Ron Paul’s Religious Bullshit on DADT

Or why Ron Paul won’t take a solid position.  A while back, I observed that Ron’s evolving position on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell seemed promising (and of course his supporters were quick to hail, slow to critique).  I wondered:

If he would simply change the scope, then Ron Paul has only taken an illusory step forward, as he would potentially still be providing cover for homophobic personnel policy within the military.  If he would remove the statement entirely, this would be a remarkable move for the campaign to make.

Well, guess which one it was (via Pam Spaulding, Pandagon)?

Paul is then asked about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Lofton first goes into a fairly lengthy diatribe about how all sinners need to be booted from the military.

LOFTON: We’ll try to stop anyone from getting in the military who is a homosexual, who is an adulterer, who is a fornicator, and then other categories that indicate a character flaw. Why we shouldn’t try to do that?”PAUL: Looking it in protecting the military if they are going to perform the services, and they are imperfect — because we’re all imperfect and we all sin. If a heterosexual or homosexual sins, that to me is the category of dealing with their own soul. Since we cannot have only perfect people going in the military I want to separate the two because I don’t want to know the heterosexual flaws, nor the homosexual flaws and that’s why I got in some trouble with some of the civil libertarians because I don’t have any problem with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Because I don’t think that, for the practicality of running a  military, I’d just as soon not know every serious thing that any heterosexual or homosexual did, and those flaws have to do with all our flaws because each and everyone one of us has those imperfections.

This is ridiculous. Again, heteronormativity blinds Paul to the fact that gays don’t want the repeal of DADT to have sex in the barracks — gays and lesbians simply do not want to hide their orientation. Heterosexuals serving our country are able to speak openly about their lives — a partner back home, for instance, without fearing that they will be kicked out of the military. Heterosexuality, and the culture that surrounds it, is everywhere, presumed and affirmed.

In other words, this isn’t about removing a failed policy.  It is about changing the scope.  No word at all about keeping religion out of the military.  And that is not surprising given Ron Paul’s worrying positions on religion in the US.   So much so that I can comfortably say the man is a right wing religious fundamentalist in libertarian’s clothing.

Let’s take a closer look at his answer to this question:

LOFTON: Do you believe it [homosexuality] is a sin?

PAUL: I have not…I’m not as judgmental about that probably because of my medical background, so I don’t see it in those simplistic terms; I think it’s a complex issue to decide whether it’s sin or other problems with the way people are born. It’s to me too complex to give an answer as simple as that.

In other words, homosexuality is either a sexual deformity or a sin.  Nice.  Do you suppose he would be supportive of pre-natal anti-gay treatments then?

Ron’s position on gays in the military is an excellent indicator.  Both of his moral fiber and his position on gay rights.  Here is a man who is clearly trying his best to have it both ways.  To appear a defender of libertarian ideals, common sense and gay rights, and also a good radical Christian who believes issues of sin(rather than say, crime) have their place in the military.  In one interview he hints that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is bull, and should be changed.  In another, he insists it is about sin, and that sin should be kept hidden.  In other words, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but for every sin, every flaw (emphasis mine):

Since we cannot have only perfect people going in the military I want to separate the two because I don’t want to know the heterosexual flaws, nor the homosexual flaws and that’s why I got in some trouble with some of the civil libertarians because I don’t have any problem with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

There you are.  Ron Paul’s position on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  In direct competition with his position on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

He was kicked out, for no real good reason at all, and I would, I would want to change that, I don’t support that interpretation

Which is it?  Given his other positions on the role of religion in the public sphere, I’m thinking it is his latest position:  Ron Paul doesn’t have a problem with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He has a problem with straight talk.

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27 Responses

  1. DADT is not the sort of thing that brings nations crashing down. Pointless wars, punitive taxes, worthless currency, these are issues upon which nations founder.

    Is DADT really worth rejecting America’s best chance at freedom?

  2. Who care about your anti Ron Paul drivel.

  3. Rich Paul,
    I don’t buy, for a second, the standard Ron Paul supporter line that he is this country’s best chance at freedom. He’s just another religious conservative pretending to be more, who happens to have the right stance on some issues (war), and the wrong stance on others (universal health care). But when it comes down to it, his stance on state’s rights and gay rights will give us a fractured country, where some states become straight up Christianist. That is not freedom. Its Theocracy.

