The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Women in combat

with 9 comments

female soldierAl Mohler addresses the creeping normalization of women in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, contrary to Pentagon doctrine and – worse – contrary to every moral norm that ought to dictate such practice.  I do not know what is the situation in the British and European armed forces, but – as Dr Mohler points out – the whole thing reeks of moral and military folly.  It is not about courage, but a matter of right and wrong, of role and calling, of design and capacity, of God-ordained identity and purpose.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 20 August 2009 at 10:19

9 Responses

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  1. What Dr Mohler knows about the military ?
    What do you, Mr Jeremy Walker, know about the military ?
    And concerning God, leave Him alone : He has strictly nothing to do with that matter of military strategy, which regards only us, humans.

    “the whole thing reeks of moral and military folly.”
    It would be a good thing that you show the military the respect they deserve by using less rude terms.
    They volunteer to get a crucially important profession, that many of us, including me, I think, are likely unable to assume.

    “It is not about courage,”
    Yes, it IS about courage. Of course it is about courage. The courage to take action for your country by taking this job, one of the most dangerous.

    “but a matter of right and wrong”
    Why would it be wrong for women to join in the military ? Aren’t they citizens too ? Don’t they have the right and duty to protect their country ?
    And besides that, does it mean that it is less wrong for men to be soldiers ?
    And if so, why ?

    “of role and calling”
    The only real valuable role you have is the one YOU decide for yourself, not the one chosen by some sad and soured spirits on a subject they (at least mostly) know and understand nothing.

    “of design and capacity”
    That’s the point. Women have the capacity to take many roles in the armed forces, and not only as field medics but also as pilots, for any kind of military vehicule, as mechanics, as snipers (Russians had many female snipers in their army, during WW2. And those female snipers reached higher kill rates than their male counterparts. So female indeed have the capacity to be in the armed forces. Case closed.), etc.
    However, I still think that some posts should be allowed only for men, such as submarine crews and certain special forces.

    ” of God-ordained identity and purpose.”
    Here, I beg you to believe I don’t mean to blaspheme.
    But what kind of purpose do you talk about ?
    Who but us make our identities and purposes ? Who but us, our histories, our traditions, our beliefs, our personalities, etc. ?
    I have the pleasure to study political sciences.
    Though God never ordained me to choose this. I did.

    The Bible was written during the Antiquity, so what is said in it could have been relevant to that time. But how could it be relevant today, since our societies are so different from what they were back in those times, without the proper interpretation and adaptations ?

    Yours sincerely.

    Anonymous

    Saturday 10 April 2010 at 09:04

    • Thank you for your response to this brief piece. I thought it would be appropriate to provide some answers to your questions and comments.

      What Dr Mohler knows about the military ?
      What do you, Mr Jeremy Walker, know about the military ?
      And concerning God, leave Him alone : He has strictly nothing to do with that matter of military strategy, which regards only us, humans.

      I cannot speak for Dr Mohler, but my response draws on my experience of working for five years for the Ministry of Defence in London, a reasonably keen interest in military history, and careful consideration of what the Bible says. With regard to the suggestion that I “leave him [God] alone” because he has nothing to say to military strategy and tactics, I cannot think of any New Testament directives explicitly having to do with military strategy (although I think that there are some Old Testament examples that can be taken into account), but the Scriptures do give some moral direction to soldiers in particular (see Lk 3.14), and contain many principles that would apply in all walks of life. For example, when considering the roles and relationships of men and women, both the Lord Christ and the apostle Paul both go back to creation and use that to establish the foundation. So, God has spoken in ways that can and should be applied to this question.

      “the whole thing reeks of moral and military folly.”
      It would be a good thing that you show the military the respect they deserve by using less rude terms.
      They volunteer to get a crucially important profession, that many of us, including me, I think, are likely unable to assume.

      I hold the military in very high esteem, not least because of my personal exposure to them, and some friends who have served in the military in various countries. I deeply appreciate the work that the military carries out, and there is no rudeness intended or communicated in speaking to this issue in this way.

      “It is not about courage,”
      Yes, it IS about courage. Of course it is about courage. The courage to take action for your country by taking this job, one of the most dangerous.

