Should Women Fight?

Great stuff found over on GottesdienstOnline:


Gottesdienst OnlineThe D.O.D.’s sad announcement yesterday reminded me that the CTCR of the LCMS is considering the question of whether or not it is immoral for a government to place women into combat. It clearly is immoral even though there isn’t a single Bible passage that spells it out in black and white. It is clearly immoral and confusing of the order of creation even though sometimes women must do what men fail to do (Jael, Deborah, Zipporah) or refuse to do. A woman may have to fight to defend her home and children. That is not the question that should be put the CTCR. In emergencies women may be forced to fight. But that is not what the D.O.D. is advocating. The D.O.D. has said there will be no restrictions for women anywhere in the military. They will be asked to suffer and die for the sake of their fathers, brothers, and sons. That is wrong. This action also further erodes our ability to recognize what is unique and glorious about femininity. Men aren’t being forced to act as women. Women are being forced to act like men. I think our entire military and culture is becoming androgynous to our peril. What is lost is the good and necessary female side of culture and society and I suspect that we will degrade past the point of Sodom very soon if we haven’t already.

The Bible makes the distinction between men and women based on the simple reality that God made us male and female. The distinct duties of husband and wife as laid out by St. Paul also help us see the difference.

This reminded me of an excellent response a few months ago by Pastor Paul Harris (who apparently boasts a ranger tab!) of Trinity Lutheran Church in Austin. I am copying the whole thing below, but here is a link to his blog so that you can find more: St. Antony’s Cave.


“These are Men Who Jump and Die”     (found here)
Posted on August 25, 2015 by Rev. Paul R. Harris

For weeks, maybe months, in 1966 while my mom was shopping for groceries I was at the soda fountain in the Muir’s drug store with my father listening as Barry Saddler sang the “Ballad of the Green Berets.” One of the lines is “These are men who jump and die.” But the times are a changing. Now you have to sing, “These are men and women who jump and die.”

Have you noticed that how since the First Gulf War everyone from politicians to pundits to journalists go out of their way to refer to the men and women who are fighting for us?

The gross “unfairness” that only men get to sacrifice their body, health, and life to defend their country – never mind that only women get to do the same in regard to raising up the next generation – was first addressed in the 80s when President Reagan changed the physical fitness standards. The military adopted a double standard for men and for women. This changed somewhat in 2012. There would be one standard for combat arms units and if women could meet that they could serve in most areas. Now this past week 2 women graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School.

Thirty-nine years ago this week, I graduated from Ranger School. I would like to think that it was harder than and no women could have done it. But in my class 98/208 (47%) were awarded the Ranger tab. In last week’s graduating class 94/381 men (25%) received it, and 2/19 women (10%). So perhaps their class was harder. Mine was longer 67 days; theirs 62 days. However, the 2 women took 4 months to finish being “recycled” several times. Don’t think that makes them wimps. Everyone in my Ranger class dreaded the thought of being recycled. I failed a patrol by 3/10 of a percent and could have been recycled through the Mountain Phase, but was allowed to go on to the Jungle Phase.

But the issue is not whether or not a woman can do all the requirements. The issue is should they? When my son wrestled in high school, I told him he should not and would not wrestle a girl even if that meant forfeiting and his team losing. It was not that he might lose to a girl, but that he might win, and something much bigger would have been lost.

Ashley’s War is a 2015 book about the U.S. Army’s secret program in 2010 to place female soldiers with Ranger and Special Forces units to talk and search Muslim women and children. I took away two things from this book. First, even today, a woman dying unnerves everyone more than a man dying does, and this is a good thing. Second, and here I paint with a very wide brush, the millennial male thinks it’s a matter of fairness and so believes he is championing the oppressed when he encourages women to go into combat roles. They equate being able to do something with the right to do it.

ISIS (and the Viet Cong before them and the Nazis before them) enlists children to fight. Some are very good. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should. The millennials – at least in this book – think they are forward thinking when they cheer their wife, their girlfriend, their sister on to sweat, suffer, and sacrifice like a man. I think they are being backward. A mark of an advanced society is women and children NOT going to war. The mark of an oppressive, domineering, and desperate society is sending them.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Should Women Fight? — 10 Comments

  1. There is a parallel conversation going on at Cranach ( [If you can get on it; right now I can’t…their new “moderating” system, supposedly dedicated to “Openness” makes it absurdly easy for one commenter to shut another down.]

    Nobody, so far, has mentioned “order of creation” or anything like it there. A couple of men have a daughter or wife in the service. [My “sin”, I think, was mentioning that an estimated 15% of the women brought out to the Gulf War went home pregnant; my son, traveling west from one carrier assignment to another was put on a (land) plane load of them.]

