Tag Archives: gays in the military

More Clinton White House records to be released

The National Archives said it plans to release 2,000 pages of documents from former President Bill Clinton’s administration on June 6, covering a wide range of topics including Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, gays in the military and the Supreme Court nominations of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

The papers have been closely watched this spring as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton considers a second presidential campaign. The former first lady’s new book on her State Department years, “Hard Choices,” will be released next week.

More than 15,000 pages of records from the Clinton White House have been distributed since February, offering details into the administration’s unsuccessful attempt to overhaul the health care system, how it responded to GOP victories in the 1994 elections and how the former first lady’s aides sought to shape her public image.

The records to be released on June 6 could offer more insight into Clinton’s decisions during the 1990s.

Gore’s presidential campaign dominated the final year of the administration — including a lengthy recount saga in Florida —and he ultimately lost to George W. Bush despite winning the popular vote. Clinton’s administration created the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy that addressed gays serving in the armed services, and it dealt with two Supreme Court vacancies during his first term.

Another topic will involve records related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Congress passed the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which established an assassination records review board during Clinton’s tenure to carry out release of records.

Other topics will include the administration’s handling of international crises in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia; its response to terrorism; the Oklahoma City bombing and efforts to spread democratic reform in Cuba.

The memos, drafts of speeches and other papers are being disseminated through the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Un-Christian chaplains

As a longtime advocate for equal rights for all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, I am deeply troubled by the views expressed in today’s letter from a group of retired military chaplains to President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates. It is so fraught with illogical reasoning, one almost does not know where to begin in discussing its content.

The chaplains claim that their religious freedoms would be threatened if gays serve openly in the military. Yet, repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” in no way would hinder chaplains from voicing their personal moral convictions and theological doctrines. The chaplaincy should represent the diversity of faiths in the military, not simply one point of view.

Similarly, the chaplains argue that this would impact their “ability to counsel” because “service members seeking guidance regarding homosexual relationships will place chaplains in an untenable position.” By this logic, we also should ban all service members whose gambling habits, treatment of spouses, and views on abortion, politics, or the economy are not in line with those of the chaplains.

As a Baptist minister, I frequently counsel people whose beliefs on a number of subjects are not exactly in line with the religious or moral values that I embrace.

Such a challenge in counseling comes with the territory of being a clergy member.

If forced to interact with gays in the military, this group of chaplains says they will be presented with a moral conundrum. Yet, Jesus said we are to love other people as he loved us – the love of Jesus was inclusive beyond measure and graceful beyond imagination. The views expressed by the chaplains are the antithesis of the themes of love and inclusion commended and demonstrated by the Christ from whom they form their religious identity.

Repealing DADT is a step forward in equality and justice for all citizens. When chaplains find the government’s pursuit of these goals to be a threat to their values, we must ask whether something is askew with their values.

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President, Interfaith Alliance