to repeat it. I just wish you would remember sometimes that when you use words like "strawman" and "slippery slope" that you are already well toward the bottom of what was considered the slippery slope within living memory.
For those of you tuning in from home, a "strawman" is a false representation of an opponent's position. You can "attack the strawman", giving the illusion you're arguing against the other person's position, but without ever addressing their real views.

In this case, I claimed that Jason is setting up a strawman, since he says that homosexuals are trying to set military policy, and that this will carry over into their military service.

I claimed that this is a strawman, because:
(a) It is not just homosexuals who are pushing to change the policy, but also the public, President, and Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thus, it is incorrect to say that homosexuals are changing the policy, as it is favored by a far larger number of non-homosexual public citizens. Furthermore, the only ones who are actually changing policy are the government and military leaders.

(b) Future policy will still be set by the military leaders and government.

(c) These are two separate areas of policy: who is allowed to serve in the military, and how servicemen must behave *while* serving. Even if homosexuals could really force a change in the first area, there's no indication that they could also force changes in the other, particularly if it reduced military effectiveness.

In short, homosexuals are not currently setting military policy, nor will they be able to change military policy to suit themselves in the future, either.
Well.. ok.. if your argument about gays changing military policy is *not* a strawman, can you show me anyone in the chain of command who is advocating that gays be able to overrule policy while serving in the armed forces? Can you demonstrate that what you are worried about is a *real* problem?

I do a bit better when you show me evidence or explain why you think they're strawmen. For instance, I have difficulty seeing how someone arguing for the "right to incest" could be arguing against a strawman, since incest is illegal in nearly every state. Illegal certainly means there's no "right to incest", so these people certainly have a real, tangible legal issue to argue against.
And Ben, quit using the term "straw-man". The rights to gay marriage and infanticide are all ready straw men. As is the demand for the right to incest and polyamory. The fact is, your credibility when arguing against the existence of strawmen is worn thin.
Ben, I think the desire to fight for one's country but only on ones own terms, and more important the claiming of mistreatment when refused is selfish. It is akin to those types of military aristocrats who would turn out because it promised plunder and glory but wouldn't adhere to any structure that required them to actually cooperate.
Jason, I don't see that there's currently any legal right to serve in the military, myself. But both the public and the military leaders want the rules changed to allow for gays to serve, so it seems okay to me. The generals say they could really use the extra troops, while the public.. eh, who knows their reasons. Probably something about equality, as well as the lack of data indicating a loss of military effectiveness.

I think you're drawing a strawman with the idea that a gay person who joins the military gets to overrule policy. This policy is set by our government and military leaders, and will be changed (or not) by them. Citizens get some say through voting and lobbying, but nothing more. Don't think that just because DADT is repealed, suddenly homosexuals will get special treatment in boot camp.

And Jason, what's even more interesting about homosexuality and idolatry is that these people exhibited homosexual desires *before* they favored syncretism; it was the conflict about their homosexuality that caused them to look beyond their conservative beliefs. But it wouldn't really be syncretism anyway if you can show that the beliefs aren't contradictory.

PS - I don't really see how asking to fight for, or even *die* for your country could in any way be called "selfish". I mean, *seriously*?
"caused by idolatry", Ben? Naw, Romans 1 says it's the last link in a long causal chain, not one leading directly to the other. And I too have known Christians who became homosexuals, and homosexuals who became heterosexual Christians - shucks, I've even met Anne Heche's mother. (That last bit is mostly to frustrate those who insist people can't change their sexuality. Unlike Rolley, I can't seem to pass up these opportunities; I'm not nearly as, uh, "sangFreudian" as he.)

And maybe Anne's post has weaknesses and exaggerations - but I doubt she'll be willing to listen to your criticisms, based on your approach.

And since Mr. Haggard is here, how about a digression: can we speak of L and G without B and T? Or are all those people one community and must be accepted or rejected as such? And if what defines them is, say, "non-traditional sexual expression", then why the hue and cry over including incest and bestiality and other such "expressions"?

Closing the pages of "Pilgrim's Digress" for a moment, how would you and/or Brian or anyone else propose to deploy GLBT soldiers into a Muslim country like Iraq or Afghanistan (or even Saudi Arabia), where it's difficult enough simply putting hetero non-Muslims on their soil?

And as to fear-mongering, well, some of us were actually alive in the 1960s and 1970s, and we remember how GLBT activists behaved back then. For that matter, we saw what happened with Prop 8 in California.

Gotta go; I want to see if "Operation Petticoat" is on TV somewhere. Or maybe "Father Goose". Or, maybe a highly edited-for-TV version of "Cabaret", with the bulk of the naughty bits cut out or dubbed but the story line left intact.
Ben the idolatry card is an interesting one to play considering that those who favor homosexuality tend to be the ones that also favor syncretism.
Ben, what motive is there for demanding the "right" to serve? It seems to me that someone who makes such demands in this context is necessarily trying to be, not a soldier, but an agent provocateur of a faction in internal politics. What is the justification for flattering this desire? Will it make for a more efficient military? How precisely are they "vital" to the armed forces?

Someone who joins with a demand to be able to overrule policy for the sake of his personal pride, will be necessarily serving under those same conditions. And will therefore be a threat to discipline. You talk of whether soldiers have the right to disagree. That's as may be, though honestly it sounds rather odd. What soldiers do not have the right to be is selfish brats who think the armed forces are for their own benefit.
LeeQuod: Hmm, I could say the same back to you (about factchecking). According to Romans, isn't homosexuality caused by idolatry? Yet I've watched Christians that I grew up with become homosexuals, and there was never any idolatry involved.. It almost makes you wonder if Paul was talking about something else. How have *you* factchecked this, to make sure he's not?

But Brian's response re:homosexuals is quite reasonable - as he pointed out, transgender and transsexual people are still not allowed to serve in our military; the repeal of DADT has no effect on that. If Anne's post is only about transgender, it's currently a strawman.

When I read Anne's post, I can't see the arguments she uses, just the hostile attitude towards LGBT people. She doesn't try to *show* that accepting transgenders will reduce military effectiveness, nor does she have any trust that the military could work out the details for itself (like handling requests for separate shower facilities).

Instead, what I read in Anne's post is raw emotion: fear and anger. She feels oppressed by our culture's acceptance of LGBT, and she feels persecuted, even so much that she honestly thinks her life will be endangered for writing this. She strikes against the LGBT with belittling, nonsensical arguments (skirts and dresses?). She embellishes the conflict between the sides, pretending that those who promote LGBT equality do so out of hatred for "faithful Christians".

There's this meme amongst conservatives in America that homosexuals are out to get Christians, that they want to take away your free speech rights and lock up everyone who speaks against homosexuality... but it's not true. For the most part, LGBT people just want to be treated equally. Don't radicalize the debate.
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