A Weak Argument in a Civil Debate

Master Sgt. Corey Wade’s March 7, 2012 letter to the editor of Stars and Stripes was not really about the picture of Sgt Brandon Morgan. It was about Master Sgt Wade’s religious convictions and his prejudices against those who identify as LGBT.

Stars and Stripes acted within their rights as a news organization to print Master Sgt Wade’s letter to the editor. Additionally, Master Sgt Wade acted within his First Amendment rights to believe what he believes and express those beliefs in such a manner. Although perhaps no aligned with the formal rules governing the public display of affection in uniform, Sgt Morgan’s kiss was within the established norms of service members returning home to their loved ones. However, readers should pay close attention to what they read so as not to draw inaccurate conclusions from a writer’s words. Master Sgt Wade’s letter was not a legitimate complaint about Sgt Morgan’s kiss or about Stars and Stripes’ decision to print the picture. The letter served only to highlight Wade’s religious beliefs and his biases.

I say enough is enough. The hate filled rhetoric, the Bible verse-laden articles, the accusations of debauchery and the threats of eternal damnation need to end. Not everyone agrees on what causes sexual orientation. Many on the right scream being LGBT is a choice. They use religious convictions as a mask for personal prejudices.  I challenge any ‘straight’ person to tell me when they chose to be straight.

Similarly, there are some on the left who insinuate that anyone who believes in a higher power is a fool, and anyone who doesn’t embrace another person’s sexual orientation is a bigot. Clearly, there are religious LGBT and straight people. Resorting to name-calling and finger pointing is simultaneously trite and counter-productive to reasonable argument and discussion. On both sides of this contentious issue, opinions, emotions and convictions are both personally and powerfully held.

Let’s remove the emotion for a moment. Does one person’s sexual orientation directly impact another person’s sexual orientation? No. Does one person’s belief in a higher power directly impact another person’s personal belief or lack thereof? No. (Though ironically, prosthelytizing can influence a person’s opinions, which seems to run counter to the religious right’s argument against open homosexuality for fear that being open may turn a straight person gay.) Regardless, the simple fact is that people’s sexual orientation is their own and it cannot be passed on to another person. Similarly, people’s religious beliefs and spirituality are their own.

Throughout history, humans have resolved their differences either civilly or violently. Regardless of the method, the results are always the same. The parties fight or compromise until an agreement can be reached or they simply agree to disagree. The concept of equality is as old as civilization itself, and is a tenant of our great nation. These discussions are relevant, necessary, and beneficial to our society. Guilt, hate, and fear are unnecessary in a civil debate. At best they are catty nuisances, and at worst they can erode the very foundation of society itself.

About Neal Simpson

Neal Simpson is a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, a combat veteran, and recent company commander whose blogger voice will help military leaders work through issues concerning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal.

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  1. AD
    March 27, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I don’t need to read Master Sgt. Corey Wade’s comments. I haven’t read them. Whatever they are, these comments and beliefs are out there. Some are spoken out loud. Some are under another’s breath. Some unspoken. They exist. They have and always will.

    I was stationed in the Deep South one assignment in a very 1950s’ishesk locale. Racism was and is alive and well there. Has been, always will be. One of the lessons I learned there was that it wasn’t the racist that you knew was a racist that was the issue, but the one that kept it to themselves. If you are a racist, be honest about it.
    ’d prefer to know that Master Sgt. Corey Wade feels the way he does. It lets me know where he stands.

    Unlike the racism I saw in the South directed toward the color of one’s skin. I can hide from the likes of Master Sgt. Corey Wade. (Though I’m not proud of hiding.)

    Master Sgt. Corey Wade and your like; all I ask is that when I stand beside you with the enemy to our front that you, like me, will set aside our differences of religious driven bias toward sexual orientation and serve our country.

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