As founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) it’s a constant surprise to me when people express astonishment over MRFF’s commitment to the support of LGBTQ military personnel targeted by evangelical fundamentalists: “Shouldn’t you be focusing on religious discrimination and leave gender politics out of it?”
For myself and the rest of the staff at MRFF I say – are you kidding me? Virtually the ONLY reason LGBTQ servicemembers are harassed and discriminated against in our military is due to the fundamental Christian zealotry of those who seek to destroy democracy and found a theocracy. We’ve been fighting homophobia in the military for years now!
The LGBTQ directed hate and discrimination from the Dominionist Evangelical Christians is nothing new, and nowhere more currently glaringly obvious than in the raging discourse and vomiting of vitriol around the nomination of Col., now Brig. Gen. (S). Kristin Goodwin to be the commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA).
Most recently as the senior military assistant to the secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., the bomber pilot who previously led the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana as the wing's first female commander, and prior to that as the vice commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri – Goodwin is described as being chosen to be the next USAFA Commandant based “solely for her superb record”.
Leading the scurrilous charge against the completely innocent Goodwin is the reprehensible Dominionist Christian bigot and “Christian Fighter Pilot” (actually, “former” fighter pilot as he is now mired in a low-level, dead end, desk job apparently relegated to pushing papers at an Army post, of all places), Lt. Col. Jonathan C. Dowty. This deplorable, fundamentalist Christian predator/supremacist apparently makes the stance on his public, Internet blog that Goodwin (his superior, commissioned officer!) is unfit to lead under the USAFA Honor Code. Why? Because she joined the Air Force before DADT was in effect, and thus must have “lied” about her sexual orientation.
Dowty self-justified his attacks with this gratuitous garbage:“…the contradictory complexity of society’s relativistic morality lends even more support to the need for unchanging, absolute morality — that is, the Truth of Scripture.”
In the face of this seemingly blatant violation of diversity and equal opportunity standards in the Air Force, MRFF filed a 14-page complaint with the Department of Defense’s Deputy Inspector General for Administrative Investigations.
Esteemed MRFF advisory board member Edie Disler, LtCol, USAF (ret) (who has known Goodwin since the latter was a cadet), spoke personally with Goodwin, who adamantly denied Dowty’s ignominious allegation of lying, and related that she did not become aware of her sexual orientation until well after DADT went into effect.
Dowty promptly doubled down, with another blog post trashing both Goodwin and Disler (the latter of whom he refers to contemptuously as “a homosexual activist”) and extending his incoherent venting to encompass myself and MRFF as well. In this latest post, Dowty tries pathetically to dive for cover by feebly attempting to proffer the ridiculous and obviously transparent excuse that he was merely engaging in perfectly allowable “rhetorical”, “philosophical” and “academic”, homophobic attacks on Goodwin. What an apparently cowardly act. Which is all too typical for Christian fanatic Dowty who has a sordid history of being officially reported to military authorities for cyber-stalking subordinate MRFF clients far too junior in rank to fight back against his vicious and merciless “behind the keyboard” attacks. Indeed, Dowty has also been reported to military authorities for equating homosexuality to bestiality on his “God and Country” internet blog, causing the hateful article to “suddenly” vanish. However, the intellectually challenged, current desk-pilot, go-for Dowty isn’t the only self-righteous gay hater leaping to hurl slurs at the USAFA’s first openly gay commandant.
Defense Secretary James Mattis is being hounded to reverse the decision by another froth at the mouth anti-LGBTQ organization. The hate group called “Foundation for Moral Law”- founded by Alabama’s disgraced and deposed former Chief Justice Roy Moore - is using as a mouthpiece his equally vile mouthed wife and group president, Kayla.
Kayla insists in a letter to Mattis that “Col. Goodwin, as a lesbian who is ‘married’ to another woman, not only demeans the institution of marriage but contradicts the divine basis for marriage revealed in Scripture and evident in nature.” The letter goes on to vilify Goodwin as an “ungodly lesbian”.
(Mattis shows no signs of being inclined to kowtow to religious extremists. During his confirmation hearings, he stated: “I have never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.” He may not last long under the current administration if he holds to his convictions!)
Yet another savage, limited mentality, anti-LGBTQ activist is trumpeting his fear and anger over a perceived “homosexual agenda”; USAFA alumnus and former Navy Chaplain Gordon James (“Chaps”) Klingenschmitt, who runs the “Pray in Jesus Name Project”, fears that Goodwin will become a “political activist for anti-Christian causes” and longs for “the good old days” (presumably when being gay was criminalized).
Whenever advances are made in the realm of civil rights, the true colors of religious bigots and homophobic zealots are revealed. With the recent landmark ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago finding that job "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination," we can expect to see more rabid frothing and migraine inducing screeches in days ahead.
The fact that the U.S. Air Force leadership didn’t celebrate and publicize Goodwin’s groundbreaking nomination in the same fashion as past nominees shows clearly to so many that this kind of bigoted backlash was anticipated. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Kristin Goodwin is a bight, shining star for our Air Force, our Defense Department and our nation. We are all incredibly fortunate to have her become USAFA’s next Commandant of Cadets!
She is not alone. Goodwin is only one of an estimated 70,000 LGBTQ persons serving bravely in our U.S. military. MRFF stands behind every one against religious bigotry, hate, and discrimination!