    According to the discussion there, women may opt out of front line combat, which is something men can’t do, if that’s the purpose of their unit. I guess more men will have to get out and fight, if women can choose to “fly a desk” (as they said in the WW II navy) and concentrate on their “career” (safe, warm, and close to modern sanitary facilities).

  2. Is it a sin for a woman to voluntarily join these positions? That question is backwards from the idea that it is permissable. Abortion is permissable, but immoral. Now the question is, “Is it immoral for women to join combat positions?”

  3. I would really like the CTCR to also address whether a man in the LCMS can claim “conscientious objector” status.

  4. @Jared #3

    In its 1968 report, “Guidelines for Crucial Issues in Christian Citizenship,” the CTCR does discuss conscientious objection in Section Four – The Christian and Conscience.

    Ap.XVI.53 states that it is lawful for Christians to engage in just wars and act as a soldier (Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions also support capital punishment) and thus would not support a general pacifist objection to participating even in a just war. Of course there are physically, mentally, or emotionally handicapped men who would not be qualified to engage in combat as a soldier.

  5. A mark of an advanced society is women and children NOT going to war. The mark of an oppressive, domineering, and desperate society is sending them.

    I believe that.

    But the Christians in the Middle East are being decapitated, crucified and shot, and women and girls are being sold into slavery. Our Christian relief organizations’ response is to ignore them (as our government does) and bring Muslims here. It is a tenet of Islam that ‘the faithful’ may lie to ‘infidels’ if it serves them, so I wouldn’t give 2 cents for LIaRS’ “vetting” of refugees.

    Europe’s “refugees” are predominantly young single men. Their families aren’t affected by the war? Or is refugee status a Trojan horse?

    The “radicalized”, who shoot and build bombs, attack men, women and children, as seen at the Boston marathon and now in California.

    While I do not believe it is in the best interests of the services (or the women) to send women to the front lines, we have to realize the “war” may come to us. Women who know how to handle a rifle and/or can take a license for concealed carry might not be a bad idea in this strange world. [I hope they will never need to use them against other people.]

  6. @helen #6: “Women who know how to handle a rifle and/or can take a license for concealed carry might not be a bad idea in this strange world.”

    Also making sense is Trump’s call on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation’s leaders can ‘figure out what is going on.’ While San Bernardino has shown there are islamoterrorist sleeper cells in the U.S., there’s no reason to force women with CCWs into combat roles in malls and supermarkets to defend themselves and their children against even more incoming jihadists.

  7. “It clearly is immoral even though there isn’t a single Bible passage that spells it out in black and white.”

    An interesting assertion, but without much doctrinal weight. Arguments from secondary theological constructs like the Order of Creation are tenuous, at best.

    Our military system is, at least at present, an all-volunteer force. Opening the door for women to volunteer, then qualify, then serve in combat, is a very different proposition from compelling women into combat. And given that this is a matter of secular order, in a secular society that also has opened the door for women to volunteer, then qualify, then serve in any number of governmental positions, I’m not sure there is a doctrinal question for the CTCR to entertain… unless they also want to use Order of Creation to forbid the secular government from having women in positions of leadership over men, forbid LCMS women from managerial positions, and LCMS men from working for women.

    Of course, there’s a question for Christians to ask, relative to whether or not their daughters/mothers/sisters should volunteer for combat service in a secular government. I would counsel the women I care about against it, not because Scripture commands against it, but because of entirely pragmatic concerns– I wouldn’t want anyone exposed to the horrors of combat, let alone women I care about. Combat sucks, and does irreparable harm to those who are exposed to it. If it must be engaged, I’d prefer it be men who take that burden. But since there is no “thus saith the Lord” on the matter, the Church has no business making doctrine on the point, either for Christians or the secular government.

    Just two cents from this vet

  8. I had a college colleague of mine (a professing Christian) who actually argued against women in combat from a non-religious point of view. Did it quite well, actually.

  9. You can rest assured that the CTCR will not touch anything remotely connected to the Order of Creation with a ten foot pole. They know precisely where such a study will lead them and they have no interest in making that trip. No, women should not be placed in combat roles nor should they volunteer for such duty. And yes, both the seeking of such positions and the placing of people in them is a sin against the doctrine of the Order of Creation. However, the Synod has been drinking the Feminist “Kool Aid” since 1969 and I seriously doubt they will step back from the errors this beverage has brought the Synod. The Synod has rather decisively demonstrated that it is unresponsive to doctrinal error for 70 years. Why should they change now?

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