      “but a matter of right and wrong”
      Why would it be wrong for women to join in the military ? Aren’t they citizens too ? Don’t they have the right and duty to protect their country ?
      And besides that, does it mean that it is less wrong for men to be soldiers ?
      And if so, why ?

      “of role and calling”
      The only real valuable role you have is the one YOU decide for yourself, not the one chosen by some sad and soured spirits on a subject they (at least mostly) know and understand nothing.

      “of design and capacity”
      That’s the point. Women have the capacity to take many roles in the armed forces, and not only as field medics but also as pilots, for any kind of military vehicule, as mechanics, as snipers (Russians had many female snipers in their army, during WW2. And those female snipers reached higher kill rates than their male counterparts. So female indeed have the capacity to be in the armed forces. Case closed.), etc.
      However, I still think that some posts should be allowed only for men, such as submarine crews and certain special forces.

      “of God-ordained identity and purpose.”
      Here, I beg you to believe I don’t mean to blaspheme.
      But what kind of purpose do you talk about ?
      Who but us make our identities and purposes ? Who but us, our histories, our traditions, our beliefs, our personalities, etc. ?
      I have the pleasure to study political sciences.
      Though God never ordained me to choose this. I did.

      It is not about courage because the issue does not have to do with the individual courage of the men and women involved, but it is a matter of right and wrong, role and calling, design and capacity, and God ordained identity and purpose because the Lord God made men and women in his own image, equal in their created dignity (and, incidentally, their fallen depravity and redemptive reality), but he also made them with distinctive roles and responsibilities. To say that God has not called a woman to take up combat responsibilities in the front line is not to impugn her courage, any more than to suggest that men lack the courage to give birth to children (to use a more extreme example). Yes, women are citizens, yes, they can be extremely brave and capable, and perhaps very highly skilled in certain spheres, exceeding comparable men. However, the question is not what I think or conclude, or what you think or conclude, but what God himself has said. To use an analogy, God says that men and only men are called to be pastors and preachers in his church. That does not mean that women are incapable of clear thought and plain and powerful teaching; it does mean that the spheres in which they are to employ those gifts cannot be the public ministry of the Word of God in the church of Jesus Christ. As for the matter of God’s sovereign control of all things and its relationship with our own responsibility for the decisions we make, that is a matter too big for this post (and perhaps this blog). Suffice it to say that they do not run counter to each other, but are parallel truths. Our responsibility is to discern and do the will of God, and that means – most vitally – turning from our own proud self-determination and trusting in the Lord Christ to save us from our sins, and then pursuing a life that increasingly conforms to the patterns and standards that God has ordained for us. That is the path of true blessing and peace.

      The Bible was written during the Antiquity, so what is said in it could have been relevant to that time. But how could it be relevant today, since our societies are so different from what they were back in those times, without the proper interpretation and adaptations ?

      The Bible makes plain that, despite its age, it is to be applied to every age, in accordance with the wisdom that God gives. As such (and as hinted above) while the circumstances of life may have changed in certain significant and obvious ways, yet the principles of holiness, the calling of men and women, and God’s ethical standards, have by no means shifted. It is these that we must apply to this and other situations like it.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to respond. I hope that these answers help somewhat.

      Jeremy Walker

      Wednesday 14 April 2010 at 12:24

      • Dear Sir,

        I’ve just read you answer, and I must say that it impressed me a lot.

        I think I had a wrong picture of what you mean in the first place.

        I have one question of clarification.

        If I understand you, you say that women should not take up combat responsibilities in the Armed Forces in parallel with the fact that “God says that men and only men are called to be pastors and preachers in his church” and that “it does mean that the spheres in which they” – the women – “are to employ those gifts cannot be the public ministry of the Word of God in the church of Jesus Christ”.

        I wonder why.
        I must confess I barely know anything in the Bible, so in which verse, in which part of the Bible did God say that His priests can only be men ?

        And then, how can one extend this observation and apply it to the field of military, but also police and security jobs ?
        As far as I modestly know, as far as I’ve heard, God never said women shouldn’t be allowed to take up military jobs.

