The Emperor’s Fig Leaves: Feminism and the Draft

This guest article is written by Rev. John Preus, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa.

 

The Emperor’s Fig Leaves: Feminism and the Draft

EmperorNewClothesWhen the emperor wore no clothes, the subservient crowds were fooled by their own self-willed blindness and refusal to judge the situation by objective standards.  The fear of their hearts trumped the light of their minds.  Who were they, after all, to trust their own eyes when the emperor, being wiser and more refined, obviously knew better than they?  They bamboozled themselves out of a cowardly deference to imperial opinion.  And yet, the real humor of the situation is that the emperor himself was also bamboozled by conmen who took advantage of his own cowardly deference to public opinion.  If only the people knew that the insecurity of their own hearts was no different from the insecurity that prompted such a naked display of shame in the first place!  Ha!

The more we consider this story, the cleverer we see the lesson really is.  The emperor is afraid of the crowd’s judgment.  The crowd is afraid of the emperor’s.   And so the clever tailors con both crowd and crown, tapping into their mutual fear of disapproval.  It was the same fatal weakness in both noble and peasant upon which the entire scam depended.  They capitalized on the social pettiness that is common to all men – to fear man more than God – to regard how something is perceived more highly than how something really is.  Truth is a construct, so it goes – an experiment of sorts to see what ultimate goal might be reached in pursuing it.

Only one little child knew nothing of such “truth.”  He knew what he saw.  He knew what was self-evidently shameful.  Being yet impervious to the social pressure to believe what is roundly deemed expedient (if not realistic) to believe, he retained his God-given discernment and innocent sense of urgency to light a candle to the darkness.  And how did he do so?  He laughed!  He pointed out the obvious.  He mocked the absurdity with an air of confidence that the plain truth was manifest to all.  But what a fool was that boy!  For while the emperor blushed, the crowds hushed – and both out of the same sense of shame and suppressed knowledge that the boy was absolutely right.  So while the emperor bared his shame, and the crowds confirmed their status as pawns in someone else’s game, the scamming tailors escaped with gold, the self-satisfied sense of victory, and, not least of all, the self-justifying excuse that he who is willingly deceived is the most magnanimous donor.

There is a willing deception in the pretense that it is acceptable for women to fight alongside men in battle.  But laying aside the issue of female conscription for now (which is too manifestly barbaric and immoral to deserve a lengthy response), we must first back up.  When did the emperor first bare himself?  Was it not when his pride compelled him to devise a new garment that would reflect his relevance in a changing world?  Was it not the dawn of feminism?  Are we allowed to say this yet?  Or is it more complicated than that?  Has this grand and glorious movement been woven from finer threads than I imagine?

Under the guise of modern progress and equality, conmen have flattered the lords of our culture.  They promised glory.  They assured the noble and haughty emperor that what they can weave for him has never been seen before and will incite gratitude and devotion the world over.  But instead of honor, they invite him to don a lie – a lie that the masses have been eager to adore with consent and imitation – a lie that has compelled them to wear and boast of the same nothing-garment like teeny-boppers mimicking glamorous celebrities – a lie that deprives men and women of feeling comfortable in their own skin or of finding honor in their own God-ordained vocations.  But this lie renders them all naked before those who are content with their childlike wisdom – those who are satisfied to acknowledge the self-evident without feeling compelled to prove what all creation already knows.  The emperor’s got no clothes!  The lie that demands the silence of such a frank assessment is the lie of feminism.  Let’s just say it – despite the blush and scorn of the emperor and above the loud hush of the crowd!

Feminism confuses equality with sameness and drives a wedge between Helper and Head.  Feminism teaches that women are oppressed when relegated to the domestic life.  The strength of this lie, at least at first, was the fact that in any age of sinful men there was no shortage of anecdotal evidence that men were cruel to women.  Go figure!  And so the campaign to throw out the baby with the bathwater was fueled by enraged women and sympathetic men.  Progress made no provisions for the increasingly obsolete need for the old domestic duties that once brought women gratitude and honor.  And so new clothes were sought.  But abandoning the apron and tender hand, the uniform and gun were offered instead.  Women, your greatest honor shall now be found in what the millennia have denied you.  Your honor shall now be found where duty of a monstrous sort demands your sacrifice.

