Overture to Condemn the Conscription of Women

2016_SynodConvention-side2As you undoubtedly have heard in the news, the Department of Defense announced on Dec. 3rd that they will indeed be opening up all combat positions in our nation’s armed forces to women.

As exclusion from combat was the legal rationale for also excluding women from the selective service system, the possibility of women being required to participate in the selective service system, and thus potential drafts, is now coming down the tracks at full speed.


This issue is an important one that faces all of the congregations and families of our Synod and nation. The Missouri Synod ought to speak clearly against the conscription of women at the 2016 Convention.

Below is a suggested overture for congregations, circuit forum, District Board of Directors, and other bodies that may submit overtures to the Synod.

Included underneath this overture are the names of pastors of our Synod who have given this overture their support.

Additionally, several of the contributors to BJS have added their names in support.

[Note: As other pastors and laymen of the Missouri Synod have expressed their desire to record their support for this overture, please feel free to indicate so in the comments below.]

Please bring this before your own congregations and circuits to send to the synod. The deadline for overtures to be submitted is February 20th

Directions to submit overtures are here: http://www.lcms.org/convention/overtures

Even after the deadline, passing this overture offers an opportunity for congregations to publicly and officially record their objection to the conscription of women as they seek to support and safeguard their own daughters.


To Condemn the Conscription of Women (PDF)


To Condemn the Conscription of Women

Whereas, on January 24th, 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense announced its intent to lift the nation’s exclusion of women from all remaining combat positions from which they have been previously barred, an exclusion upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court; and

Whereas, The women of the LCMS may be subject to registering for selective service and a possible draft, as the rationale provided by the U.S. Supreme Court in prohibiting this practice was the Department of Defense’s ban on women in combat; and

Whereas, the conscription of women, especially in view of their imminent inclusion into all combat positions in the U.S. Armed Forces, is not in accordance with God’s order of creation (Gen. 1-2; 1 Cor. 11), in which men are to be the self-sacrificial heads and protectors of women, laying down their lives for them as Christ laid down His life for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), and showing honor to them (1 Peter 3:7), which is further confirmed and testified to by the exclusion of women from combat duty and conscription throughout the Scriptures (Num. 1, Joshua 1:14, Deut. 20, Deut. 22, etc.); and

Whereas, at the 2013 synodical convention, the Mercy floor committee intended to speak to the issue of the conscription of women in their original resolution, as was printed in Today’s Business for 7/23/2013, “Resolved, that the LCMS support those who have a religious and moral objection to women serving in ground combat positions and/or participating in the selective service system and being subject to a possible draft,” yet the committee did not present the above phrase, “and/or participating in the selective service system and being subject to a possible draft,” because “Mercy committee members saw no need to address that issue at this time”(Reporter Online); and

Whereas, since then, on December 3rd, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that all U.S. military combat positions are being opened up to women, and detailed legal analysis has already been undertaken by the Department of Defense, in consultation with the Department of Justice, concerning the legal implications of this change of policy in regards to the constitutionality of the application of the selective service system; and

Whereas, we would be negligent if we did not defend the women of the LCMS and prepare for the serious and imminent possibility of women being subjected to being required to participate in the selective service system and a possible draft; therefore be it

Resolved, That the LCMS condemn the conscription of women, in particular, by means of participation in the selective service system and a possible draft, as it is a confusion of God’s order of creation; and be it finally

Resolved, That the LCMS support those who have a religious and moral objection to women participating in the selective service system and being subject to a possible draft.


