Col. Paul Frapollo, USMC (Ret.) writes to the Marine Corps Gazette (Feb. 2012 issue) to bemoan openly gay people being allowed to serve in the military. "Now that Congress has decreed that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders can serve, I predict that political correctness, carried to these extremes, will ultimately severely weaken our combat capabilities."
He continues that "our country was founded as a Christian nation," and adds that he is especially troubled because, he says, "I am a Catholic." As such, he writes, he could not serve alongside open homosexuals.
It seems to be that he wants to nail the door shut after he made it in. There was a long period in American history when Catholics were not regarded as Christians, and in fact were discriminated against because of that. In the 17th century, Catholics were forbidden to settle in Virginia and Massachusetts. The local newspaper I read every week in Maine was founded as an anti-Catholic vehicle -- and a Catholic priest was tarred and feathered in the town in the 19th century. That was about the same time a mob burned a convent in Massachusetts. (That anti-Catholic cartoon above, by the way, is from 1876. It depicts Catholic bishops attacking innocent schoolchildren.)
I can imagine someone writing awhile ago that allowing Catholics to be colonels in the Marines would weaken the institution.
But eventually, what some people call "political correctness" deemed that anti-Catholicism was wrong. And so there were no complaints when Paul Frappollo enlisted in the Marines in 1949, and he rose to command a fighter squadron in Danang during the Vietnam War. And yes, someday there will be an openly gay commander of a Marine fighter squadron, if there hasn't already been one.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.