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Chaplains Speak Out

Earlier this week three retired military chaplains – representing the Army, Navy and Air Force – expressed their support for repeal of DADT in a statement issued by VoteVets.org.

In preparing their position paper, Charles D. Camp, Chaplain (Colonel), USA (Ret.), John F. Gundlach, CAPT, CHC, USN (Ret.), and Jerry Rhyne, Chaplain (Colonel), USAF (Ret.) wrote, "We were mindful of the primary mission of the Armed Forces to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We consulted with fellow Chaplains as well as veterans representing all the Services in all ranks and ratings from E-1 through O-8. We also spoke with numerous combat veterans including those who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan."

In their analysis, the chaplains recognize that open service would have no negative effect on unit cohesion or morale, referencing Col. Om Prakash’s pro-repeal essay in the Pentagon’s recent edition of Joint Forces Quarterly and the 1993 study by the RAND Corp. They cite a 2006 Zogby poll showing that 73 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan are comfortable serving with their gay and lesbian comrades.

The successful experiences of other countries in implementing open service is also cited as further proof that the military is helped, not hurt, by openly gay and lesbian patriots:

The experience of our foreign military allies is unequivocal proof that the presence of known gays in the military has no negative effect on combat readiness. Our British, Canadian and Australian allies, currently fighting with us in Iraq and Afghanistan, allow gays to serve without restriction. Israeli Defense Forces, charged with defending a country that is constantly threatened by its neighbors and virtually always in a state of war, have long allowed known gays to serve.

The chaplains understand that gay and straight service members are professionals and can handle open service.