        In a nutshell, if the “men only” rule is applied to priesthood, can it be applied to such a different field (military jobs) ?
        And if so, why ? And so, should the rule stated before be applied to this field ?

        Regards.

        Anonymous

        Wednesday 14 April 2010 at 15:32

        • Thank you for your further question.

          To be clear, I was not suggesting that because women are not allowed to be pastors and preachers, therefore they should not serve in the military. I suggested these as somewhat analogous situations, parallel example rather than logical consequence.

          I should also make clear that the Lord says that all his people shall be a royal priesthood (see, for example, 1 Peter 2.9). In that sense, there is no distinction (this is part of that redemptive privilege I mentioned earlier). I make that point not to quibble, but because the word “priest” often suggests some kind of unique or ‘higher’ access or representative role that is not warranted by the Bible, whether applied to men or women. So, in that way, both men and women are made priests and kings to God (see Galatians 3.28). However, with regard to the specific office of the pastor-preacher, God has restricted that role to men. This is made clear in such passages as 1 Timothy 3.1 and Titus 1.5-6, where it is very clear that Paul is addressing men only. You could also compare such passages as 1 Timothy 2.11-12 or 1 Corinthians 14.24. Again, this is not to deny that women can be intelligent and competent teachers (see, for example, Priscilla, but note her gracious submission to her husband [Acts 18.26 and Romans 16.3]), but rather to demonstrate that those capacities are to be carried out in particular spheres appointed by God. Furthermore, there are qualities that God has given to men and not to women that make them fitted for this role, in the same way that there are qualities given to women and not to men that equip them for their distinctive role in society, the church, and the family.

          In the same way (not by logical consequence but by analogy), the question is not whether or not women are brave, competent, skilful and so on, but whether or not God has appointed them to a specific role. I believe that, as you consider the evidence from the Bible, it is plain that the kind of demands required of soldiers on the front line are not those to which God has called or for which he has necessarily equipped women.

          So, I am not saying that there is the same explicit directive from the Lord that women are not to take up front-line combat responsibilities as there is that women are not to take up the role of pastor-preacher. However, there is a parallel. We ask the questions: What was God’s plan and intention in the design of men and women? What was the relationship between men and women that God ordained from the beginning? What are the distinctive spheres to which men and women are called in relationship to God and to each other, their roles in society, in the church and in the family? I think that the Biblical evidence carries us to the conclusion that men rather than women ought to be carrying out the kind of military responsibilities to which I made reference in the original article. This is not to degrade or denigrate women in any way, but rather to answer the question, what was God’s plan and purpose in his design of women themselves and in their relationships to men? As I read my Bible and consider history, I do not believe that that plan and purpose included front-line military service.

          Jeremy Walker

          Thursday 15 April 2010 at 10:11

  2. While I am enjoying the civil manner in which this dispute has been expressed, I must strenuously disagree with the logic the gentleman has used. By “Gods plan and intention”, I assume you are referring to reproductive differences between men and women. Does that mean men are defined by their reproductive design? You doth protest too much by digging up references that agree with your view without applying rational logic of your own. I am a soldier; I have been deployed to the Middle East and Rwanda and trust me, reproductive differences are not important when it comes to performing your duties. There are many women who can’t do this job. There are also many men who can’t do this job. It is hard, but then again, so is giving birth, eh.

    Joanne Geddes

    Friday 7 May 2010 at 00:05

  3. We are kicking this topic around on our blog at the following link:
    http://www.surveymagnet.com/2010/03/should-women-be-allowed-to-hold-combat-jobs-in-the-military/
    Come join the discussion.

    SM

    Wednesday 25 August 2010 at 16:25

  4. Women are not designed physically or psychologically for combat. Many have simply been brain washed by the many movies and television shows that show otherwise.

    1) Women, on average, have half the upper body strength of men and 25%-30% less arobic capacity than men. 2) Females get pregnant.
    3) Women are a distraction to males who are away from their wives and girlfriends. Men have to watch their words for fear of a misstep that could cause a sexual harassment case.
    4) Women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives.

