Guest post by Lance Brown
PLEASE NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with the 1964 film ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ you should check it out
The LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations has released a new report titled ‘Women and Military Service: A Lutheran Perspective’. Apparently it was approved on Veterans Day of 2017. How nice.
Let’s get something out of the way up front. It is both disgraceful and foolish for men to call upon women to do their nation’s fighting. Opposing women in front line combat roles is a no-brainer. Regardless of whether said women have been conscripted or chose to serve. No reference to Christianity or the Bible is required. Biology and human reason are enough. Do Christians have additional reasons for being opposed to such nonsense? Yes. But again, this should be clear to anyone. And, I repeat, it has nothing to do with whether or not they volunteered. These are simply not roles women should be placed in by sane authorities. Husbands should not accept this for their wives. Fathers should not accept this for their daughters. For it to even be up for debate is a sign of how depraved this nation has become.
That being said, the CTCR does a good job of explaining why sending women into combat is not consistent with a Christian worldview. In that regard, the report is worth reading. Especially the section labeled “Male-Female Distinctions within the Order of Creation” beginning on page 7. However, in trying to serve more than one master, this report becomes a muddled mess.
The CTCR document (following the lead of resolution 5–11A from the 2016 synodical convention) is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t oppose women in combat. It merely opposes linking freedom to responsibility. It insists women not be drafted. That they not be required to serve. While at the same time affirming that women must be allowed to serve if they choose. Including in combat positions. And it uses Lutheran teaching regarding the bound conscience to subtly advance a kind of postmodernism wherein every woman (though perhaps not every man) can have her own truth:
“The CTCR here affirms its support of the Synod’s position that “due to deep and widespread concern among many members of the LCMS — rooted in biblical convictions, historic understandings of natural law, and reason-based common sense — about the negative impact of the conscription of women on individual consciences, marriages, families, and society as a whole, the LCMS in convention strongly oppose any legal action that forces the compulsory service of women in the military, also called the conscription of women, by mandatory participation in Selective Service registration, a draft, or by any other mechanism” (2016 Res. 5–11A).”
“We must add, however, that for other reasons discussed above — for example, the distinction between the two kingdoms, the inherent complexities of biblical interpretation, and the absence of specific and explicit biblical mandates regarding the service of women in the military — it is also possible to understand how Christians, including members of the LCMS, can in good conscience support and defend “the informed consciences of women who have carefully considered their station in life and Holy Scripture on this issue who wish to voluntarily serve in our nation’s military” (2016 Res. 5–11A), even when this may include serving in positions of combat.”
“A Christian woman (married or not) may come to the conscience-bound conviction that what Scripture (together with reason and natural law) says about the order of creation, while completely valid and true, is not decisive on the issue of women in combat.”
This is the LCMS saying that it firmly opposes female responsibility. Women must have all the choices, all the freedoms, all the rights, all the privileges, all the opportunities. But, definitely not the responsibilities. This is the Christian position? This is the Lutheran position? This is a recipe for disaster. The disaster we see when we look at the current state of the family and all the tragedies which flow from that evil spring. Either women can volunteer to serve in combat positions and should therefore also be eligible to be drafted into those positions OR combat roles should not be open to women. Christians should be opposed to the madness of sexual egalitarianism. But to increase women’s freedom without also increasing their responsibility is so much worse. And that’s what we get. Because equality has always been a lie.
There has been a pattern repeated time and time again over the last century or so. Feminism demands more rights, more freedom, more choices, more power, more authority. Always more. Traditionalism responds by grumbling. Giving people time to be upset, to vent, to wax nostalgic about the good ol’ days. And then traditionalism completely caves. The demands of feminism are agreed to. But on one condition. Traditionalism bravely chooses one hill to die on. Traditionalism insists that women must not be given increased responsibility/accountability to go with their increased freedom/autonomy. Similarly, as the authority previously granted men is eroded, traditionalism caves. Notice in the excerpt above that it’s the conscience of the married woman and not her husband which must be respected. Is that what headship looks like?
Meanwhile, both sides agree to continue holding men to a higher standard of accountability and the constant calls from traditionalism for men to ‘man up’ and take responsibility only grow more desperate. Equality has always been a lie.
The CTCR report makes sure to genuflect and pay homage to this lie:
“as everyone is aware, cultural and societal views on the relationship between men and women and on women’s role in society at-large have changed dramatically in recent decades, and they continue to change. Some of these changes have been positive, resulting in more opportunities for God-pleasing and beneficial service of women in a variety of vocations, greater respect for women and their God-given gifts and abilities, and societal concerns about and protection for women who encounter derogatory attitudes and abusive behavior.”
I’m reminded of an excellent observation from the book ‘LadyLike’ by Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle. The ladies observe that men go along with feminist nonsense:
“for the same reason they yield to any idea of female origin: to end the badgering, or more charitably, to make the women they love happy. Badgers, though, are hardy folk, and mistreatment is the charge that never runs out. So men keep trying to care by pretending to agree with things… It’s this kind of insanity, dreamed up by insatiable women and enabled by lazy men, that will eventually have us all back in grubby fish-hovels.”
Before we go any further, let’s stop for a moment and acknowledge that no one is getting drafted. We have an all-volunteer military. The trend is toward privatization and increased use of contractors. And as anyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces this century can tell you, when it’s time to be deployed, women who want to find a way out can easily make that happen. And many do. The timing of pregnancies among servicewomen is something military personnel can’t help but notice. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. We want young ladies to prioritize motherhood. But we do not need mommies in the military:
From ‘US Navy Has A Pregnancy Problem, And It’s Getting Worse’ by Richard Pollock:
“Overall, women unexpectedly leave their stations on Navy ships as much as 50% more frequently to return to land duty, according to documents obtained from the Navy.”
