Action Alert!


By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 23, 2010

Over on the America magazine site, Father James Martin is rejoicing that Congress chose—in a “respectful, compassionate and sensitive act of justice”-- to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He argues that all good Catholics should join in the celebration:

Since today's repeal of DADT says nothing about gay marriage (nor would it have been approved by lawmakers if it had), since it does not contradict church teaching on that matter, and since it takes a strong stance against "unjust discrimination" against gays and lesbians, as the Catechism encourages, will Catholics rejoice over this news? 

A casual reader, stumbling across this post, might conclude that the Catholic Church has nothing against homosexuality, provided that it does not lead to marriage. A more careful reading of the Catechism, including the paragraph just before the one that Father Martin cites, should correct that error.

Still more striking about Father Martin’s post, however, is the ease with which he assumes that any discrimination against homosexuals in the military is necessarily unjust discrimination. Are there, then, no legitimate grounds on which to exclude avowed homosexuals from the ranks? Does Father Martin have the military expertise that would be necessary to identify the traits that are required of a good soldier?

Excluding homosexuals from military service is discrimination, to be sure. But is it unjust discrimination? The question is critical; the failure to address it is remarkable. Because proponents of same-sex marriage make exactly the same assumption: that any discrimination is necessarily unjust.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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