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Church to Hold Mock Funeral for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by ARLnow.com March 28, 2011 at 11:38 am 3,450 52 Comments

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) will be holding a mock New Orleans-style funeral on Sunday in celebration of the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.

“The anticipated 400 to 600 attendees will participate in a faux burial of a large scroll representing the DADT policy, accompanied by a genuine brass band and decorated umbrellas,” the church said in a press release. “Following the formalities, we will provide revelry with live music and hors d’oeuvres.”

Admission to the event is free. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP online. The church says the service will honor those who have served in the military and those who worked to repeal the policy.

“UUCA has invited all who are in sympathy with its inclusive vision to honor former and current military service members and veterans, [the] Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network, U.S. Congress members who voted for the repeal of DADT, and local elected officials,” the church said.

The “funeral” will take place at the church on Sunday, April 3 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith will preside over the ceremony. UUCA describes itself as “a liberal religious community of 900 members.”

DADT banned gays from serving openly in the military. It was repealed in December, although the policy has officially remained in place pending a review.

  • mehoo

    Will the Westboro Baptist loons be there to picket this funeral?

    • LyonSteve

      My thoughts as well.

      If they didn’t know about it, they probably do now!

      • mehoo

        We should do a mock Phelps protest.

    • steve

      It’s their right to. Of course the “tolerant” liberals of Arlington would try to forbid them from exercising their first amendment rights.

      • Rebecca

        Steve, once again you blast Arlington but you continue to live here! You are the epitome of hypocrisy. It’s like immigrants who complain about America… you don’t have to be here!

      • cj

        Steve — ever think that some of those liberals might agree on the right to protest?

        Ever think?

      • Maria

        Really? Because I hear way more conservatives – who are normally all, “America = freedom!” – saying the Supreme Court made a mistake with its ruling and that members of Westboro should be shot. So yeah. There’s that.

        • Too Easy

          Did they show you a card or was a secret handshake that convinced you that they are conservatives?

          • mehoo

            Yes, it’s almost exactly like the card that liberals carry and show steve.

      • mehoo

        Of course, steve would beat up nuns.

        See how easy it is to just say stuff, steve?

        Let’s do it again.

        Of course, steve would stomp on puppies.

        It’s fun!

  • Aaron

    Calling the UUs a “church” is a bit like calling the Phelps family a “church” doncha think?

    • Just sayin’

      Um, no.

    • mehoo

      Not really.

  • Don

    Okay you can’t just have music and call it New Orleans style. If it’s a New Orleans funeral you need a proper procession and second line.

    • Andrew

      Hear, hear. And you have to be dressed up, too. Also: New Orleans jazz, not just any music, should be played. “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”…”St. James Infirmary”.. “When the Saints (Go Marchin’ In), etc.

  • Just sayin’

    This is awesome. Love it.

  • WilliAM


  • What kind of hors d’oeuvres?

  • steve

    I don’t see what’s so non PC of pointing out that it wasn’t the military’s policy, but was Congress’ policy. Did the military create it? No, it was passed by congress and now repealed by congress. Why didn’t you liberals boycott congress like you did the military?

  • SoCo Resident

    Although ARLNOW tried hard here, it is erroneous to state that DADT was repealed in Dec. 2010. Twice in the Act it states that the original law remains in effect, i.e. has NOT been repealed, until a review by the Secr. of Defense. Highly premature of this church to hold any celebration because the House Republicans are considering a bill to widden the review, a sure death for this law. To declare a “repeal” and hold a funeral is to encourage a serviceman to come out of the closet when it is still unlawful to do so!! At the same time, the Obama Administration contines with the courtsuit intiated by the Long Cabin (Gay) Republicans as if this law was never passed in December! DADT repeal is not guaranted yet, and Boehner may have his way with this. Tim Polenty and many others vow to reopen this entire matter. VERY premature for a funeral for DADT which is very much alive.

    • Thes

      You need to understand that if these people were inclined to research, understand and follow a lot of complicated, multi-layered laws and rules, they would not be Unitarian Universalists in the first place. UU is about celebrating things that make you feel good, not delaying gratification or thinking very long and hard about complicated systems. They tend to be very, very nice, utterly non-judgmental folks. Just give them a hug and let them be on their way…

      • Skeptical

        No matter how nicely you said that, I think some friends of mine have just been insulted.

