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FRC & DADT: New Messengers, Same (bad) message

September 20, 2010, 3:00 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

This week Congress will likely vote on whether to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A strong majority of the American public, including most religious demographics, favor revoking the policy, which subjects gay and lesbian service members to discharge if their sexual orientation is revealed. However, religious right organizations continue to defend this discriminatory policy. The Family Research Council held a webcast news conference today featuring African-American pastors from five states speaking in favor of preserving the military’s policy of expelling LGBT service members.

I hope news coverage of this event notes that more African-American protestants favor repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell than favor keeping it (46% to 41%), according to a survey released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Rev. Derrick Harkins, senior pastor of 19th Street Baptist Church, one of Washington, DC’s most historic African-American churches, had this to say when I talked to him today:

America’s military should not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, just as they no longer discriminate on the basis of race. It’s an issue of basic fairness, as well as a practical matter. The military should not be hampered from recruiting and retaining well-trained, courageous men and women who want to serve their country. Repealing the outdated, impractical, unjust ban of gay and lesbian service members will strengthen America’s military and reflect American values.

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