Thursday, July 07, 2016

Chaplains' Group Says New Military Policy On Transgenders Poses Religious Freedom Concerns

On June 30, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military is being lifted. (Links to DOD documents.) Those already in the military will be permitted to serve openly and will be provided appropriate medical care and treatment after receiving a diagnosis from a military medical provider indicating that gender transition is medically necessary. (Fact Sheet). The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty issued a statement (full text) yesterday raising questions about the new policy. The statement reacts to a conference call with a Pentagon official, and reads in part:
The official said that such persons will be required to receive a medical statement from a military medical professional that they suffer from gender dysphoria.... 
An endorser on the call asked whether medical professionals who hold a biblical view on human sexuality will be required to violate their consciences and do as these persons demand, and the response was that it is the responsibility of medical professionals to serve military persons. It’s an understatement to say that this raises serious religious liberty concerns,” said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews.... “The Department of Defense must ensure ... that doctors and nurses who hold to a biblical view of human sexuality can serve in today’s military...."
The official on the conference call went on to say that “mixed genitalia” will be present in military bathrooms, showers, and barracks because service members will be in various stages of change in their sexual identity.... Crews said. “Do we want our sons and daughters to be forced to share showers and sleeping spaces in a ‘mixed genitalia’ environment with no recourse for objections of conscience?”