This distinction has loomed large in my mind as I have been mulling over the recent announcement by the current administration that in our military women will no longer be barred from filling direct combat roles. I have some thoughts and personal opinions about that, but that’s different from saying, “here’s what God thinks about it.” There is no verse in the Bible that says something like “women shall not be given jobs in combat units.” I have read some attempts by Christian writers to make that case from the Bible, but their arguments are not strong, to say the least. I think there are some higher level biblical concepts that are under attack in our culture, and this most recent move is one more tactic on that front. But I cannot point out any verse that the recent decision directly violates.
I have two concerns over this new policy, one larger than the other. The smaller concern has to do with the practical wisdom of the idea. Already we are hearing comments from the military about creating “gender neutral” requirements for admission to combat units. That’s politically correct speech for lowering the bar so women can meet the requirements. I think that’s a bad idea. The Marines and Army in particular have had physical tests that personnel in front line armor, infantry and artillery units have been required to pass for a long time. Now the plan is to dumb them down in order to achieve a social engineering agenda? I question whether this is going to strengthen the combat readiness and effectiveness of those units. There are a whole host of issues I have with how this will impact front line units and their combat effectiveness.
That is not my biggest objection though. The greater of my concerns has to do with what is increasingly being lost in our culture, and this policy is one more step down that same road. The Bible calls on men to be the head of the home, a leader in the family. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says that just as the head of every person is Christ, so a husband should be the head, the leader of his wife. As part of that responsibility he is called on to protect his wife. Adam’s failure to step in and play his God-given role with his wife in Eden has had disastrous impact. He needed to lead and to protect Eve from a calamitous choice, but instead he followed her. I read just today in Genesis 12 of Abram’s shameful choice to potentially sacrifice his wife, Sarai, in order to protect himself in Egypt. He, too, badly failed in his responsibility to protect his wife.
I realize that idea of man being the head has been horribly abused at times, but that does not make it wrong. It must always be tempered with love and humility. The simple reality is that men are bigger and stronger than women. The Bible calls on men to use that advantage to care for women and protect them. Part of that caring and protecting has involved protecting them from the horror and violence of combat. As we cave in more and more to the idea that men and women are the same, what is being eroded is that call to men to lead and to protect. Frankly, what results is men seeing no need to care for women. They become more prone to use women. In short, I believe this decision is one more evidence of our culture losing something important. It is one more example of women pursuing “equality” at a high cost that I think they will come to regret. I believe our culture will find that what we are losing is real men whom women can love and respect.