Friday, December 24, 2010

Do Tell: A Christian Perspective on "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

By Theresa D. McClellan

Faith Advocacy Coordinator
Gays In Faith Together

As we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, for followers of Christ, also known as Christians, this is a blessed time indeed.

And as we prepare in this time before Christ's birth known as Advent, how fortuitous that we may also prepare ourselves with one more step in equality for all with the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)."

As a Christian, as an African American woman and as a lesbian, that was my reaction Saturday to the announcement, on the eve of the third week of Advent, that Congress would change the law of the land and break down one more barrier with the repeal of DADT.

Just as the racial integration of the military and the allowance of women in the service helped move this nation forward in truly becoming all that she can be by recognizing the equality of all, so to does the decision to open that circle to gays in the military.

Lesbians and gays have always served in the military, but this act of Congress allows those, who have always been with us, to not fear losing their chosen career because of who they are.

And just as the acceptance of blacks and women into military life created all sorts of ramifications for blacks and women in the private sector, so to will this change.

And that is why the timing is fortuitous.

You see, Advent, that period before the Christmas celebration of the birth of Christ, is a time of waiting, watching, longing and preparing.

Be it the cries of Old Testament Israelites held captive, or my slave ancestors crying out for justice from systemic oppresion, there is a yearning for deliverance from oppression that is marked by prayer; and for Christians celebrated with the coming of Christ into the world.

So what does all this talk of advent and Christ have to do with DADT?

It means that a shift has occured. It means that now we really start talking about equality and what that looks like. It means that we look at what is in place to maintain bias and inequality. It means we look at leaders' ability to lead and create a climate of change that is not based in fear but in awareness, intelligence and wisdom.

It means that we pray.

Some will use Bible passages and their identity as Christians to squelch discourse and by claiming that homosexuality is against God. But as a follower of Christ, as a Christian lesbian, I say to you God created everyone.

Bible passages have been used to approve of slavery and silence women. God doesn't change, our understanding of God changes as we grow silent and listen to God's message, to the Christ message of love.

As Paul stated in a letter to the Galatians 3:27-8
"For as many of you baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

As we celebrate the birth of Christ and his message on this Christmas Eve, may it be so.

Merry Christmas and Blessings to you all.