This raises an important set of questions.
- Do those who are "born Jewish" who believe Schneerson was/is the messiah merit Jewish excommunication, known essentially as cherem?
My POV: No. There are born Orthodox Jews who I've heard utter that Jesus may have been the messiah. The idea that the messiah may have come already and been passed by in error is a common fear much like thinking your soulmate might have been someone you got off on the wrong foot with and passed by years ago. What others view as an error in composition of theology in you is not something that makes relations between you and the community impossible. That is my standard for cherem by the way.
- If so, why are they not?
My POV: They are not because the Chabad Lubavitch movement is very large, very wealthy, extremely effective at getting donations for various good causes, and very attractive to baalei teshuva in a way many Charedi groups only wish they were. In other words, supposed integrity in defense of Jewish orthodoxy is readily thrown aside for the usual reason: scraps off the table of wealth and influence.
- If not, why is this man who follows their ways in every respect considered unfit?
My POV: Quite simply, it is a stunning lack of foresight as to the exposure of the above two points conflicting with simplistic reasoning and misplaced concern masquerading as integrity and defense of the faith and probably a little bit of the old suspicion toward the ger.
- Is this like the "don't ask don't tell" of the US Army regarding homosexuality?
My POV: This is the embodiment of agreeing that there is such a thing as a "noble lie", the idea that small children have that if they hide under a blanket and can't see you then you can't see them, and tacitly agreeing to disagree all in one. It's both a subtle and obvious admission of fatigue with the argument, and a willingness to let things go between us lest we argue and fight further. However, in the end, it's only because when it is told that we feel socially bound to fight not necessarily because we actually have to or should.
I think that it is highly unlikely his fellow Lubavitchers did not advise him to be careful what he said, and perhaps may even have gone past inference to pointedly telling him to deny it if they, the beit din, asked. The Lubavitch community is not unaware of how the rest of the Charedi and Chasidic worlds regard them on this subject especially. I would not blame them in the slightest for counseling this man to lie. He, the ger tzedek, answered honestly anyhow.
That honesty, of taking the rap to the spiritual knuckles shows an honesty that is sadly lacking in many religious quarters. Whether or not I agree that Schneerson, or Jesus, or whoever was the messiah is not the point. It's that what we each believe is ultimately squeezed out of our public lives, hidden under our clothes like a forbidden book, in favor of things we may not believe which unfortunately have become orthodoxy.
It is also an honesty lacking in the "don't ask don't tell" approach. We lie and pretend something isn't so until it is told and then we think we have to. We invent for ourselves the peer pressure. We think, "oh great, now I have to stand up against this because otherwise people will think less of me". THAT is why when it is openly told that you're gay or you believe Schneerson is the messiah that you get open resistance and oppression. It is because the other person fears for what society will think of them, not for what impact you will have.
I am of course not getting into a discussion of the righteousness or horrible anathema of messianic or sexual leanings. That's not for now. I just wanted to point out why this man was rejected: the beit din worried more what people would think than over what the actual damage to the Jewish community would be. They were worried that accepting his conversion would be seen as opening the gates to more messianic believers, not just those harking to Chabad Lubavitch's rebbe, but perhaps Jews for Jesus.
All of this also points out that it is almost impossible at this point for there to ever be the coming of moshiach as G-d's own choice of representative on Earth would be circumscribed by the judgment of a mortal human beit din. G-d is not constrained by us but if we don't heed Him, what does it matter? The outcome is the same. In the name of Him, we marginalize Him.
This is one more reason for my philosophy of uniting the opposites and floating in nothingness. Whatever will be will be...