First, Do No Harm

With the election of President Barack Obama, many of us believed that our allies had taken charge. During his campaign, the President gave every indication he would reverse the cynical, demonizing course of our military on gay issues. Then came the inaugural invocation by homophobic preacher Rick Warren. Then the inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now, on President Obama’s watch, gay and lesbian servicepeople are being kicked out of the military simply for being gay.

President Obama can blame it on nobody else now. It is still happening — and he is doing nothing. We are being told that he must move slowly — that he can’t accomplish every wonderful thing we want him to do at once. That much is fair enough.

But at the very least, we had a right to expect he would do no more harm.

President Obama is the head of the United States government. And the United States government, under his leadership, is doing us harm.

He said he would sign the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now we must rise up, with one, strong voice, and demand that he stand and speak out immediately on this issue. Every day that good people are dismissed from our armed forces for stupid reasons, the lives of all who fight for this country are unnecessarily placed at greater risk.

We have brothers and sisters over there. We have children and grandchildren over there. This is not only about us. Even to the extent that it is about us, it is also — in a larger sense — about justice. How can we stand for justice, freedom and truth around the world when our own country betrays justice, freedom and truth in its treatment of its own citizens?

This policy does not serve Christian morality, as its advocates claim. It doesn’t even serve human decency or common sense.

President Obama has a right to ask us to be patient. But we have every right to ask him to do us no more harm.