The announcement by the Pentagon Friday that permission was granted for the military chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriages or unions — on military bases located within state and local jurisdictions that legally recognize those weddings — touched off the expected firestorm of criticism from “corporate Christianity.”
Leading the charge were the usual suspects — Bryan Fischer from the ludicrously named “American Family Association,” Tony Perkins from the “Family Research Council,” not that one sees evidence of any thoughtful, credible, or factually accurate research emanating from FRC which he heads, and of course, the “corporate Christian’s darling, Elaine Donnelly, chief spokes….? well, chief publicist for the interestingly entitled “Center For Military Readiness,” which she and her apparently only other employee, husband Terry, run day-to-day out of their suburban Detroit, Mich. home. (As opposed to be located in the D. C. metropolitan area where Congress, the White House, and of course the Pentagon are located along with the U. S. defense establishment types.}
Rather than rehash the offensive vitriol that spewed forth from Perkins and Fischer, I instead am going to focus in on Donnelly, whose one-woman campaigns over the past three decades have cost many honorable U. S. career service members their livelihoods as they were forced to leave the military. Donnelly has a track record for waging conservative warfare on military personnel who run afoul of her beliefs.
In the 1990’s, Donnelly derailed the career
of a naval aviator, Lieutenant Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot. Donnelly insisted publicly that unqualified women were being promoted to fill gender quotas in the military. In the case of Lt. Lohrenz, Donnelly leaked the lieutenant’s confidential training records she obtained from an apparently misogynistic senior naval flight instructor.
Lohrenz had received high marks as a pilot, and her officer fitness reports were beyond reproach, however as Donnelly and her allies went after her, she was grounded. It later was revealed that the lieutenant along with other females serving in the Navy were ostracized by the men in their units.
Lohrenz angrily denounced Donnelly’s campaign against her saying; “She tried to destroy me.” Losing her prized job flying fighter jets, instead shifted to flying admirals and VIPs, Lohrenz eventually chose to leave the Navy.
Lohrenz sued Donnelly for defamation but lost when a federal appeals court ruled she was a public figure. Donnelly called the lawsuit “bogus” and charged that it was aimed at silencing her and bankrupting her organization.
With the Pentagon preparing for a post-DADT era and evaluating repeal of a key defense policy regarding the role of women in combat units, Donnelly lambasted the current administration:
“Yes, civilian culture has changed, not always for the better. But the military really has not. The military culture depends on obedience to orders,” she said.
“If we concede that the LGBT Left has ‘won’ it all, then President Obama will ‘own’ the LGBT/San Francisco military from that day forward.”
In an interview with the American Family Association’s propaganda organ, the so-called “christian news” OneNewsNow website Friday, Donnelly charged:
“The exception clause that a chaplain would not have to participate in such a union — if they choose not to — is really only a fig leaf,” says Donnelly, “because chaplains who assign certain duties [to someone else] that normally would be theirs … will suffer career penalties. We know this has already happened in some other countries that have done this — so it’s no reassurance at all.”
Donnelly sees the move is a blatant disregard of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“Chaplains are going to be very disturbed by it,” she continues. “I think everyone who cares about our chaplains and people of faith in the military have good reason to be dismayed.”
Donnelly foresees a GOP mandated rollback of the repeal and its effects.
“I think members of Congress are going to see to it that the legislation they have already passed in the House becomes law,” she tells OneNewsNow.
“And I think the next president and the next Congress [are] going to have to systematically take back each and every interpretation of what the new law means as the details start to unfold – as they did today.”
Significantly, there is a reasonable expectation that the House Armed Services Committee, which is chaired by two Über GOP conservatives, will call for hearings on this latest “attack” on American family values, and she will be called to testify.
What gives her the status to appear before Congress and make outrageous claims? A self-claimed “expert” on defense matters, the reality is that she has never served a day in uniform, yet Donnelly still manages to be considered a credible witness before Congress.
However, she still manages to put her foot in her mouth with some of her more outrageous claims. During the initial hearings on the DADT repeal by the House two years ago, Dana Milbank from the Washington Post noted:
Donnelly treated the panel to an extraordinary exhibition of rage. She warned of “transgenders in the military.” She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading “HIV positivity” through the ranks.
“We’re talking about real consequences for real people,” Donnelly proclaimed. Her written statement added warnings about “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,” the prospects of “forcible sodomy” and “exotic forms of sexual expression,” and the case of “a group of black lesbians who decided to gang-assault” a fellow soldier.
At the witness table with Donnelly, retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah, a lesbian, rolled her eyes in disbelief. Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, a gay man who was wounded in Iraq, looked as if he would explode.
Sadly, this is the reality, that a grouping of bigots, influential ones like Donnelly, can still sway Congress and members of the public into maintaining a stance of what amounts to ill-informed bigotry, biased perceptions, and in many cases outright fabrications about LGBTQ persons.
A sampling of comments after the article mirrors this fact:
The United States of Sodom… sad.– Grieg E. Mayberry, Top Commenter, Host of the Sunday Morning Gospel Show at KSTV-FM
When we get Obummer out of office, you sexual deviants will go back into you closets!– Clint McClure, Hope Mills, N.C.
I want a three way marriage between myself, my dog, and my goldfish. Of course, my wife won’t allow it. Where are my rights?– Mike Rowlett, Hardin High School
When do we get the lawsuits followed by the laws, where people were deceived by the federal Gov’t, that homosexuality was ok. And now the Medicare system is clogged by AIDS patients! Where are the stats for that? Even if you take the Bible out of the question how could you possibly expect anything good to come from putting a part of your anatomy in feces! Human feces was used in “booby traps” and resulted in death from bacterial infection, how could you expect anything less? How do we determine right from wrong? Public opinion? What’s next, pedophilia? After all the only difference is age or necrophilia at least one is already dead.– David Price, Top Commenter
So there you have it… and cue more bigots in 3… 2… 1.