Friday, December 4, 2015

Should Women Fight?

The D.O.D.'s sad announcement yesterday reminded me that the CTCR of the LCMS is considering the question of whether or not it is immoral for a government to place women into combat. It clearly is immoral even though there isn't a single Bible passage that spells it out in black and white. It is clearly immoral and confusing of the order of creation even though  sometimes women must do what men fail to do (Jael, Deborah, Zipporah) or refuse to do. A woman may have to fight to defend her home and children. That is not the question that should be put the CTCR. In emergencies women may be forced to fight. But that is not what the D.O.D. is advocating. The D.O.D. has said there will be no restrictions for women anywhere in the military. They will be asked to suffer and die for the sake of their fathers, brothers, and sons. That is wrong.  This action also further erodes our ability to recognize what is unique and glorious about femininity. Men aren't being forced to act as women. Women are being forced to act like men. I think our entire military and culture is becoming androgynous to our peril. What is lost is the good and necessary female side of culture and society and I suspect that we will degrade past the point of Sodom very soon if we haven't already. 

The Bible makes the distinction between men and women based on the simple reality that God made us male and female. The distinct duties of husband and wife as laid out by St. Paul also help us see the difference. 

This reminded me of an excellent response a few months ago by Pastor Paul Harris (who apparently boasts a ranger tab!) of Trinity Lutheran Church in Austin. I am copying the whole thing below, but here is a link to his blog so that you can find more: St. Antony's Cave

“These are Men Who Jump and Die”

For weeks, maybe months, in 1966 while my mom was shopping for groceries I was at the soda fountain in the Muir’s drug store with my father listening as Barry Saddler sang the “Ballad of the Green Berets.” One of the lines is “These are men who jump and die.” But the times are a changing. Now you have to sing, “These are men and women who jump and die.”
Have you noticed that how since the First Gulf War everyone from politicians to pundits to journalists go out of their way to refer to the men and women who are fighting for us?
The gross “unfairness” that only men get to sacrifice their body, health, and life to defend their country – never mind that only women get to do the same in regard to raising up the next generation – was first addressed in the 80s when President Reagan changed the physical fitness standards. The military adopted a double standard for men and for women. This changed somewhat in 2012. There would be one standard for combat arms units and if women could meet that they could serve in most areas. Now this past week 2 women graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School.
Thirty-nine years ago this week, I graduated from Ranger School. I would like to think that it was harder than and no women could have done it. But in my class 98/208 (47%) were awarded the Ranger tab. In last week’s graduating class 94/381 men (25%) received it, and 2/19 women (10%). So perhaps their class was harder. Mine was longer 67 days; theirs 62 days. However, the 2 women took 4 months to finish being “recycled” several times. Don’t think that makes them wimps. Everyone in my Ranger class dreaded the thought of being recycled. I failed a patrol by 3/10 of a percent and could have been recycled through the Mountain Phase, but was allowed to go on to the Jungle Phase.
But the issue is not whether or not a woman can do all the requirements. The issue is should they? When my son wrestled in high school, I told him he should not and would not wrestle a girl even if that meant forfeiting and his team losing. It was not that he might lose to a girl, but that he might win, and something much bigger would have been lost.
Ashley’s War is a 2015 book about the U.S. Army’s secret program in 2010 to place female soldiers with Ranger and Special Forces units to talk and search Muslim women and children. I took away two things from this book. First, even today, a woman dying unnerves everyone more than a man dying does, and this is a good thing. Second, and here I paint with a very wide brush, the millennial male thinks it’s a matter of fairness and so believes he is championing the oppressed when he encourages women to go into combat roles. They equate being able to do something with the right to do it.
ISIS (and the Viet Cong before them and the Nazis before them) enlists children to fight. Some are very good. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should. The millennials – at least in this book – think they are forward thinking when they cheer their wife, their girlfriend, their sister on to sweat, suffer, and sacrifice like a man. I think they are being backward.  A mark of an advanced society is women and children NOT going to war. The mark of an oppressive, domineering, and desperate society is sending them.


