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A Christian Officer and DADT

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Lt. Col. Stacy L Maxey has written a letter to Stars and Stripes indicating that he has plans to violate military regulations following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Or something like that. Actually it’s hard to tell precisely what he plans to do. One paragraph of the letter reads:

Here’s the truth: I will continue to witness to who I want, when I want and where I want. My commitment to my God supersedes my commitment to the DOD and, if officials are upset about that, then I guess they can “learn to deal with it.”

Now it’s hard to tell precisely what he means by “witnessing” but it appears his plans include things that would violate regulations–regulations that exist for very good reasons. I was not a Christian while I was in the Air Force, and I encountered situations in which I was very glad there was protection from officers who felt their religious views could be forced on others appropriately.

While I support the repeal of DADT, and am glad to see it happen after so many years (note to objectors: straight servicemen and women have been serving with gay servicemen and women for years, and often we knew it quite well; our unit cohesion did not evaporate), my post is not about that issue.

There is one way in which I support Lt. Col. Maxey, and this is it.  He is absolutely right that his “commitment to [his]God supersedes [his] commitment to the DOD” and he must obey God first. I say that without any form of sarcasm. I believe it.

But he also took an oath (or made an affirmation) as an officer in the U. S. Air Force, and that promise is also sacred. For those who may quote Jesus saying not to swear at all (Matthew 5:33-37), let me point out that Jesus was calling for a higher, not a lower standard of honesty, one in which a simple “yes” or “no” was your commitment.

There is an option for someone who cannot carry out the duties of an officer in good conscience:  Resign your commission.  It comes down to this.  If you can’t obey Caesar’s laws, don’t take Caesar’s money.

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