When it comes to promulgating the crazy, Rep. Todd Akin (R-2) isn’t going to let GOP senatorial primary rival Sarah Steelman hog the spotlight (see also here). She may defend violent right-wing spokespeople, but he can actually legislate to defend Christian bullies in the military:
Congressman Todd Akin announced Tuesday he will offer an amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act that will protect military chaplains and other service members from persecution based on religious beliefs on sexuality.
See the text of the amendment (pdf) here. As Think Progress’ Zack Ford observes:
… under Akin’s amendment, any servicemember would have free reign to express anti-gay views, regardless of what consequences they have to unit morale. For example, homophobic officers could intimidate and condemn gay troops serving under them, compromising productivity and creating a hostile environment of disrespect and potential violence. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may no longer be law, but it seems Akin still wants a military that forces out its gay troops.
If the demise of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) had actually been accompanied by rules that would have forced military chaplins to act against their churches’ moral teachings, there might have been some point to
such legislation legislation that would have addressed that specific issue in a more appropriate way than Akin’s effort. But that’s never been the case. As noted by Dr. Israel Drazin, a rabbi and lawyer who, in his days as a brigadier general, served as Assistant Chief of Chaplins:
Our military has maintained the chaplains’ freedom to serve their congregations according to the principles of their faith for nearly two and a half centuries. There is no reason why this would change if gays and lesbians served openly in the military. Military chaplains are not required to perform services that violate their religious beliefs-a rabbi, for example, is not required to administer a Catholic’s last rite. So the claim that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will compel chaplains to violate their religious faith is blatantly false.
Dr. Drazin adds:
… chaplains must serve members of the military who hold different political, social, religious, and moral views. But they don’t have to endorse or support a particular point of view while doing this broader ministry work.
So why is Akin pursuing this waste of time? Could it be nothing more than a nasty little tantrum because he and his fellow bigots are going to loose the argument on this one? Today, President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage, and, noting the failure of Mitt Romney to rise to the occasion and behave like a decent human being, no less than Fox News’ Shep Smith observed that:
I am curious whether you believe in this time of rising debt and medical issues and all the rest, if Republicans would go out on a limb and try to make this a campaign issue while sitting very firmly without much question on the wrong side of history.
The same could be said of Akin’s effort to wring out one last bit of controversy from the repeal of DADT.