Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lady GaGa Gets It Right

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

The Senate should listen to Lady GaGa. (Did I actually say that out loud?)


Very weird.

I am not a fan of Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta. Honestly I don’t think I have very heard one of her songs. They don’t play them on “Cat Country” or “Cool 102” or “The Classical Station.”

I doubt that Paul had her in mind when he said that we should not be “conformed to this world.” And I doubt that she thinks of the Epistle to the Romans when she conjures up her latest outrageous statement or wardrobe. But we live in strange times.

Lady GaGa was in Portland (I have a hard time imagining her in Maine) yesterday at a rally in support of starting the process to repeal the military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prevents gay men and women from openly serving in the military. The rally was in Maine because supporters of repeal are hoping that Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snow (affectionately known in political circles as “the girls from Maine”) would break ranks with fellow Republicans and vote to start the process of repeal. The vote should come some time this afternoon.

In theory, DADT was supposed to prevent witch-hunts and promote a sort of “live and let live,” let’s just “mind our own business” compromise on homosexuality, but it never really worked that way. In practice it has led to harassment and encouraged discrimination.

The Associated Press reported that Lady GaGa proposed her own substitute for DADT:

She railed against what she called the injustice of having goodhearted gay soldiers booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbor hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country. She suggested a new policy should target straight soldiers who are “uncomfortable’’ with gay soldiers in their midst. “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’ ’’

It sounds odd at first, and it’s hard to take someone seriously who showed up at an awards show in a dress made of meat (I think that’s true), but if the problem is that some members of the military are uncomfortable serving next to homosexuals, then maybe they shouldn’t be serving. When the Armed Forces were fully integrated under President Truman, many white soldiers and sailors threatened to do just that, and the military answer was exactly what Lady proposed.

Major Michael Almy, who was discharged because of DADT, was asked if it was strange to have Lady GaGa as a spokesperson for a cause he supports, but he turned that around in his answer, “It’s a sad day,” he said, “when Lady GaGa has exercised more leadership on this issue than most of our elected officials in Washington.”

In an editorial this morning, the Portland Press Herald began by observing the obvious: “We are not used to getting our defense policy advice from people with names like Lady Gaga, and we assume that neither are Maine's Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.” Then the editorial went on to say, “Still, we hope the senators paid attention to the pop diva's visit to Portland Monday, because we think the singer is on the right side of the issue when it comes to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell.”

As William Cowper wrote in a famous hymn that I don’t think I have ever sung,

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;

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