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In letter, Land urges Obama to reconsider stance on Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Posted on Dec 17, 2010 | by Staff

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WASHINGTON (BP)--Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land is asking President Obama to reconsider his stance on the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, urging the commander in chief to be guided by his Christian faith on the issue.

Obama wants to see the policy reversed, thus allowing open homosexuality in the U.S. military for the first time. Land says Southern Baptists applaud efforts "to lovingly and redemptively minister to homosexuals so they may find spiritual, sexual, and emotional wholeness in Christ." But Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says the current military policy should be supported.

The Senate this weekend could pass and send to Obama a bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"We believe it to be contrary to Scripture to commend open homosexual relationships in general, including within the military ranks," Land's letter reads. "Our nation has moved from God in so many ways and we are deeply concerned that an increasingly affirming policy toward homosexual behavior will provide further impetus for God's judgment on our nation.

"Our all-volunteer military is among the most respected institutions in American life. We are saddened that this institution in which membership is a privilege not a right would break from a tradition of high moral conduct, and we urge you to reconsider your stated intent on this issue."

Also receiving copies of the letter were Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Below is the full text of the letter:

"Dear Mr. President:

"As messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention expressed in 2009, we commend you for the fatherly example you clearly display to your family and are eager to work with you 'to advance causes of justice insofar as those efforts are consistent with biblical principles.' However, we regret we find ourselves greatly troubled by your efforts to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy as homosexual behavior conflicts with the teachings of our shared Holy Scripture.

"Since you join us in confessing the Christian faith, we request your attention to the Scripture, which is '...God-breathed ... useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.' (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

"We emphasize the hope and salvation God provides for all humans, including those who struggle with homosexual attraction: 'such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God' (1 Cor. 6:11, emphasis added).

"This is an encouraging passage, written to Christians among whom were people who struggled with the same forms of sin and temptation we face today. They broke free from sinful bondage expressly because of the Gospel. Thus, we applaud church efforts to lovingly and redemptively minister to homosexuals so they may find spiritual, sexual, and emotional wholeness in Christ.

"It remains clear, however, that homosexual behavior cannot be normalized without rejecting God's moral standards (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). The Southern Baptist Convention's 2009 resolution recognizes that the Bible describes homosexual behavior as both a contributing cause (Gen. 18:20-21; Lev. 18:24-28; Jude 7) and a consequence of God's judgment (Rom. 1:18-32). We believe it to be contrary to Scripture to commend open homosexual relationships in general, including within the military ranks. Our nation has moved from God in so many ways and we are deeply concerned that an increasingly affirming policy toward homosexual behavior will provide further impetus for God's judgment on our nation.

"Our all-volunteer military is among the most respected institutions in American life. We are saddened that this institution in which membership is a privilege not a right would break from a tradition of high moral conduct, and we urge you to reconsider your stated intent on this issue.

"Respectfully and sincerely,

"Richard D. Land"
--30--
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press. The Southern Baptist Convention has a ministry to homosexuals. Find more information at www.sbcthewayout.com.

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