Feminism teaches that the duties of mother and homemaker can only bring contentment if such a vocation is first weighed and judged as something that a woman deems personally fulfilling.  Never mind the examples and specific encouragement that the Holy Spirit found fit to offer our wives and daughters.  Feminism is the lie that the freedom a man has in the world to pursue honor should be granted to women as well – lest men keep all the honor for themselves.  But it’s a lie.  And if I am oversimplifying anything here, consider that the voice of the candid child must first be heeded before the grownups rack their brains to devise a suitable chant to raise in defense (or subtle explanation) of the emperor’s new clothes.  Consider with the censured little boy what is obvious before we moderate his words with assurances that it’s more complicated than all that, dear child!

The freedom a man is granted in civilized society to pursue honor outside the home is the freedom to bring it home to his wife and children.  It is the freedom to speak with his enemies in the gates.  It is the freedom to provide his wife and daughters the raw material from which they will spin and weave domestic tranquility and social sturdiness.  What they weave is beautiful.  What they clothe their children with and honor their husbands with can neither be bought from traveling salesmen nor outsourced to so-called professionals.  It is the distinct honor and privilege of those queens and maidens of domestic life to care for and nurture the life of the home, the very foundation of community and culture.

The freedom a man has to enjoy such mobility in society comes with both purpose and responsibility.  The purpose is to uphold the work and sacrifices that are indispensable in their own right – the work of godly women of all ages – yet largely hidden from the hustle and bustle of the public square.  His freedom to do those things that for millennia have been reserved for men and denied to women is granted to him precisely because the freedom it affords women is so very precious.  It is the freedom to be mothers without being tugged from the home.  It is the freedom to serve in feminine capacities without being expected to compete with men.  It is the freedom to continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.  It is a freedom in rare commodity today because women – long before they may be conscripted to war – are conscripted to sing the praises of feminism, lest they come across as ungrateful for the “freedom” this doctrine has attained for them.  And so because men have abandoned their purpose, they have also compelled women to share in their responsibility.  Is it any wonder, really, that a culture which teaches its daughters to compete with men in business, academia, science, and even sports is also a culture that dismisses the threat of my daughters being conscripted to fight men overseas in bloody warfare?  Surely the emperor was naked before this latest of feminist victories.

But perhaps the emperor was already naked even before the dawn of feminism, pathetic man that he is.  Perhaps the eventual triumph of feminism was just the occasion for the emperor, as it once was for his father Adam who likewise listened to the voice of his wife, to first get the funny feeling that he was not wearing any clothes.  Perhaps the reign of feminism has simply provided the emperor that age-old temptation to hide his complicit guilt by partaking in the sin he blithely watched play out – when, if not like God, his wife was promised she could be like him.  Perhaps the whole reason he felt the need to wear new clothes was because he had already soiled his own and shamed himself by shirking his duties as king of his realm – his duties as a man, as lord of his home, as head of his wife.

Such is the progress of men.

But concerning the manifest threat and rotten fruits of feminism, surely our churchmen and conservative leaders are not so daft.  Surely they have seen the writing on the wall.  They have known for some time that the emperor is naked.  They retain some of that puerile innocence that recognizes shame when they see it.  The emperor is naked.  Feminism is a dangerous creed.  Put some clothes on him!  Honor thy mother!  But they, it seems, have underestimated what kind of garment he needs.  Instead of identifying feminism for what it is, we have simply identified various fruits which it has borne.  Abortion is opposed.  Good.  Homosexuality is opposed.  Good.  Divorce and fornication are opposed.  Good.  But to whatever degree we have spoken well on these issues, they have amounted to bracelets and medallions to cover the naked body of a fool.  The emperor is naked.  What kind of garment does he need?

Women will be compelled to register for the selective service.  They will be drafted.  They will be forced to give up their honor as women and to die in who knows what kind of military venture our nation might embark upon.  All of this is going to happen as surely as birth control led to abortion, as surely as no-fault divorce led to rampant fornication and homosexual “marriage,” as surely as the emptying of the home and the confusion of roles between men and women led to female pastors in the church.  The one follows the other as the threads of decency are pulled and the whole cloak unravels before our eyes.