Rev. Scott Adle, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Collinsville, IL

Rev. David R. Appold, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Paducah, KY

Rev. Eric Andersen, Zion Lutheran Church, Summit IL & Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hodgkins IL

Rev. Steven J. Anderson, Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Marcus Baikie, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, WY

Rev. Larry Beane, Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, LA

Rev. Benjamin Ball, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, IL

Rev. Travis Berg, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Latimer, IA

Rev. Daniel Bishop, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Pekin, IL

Rev. Kenneth J. Bomberger, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Walker, MI


Rev. Jason Braaten, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tuscola, IL

Rev. Neil L. Carlson, Trinity, Sidney and Zion Lutheran Churches, Chappell, NE

Rev. Joshua P. H. Conradt, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Waterford WI

Rev. Matthew T. Dent, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Standish, MI

Rev. Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt Jr., St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Kewanee, IL

Rev. Hans Fiene, River of Life Lutheran Church, Channahon, IL

Rev. A. Brian Flamme, Veteran, USMC, Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

Rev. Brandon Froiland, Christ Lutheran Church, Platte Woods, MO

Rev. Micah Gaunt, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Zion Lutheran Church, Ravenna and North Shelton, NE

Rev. Andrew Gerike, Mt. Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE


Rev. Jacob Gilbert, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Racine, WI

Rev. Andrew Gray, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Marengo, IA

Rev. Peter F. Gregory, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Westminster, MA

Rev. Mike S. Grieve, Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, Golden, IL

Rev. Dr. Gifford A. Grobien, (Lieutenant, USN) Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN

Rev. Daniel A. Hinton, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Cheyenne, WY

Rev. Josemon Hoem, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Murphysboro, IL

Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt. Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Golconda, IL

Rev. Dr. Joel G. Koepp, Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church, Wood Lake MN

Rev. Adam C. Koontz, Mount Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lititz, PA


Rev. Michael Larson, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wittenberg, WI

Rev. Ryan L. Loeslie, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Merna, NE

Rev. Travis Loeslie, St. Peter Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie, MN

Rev. Mark Lovett, Concordia Lutheran Church, Hoisington, KS

Rev. Tyson Mastin, St John’s Lutheran Church, Plato, MN

Rev. Jordan McKinley, Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Rev. Michael Scott Monterastelli, member of Pilgrim, Kilgore, Texas

Rev. Matthew V. Moss, St. Paul & Immanuel Lutheran Churches, Readlyn, IA

Rev. Christopher J. Neuendorf, Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, Davenport, IA

Rev. Weslie Odom, Grace Lutheran Church, Burkburnett, TX


Rev. Jon C. Olson, Trinity Lutheran Church, Jasper, MN & Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Pipestone, MN

Rev. William J. Orr, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Willow Springs, IL & Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lyons, IL

Rev. Andrew Packer, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Pagosa Springs, CO

Rev. Robert W. Paul, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Roswell, NM

Rev. David H. Petersen, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN

Rev. Clint K. Poppe, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE

Rev. Andrew Preus, Trinity and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Parish, Guttenberg and McGregor, IA

Rev. David Rolf Preus, Missionary, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South America

Rev. John Preus, Trinity Lutheran Church, Clinton, IA

Rev. Mark Preus, St. Andrews Lutheran Church and Campus Center Laramie, WY


Rev. Paul Preus, Zion Lutheran Church, Ellendale, ND

Rev. Rolf Preus, Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney, MT & St. John Lutheran Church, Fairview, MT

Rev. David P. Ramirez, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Union Grove, WI

Rev. Jeffrey E. Ries, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tacoma, WA

Rev. James A. Roemke, Messiah Lutheran Church, Kenosha WI

Rev. Roberto E. Rojas, Jr. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Winter Garden, FL

Rev. Dr. Timothy A. Rossow, Bethany Lutheran Church and School, Naperville, IL

Rev. Joshua Scheer, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, WY

Rev. Michael Schuermann, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Sherman, IL

Rev. Wade Seaver, Hope Lutheran Church, Bellaire, MI

Rev. Clint Stark, Zion Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, WI

Rev. Ronald A. Stephens, Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Garfield, NJ

Rev. Jacob R. Sutton, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Terre Haute, IN

Rev. Christopher I. Thoma, Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Hartland, MI

Rev. Bruce Timm, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Cloud, MN

Rev. Aaron Uphoff, Sergeant, Veteran, ARNG, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Randolph, NJ

Rev. Matthew Uttenreither, St. John Lutheran Church Tigerton, WI

Rev. Sean A. Willman, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Pleasant Prairie, WI

Rev. Timothy Winterstein, Faith Lutheran Church, East Wenatchee, WA

Rev. C. Bryan Wolfmueller, Hope’s Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

Rev. B. Andrew Wright, St. John Lutheran Church, Keystone, IA


Contributors to BJS who have also given their support to this resolution:

Dr. Scott Diekmann, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Milton, WA

Mr. Norm Fisher, St. John Lutheran, Champaign IL

Mr. Joseph D. Klotz, Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Brookfield, IL.

