By Jonathon Van Maren
Back in 2005, American historian Stephen Mansfield published The Faith of the American Soldier, an analysis of religion and religious practice in the armed forces based in part on his experience embedded with American troops in Iraq. He noted a growing tension between an increasingly secular military brass and the army chaplaincy—a tension, he told me in an interview, that has only grown in recent years, particularly as the demands of LGBT activists increase.
“When you use the military and emphasize within military culture any social cause other than being a lean, clean, fighting machine, you turn it into a big of a social club,” he told me. “That diminishes the mission…When a huge portion of time is spent in sensitivity training—why, for example, would the gay flag be needed to be raised over a military base?—this is an experiment. This is trendiness. This is an attempt to force up on the military, which is under state control, a level of political correctness that is meant to radiate around the country.”
The result of this state-enforced experiment? “I have to tell you that those in uniform resent this,” Mansfield observed. “Because if they’re in the military what they want to be is proud, competent, strong, and part of an amazing fighting force that does good in the world. That’s why they’re there…There are soldiers I have talked to who have spent more time in sensitivity training than in the actual use of their weapons. That’s not going to bode well for the future and it’s not going to bode well for the motivation of these soldiers.”
That trend is accelerating. The U.S. Navy, for example, recently appointed a non-binary drag queen as its first “digital ambassador,” sparking widespread fury and embarrassment. Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who performs as a drag queen under the stage name Harpy Daniels, was featured in a digital ambassador pilot program and noted on TikTok that he was an “advocate” for those who “were oppressed for years in the service.” The U.S. Navy’s recruitment campaign now involves…well, this:
The U.S. Navy hired this non-binary drag queen as a “digital ambassador” to try to recruit people pic.twitter.com/l3LIEtndVD
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 2, 2023
Author Katy Faust noted that she reached out to a Navy insider to ask about their recruitment problem. His response is revealing: “The Navy pivoted from recruiting [the] type of person with a natural inclination to serve to recruit a more ‘diverse’ community, thus the people who would normally volunteer are either avoiding the military or resigning.” In other words, showcasing “non-binary” drag queens is predictably driving down recruitment, as the sort of men who would ordinarily consider the military are turned off by the aggressive LGBT agenda.
A case in point is the reaction of Robert J. O’Neill, the member of Seal Team Six who shot Osama Bin Laden in the now-famous raid into Pakistan. “Alright,” he tweeted. “The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bulls**t.” Based on the widespread reaction from other veteran U.S. service members, O’Neill is not alone.
The U.S. Defence Department under the Biden Administration doesn’t seem to be bothered by this. Indeed, an official 2021 report found that “the U.S. Navy is too woke for war because of risk averse, politically correct, control-freak top brass.” Considering their latest recruitment tactics—and blasé attitude in the face of the overwhelmingly negative public response—it would appear that they haven’t learned their lesson. Drag queen sailors “advocating” for those “oppressed for years in the service” are the priority now.