What the emperor needs is not fig leaves.  He does not need a skimpy covering of man’s devising.  Fig leaves might cover this problem or that – they might address sodomy or abortion individually – but they do not truly cover the shame of the emperor.  Fig leaves are confused by most as laurels that mark some grand achievement.  They mislead the masses even as the self-appointed spokesmen of virtue applaud themselves for having cautiously avoided scandal without offending those who have already stumbled into the snare.  They thus serve to sanctify shame rather than truly cover it.  The emperor first needs to be told what the child is saying.  He needs to know he’s naked.  Our leaders – both in church and state – need to identify the glaring issue of feminism.  Before he can be covered – before our culture can offer some suitable garment to cover the grave error that feminism has borne, it must first learn to fear God more than man and to regard what is true more highly than how it is received.  So much more must our churches and theologians learn to confess the truth amidst the ridicule of the crowd.  We must call a spade a spade and oppose the confusion that feminism has wrought as clearly as the child who mocked the emperor’s new clothes.

Our Synod is dealing with a serious threat.  In order for us to manage, we must urge our leaders and all our pastors to speak clearly to the issues of women in the church as well as women in the home, and even women in society.  Picking and choosing fights with which we imagine we might win our people rather than just speaking the whole truth in love, is nothing but fig leaves for the emperor.  It may not be as evil as pretending he’s fully clothed, but it ultimately solves no more problems.  While fig leaves might appear to acknowledge some guilt, they do so while presuming that the shame can be covered without fully identifying the full extent of the evil.  They insinuate that the emperor is not totally naked, but simply needs a better tailor.  Fig leaves say that there is nothing necessarily wrong with what the emperor is wearing.  He just needs to straighten his collar and fix his posture.  But God will not cover a man who is merely unkempt.  He casts off such a man into the outer darkness of willful deception and divine judgment.  God will only cover the one who bears his shame and recognizes his need to be clothed again.  The only evangelical way to deal with our sick culture, therefore, is to expose the pride and insanity that has compelled him to flaunt his imaginary new clothes in the first place.  While we try to moderate the reckless denunciation of the child among us, the emperor grows all the more pompous in his shame.  Exposing himself to our children, he is now imposing himself on our daughters.   And so we come again to the threat of conscription of our women – the latest in a long progression of attacks on God’s order of creation.

As I see it, female conscription is the final gagging of the wise little boy.  It is the final binding of the little girl who once snickered with innocent approval at her brother’s bold announcement.  “He’s right,” she says.  For the sake of our next generation – for the sake of our daughters and for what makes them so precious to the generation that may yet follow, let us join them in their denouncement of what has offended their tender eyes.  The emperor is naked!  They’re right.

Pastor John Christian Preus is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa. 

 


Comments

The Emperor’s Fig Leaves: Feminism and the Draft — 23 Comments

  1. Rev. Preus: “Our Synod is dealing with a serious threat. In order for us to manage, we must urge our leaders and all our pastors to speak clearly to the issues of women in the church as well as women in the home, and even women in society… And so we come again to the threat of conscription of our women – the latest in a long progression of attacks on God’s order of creation.”

    First, the U.S. ended military conscription (the “Draft”) on Jan. 27, 1973.

    Second, the current U.S. Selective Service law (declared constitutional in the 1981 SCOTUS decision, Rostker v. Goldberg) excludes women from registation or a military draft (if it existed).

    Third, what has changed are the announcements in December and January by the Traitorobama regime that it is planning to lift gender-based restrictions on military service, including combat roles. That would affect women who are already in (or may voluntarily join) the armed forces.

    Fourth, Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio will introduce a bill this month that would further restrict any changes on Selective Service registration of women to be made by Congress and not arbitrarily by other branches of government.

    Fifth, as pointed out previously, the synodical convention has tried three times (2007, 2010, and 2013) in overtures and resolution mandates to get the CTCR to present a LCMS document opposing the military’s use of women in combat roles. The only thing the CTCR has produced on this issue was a point/counterpoint (i.e., yes-if-not-no) article, “Women in Combat: Two Views,” back in the May 2003 issue of the Lutheran Witness.