  1. One thing I really appreciate about your articles, Pr. Petersen, is that you get right to the point:

    "The D.O.D.'s sad announcement yesterday reminded me that the CTCR of the LCMS is considering the question of whether or not it is immoral for a government to place women into combat. It clearly is immoral even though there isn't a single Bible passage that spells it out in black and white."

    Thank you for not taking us through the weeds before saying that which we all know, but
    which some still deny.

  2. Yes, it's Deuterocanon, but what are we to make of Judith? Was she an exception to woman's general purpose in the Natural Order, or an example of how women might participate in war?

  3. Total apples and oranges.

    Woman sneaking/ingratiating herself into an enemy camp in order to decapitate enemy general is along the same extreme/bizarre case lines as Jael. We're talking about putting women in uniform and sending them to kill/be killed on the front lines of battle.

    But even if Judith's case did fit at all, which it doesn't, remember: Hard cases make bad law...or, the exception that proves the rule.

  4. I doubt if the DOD has the authority to register females in the Selective Service register, however, I suppose the DOD can assign females to combat roles on the front lines. I disagree with this, especially if a 90 pound woman with 50-60 pounds of gear is going to be successful in an attempt to carry a 250 pound unconscious male comrade out of harms way. Now if some females volunteer, I guess that is one thing, however, they do not belong in the front lines for at least the previous reason.

    I remember that in WWII the US used female pilots to "fairy" (a scary term in these last days), fighters and bombers to England because of a shortage of male pilots, yet I think they took ships, sailing in Nazi sub infested waters, to return to the US.

    I recall a night flight from Chicago to Memphis where the pilot was a female. There was lightening visible on both sides of the plane. She landed with such grace, that I did not know when she put the plane down until she applied the brakes. Best flight I can remember.

    Now then to the issue at hand. I think the CTCR should issue some kind of statement discouraging females from voluntary front line military service, of course, such can only be a recommendation. On the other hand the CTCR and the LCMS in convention should be encouraged to object to any sort of forced enrollment in the Selective Service based on religious grounds. This would protect LCMS females from an intrusive law, etc.

    The ELDoNA has done so some years ago.

  5. I don't feel that this is what God intended for a woman's role in His creation. He placed women on a pedestal. Women have become dissatisfied with that position and decided to jump down from that pedestal because they want to be equal to and like man. How sad.

  6. It may only be Canon, of course, but the clearest Scriptural illustration of one sex laying down His life for the other is the Groom's sacrifice on behalf of His Bride. I suggest there may be a gentlemanly message to be mined there.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

  7. Good question although it is a political question. Women in the military want to succeed and climb the ranks just as fast as their male counterparts. In order to that, aviation, jet fighters, aircraft carriers, command of ships, submarine duty, and of course combat action are all ways to succeed. These are the fastest ways to climb the ladder. Do the duty and get the medals and write-ups.

    The movie GI Jane portrays this perfectly. The Government chose women to participate in test trials of the Special Forces. Demi Moore was a Lieutenant (O3) and her husband was a Lieutenant Commander (O4). She stated they both attended great schools. They both had great evaluations. The difference was the type of duty they served. He had combat experience; she did not.

    The only way to stop this is to either remove women from the military altogether or limit their duty to administrative duty stateside. I do not want to be around when the screaming od discrimination starts.

    The other thing is follow the examples of other countries like Russia and Israel and require all men 18 years old to enter the military service upon graduation from high school for a period of two years. This will increase the fighting force in all branches of the military and require less duty of women in combat zones.

    I don't have the all the answers but in America there is this plague and attitude where no one is going to tell me what I can do or not do. This is purely an American problem. You don't see or hear about this women in combat issue in other countries except maybe the extreme radical ones.

    I believe tasking the CTCR to write something would be a waste of assets because the Church simply lost her voice in this country.

  8. Here is the paper I presented on this topic back in 2008 when Concordia Seminary St. Louis hosted a conference on the topic.



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