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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell the Idiot Chaplain

August 11, 2010

Recently, Karen told me about some bit of douchenozzlery at Stars and Stripes. Here’s the whole thing (but go check out the site – I scanned a few comments, and some are full of win):

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” cuts at the heart of what makes the military unique in our culture. We are unique because we are a family: a large, often-unwieldy, traditional family. We are a family that bridges economic and social divides, that instills in its members honor and tradition and values that most of society has lost. We are a family with rank and discipline and a self-worth that most would almost kill to have. Most of all, we are a family that loves its members enough to literally “take a bullet” for each other. These are the things at risk.

Why do I say this? Simply put, it is impossible for a family that embraces homosexuality to function normally. Among other things, if both parents in a household are the same gender, it will be impossible to procreate normally, build a normal authoritative structure, or create the social dynamics of a heterosexual relationship. The unit ceases to be a family in the traditional sense of the word.

If I am correct in saying that the military is a family and that it is impossible for a family that openly embraces homosexuality to function normally, then it must be true that the familial elements of the military will cease to function normally if it repeals “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The family dynamics of the military are already under severe attack, as the continued spike in suicides amply attests. Recent Stars and Stripes articles have pointed to things like lack of discipline and ignoring warning signs as contributors to suicide. These are things that a family might endure during periods of dysfunctionality.

I submit that allowing open homosexuality in the military will further erode an already-tenuous family dynamic, resulting in a reduction in combat effectiveness.

First Lt. (Chaplain) David D. Wooten
Camp Buehring, Kuwait

So Lt Wooten is basically making the following points:

  1. The military is a family of a special nature, unlike most families.
  2. By allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military means that the very special military family will no longer be able to function in a traditional sense and will become dysfunctional.
  3. The family is already going through enough troubles with war and the overly macho sentiments that demonize those who seek help for psychological and emotional problems brought on by war.
  4. If gays and lesbians are allowed to live without hiding their identities and lying about their actual family lives to their military family members, we will lose the wars.

Here’s what I think of Lt Wooten’s argument: that’s about the most hideous pile of post-chili-eating-contest shit I’ve ever seen. It’s not just ridiculous (how can we be a traditional family when we cross economic and social divides? that’s untraditional right there), it’s also offensive and ignorant.

I’m sure plenty of others have already touched on the general asshattery abounding here, so I’m going to take a different tack. I want to look at a couple of issues I have that offer an argument to the foundation of his viewpoint: namely that his ethno-, religio-, and egocentric view of what a family is tends to nullify his argument.

If we were a homogeneous culture rather than a melting pot of varied backgrounds (especially religious), perhaps his argument could retain some validity, even if it’s still bigotry exemplified. But his letter uses some vocabulary that I recognize from conservative Christians who believe there is only one type of family. Here’s a description of this viewpoint from just one site of many:

Ephesians 5:22-24 — The husband is head of his wife as Christ is head of the church…
Ephesians 5:22-24,33 — Just as the church should submit to Christ, not rebelliously but respectfully, so the wife must abide by all her husband’s decisions.

When Wooten says “build a normal authoritative structure, or create the social dynamics” I immediately see the attitude of man as head of household and woman as helpmeet and God-sanctioned sexual plaything that runs rampant in conservative Christian ideology. The patriarchal-ish structure works well for the military – I’m not sure any other form would be quite so effective given the roles and requirements within the military – but there’s a huge gap here that makes no sense to me. Wooten, by comparing the military’s authority structure to a patriarchal family structure, is saying that the XO is basically the wife to the man of the house (CO), and all the department heads, division officers, chiefs, and blue shirts (and please extrapolate that to whatever non-Navy vocab you use) are the sprogs. It’s also saying that wifey’s job is to procreate (yay! love that this is my sex’s only value…except for sexual plaything and caretaker, natch). If Wooten insists that we’re comparing Jonagolds to Braeburns here, doesn’t that mean the XO needs to spread ’em for the CO and start squeezing out more troops?

But this weird little break in metaphor aside, I also have another beef: the structure of authority in the military is not actually patriarchal. There’s one person in charge, and it’s usually a dude, but sex and gender mean nothing within the military. A woman has every right to be (and may eventually be) Commander in Chief. Momma would be head of the household then, bitches. Wouldn’t this subvert the traditional structure Wooten believes in? Would we see him arguing against a female president for the same reasons since it subverts the standard set up in conservative Christian biblical interpretation?

And my final beef on this is the whole Christian perspective. Perhaps it’s because this piece of shit was written by a chaplain that I noted the Christian undertone. I don’t fault the man for his misguided belief that some people aren’t entitled to be treated equally. Okay, I do fault him, but he’s entitled to his opinion even if he’s a fucktard. My point is that the military family isn’t Christian at all. The military bridges religious divides, in addition to the social and economic divides Wooten notes. There are athiests, Pagans, Buddhists, and Muslims in the ranks alongside the Christians. And in many of these families, the idea of procreation isn’t mandated*, a single point of authority on decisions and guidance isn’t a given, and if procreation has happened between a heterosexual couple, it’s not necessarily the mom who’s going to stay home to care for the ankle biters. And all of these ideas are implicit in Wooten’s description of a “normal authoritative structure” in a heterosexual couple’s family.

I guess to sum up, I’d have to say to this wee little lieutenant that he can take his dickbag assumptions and faulty comparisons and shove them up his tight little conservative asshole.

While we’re at it, though, I still wholeheartedly think we should apply the UCMJ (including DADT) to ALL sexual beings in the military. Until DADT is overturned, any braggart who talks about getting a blowjob from his wife or sticking his dick up her sweet back passage should get bounced. After all, that’s just as illegal according to the UCMJ as teh gay sexx0rs.

*since apparently procreative family structures only are approved…and let’s not even get into the issues of infertility in this divine Wooten family structure

Cross-posted from Just Another Snarky Navy Wife

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laya permalink
    August 11, 2010 9:20 pm

    I’ll be going to Law school AND Divinity school soon enough, and while I like to think I’m qualified enough to comment on what you wrote, I also know that I could never put it quite as eloquently as you did.

    Particularly the last paragraph.

    So yes, I agree. On everything, especially what you touched on regarding gender norms and the inherent contradiction in terms the military poses when it refers to the Army family as being a “traditional family.” I still think it’s funny, however, that the people who are the strongest advocates for traditional families and traditional marriages have a tendency to be the most hypocritical: affairs (straight and gay!), abuse, and prostitution galore!

    Matthew 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

    Seriously though, if I could find a way to use asshattery in ANY paper referring to gender standards or traditional family values in graduate school, I’ll let you know.

  2. TammyJ permalink
    August 11, 2010 9:49 pm

    I read a piece by Tony Perkins of the “Family Research Council” a few weeks back about how repealing DADT infringed on the freedom of religion rights of chaplains. It was so laughable… except that he was serious. I guess he thought the military existed to serve as a flock for the chaplains, not that the chaplains were there to serve the miltiary flock. Loved it when the chaplains at Andrews AFB disinvited Perkins to the National Day of Prayer function because Perkins would not be able to provide a welcoming presence to all the airmen at the base.

  3. Sara G. permalink
    August 12, 2010 1:09 pm

    If a service member is too concerned about whether or not someone is a homosexual to be combat ready, I think they need to go find something else to do. Personally, I don’t want someone so easily distracted fighting for my freedoms. Grow up people!

  4. Laya permalink
    August 12, 2010 11:44 pm

    I hate dominating a discussion, but I thought that this might have some interest for the overall group.

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