Mr. Nathan Redman, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Cloud, MN

Mr. Tim Wood, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Mr. Brian Yamabe, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, San Jose, CA




Overture to Condemn the Conscription of Women — 56 Comments

  1. Please add my name:

    Mr. Justin Benson
    Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chatfield, Minnesota
    Executive Director & President
    Wittenberg Academy

  2. Rev. Philip Zielinski
    St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
    Valley City, Ohio

    Please add my name in support of this overture. I will likewise being it to the people whom I serve and the brothers in the circuit.

  3. Thank you to the one(s)who wrote this overture and to all who are adding their name.

    Ginny Valleau

  4. Please add

    Rev. Caleb Schewe
    Trinity Lutheran, Corona, SD
    Our Savior’s Lutheran, Wilmot, SD

  5. David Pratt, Mountain View Lutheran Church and teacher at Faith Lutheran High School, Las Vegas, Nevada

  6. Please add me as well.

    Rev. Robert Catherwood Jr.
    St. John’s Lutheran Church
    Rome,NY. 13440

  7. As the father of four daughters, I definitely request that you please add my name:

    Rev. Russell Fitch
    St. Peter Lutheran Church, Hannover, ND, & Zion Lutheran Church, New Salem, ND.

  8. Please add my name as well.

    Rev. Adam Jacobsen, St. John Lutheran Church, Mattoon, IL

  9. Please kindly include my name
    Rev. LeRoy J. LaPlant, St. Mark Lutheran Church, New Germany, MN

  10. Brothers, more important than adding your name is getting your congregation to submit this overture or one similar. That is what is going to count.

  11. Please add:

    Rev. William Ringer
    Our Redeemer Lutheran New Ipswich, NH
    Christ Lutheran Troy, NH

  12. At the risk of being lambasted… What does this actually accomplish? Sounds like a lot of preaching to the choir, with empty words of “support” and “condemn” which have no practical application.

    If there is really conviction that this is a doctrinal issue (I.e., that thin linkage to Order of Creation,) why not articulate it as such, with all its binding consequences? But of course, there’s no conviction across the synod that women ought not be able to volunteer for combat operations (and we have quite a few female combat veterans in parishes across the country) and thus there’s no articulated moral restriction to women serving in combat… Which makes it even more difficult to preserve women from conscription, should that very unlikely event occur.

    If there’s really a desire to protect women of the LCMS from conscription, then publish a binding theological statement that it is doctrinally impermissible for the women of the LCMS to serve in any combat operation, or in the military at all. Of course, I don’t think anyone has the stones to try to pull that off (or the firm conviction that this really is a doctrinal matter,) and alienate all the female veterans in the synod.

  13. Please add:

    Rev. Daniel E. Harders
    St. Peter Lutheran Church, Holyrood, Kansas
    Zion Lutheran Church, Claflin, Kansas

  14. @Brad #21

    At the least what an overture like this would do, if passed, is give a specific statement of the church that women could point to, showing the government that the church with which their congregation is affiliated, has stated that there is moral and religious standing for conciencious objection to their conscription. Therefore, the argument would fall under the free exercise of religion.

    Men and women are free to volunteer to serve their country. Conscription is another thing altogether.

  15. Dear BJS,
    This is a tough one…why do we not condemn women in combat altogether?
    I certainly hope my daughter does not fight, anywhere, but I am still not swayed on the fact we can condemn this.
    Where did we fall on conscription of men?