        For the record, I haven’t got much use for any church.

        But I pass that church every day on my travels. When other church marquees read “God Has A Plan For You” or “Seek Your Peace Within” their corner featured a sign that said “Torture Is Wrong.” It was like a smack in the face with a wet towel, reminding every passerby that our government confronts far more pressing moral issues than who sleeps with whom. Benevolence, inclusiveness and social conscience deserve a little more than the backhanded insinuation that people are ditzy.

        • Thes

          Ditzy people can be good people. Some of the best are, in fact.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, but that’s not what you meant.

            I agree, we all need more simple messages like “torture is wrong” and fewer unfair slams about “feel good vs. delayed gratification” from people like you, Thes.

          • Thes

            It is exactly what I meant. A Unitarian Universalist is the sort of person who, on the one hand, believes that all religions are essentially the same and, on the other hand, still chooses to go to church every Sunday. It is my opinion that that sort of person is more likely than most people to get into the heaven they are not sure they believe in. They are also less likely than most people to successfully navigate (or be inclined to navigate) a complex legal dispute. I don’t think it is insulting to say so, it is merely descriptive. They welcome all types of people, and I welcome them in return, even if they are different from you.

          • mehoo

            Okay. Sure sounded insulting though.

      • sympathizer

        As someone who sympathizes with the UU church, though not a member, I’d say you’re right. They do sweep away alot of the complicated bureaucratic bullsh*t that many other churches use to incorporate hypocrisy, evil, and even hatred into their doctrines. That’s awful refreshing. UU is busy celebrating the end of a bad law, while other churches are finding all kinds of ways to defend it. I’m glad UU is focused on right and wrong instead of tortured logic and mindless obedience of ancient, wildly-interpreted and selectively honored rules.

    • AllenB

      The House Republicans don’t control squat on this law. They can blow hot air all they want but the Senate would have to go along with them (highly doubtful) and the President would have to sign that law (also highly doubtful). The military is moving along quite quickly with full repeal and it will happen this year. Boehner won’t have his way with anyone on this. But it sure sounds like you hope he does.

  • steve


    Wow, they already have a magazine for gays in the military.

    • AllenB

      That’s fantastic. Should I put you and I down for a family rate?

  • What a great story! Perhaps Freddy Phelps will attend. FYI -OutMilitary.com is providing a supportive place for gay servicemen and women to friend, share and network in a post DADT era

  • Too Easy

    Libya err lab err Go war mongers!!

  • fight for our country

    I really dont think it matters if they are gay, straight, bi or choose to grow old alone with 90 cats… I dont care if they are blue, yellow, green or hot pink… They are fighting for our country, some people just need to grow up and get over it and be greatful, half the people complaining would no think twice about joining.

  • brian

    So.. how many “gay discrimination” lawsuits will there be now for failed promotion, even though such candidate isn’t qualified?

    • AllenB

      Hopefully as many lawsuits for discrimination will be filed as there are cases of actual discrimination. Are you assuming every discrimination lawsuit isn’t required?

      Yeah, maybe we shouldn’t repeal a discriminatory law because some people may file discrimination lawsuits… sound reasoning… a real piece of intellectual work.

      • brian

        what is reasonable is our military doesn’t need clogged up with lawsuits without merit.

        • AllenB

          You’re presuming before any lawsuit is even filed that it would be without merit. Are you suggesting that no discrimination will occur?

    • mehoo

      How many “black discrimination” lawsuits are there?

      • brian

        they have a case?

  • CEB

    Wouldn’t a New Orleans-style funeral be as much of a celebration of the policy as a mourning of its repeal? I’m a little confused.

    • Rev. C. E. Smith, UUCA

      Hi, CEB —
      Just to clarify a bit. We are inverting the expectation around a typical funeral — that is, we’re mourning the adverse impact Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has had on many lives and celebrating its repeal. While we recognize the repeal is not yet in effect, we are “standing in the gap” between its signing and its implementation. No doubt ours is only one of many celebrations of this historic event to come in the weeks and perhaps months ahead. Service members are receiving their training now in preparation for the post-DADT era, so the fulfillment of the repeal is underway. We are taking this as an opportunity to affirm the expansion of justice, equity and compassion for *all* people that we wish to see in the world.
      Hope to see you here Sunday at 4:00!
      Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith
      Team Minister
      Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington


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