    J.C.
    If you are going to take the time to comment, why not put some effort into it?

  4. I think you’re reaching, here. These quotes aren’t nearly as dangerous as you make them out to be. And at any rate, what politician running doesn’t claim to be a ‘Christian’?

  5. If you look at his opinions about this, he’s clearly not too excited about homosexuality (neither are most of the democratic candidates), but he has NO interest taking away any rights from anyone.

    I believe he didn’t understand how serious DADT is; that it can mean someone gets kicked out of the military. I heard him more recently in an interview at Google, where someone explained more indepth about the specifics of this policy, and he basically said flat out, “Oh! Well I don’t support that”

    In a debate, he said, “If there is homosexual activity in the military that is DISRUPTIVE, then it should not be tolerated…BUT if there is heterosexual behavior that is disruptive, it SHOULD ALSO NOT BE TOLERATED.”

    This man clearly wants the government to treat all people the same, regardless of religious, ethical, or sexual orientation.

    There is a long list of homosexuals that support him; one of my heroes for instance: Just Raimondo of Antiwar.com

    -Chad

  6. Chad,
    How does a homosexual’s support for a homophobe erase his homophobia?

    I’m quite familiar with the google interview. I quoted from it in my post. I also quoted from his more recent American View interview. In which he directly contradicts his earlier statement, and says he does not have a problem with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    I don’t know how you can say he “clearly wants the government to treat all people the same”. The federal government, maybe. He’s perfectly fine with states banning gay marriage.

    And even at the federal level, his idea of treating people the same is not a good thing. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is bad policy. Extending it to cover all so called “sinful” behavior is not a wise move.

    I don’t see, at all, what is honorable or good about “Permitted unless you get caught”. Ron Paul seems fine with this, so long as it applies to everything the Bible says is wrong.

  7. Steve,
    I’d say we are seeing enough to know that Ron Paul is against gay rights. He only acted against the national marriage act because it was national. In fact, I think if we were to look at Ron’s positions at the state level, he’d be indistinguishable from most right wing hacks, save for his isolationism.

    Plenty of politicians are quite open about their religion. That’s fine, but some actually act to insert that religion into our public policy. Questions of “sin” have no place in our armed forces. Questions of crime do.

  8. Give the guy a break. He’s running for the Republican nomination. Most Libertarians put idealism ahead of pragmatism, and it shows in their poll results. He’s already closer to the presidency than any Libertarian in history. If he has to pander to social conservatives to get there, I’m OK with that. No candidate is ever going to be perfect. But as a Libertarian, on balance, I like what I see.

  9. John,
    No, I will not give him a break. I hold Obama to account for his dangerous rhetoric on Pakistan, and every candidate to account for their flaws. Why should I just gleefully ignore Ron Paul’s? Especially since he is billed as such a savior and idealist, when he’s every inch the standard politician. You’re argument cuts at the core of his appeal, as a man who is willing to speak the truth to power.
    Once you remove the veil of “state’s rights”, Ron Paul is far from being a libertarian. He’s for banning gay marriage and reproductive rights. What’s libertarian about that?

  10. And the claws come out … chuckle.

  11. Ron Paul has stated clearly numerous times that he does not recognize gay rights, women’s rights, or minority rights. He only recognizes individual rights and sees all individuals as having equal rights. He has also made it clear that he does not think gays should be discriminated against in the military, that only “disruptive” sex should be an issue and he guessed that disruptive sex is more often heterosexual. He is not for banning gay marriage. He has clearly stated he doesn’t care who does what with whom as long as it is voluntary – he wants the government out of it.

    Get your facts straight. Ron is an individualist and uninterested in all that bigoted group-think nonsense.

  12. This blog is irrelevant. Ron thinks in terms of individuals not groups.

    If people are doing something inapprorpriate then that’s the thing.
    If they are just gay so what.
    Honestly….he’s the most tolerant candidate out there.

    This blog is BS and you should just STFU.

  13. bret,
    heh, zing!

