Once again, as in 2008, Sen. John McCain has led conservatives over a cliff. Both defeats were a result of a conscious decision to unilaterally disarm morally and allow spurious claims to go unchallenged.
When an opponent advances by asserting moral authority, it's powerful even when wrong, as just occurred in the Senate vote to overturn the military's ban on homosexuality. The most effective defense is a superior moral offensive. That did not happen.
To his credit, the veteran soldier Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, took up the cause. But weeks ago, he insisted that the debate be limited to combat readiness (a good argument, but in isolation, not a winning hand), procedure and timing. Even some pro-family groups bought into self-censorship. And the conservative talk show hosts were for the most part AWOL. That's why the moral invertebrates that populate some of the GOP leadership refrained from making a clear case. They also failed to examine the core issue -- homosexual behavior, and its impact on morale, health, discipline and the freedoms of soldiers to disagree.
Contrast this with the GOP's unexpected defeat of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's omnibus spending bill. Now, there's something they got passionate about - money. But when it came to protecting our servicemen and women, the rallying cry was basically "run out the clock."
Instead of using the military debate to bring to light many suppressed facts that could cripple the homosexual juggernaut if Americans only knew, they played by their opponents' rule book.
In "After the Ball," a 1989 gay-strategy manual, two Harvard-trained public relations experts warn that "the public should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex per se should be downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to an abstract social question." Elsewhere, the authors say, "first, you get your foot in the door by being as similar as possible; then and only then ... can you start dragging in your other peculiarities, one by one. You hammer in the wedge narrow end first ... allow the camel's nose beneath your tent, and his whole body will soon follow."
With Democrats and turncoats like Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, and Sen. Scott Brown, Massachusetts Republican, falsely framing military service as a "civil right," the focus remained off behavior and morality. Hapless defenders such as Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican, fell back to saying things like "this is not the time to do this," as if there ever were a good time to turn the U.S. military into a gay mecca with zero tolerance for chaplains and anyone else who disagrees.
Moral arguments against repeal were AWOL during Saturday's cloture debate. All the moral posturing was on the side of repeal. Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, even had the gall to cite the Declaration of Independence in support of open homosexuality in our military. That was nearly up there with Barack Obama invoking Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount in 2008 to support homosexual civil unions.
When Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly at a 2009 House hearing tried to introduce the reality of homosexuality in the barracks and other intimate environs, she was jeered repeatedly by viciously rude congressmen who followed the gay rulebook. As is typical, Ms. Donnelly's bravery drew virtually no defense from Republicans on the committee. She was then mocked the next day in one of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's funhouse-mirror treatments.
Here are some more cards Republicans refused to play:
* All major religions teach the primacy of sex between husbands and wives and the immorality of homosexuality. Enforcing acceptance of homosexuality may endear us to the weak sisters of Western Europe, but it puts the United States military in conflict with universal moral traditions. Between this and Hollywood, it shouldn't be hard for our enemies to make an even stronger case that we're "the Great Satan."
* Flawed science has been misused mightily. From Alfred Kinsey's fraudulent research in the 1940s to UCLA Prof. Evelyn Hooker's cooked psychological studies in the late 1950s to misreported "genetic" studies of the 1990s, the public has been browbeaten into ignoring biology, common sense and thousands of years of moral teaching about human sexuality.
* The obvious threat to the military blood supply. According to the Centers for Disease Control, men who have sex with men are 44 times more likely to have HIV and 46 more times to have syphilis. Even if gay men enter the services testing negatively, they're going to have sex in the most likely pool in which to become infected.
* Data compiled by the Family Research Council showing that homosexuals commit a disproportionate number of sexual assaults in the military, even with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
* Military history in which leaders such as John Adams, the father of the American Navy, stressed the irreplaceable element of moral character.
* It's important to emphasize that this battle is not over. For example, state Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Virginia Republican, has introduced legislation instructing the Virginia National Guard to bar homosexuality. That should spur similar legislation.
Virginia Col. Richard Black, U.S. Army retired, who was chief of the Army's criminal-law division and who compiled a list of 100 cases of homosexual misconduct, said, "Congress must amend Article 125, UCMJ, to permit consensual sodomy, which is now a serious crime. Otherwise, an intractable conflict would remain between regulation and law.
"The statutory ban imposed by 10 USC 654 [the 1993 law passed by Congress and watered down to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] was relatively new, dating back to the Clinton presidency. However, Gen. George Washington first instituted the ban in the Continental Army in 1778 by drumming out those who engaged in acts of sodomy. The homosexual ban has been maintained ever since. Obama breaks a 232-year military policy."
A more conservative Congress should restore the law. At some point, America's temporary plunge into moral insanity must end, or it will be the end of this self-governing republic that God has blessed so richly - up to now.
Robert Knight is a senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and the author of the new book "The Truth About Marriage: Defending God's Plan for the Family" (2010, coralridge.org).
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