  16. Overture to Condemn the Conscription of Women joined by Ryan D. Grone LCpl USMC (retired) Christ Church Lutheran Phoenix, AZ

  17. @The Rev. BT Ball #23

    Rev. Ball,

    Respectfully, this overture does nothing but offer swelling words. Either there’s a moral imperative against women in the armed forces, or there’s not. And the LCMS as a church body either recognizes such a moral imperative, or it does not. If the LCMS recognizes no moral imperative against women in the armed forces, no amount of pointing to various bureaucratic fluff documents is going to stand between them and eventual conscription (if that’s the stated objective.)

    To accomplish that objective, the LCMS organs responsible for making binding doctrinal statements, must issue that doctrinal finding so that members of the synod may use it collectively. Otherwise, it’s just an empty and inconsistent gesture.

  18. @Brad #21

    Cf. the current issue of “My Devotions,” in which a fictional child named Junia and her mother rejoice in the news that the former’s former (female) babysitter has joined our hallowed military.

    Fathers and mothers being secularly equal, women offer no secular public service in commensurate value to registering with the Selective Service. Fair’s fair.

    By my reckoning, only women who choose to be members of explicitly patriarchal churches could arguably be exempt from the draft, if that works in America any more.

  19. Dear BJS,
    I think we need to change the wording that a woman should have the right to refuse active combat.

    I can list so many “practical reasons” that a woman should not be in combat, also a woman should have many avenues to waive a “possible” draft.

    I do not think we can resist it.

  20. @Rebekah #28

    Yes, Rebekah, I thnk you’ve nailed it. Not only must the church fellowship be explicit in its articulation of the Order of Creation doctrine as they apply it to this question, but internally consistent in its application among members. Otherwise, it’s meaningless as a protection for anyone.

    I.e., so long as we have LCMS women in the military and volunteering for combat missions, and the LCMS has no doctrinal statement or discipline against them, there’s no ecclesiastical exception for anyone.

  21. @Pastor Prentice #29

    I appreciate that sentiment, Pr. Prentice, but if the explanation for why women should be able to refuse can’t equally be applied to why men should be able to refuse, it won’t mean anything, either.

  22. @Brad #31
    Dear Brad,
    Yes, this is a tough, sympathetic issue, I am confessional and know many of the reasons why men and woman are different, and how it applies (no womens ordination, etc.)…I just do not see it as applying to selective service from a Law standpoint.

    I must do some more digging into this…but is has sparked some conversation.

    I may take some pastoral heat from the brothers, but I want to stay in the theological realm for all reasons, and I do not see it…now.

    But as a Synodical Rep. for this year…”I got some research to do.”

  23. @Pastor Prentice #32

    Yep, I’m with you. Trying to extend the Order of Creation to this topic seems to me, at best, to rise only to pious opinion. There are a lot of good pious opinions out there, but they aren’t binding doctrine.

  24. Given the reasons in the third Whereas for opposing the possibility of (Kingdom of the Left) conscription of women into the military, perhaps a third Resolved could be added to condemn the 19th Amendment.

    After all, in Lehre und Wehre (1887, 33, 56) Franz Pieper had called the (then proposed 16th) Amendment on women suffrage “a proposal that stands all natural order on its head.”

  25. Would that all who support this have their congregations submit it as an overture. . . and their circuits. . . and their districts!
    Thanks for all men and women who do support it. Prayers for wide dispersion, acceptance, and action. Note that it not only mentions LCMS women, but all women of our country.

  26. @Donna #37

    I’m sorry, Donna– you’re right. Once we let women learn how to read, then they wanted to read stuff… Then vote and express their own opinions… And even be treated as equals. What were we thinking… 😉

  27. Dear BJS,
    Perhaps my final thoughts on this, until convention booklets arrive:

    01) We must be careful when we use Scripture to speak on issues where Scripture does not apply, and we must be more careful when we use it as Law.

    As a theologian, I do not see Scripture applying to Selective Service.

    Many times, “some” in the “greater” Church has misused Scripture in race relations, voting rights, etc.

    02) I do believe we can make a social statement addressing this issue, asking government to
    exercise care and caution…but I could also say that for a man who wants to resist selective service as well.

  28. @Pastor Prentice #39


    Could you please clarify for me how Scripture does not apply to the conscription of women (especially the passages listed in the overture)? I would truly appreciate it.


