Women In Combat

The Church is abuzz with despair over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision this week to allow women to serve alongside men in all combat positions in the military, although the men and women who serve will tell you that women have been on the front lines in varying capacities for years.

The Deuteronomic prohibition against men and women dressing in the clothing of the other sex has been invoked, along with an acknowledgement that the military exploits of Deborah and Jael in the Old Testament are the exceptions that prove the no-women-in-combat rule, and I suspect that tomorrow morning will feature grave pronouncements lugubriously pouring over the nation’s pulpits that our daughters are mere legislative steps away from being forced to abandon their search for matching tableware and don the fatigues and AR-15s of the menfolk.

All of which, however, seems to ignore a perhaps more important concern that the Church ought to grapple with:  Is it Biblical — is it in any way justifiable — for any Christian, male or female, to be forced to fight in our country’s wars, particularly those that, like the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, were based on lies, sinful and profit-oriented motives, and a general desire to “get” Muslims in retaliation for Sept. 11?

Rather than worrying that our menstruating, emotional, and skirt-wearing daughters might someday be forced to fight, perhaps we should step back and see if any of our Christian children should be in the battlefield-killing business. 

It’s a tougher question to answer, and that’s why, I suspect, it won’t come up in the hue and cry over ladies in combat.  And it’s a pity it won’t, because the greatest offense to the Scriptures and to the message of Jesus Christ isn’t that people with lady parts will be on the front lines.

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