March 15, 2007

Gen. Pace, Homophobia is Only Part of the Problem

I can't stand it any longer - I have to sound off on Gen. Pace's recent condemnation of homosexuals. I get madder every time I think about this. Maybe this will make me feel a little better. The point I'll be making here is that Pace's homophobia, as despicable as it is, is only part of the problem here.

On the off chance that you somehow missed this story, this is what General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an interview with the Chicago Tribune on March 12:
"My upbringing is such that I believe there are certain things, certain types of conduct, that are immoral. ... I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts."
As important as his words was the context in which they were spoken. Pace expressed his intolerance after he was asked about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Pace indicated that he supports this policy and the above quote was his rationale for doing so. The policy is a good idea because homosexual acts are immoral, and the military should not condone immoral behavior.

Forget for a second that Pace, a high-ranking government official in a democratic nation supposedly concerned with protecting minority rights, actually said that sexual behavior between two consenting adults was immoral. Forget that this blatant homophobia has been met with condemnation from progressives and applause from Christian and Jewish leaders (also see here) and ultra-conservative politicians hoping to land the GOP presidential nomination.

If you strip away the bigotry, you are left a powerful government official defending an important policy with nothing more than his own personal opinion, one undoubtedly influenced by religion. Pace himself has since issued a statement in which he stops short of apologizing but says that he should have focused "less on my personal moral views" when discussing the policy. You think?

I am so sick of our elected and appointed officials relying on nothing more than personal opinions and prejudices as the basis for important decisions with wide-ranging effects. We deserve better! Important decisions should be based on reason and science rather than superstition and bigotry. Gen. Pace has the right to his beliefs, however wrong they may be. He should not have the right to impose them on others when they are based on nothing but uninformed opinion.

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