Editor's Note: Yesterday (December 1, 2016), The Associated Press broke news that the White House and Pentagon announced support for requiring women to register for the military draft. In light of that announcement, we're rerunning this important article.
During Saturday night’s debate in New Hampshire, no candidate who was asked about women being required to register for the draft spoke out against such a proposal. My ears could hardly believe what they were hearing: Republican candidates, the party of so-called “traditional values” insisted upon the nobility of the United States drafting women into the military. Whether one “allows” or “requires” women to sign up for the draft misses the bigger point that needs to be said: Women should not be combatants—under any circumstances.
Needless to say, I was and remain immensely disappointed in the responses offered, especially considering the quality of candidates who otherwise have good instincts.
To give each candidate the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they would offer more nuance if given more time—maybe requiring women to register for some type of military service, but not necessarily combat. That seems less odious, but it still leaves open the uncertainties of female military conscription which many Americans find objectionable regardless of political affiliation. We don’t know what, if any, qualifications or nuances each candidate may support. But for now, what was said on Saturday night is totally unacceptable.
There is no valor in requiring a woman to be subjected to the brutalities of a wartime foxhole where unimaginable horrors are played out in real life. But more importantly, let me raise this possibility: If a day were to ever arrive where the U.S. military depended on female combatants in order to win a war, the United States has already lost its most important battles. A nation relying on female combatants is a nation that has been brought to its knees by political correctness. A nation relying on female combatants is a nation that has lost all trappings of male and female differentiation. It is a nation that denies creation and reality in favor of anti-creation and anti-reality. A nation requiring female combatants is a nation that has surrendered any remaining relic of chivalry.
Frankly, it is cowardice of the highest order, and one that any self-respecting man ought to shun. The logic and consequence leads down a path that any man with a view to virtue or duty ought to shudder at when imagining. Think, for example, of the moral equivalency of such arguments that make it the duty of wives to respond to midnight intruders, rather than husbands. That’s what those supporting a military draft of women are asking us to accept. This isn’t just a military proposal; it’s about an entire worldview built on the bankrupt ideology of egalitarianism. This form of egalitarianism tries to level all differences in service to ideology. Ideology is so dangerous because it subjects all realities to its claims, regardless of whether such claims are moral or natural. Putting a woman in a man’s place will only increase her likelihood of harm and bring earned dishonor to the man.
The cultural ethos behind this proposal has tectonic consequences for how culture views men and women. Policy-makers are asking men to comply before a culture of emasculation by surrendering their innate gifting and their innate calling. What’s worse, such proposals simply reaffirm the culture’s weakened understanding of masculinity that makes male obligation optional if women are willing to do the duty of men. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the wrongheaded answers I heard on Saturday night considering how much time egalitarianism run-amok has had to render the apparent differences of men and women as antiquated misogyny. The truth, however, is that a regime that depends on female combatants obscures reality, ignores history, brings shame to our legacy, and makes our national defense a product of social experimentation. No amount of “progress” or modern notions of equality will convince me that placing women in combat is a good idea. It isn’t. It is barbaric.
But my biggest objections to drafting women come as a result of Christian ethics. At the very beginning of the Christian Scriptures, we’re presented with a story of creation. At the pinnacle of creation is God’s creation of men and women. God didn’t make us automatons. He didn’t make us asexual monads. He made us gendered, embodied, and different. The differences extend to all levels of our being—our emotional, physical, and psychological selves. The Christian tradition finds these differences beautiful; and we embrace them with glad acceptance. For in that difference, God made men and women fit for complementary roles and tasks that, if exchanged or blurred, represents a sort of de-creation. As the book of Romans tell us, disavowing creation is its own form of judgment, and a nation cannot suppress the natural laws of God and expect to prosper in the long-term, much less win a war.
In biblical tradition, man and woman are made beautifully different for purposeful reasons. The broad shoulders of men aren’t ancillary or accidental features, but evidence of the natural strength that males innately possess. The protective instinct that men can harness at a moment’s notice isn’t an evolutionary instinct passed down from marauding cavemen—it issues from the fact that God made men protectors. Military conscription of women makes the thwarting of nature mandatory. Women are nurturers; not warriors. That women are delicate, and possess, on average, a smaller frame than men indicate their aptness for less rugged activities, not hand to hand combat. That women cannot comparably handle the physical strain of soldiering isn’t to deny their intrinsic worth and dignity, but to actually esteem it as something different, but equal to a man’s. The Apostle Paul tells his Corinthians listeners to “act like men,” which assumes that if men are to act like men, there’s a standard for which manliness is measured (1 Corinthians 16:13). This is why in the Bible, the same Bible which provided America with a rich moral ethos, it is considered cowardly, shameful, and embarrassing for men to allow women to engage in a sphere that men are best suited for (Judges 4:9).
That we’re having this conversation reveals that America is less humane and gentlemanly, and that we’ve surrendered to our progressive zeitgeist. It is unacceptable.
America, this shouldn’t be hard. Nations ought not send their daughters into battle, but God forbid, if wars arise, it ought to be sons that do the nation’s bidding. Anyone with an iota of commonsense and an eye toward reality knows we shouldn’t sacrifice our daughters to battle—and especially not to the spirit of the age. Perhaps we’ve arrived at this point because the voices of anti-reason want every last vestige of natural difference obliterated in order to fulfill their dystopic dream of egalitarianism over everything else. America may fall victim to such erroneous ideologies that intentionally puts women in harm’s way, but it will not count my daughters as casualties for its cause—ever.