With DADT done, could the next military culture war be waged over atheist chaplains? (And isn’t “atheist chaplain” a contradiction in terms, anyway?)
Mother Jones talks with the Iraq vet who’s spearheading a humanist movement in the ranks: “You can’t convert people to gay. You can convert people to atheist. And I think that worries a lot of people, even if we’re not trying to do that.”
At the Reagan Library debate in California, attendees memorably broke into a spontaneous round of applause in support of Rick Perry’s record on the death penalty. At last week’s debate in Tampa, a handful of audience members cheered the prospect of a man without health insurance being left to die. And on Thursday in Orlando, a chorus of boos erupted when a gay Army veteran asked former Sen. Rick Santorum if he should still be allowed to serve the country in Iraq.
“It is disturbing to note the continuing remnants of a pervasive culture in Naval Aviation that mistakenly accepts that a certain, extreme level of coarse humor is acceptable and necessary to develop young aviators into effective warriors and community leaders. Over the past two decades, Naval Aviation has been blemished by such behavior. Sincere, focused efforts to correct this stain on the aviation community have not solved the problem.”
Jen Hogg’s New York Army National Guard unit was called up shortly after 9/11. While straight soldiers kissed loved ones goodbye, she says, “I couldn’t. I could only sneak a quick hug with my partner.” No one asked, Hogg didn’t tell, and in 2005, she received an honorable discharge as a sergeant. Jo Ann Santangelo photographed Hogg (left) and her partner Jackie Scalone for Proud to Serve, a book about gays and lesbians in uniform in the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell era.
“Although I am not closeted, the fact that I am gay does not come up in my job as a professor at the War College…I’m sure that my sexuality does not fit with the private views of every Marine. But it doesn’t have to…In my experience with the Marines, professionalism trumps sexuality.” —Tammy Schultz, answering the question “Why are the Marines the military’s biggest backers of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” in the Washington Post. (USMC photo by Cpl. Daniel Woodall)
While it certainly applied to their sexuality, I discovered more levels of significance as almost all of these service members had fought in the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade. The invisibility of these wars, as well as our lack of recognition toward everyone in the military and their efforts, became a powerful inspiration for the work and an added metaphor within the title, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.