A Higher Calling to Protect
Two-thirds of Americans support the recent decision to allow women in combat, according to a Pew Research survey, with nearly identical percentages of men (65 percent) and women (66 percent) in favor of the change. Most say the new policy won't harm military effectiveness and see it as a move that will make opportunities better for women.
I fall on the other side of those statistics, uneasy about the prospect of sending women into the front lines of the battlefield.
I'm not the only one. Writing in the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker argued that when it comes to combat situations, women are not actually equal to men primarily because the art of war is much different than the corner office on Wall Street. Men and women can work many jobs at the same capacity with no real differences between them. Combat is a whole other ballgame.
"Arguments against women in direct combat have nothing to do with courage, skill, patriotism, or dedication," she wrote. "Most women are equal to most men in all these categories and are superior to men in many other areas, as our educational graduation rates at every level indicate. Women also tend to excel as sharpshooters and pilots."
"But ground combat is one area in which women, through quirks of biology and human nature, are not equal to men — a difference that should be celebrated rather than rationalized as incorrect."
A female active duty Marine wrote in The Weekly Standard that biology alone proves that women are not physically capable of the rigors of war at the same level as men. Something will have to give. Either men will die protecting their female comrades or the standards will be lowered, and no one will win in those situations. While many are praising the Defense Department's decision, others are not as convinced that this is the best thing for women and our military.
The issue of women in combat really has nothing to do with equality, despite the government's claims. To deny women the front lines is actually a declaration of something much more than that — women are valued enough to be protected from violence and war. It is precisely because we are equal in value and dignity that we should be protected from the horrors of war.
As Christians, this has profound implications. While it would be easy to simply focus on the pragmatic rationale for or against women in combat, Christians have a higher calling to consider. There are a host of opinions circulating the Internet these days, but those won't create a sustainable argument when it's all said and done. We recognize that there is something much deeper going on in our disapproval of women in combat. Men are called to protect and lead like Christ does for his bride (Eph. 5:25-32). Inviting women onto the battlefield only makes a mockery of the image this protection is designed to display.
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