- Dear General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force:
As I’ve written to you before, I wore Air Force blue for 34 years as a cadet and as an Air Force officer. I was as proud of that blue uniform as I was of the oath I swore to the Constitution. My oath and my uniform meant that I conducted myself, off duty and on, with extra care and professionalism. Coming up in the Air Force in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s we were taught that if someone needed help, you helped them; as a member of a team, the team was everything; and our behavior and integrity must be beyond reproach.
- [D]evotion to mission and professionalism didn’t mean I was an automaton. On the contrary, as a commissioned officer, and as a woman, I objected to institutional sexism that interfered with mission and professionalism, and I rationally addressed those concerns through the written word. I argued that the combat exclusion limited the military’s capabilities. And, as a military member serving under the Sword of Damocles known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I argued, in writing, that the gay ban does more harm than good. I wrote and published those opinions, with proper Air Force review, in peer reviewed and edited publications. History would be on my side. I therefore understand what it means to express an opinion in a professional and academic way. But, sadly, the blogosphere has enabled some military members with far-right fundamentalist agendas to skip the proper checks and balances. One result: the latest (3/27) in a long line of poisonous blog posts written by an active duty Air Force Major named Jonathan C. Dowty. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has long documented the many ways Dowty uses his “Christian Fighter Pilot” blog to violate a variety of Air Force regulations and bully enlisted members, who have been powerless to confront the abuse of an officer because of his rank and position. Dowty’s vitriol is one of the many reasons MRFF — of which I’m an advisory board member and which has earned five Nobel Peace Prize nominations — continues its mission for its 32,428 armed forces clients.
- We can say with confidence that Dowty’s behavior clearly stands to degrade the public’s trust and confidence. What are Dowty’s most egregious claims? Well, he’s a very prolific “hater.” But, I am personally shocked at his repeated and tenacious characterization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members (719 of whom are LGBT MRFF clients) as “deviants” — just as “deviant” as those who have sex with animals, with their parents, or with their siblings. I am personally incensed because he implies here that my same sex partner (also a retired Air Force officer) and our beautiful twins — born at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland — are animals and deviants. A self-proclaimed “ambassador for Christ in uniform” Dowty shames both the Air Force and Christianity. He isn’t just a “Christian,” he’s a very particular kind of Christian — hardly mainstream. I know what mainstream Christianity is — my grandfather and father were Lutheran ministers, my family and I attend a Baptist church, and I’m serving as a communication consultant for a wonderful, inclusive Lutheran University in the Pacific Northwest. What’s Dowty’s type of Christianity? Says Dowty: “A bitter Christian is no more an asset to God’s kingdom than an atheist or a Buddhist.”