December 17, 2010
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
On behalf of African American Ministers in Action, a project of People For the American Way, we write in strong opposition to all forms of discrimination against gay military personnel and in strong support of all actions needed to address and subsequently repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We welcome the House amendment to the Senate amendment of H.R. 2965 and urge its passage in the Senate. It is time to finally send repeal to the President’s desk.
Representing progressive African American faith leaders from around the country, African American Ministers in Action is a ministry of civil engagement and social justice that embraces the “beloved community” envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Consciously recognizing discrimination and oppression, we believe in justice and equality for all, and we support all members of the armed services, including gay servicemembers, who stand and defend our country. We support their individual and collective struggle for open and honest service in our military; true service that has been denied for more than 15 years.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is contradictory to the values and teachings progressive men and women of faith express weekly to their congregations. Values such as honor, integrity, faithfulness and service are common in places of worship and associated with the armed forces, not to mention equality and freedom of expression espoused by our Constitution. Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is necessary to restore these values. Until then, a segment of servicemembers will have to lie and hide their true identity on a daily basis. Those who live openly and share information about their spouses, significant others, or dating life risk investigation and involuntary expulsion. Any statement that one is gay – to anyone, at any time, before or after enlistment – can be reason for discharge. One’s life is a constant liability to one’s career for gay military personnel.
The faith community will continue in faithful dialogue to address the questions of LGBT equality and recognition of same-sex relationships. However, one thing people of faith should and do recognize is the need to protect constitutional and civil rights of all Americans, especially those who are discriminated against because of who they are. LGBT individuals are ready and willing to step up, and have stood up to the challenge of military service. They share in the sacrifices made by their family, friends, and neighbors. They deserve to serve honestly and openly with dignity.
There is a time and a season for every activity, every purpose. Now is the time, this is the season to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Reverend Timothy McDonald, III
African American Ministers In Action
Reverend Dr. Robert P. Shine
African American Ministers in Action
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