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ERLC does not support requiring women to register with Selective Service

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October 20, 2021

The National Commission of Military, National, and Public Service recently released their two-year review with the recommendation that all Americans, regardless of gender, may be expected to serve in the event of a national draft.

Southern Baptists affirm that men and women were created with distinct physical and psychological differences. Women placed in combat would be a risk to themselves, to the men around them, and consequently, to our nation.  Men are psychologically prepared to protect, while women desire to nurture. Asking a woman to take the place of a man in protecting a nation is not only dangerous, but dishonors the role of men and women.   

Men and women are equal in value but distinct in their roles. Genesis 1:27 notes that God created men and women in His image; they are equal in value, but they were also created with specific and complementary characteristics for different roles. Furthermore, 2019 SBC Resolution on Expanding The Selective Service To Include Women notes that government coercion of women signing up for the draft “would be to treat men and women interchangeably and to deny male and female differences clearly revealed in Scripture and in nature.”

The U.S. draft has historically been filled by men. In March of 2020, The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service published a review on the status of military and public service of young Americans, complete with policy recommendations including an updated military selective service process. The newly recommended draft would require women to sign up for the draft. If the commission’s suggested policies were implemented, women between the ages of 18 and 26 would be compelled to register for the national draft. Should there be a national emergency requiring a more robust military, both men and women would be drawn by a lottery system and forced to serve. No distinctions between the roles of men and women’s potential placements were made. There is also no recognition that women are often the nurturing parent needed at home; intact families are necessary for a healthy society. 

Southern Baptists wish to express deepest gratitude to those courageous men and women who have served, as noted in the 2016 SBC resolution on Women Registering for the Draft. We are grateful for all women who have chosen to serve their country in the military, but make the distinction that forced service is both dishonorable and unbiblical.