    Sixth, if there is a serious threat within the Missouri Synod that could impact (especially in this election year) the future actions of our political leaders regarding women in combat, it was revealed by President Harrison in his 2012 sworn testimony before a House Committee:

    “We represent a large church body. The constituents are in some way evenly divided between Democrats and Republican. We do not operate in a partisan way.”

  2. Carl,
    Do you believe that there is nothing to be concerned about?

    I suppose in the “great equalization” of the feminist movement, the handicapping of men who must register for the draft (forfeiting good things such as government sponsored grants/loans, government jobs, etc if they don’t) must occur with the “evil patriarchy driven” man finally placed under the heel of his “betters” and made to serve.

    Yes, I know the draft hasn’t been in effect since ’73. That doesn’t mean that I could skip registering for Selective Service 20 years ago, nor can my son when he turns 18.

    I hope that catholic (yes small ‘c’) Christians can stand together on this issue (as well as others) and that my Synod will stand behind my daughters (and give them a measure of support) when they don’t register.

  3. @Kevin #2: Do you believe that there is nothing to be concerned about?

    What did I write that would lead you to ask that question?

    I suppose in the “great equalization” of the feminist movement, the handicapping of men who must register for the draft (forfeiting good things such as government sponsored grants/loans, government jobs, etc if they don’t) must occur with the “evil patriarchy driven” man finally placed under the heel of his “betters” and made to serve.

    I’m not sure of your point here.

    Yes, I know the draft hasn’t been in effect since ’73. That doesn’t mean that I could skip registering for Selective Service 20 years ago, nor can my son when he turns 18.

    It’s not that hard to register for Selective Service. And I can tell you it was, years earlier, not that hard to get drafted, either.

    I hope that catholic (yes small ‘c’) Christians can stand together on this issue (as well as others) and that my Synod will stand behind my daughters (and give them a measure of support) when they don’t register.

    Right now your daughters don’t have to register. And that is not likely to change unless another Demonicrat or a RINO regime is elected.

  4. This is the third article on women and the draft on this website. I like a thick, black crust on my roast beef. Seriously, find more topics to talk about. Scriptures provide a whole range of topics. Don’t burn the roast.

  5. @Ted Badje #4

    First, when an issue is pressing then it’s necessary to write on it more than once and from different angles. One article is posted, read by some, and then quickly forgotten.

    Second, this article isn’t simply about women and the draft. It is about feminism in general and its tight grip it already has on our culture even within the church. If you read this and your only reaction was, “Ok, this guy doesn’t think women should be drafted. Got it!” then you need to reread the article.

  6. Why do the moderators still allow Richard Strickert to post his trollish acrimony here? Honest question. Perhaps you could help ease him into a hiatus from his unhealthy hobby? One blog combox at a time…

    I don’t really like the president, Rick. But I think we can do away with childish logisms such as “Traitorobama”, as well as the rest of the entries from your infamous dunce’s lexicon, which are as stupid as they are vituperative. Let’s not pretend that the mess the US is in isn’t the result of two-party complicity in the Lie.

    Oh, and thanks for a fine article, Pr. Preus. Don’t let the blackened roast-beef crowd get you down. (Seriously, where did that metaphor even come from?)

  7. @Ted Badje #4

    I think there may be some more articles on women in combat that will come before the 2016 Synod Convention as well. This article is a bit (by a bit I mean a lot) more in depth about the general effect of feminism upon the world and the church. The articles here are just links on the homepage, you are welcome to not read any article you don’t want to. If you want other topics submit a request. Search the site for other stuff.

    @T. David #8

    “Carl Vehse” still is allowed to post because he often has good things to add. Not so much in this thread.

  8. Seriously, Ted! Be man enough to say where you obviously disagree. Give a defense for your dissent rather than impetuously holding onto the coattails of a naked tyrant while telling the herald to shut up!

  9. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #9: “Not so much in this thread.”

    Anything specific? There’s only been two posts on this thread, one with six points, and the other with three short comments and a (still unanswered) question.

  10. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #9

    Then I will happily defer to your judgment on the matter.