“The evacuation of pregnant women is costly for the Navy. Jude Eden, a nationally known author about women in the military who served in 2004 as a Marine deployed to Iraq said a single transfer can cost the Navy up to $30,000 for each woman trained for a specific task, then evacuated from an active duty ship and sent to land.”
“A pregnancy takes you out of action for about two years. And there’s no replacement,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a nonpartisan public policy organization. “So everybody else has to work all that harder,” adding that on small ships and on submarines, “you really have a potential crew disaster.””
“The military has been tight lipped over the years about these numbers. They don’t like to publicize them,” Eden told TheDCNF. The Navy has been dogged for years by lingering claims that some women get pregnant simply to avoid deployment. “We all know that happens. Women do it to avoid deployment,” Eden told TheDCNF. “There do seem to be coincidences,” said Donnelly. “There is a lot of anecdotal evidence.””
“The Navy officially considered pregnancy incompatible with military service and women who became pregnant were automatically discharged, according to The Alliance for National Defense. However, with the introduction of the all-volunteer military, the Navy provided many lucrative incentives to men and women — including free housing, medical care, recreation and educational opportunities. But women got additional benefits, including free prenatal care, daycare, counseling, and special education for toddlers and children with disabilities or for other “special needs.” “Since benefits offered to recruits who are women are so very generous, it almost becomes an incentive,” said Donnelly. “One feminist advocate many years ago referred to the military as a ‘Mecca for single moms.’””
Either pregnancy should result in discharge or women of childbearing age should be excluded from service in the first place. The military should not be a way for women to marry Uncle Sam.
Once more, and this time with feeling, equality has always been a lie.
The CTCR document also states:
“At a time in which asymmetrical warfare is the norm, the lines between “combat” and “noncombat” (zones, personnel, missions, scenarios, etc.) become blurred, often beyond recognition or meaningful distinction. Someone serving in what is technically a combat support unit or role can quickly and unexpectedly find himself or herself in the middle of a kinetic threat and have to face immediate life-or-death decisions about whether and/or how to engage the enemy in combat (whether defensively or offensively or both).”
Now if on this basis the CTCR concluded that all military positions have effectively become combat positions and therefore objected to women serving in the military at all, there might be reason to take them seriously. But as already noted, they support women voluntarily serving in any role they wish.
Furthermore, the difference between combat and noncombat is still quite significant. The reality of asymmetric warfare and terrorism means that even a civilian “can quickly and unexpectedly find himself or herself in the middle of a kinetic threat and have to face immediate life-or-death decisions”. However, women owning firearms, taking self-defense classes, and participating in active-shooter training at the office is not the same thing as joining the Marines. Similarly, we can still distinguish between combat and noncombat roles in the military. That is, if we want to. We can still distinguish between roles that are appropriate for women and roles that are not. If we want to. The CTCR document itself makes this clear when discussing how pastors should support women in the church if they are to be drafted:
“In the event that women are required to register for the draft, pastors will need to be ready to assist those women who are conscience bound against serving in combat or being conscripted into military service to apply as a conscientious objector.”
“Two types of service, determined by the individual’s specific beliefs, are available to conscientious objectors in the event that the draft is again implemented. The person who is opposed to any form of military service may be assigned to alternative service (conservation corps, caring for the very young or very old, education or health care). The person whose beliefs allow for service in the military but in a noncombatant capacity will serve in a branch of the armed forces but will not be assigned training or duties that include using weapons. The length of such service will normally be 24 months.”
So it is obviously possible to serve in a noncombat role. If the LCMS believes it is appropriate for women to choose to serve in these noncombat roles, then they should be eligible to be drafted into them. And again, if it isn’t, then the LCMS should be saying it is no longer appropriate for women to serve in the military at all. If the LCMS is going to take a position on these matters, then it should stand for something other than giving women autonomy devoid of responsibility.
I must note The Heritage Foundation recently informed us that 71 percent of young Americans between 17 and 24 couldn’t join the military even if they wanted to. To quote one news report, “Rising obesity numbers, drug use, criminal backgrounds and other problems mean most people at prime military recruiting age are ineligible to serve.” So while I support the idea of pastors helping their female parishioners in the unlikely event that women are ever drafted, a better use of their time and energy here in the real world might be to help more young men become the kind of fit, healthy, law-abiding citizens who are prepared to serve. Which means they’ll be prepared to do lots of other things as well. And by help young men, I don’t mean continuing to insist on more freedom, more benefits, more programs, more attention, more money, and more double standards for unaccountable females while demanding male responsibility sans male authority. I mean actually help.
This report is an attempt to have it both ways. Taken as a whole ‘Women and Military Service: A Lutheran Perspective’ is, at best, a pointless document. At worst, it bows to the goddess of equality and her never-ending sexual revolution. Lutherans should reject this false deity and recognize that her promise of equality is a seductive lie. The people of our increasingly re-paganized civilization (including many who call themselves Christians) worship this idol. They mutilate their bodies, sacrifice their children, and pervert every human institution in service to their sick religion. The goddess of equality will bring destruction. Her army marches on relentlessly. Now is not the time for appeasement. Now is not the time for a Lutheran perspective. Just one truth among many for us all to choose from. Now is the time for Lutheran (read: Christian) proclamation of the truth.
Enough from me. Go read some Scripture. Start with Jeremiah 6.