    John Howard,
    Ok, there are two problems with that.
    One, is that spinning all efforts towards civil rights, gay rights, etc as “group-think” is bull. Efforts to prohibit discrimination aren’t group-think, they are attempts to stop group-think.
    Second, is that I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that Ron Paul doesn’t think about groups when he talks about the potential sin of homosexuality. When he compares “disruptive sexual behavior” on the part of heterosexuals to simply knowing somone is homosexual. The walk doesn’t match the talk.

    I’ve got my facts straight. Why refuse to look them in the eye?

    NH,
    Ok, then don’t comment here. Obviously my opinion doesn’t matter, so why respond?

    The thing is, “If they are just gay so what”, as policy, would be the opposite of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the opposite of Ron Paul’s position on the issue.

    “Honestly….he’s the most tolerant candidate out there.”
    Not by a long shot. Try Kucinich, or any of the other Democratic candidates who actually oppose Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Not to mention being one of the few candidates to oppose the civil rights act. Ron Paul is hardly tolerant.

  14. first off, great blog…

    perhaps if we stopped with this invisible man sham, we could get away from all those things that upset ppl cuz it might upset the invisible man…

    i still don’t understand why LSD is illegal but fundamentalism isn’t…

  15. For the Record, several of my many Gay friends have said I was the least homophobic straght guy they knew. But I have little tolerance for people who would destroy a freedom-oriented system for their own personal preferences, and at the same time ask everyone else to finance and supprot this destruction.

    There are many people of all kinds who will do ANYTHING to maintain their imagined status as a Victim. Especially if they think they can attain the status of Sanctioned Victim and get money or special privileges or whatever from the Mommy State, and get the Mommy State to take care of them, rather than stand on their own merits. Therefore, they will remain blind to anything or anyone that will benefit the vast majority of human beings, regardless of the candidates orientation about anything.

    Elimination of States Rights — and therefore Individual Rights — was achieved by corporations — primarily via the UN-Civil War and 14th Amendment — so they could over-ride the local laws, customs and preferences of diverse populations in the various States. This is also the agenda of the anti-free-enterprise capitalists who have, from behind the scenes but well documented, financed the United Nations, WTO, ExIm Bank, World Bank, and so on, to clear the way for their transnational and anti-individual freedom ambitions.

    The U.S. FedGov was never intended to have ANYTHING to do with local or social or personal issues. Why? Forced conformity destroys everyone, one way or another. Centralized Power destroys everyone, eventually. If nothing else, world history demonstrates that fact.

    And, if the Federal Government has the power to affect personal and social issues like sex, health-care and golf, which the U.S. Supreme Court has claimed the FedGov does, then the FedGov have the power to do ANYTHING they want to WHOEVER they want, WHENEVER they want, including throw you in jail for whatever reason they want, including no reason at all. — This is already happening, just as it did under Abraham Lincoln.

    THAT issue has FAR more importance than whether or not you can have sex whenever you want, or what kind you want. That is a local issue, not a Federal issue, and, like abortion and welfare, it should be kept that way.

    Like so many issues, the Special Interests go to the Feds and Supreme Court because they know they cannot stand on democratic principles. They can only get their way through anti-democratic power politics. They prefer the primitive power of the federal gun rather than peaceful persuasion. So they destroy the system for temporary relief of their short-term personal preferences.

    It is not the job of a federal candidate — like Ron Paul — to be in agreement with every little whim of every person who cannot hold their own in life without the Mommy State protecting them. It is the sworn job of a Federal candidate to enforce the Constitution, which overtly states that all such issues, like sex and sexual orientation, are outside of the scope of the Federal Government, and should be handled at the local level.

    If you cannot look your local community in the face and stand up for yourself, and prove your worth to them, do not ask Mommy to do it for you. Nor ask the rest of us to pay for it in more ways than one, taxation and loss of Individual Rights being only two.

  16. Thanks revmanny,
    I think doing away with religion entirely might be a touch, how shall I say it? Extreme.

    David Scott Lynn,

    I knew this was going to be a good comment. It was long, and you started off with a “for the record” disclaimer that could only mean I would experience a subtle joy as you proved your disclaimer utterly wrong. You did not dissapoint.