    “Fear God; honor the Emperor.” If St. Peter thus urged the Church to give honor to the execrable Nero Caesar, then I cannot help but think that it is our duty to speak respectfully of our own magistrates, even if they are evil, on account of their office if for no other reason. The tone which Melanchthon strikes in the Apology when addressing Emperor Charles V is a good example for us all.

    I apologize for this tangent, which is not directly relevant to the OP. I don’t have anything else to say on the matter.

  11. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #13: “Your first comment didn’t seem to make any sense.”

    My first comment,

    First, the U.S. ended military conscription (the “Draft”) on Jan. 27, 1973.

    is in response to the article title’s reference to “Draft” and to the article’s statement,

    “Women will be compelled to register for the selective service. They will be drafted.”

    There is no current draft of women. My comments in the second and fourth points suggest that legislation compelling such a draft (or registration) of women is not soon expected to occur.

  12. James, I like how you ran with the analogy there. I agree with you. The whole point of this essay was to demonstrate the silliness of precisely this kind of obtuseness. Is it mere naivete? I don’t think so. I think that self-identified conservatives have for so long appropriated the false doctrine of feminism that they are now too deep in the mud of compromise to easily admit their tainted perspective, hence their distaste for such discussions as this. The resounding hush I hear stems not from boredom of the same old tune, as Ted implies, but from the resentment of the real issue being pressed. The whole point of backing up from the specific issue of conscription to the broader issue of feminism was to address this very kind of skepticism. I wish you would re-read my article, Ted.

  13. Excellent! A proud Mother/Grandmother, (Semper Fi Mom)who owns those same godly views with a conscience of the Beauty of a woman as God created us. Amen! Thank you for addressing the issues that must be said!

  14. @John #16

    I think that self-identified conservatives have for so long appropriated the false doctrine of feminism that they are now too deep in the mud of compromise to easily admit their tainted perspective, hence their distaste for such discussions as this.

    I think you have something there.
    From 1998-2008 I regularly attended the local CTS CE class here, supplying the “coffee and…” for a number of those years.
    Many of the Pastors had all male Voters, and women were only allowed in the LWML and Altar Guild in their congregations.

    Nevertheless, these men supported a “confessional” slate for Synod offices that included women on various boards. I asked, “Why the inconsistency? Why should women “supervise men” on synod/seminary boards but not the local voters?”

    Well, one told me, we don’t want to be seen as “women-haters”.

    [Except in their own congregations?]

  15. Great article, John! We’ve been treating the symptoms and ignored the cause: feminism. We’ll get nowhere if we keep responding to each issue individually; rather, we need to respond to the heart of the issue! Thank you for writing this! The saints at Zion will be receiving a copy of this!

  16. I really meant to follow this more closely, sorry Carl for not answering your questions quickly(er).

    Your 6 points as a whole left me under the impression that you believe there is nothing to worry about. By stating that the draft hasn’t existed, nor is projected to exist (I know that isn’t explicitly in your argument, but I ‘hear’ it in my head, as much as from a member of my current congregation).

    You know, there is no question that I got off track with that second point. I’m not even sure where I wanted to go.

    If I seemed to downplay the facts of conscription in history, that was not my intent. However, as point of discussion I simply ask what happens when Congress listens to the top officials of the Armed Services, and drops that requirement in. When the failure to register consists of “…failing to register for the draft [you] can be fined up to $250,000, sentenced to up to five years in prison, and be denied eligibility for federal and state benefits including jobs, financial aid, citizenship, loans, and job training” where will we faithful stand, and who will support us?
    In a pair of recent lawsuit filings over this issue, it’s also going to be tough for Congress to maintain the status quo.

    Fourthly, I don’t exactly have rose-colored glasses when looking into the future. I don’t necessarily anticipate a great collapse in the next 4-17 years but I don’t think anyone expected Obergefell last year either. I also don’t think looking forward as Hezekiah did and being thankful that it will not occur in my lifetime is a good idea. As a part of the government (that whole electing representatives thing) it -is- important that we speak God’s truth and ask our brothers and sisters to join us in defending our stance.

    (Is that better? Not sure if I left any dangling threads this time)
    Also thank you Pr. Preuss for the fine article (not sure how I missed this acknowledgement in my initial post)

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