  29. @Cody #40


    In this section, the assertion is made without actual demonstration. The author of the resolution assumes agreement, but his doctrinal point is not actually established or adequately argued. That inadequacy in the resolution is clearly shown, by the inconsistency it would create right now for LCMS women serving in the Armed Forces, and volunteering for combat operations, without any censure by the synod.

    Until this theological point is adequately established, it is unfit for a resolution of this type, and does nothing to accomplish the stated goal of the resolution (to preserve women of the LCMS from conscription to combat.)

    “Whereas, the conscription of women, especially in view of their imminent inclusion into all combat positions in the U.S. Armed Forces, is not in accordance with God’s order of creation (Gen. 1-2; 1 Cor. 11), in which men are to be the self-sacrificial heads and protectors of women, laying down their lives for them as Christ laid down His life for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), and showing honor to them (1 Peter 3:7), which is further confirmed and testified to by the exclusion of women from combat duty and conscription throughout the Scriptures (Num. 1, Joshua 1:14, Deut. 20, Deut. 22, etc.);”

  30. I’m seeing a lot of noise with little substance from those criticizing this proposed overture. To begin with, I do not get the impression that this is in any way suggesting that women cannot serve in the armed forces. It does, however, deal with the issue of women being drafted and serving in front-line combat roles. Both of which, historically have not been an issue.

    For the folks, who are more or less, crying “sexism” about men in the LCMS not wanting women to be drafted or put into front-line combat roles, let’s think about this for a minute. What percentage of our armed forces are occupied by women? Let’s look at some numbers.

    The most recent stats I could find suggest that women make up about 14.5% of our active-duty military. 18% of reserve forces are women. 10.5% of Coastguard which is now under Homeland Security.

    Women make up 2.7% of our front-line forces, but not in combat roles (serving as gun-crew, air-crew).

    Women overwhelmingly serve in roles such as medical, communication, administrative, intelligence, and supply.

    So, tell me then… what percentage of women in the LCMS who are in the Armed Forces are serving in front-line combat roles? What percentage of women in the LCMS are really chomping at the bit to go hang out in the trenches on the front line while engaged in fire-fights with enemy combatants? The number of women serving in those capacities will likely increase with the U.S. Military lifting restrictions. However, I find it unlikely that we will see a massive wave of women who are eager to go into front-line combat roles, and an even smaller percent of those interested even qualifying to do so.

    People can toss around the “sexism” argument, but nobody is saying that women can’t serve in the military. Women want to, and there are a lot of roles that they do serve in, and serve well. It’s just that women, don’t ordinarily want to serve in combat roles, nor should they be forced to do so via a draft if one were ever to occur.

    And let’s not exclude the fact that, while the secular west may like to pretend that there are no differences between men and women (or that gender is some weird construct to be done away with) our enemies overseas do not share that sentiment. A man who is captured by enemy combatants, may be imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and so forth. Given the nature of the Islamic militants that we keep having to deal with, it is more likely that our men in uniform will just be executed if captured. Our women(daughters, wives, nieces, and so forth) on the other hand, won’t have the “luxury” of just being executed if captured. The Islamists will do far worse to them than they would do to the men of our armed forces.

    I’ll leave it at that. Folks can cry “sexism” if they want to. But, do it after taking a sobering look at the stats and considering the nature of our most likely enemy for the foreseeable future.

  31. Please add my name, Rev. Adam Carl Salinas, Golgotha Lutheran Church, Wausa, NE.

  32. Please add my name:
    Rev. Curtis Stephens
    St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
    Hazleton, PA

  33. Please add my name as well:

    Rev. Paul E. Gramit
    Ev. Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS-UAC)
    Clinton, Mass.

  34. The irony of efforts to gather support for the overture, “To Condemn the Conscription of Women,” is that if the 19th Amendment had been repealed like the similarly idiotic 18th Amendment, the conscription of women would be a total non-issue, babbled about only by inmates at insane asylums, along with whether homosexual perverts should be allowed to marry each other.

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