Texas Gov. Rick Perry was confronted at a town hall in Iowa on Sunday about his opposition to gays serving openly in the military, a stance which he highlighted in a recent TV ad.
ABC News reports that 14-year-old Rebecka Green, an openly bisexual high school student, confronted Perry during a town hall in Decorah.
“I just want to know why you’re so opposed to gays serving openly in the military, why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president,” Rebecka said.
Perry, who was apparently unaware of Rebecka’s sexual orientation at the time, responded as follows (note that “openly gays” is NOT a typo):
“Here’s my issue: This is about my faith, and I happen to think that, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins, homosexuality being one of them, and I’m a sinner and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone. But to openly — it’s just like the Boy Scouts, do you recall when the Boy Scouts were sued to let openly gay individuals serve as Scout master? And that again is one of those issues that I don’t agree with. And I don’t agree that openly gays should be serving in the military. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was working and my position is just like I told a guy yesterday. He said, ‘How would you feel if one of your children was gay?’ I said I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner, but having them openly serve in the military, I happen to think as a commander in chief of some 20,000 plus people in the military is not good public policy, and this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”
With adults telling 14-year-olds that they’re sinners, is it any surprise that LGBT youth are taking their lives at such alarming rates? Thankfully, it sounds like Rebecka has a very supportive father in Todd Green, a Democrat and professor of religion at Luther College, who offered this takedown of Perry’s position, according to ABC:
“My daughter Rebecka particularly was very incensed by the ad Governor Perry ran a week or two ago here in Iowa where he complained about the problem of gays serving openly in the military but Christians not being able to celebrate Christmas openly. He seemed to get that backwards,” Todd Green said.
“It takes no courage to come out of the closet to be a Christian and run for president of the United States,” he said. “I’d be more impressed if you were Muslim or an atheist and coming out like that, but to come out as though this was an act of courage for him to proclaim his Christian faith, but he also wants to take the stand against gays in the military. This is someone who’s in the position of power and privilege and he’s abusing it.”
Titled “Strong,” Perry’s ad created a firestorm upon its release two weeks ago, even causing tension within his own campaign after reports emerged that a top aide strongly objected to the ad.
Asked what he thought of the governor’s explanation that he “hates the sin” but “loves the sinner,” Todd Green said, “I have always hated that phrase. I think it’s impossible and you show it by action. If you love the sinner, whatever that means, your policy should reflect that I think, but in the end, I don’t understand the logic behind that at all.”
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