    Ron’s position on DADT has nothing to do with the “Mommy State”, or people pretending to be victims. Its Ron supporting a fundamentalist “Daddy State” that doesn’t like Gay people.

    And you are dead wrong about the US Federal Government. It was intended to do a lot. I’ll post more on that later.

    There are a lot of issues that are more important than this, to be sure. But this is still an important issue, and Dr Paul doesn’t get a free pass because “Gay Rights don’t matter”.

    (Can you explain how DADT is a local issue, by the way?)

  17. fitnessfortheoccasion wrote: “and the wrong stance on others (universal health care).”

    Can you explain to me why you think people deserve the fruits of another man’s labor? I work hard; I pay my own health costs. Why should MY money be forcibly taken from ME to pay for the health care of another? Should it not be my choice? And if you say it won’t cost ME money, where is that money coming from?

    Lowering the Cost of Health Care
    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=474

    Diagnosing our Health Care Woes
    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=479

    Medical costs can be cut with freedom
    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=76

    I would say Ron Paul is absolutely correct when it comes to Healthcare. Get the government out of it.

    And on the issue of DADT, it is interesting that you attack him on his viewpoint, considering the source of the interview and the fact that his position wasn’t anti-gay enough for that site’s audience.
    From:
    http://www.theamericanview.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1903
    “Sorry to say, we are disappointed with Dr. Paul’s response on homosexuality, and the fact that he would not call it sin. Due to his lack of interest in restraining or halting the homosexual agenda which threatens my children and grand-children’s freedom, I will not be supporting Ron Paul for President.”

  18. Tim,
    First, let me say, a most excellent response. Well said and with proof to back it up.

    On Health Care, not so compelling. If we socialize health care, and make it a universal fact, we lower costs across the board for everyone. We pay for those costs now in a range of forms, from higher premiums to lives lost. Let’s look at that last one. People die because they are denied care.
    For me, this is a moral issue. We are not talking about taking everything someone earns to pay for the health care of some bum. We are talking about raising taxes to ensure no one has to worry about health care coverage when they are working 3 jobs, and too “rich” for medicare. So that children aren’t condemned to a lack of coverage because their parents don’t make enough to afford it, and don’t have a job that provides it.

    In the end all Ron Paul is arguing for is how to make our existing Health Care system more efficient and less costly. Which is a nice bandaid, but I’m more interested in the root of the problem.

    On DADT, it is interesting that his position wasn’t radical enough for that site’s audience (although they might be employing a little overton window magic by saying so). But his words speak for themselves, and the fact that he was speaking to such a fundamentalist audience shouldn’t cause him to drop his principles and put on a happy face. Whatever his intention, he did end up contradicting his earlier stance on DADT, going from “we should change it” to “I don’t have a problem with it”. This isn’t an evolving position change made over the years with the aid of experience.

    It is a politician pandering to two different audiences.

  19. “For me, this is a moral issue”
    So you want the government to legislate morality? What happens when the morals contradict your own? This seems to be the case with DADT. You see the problem there? Once you let the government start legislating morality you are at their mercy. That also happens to be the problem with Roe v. Wade. By allowing the Federal government to in-effect “legalize” abortion, especially at the federal level you put yourself in the position where it could be changed. ‘What happens if the majority opinion changes to anti-abortion? You have already ok’d abortion laws at the federal level. You could just as easily find a federal anti-abortion law in effect. This is why Ron Paul would rather leave these difficult moral/social issues at the local/state level. So people can construct the government they want, all under the umbrella of the US Government.

    “taking everything someone earns to pay for the health care of some bum.”
    It doesn’t matter if you are taking some or all. You are still STEALING the fruits of MY labor for the benefit of another. That is what charity is for, my choice.
    Incidentally, from what I have read, this is also Ron Paul’s problem with the IRS. Let’s say you pay 30% or your income to the IRS, by making the income tax mandatory the government is in effect saying, “It is OUR money and we are ALLOWING you to keep ‘this much'” The IRS is a moral issue for Ron Paul, he does not feel that others deserve to benefit from my labor. It is quite an interesting viewpoint, is it not?