    “Women are not physically and psychologically made for this work,”. —Nicole Grant, a combat medical specialist who has served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Iraq, speaking of HER experiences there.

    Across the country women are filing lawsuits demanding that police training be watered down. Most women can’t even scale a six foot wall-something almost every eight year old boy can do easily. I’ve seen women break down in tears because they failed a pistol qualification course. The idea of women in combat flys in the face of morality, biology, and common sense.

    Eddie Buchanan

    Sunday 29 August 2010 at 05:16

  5. “Women are not designed physically or psychologically for combat.”
    Well, if this was true, how was it possible for Russian women to get in the military during WW2 and to be as dangerous for the German soldiers as their male colleagues ?

    “Most women can’t even scale a six foot wall”
    Aww, come on. That’s just a matter of training.

    ““Women are not physically and psychologically made for this work,”. —Nicole Grant, a combat medical specialist who has served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Iraq, speaking of HER experiences there.”
    You made a point there. But still, that’s only one medic. I’m sure there are plenty of other army medic, as weel qualified and experienced as Miss Nicole Grant who would disagree with her.

    “I’ve seen women break down in tears because they failed a pistol qualification course”
    Does it mean that all of them would break down in tears ?

    “Women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives.”
    10 % instead of 5 % ? Is that such a big deal ? It still remains “only” 10 % : that makes 90 % who are still able to get in active combat while not suffering PTSD afterwards.

    “The idea of women in combat flys in the face of morality, biology, and common sense”
    This last one is so full of corny stereotypes.
    What is your point ? Women should allowed only in their kitchen and house-work chores ?
    Women are citizens, they have the same rights AND, most important, the same freaking duties as men.

    You say morality. But why would it be morally wrong for women to be in combat units and to kill as their male colleagues ? You’re not living in Candy World, you know : Whether it is a male or a female soldier, it remains the same job : kill if necessary, or become part of the casualties. If you consider it wrong for women, then you must consider it wrong for men too.

    You say biology. Is it because women carry life ?
    Then, in that case, they don’t get to carry it by themselves : I mean that men carry also their part of life, a part that is necessary for women to carry theirs. So if it was biologically wrong for women to be soldiers, it would be the same for men.
    That is simply not the case.

    You say common sense. Mind you possible mistake : It is not THE common sense you advocate, but only YOUR common sense. It is just your personnal opinion. You shouldn’t present your opinion like it’s an universal truth.

    Besides, to try to make it short, all women in the armed forces in general and in the combat units in particular are not necessarily bound to be harassment bait, no matter if the male soldiers find them beautiful or not.

    November Fox

    Sunday 29 August 2010 at 10:04

  6. False. God can not allow for free will and assign pre prescribed roles for people at the same time. God can not give people their own choices, but make them incapable of choosing things other than what has been chosen FOR them due to their biology. You can’t have the power to choose totally, but then make exeptions for certain things. You can not make something and apple, but then backtrack and say it is an orange as well. It’s impossible for predesign wills and free will to exist in the same place.

    You most likely have been so clouded by what other non-divine humans such as yourself have led you to believe, that you have no conception of the true meaning of god. And it is likely with your conditioning that you never will until the day that you cross over. Until then I understand that disagreeing with you is completely futile, because you are most likely unwilling to consider any other possibilities than the conception that has been concocted for you. I am not commenting for your sake, as I know you will most likely either ignore, delete, or disagree with me using fallacious arguments. I am commenting for the sake of others whose view points are not being represented in this discussion. Particularly for the women in the world who must feel a deep sense of pain when they are told that they are not allowed/designed to do certain things even though they feel deeply drawn, possibly even on a soul level, to do so. The women and Fathers of women who feel a pain to be reminded that people like you in the world still have such a distorted view of equality.

    Let us get this straight. A woman, regardless of what your edited/falsified books say, is no more “designed” to do anything than someone who is black, chinese, spanish or jewish. And the day will come when it is considered as politically incorrect and grossly misguided make these claims based on sexual biology as it is about racial biology. This Is Truth.

    Truth

    Thursday 24 November 2011 at 09:25


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