    On DADT, I think Ron Paul is truly conflicted on the issue. I think when he first said in the debate that DADT is a fair law; he was taking it at face value. “It is none of anybody else’s business what my sexual preferences/actions are, as long as my actions are not hurting anybody else.” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell sounds like that, right? i.e.: Nobody’s business. Now we know that is not how it has been enforced. It seems Ron Paul learned that it was no being enforced in that manner. That it was still being used to discriminate. He referred to an individual that had met with him to discuss the issue, after being kicked out of the military. I am under the impression that he is still mulling it over. He does not have a history of pandering; let’s see where he goes with this.

    At the same time, he is between a rock and a hard place with the DADT issue. He is trying to win the GOP nomination. I think he personally would rather have sexuality be a non-issue with the military. At the same time, the media is trying to paint him as weak on defense — not true, but save that debate for another debate — and coming out against DADT now, would surely hurt his chanced. But like I said above, lets see what he comes up with; I doubt we anybody that believes in Liberty will disappointed.

    And final note on healthcare, I have never seen any government program run more efficiently than an equivalent privately run program; or charity-run program for that matter.

  20. geez, I should have reread that before I posted it, there were a few typos. It has been a long weekend, I hope it is still readable.

  21. Tim,

    “For me, this is a moral issue”
    So you want the government to legislate morality?

    No, I want the government to act morally.

    It doesn’t matter if you are taking some or all. You are still STEALING the fruits of MY labor for the benefit of another.

    Two things. 1. that applies equally to ALL taxes you pay.
    2. By living in a society, you agree to this. You get a firestation, the police, roads, and other bits of infrastructure and services. You pay for this with taxes. How is that stealing?

    The problem with Ron Paul’s conflicted stance on DADT is we are left speculating. If he “learned” a lesson about it at Google, why did he immediately reverse course when he was talking to a fundamentalist talk show host?

    Given he is clearly pandering here, I don’t buy that he doesn’t have a history of pandering. I think it is more likely his supporters are just glossing over past instances of pandering.

    At the same time, he is between a rock and a hard place with the DADT issue. He is trying to win the GOP nomination. I think he personally would rather have sexuality be a non-issue with the military. At the same time, the media is trying to paint him as weak on defense — not true, but save that debate for another debate — and coming out against DADT now, would surely hurt his chanced.

    Actually coming out, strongly, against DADT would help his appearance on defense. “My opponents care more about sexuality than they do about keeping us safe. I understand that a good military needs the best people, regardless of orientation. And as President I will act on that.” That’s not hard to say, if it is what you believe.

    And for the final note on health care, I have never seen a private program that serves an entire nation, or that guarentees coverage to everyone, regardless of “prior conditions” or any other considerations.

  22. (Yes, quite readable. Typos suck.)

  23. I think we have some philosophical disagreements; and I must sign off for tonight.
    However, this statement you just made is quite brilliant, and I could imagine Ron Paul saying just that. Kudos!
    “My opponents care more about sexuality than they do about keeping us safe. I understand that a good military needs the best people, regardless of orientation. And as President I will act on that.”

  24. Thanks!

    Indeed we do have some philosophical disagreements. Factual as well. A man who opposes gay marriage and has no problem with DADT would never say something like that.

    I wish he would.

  25. TAXES: income tax does not pay for police, roads, or firestations. Those are local, city taxes, or gas taxes. Answer the questions with truth.

  26. tim,
    (different than Tim I believe, by email)

    By living in a society, you agree to this. You get a firestation, the police, roads, and other bits of infrastructure and services. You pay for this with taxes. How is that stealing?

    You’ll notice I just said “taxes”. Your critique doesn’t apply.

  27. Actually Tim, your income taxes do pay for a lot of that. Half or more of the cost of highways any highway comes from federal monies. Police and firemen training and equipment, especially in the form of joint task forces against drugs or other forms of crime are partially financed from the federal coffers. And agencies like the DEA and the FBI conduct a lot of policing at the local level, beyond the capabilities of the local governments, and their salaries are payed by everybody that pays federal income taxes.

    The problem here is that Libertarianism taken to its logical conclusion is a form of Anarchism, all things done at the most atomic/local level, leading to balkanization of the nation.

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