Women in the Military

Woman in uniform sea captain with rifle, isolated on white backgA friend has written some thoughtful comments about the prospect of requiring young women to register for the draft.  I thought I would share them with the readers of Brothers of John the Steadfast.


Pastor Rolf Preus


In the past few months many people have voiced their objections to the recent actions of the US military to integrate women fully into the Armed Services. The determination that women can serve in combat positions is part of a broader action by the federal government that aims to restructure how people think about men, women, marriage, and the family.  It is part of the LGBTQ agenda, which wants fundamentally to reconstruct the divinely created order of men and women and to divorce human sexuality from the Creator’s purposes. For the LGBTQ “community”, sex is an instrument of pleasure and sentiment. For the Christian, sex is a gift of God to be enjoyed in sanctified union for the creation of children and consolation of the married. Sex belongs within holy matrimony, which God has given to the world as an example of Christ’s love for the Church. As Paul teaches in Ephesians 5, when the man submits himself to the law of marriage in service and sacrifice to the woman, who responds to his love with faith and trust, the man acts as a sign of Christ’s love for the Church and the world through the Church. In this divinely given relationship, wives submit to their husbands as the Church does to Christ—not from fear of coercion, but in glad reception of the gifts of the Lord. The recent decision of those who administer the Armed Services seeks to destroy this institution of marriage and the social order built upon marriage. It belongs to the larger LGBTQ agenda and should be opposed.[1]

For that reason, the Christian people of the LCMS need to understand the real issue that lurks just beneath this discussion of women-in-combat.  The more radical issue is the prospect of the government requiring women to register for the selective service.[2] In the past, the Supreme Court found that since women could not serve in combat, they were exempt from the Selective Service System.  This broad judgment reflected the past consensus of a society that had been shaped by Protestant Christian mores. That consensus has broken down. Now that the Armed Services have said that women can serve in combat, some have moved to argue that women should be required to register for the Selective Service. This latter move from what is permissible to what is mandated is really the most radical thing; we need to oppose it on the basis of the Word of God.

We need to voice our public and conscientious objection to women being forced to register for the Selective Service into any military role.  Forcing women to register for the Selective Service interrupts the divinely established order of creation and the model of sanctified human life that the inspired Scriptures have given us, especially in Gen. 2, Ephesians 5 and 1 Cor. 11. This government action establishes, as a matter of principle, that women and men are interchangeable in both public and domestic roles and that the secular government determines the shape of the home. It is the same principle operative in the LGBTQ movement, which says that men and women are interchangeable—in the home, in the bathroom, in the military. That false doctrine cannot be allowed to take over the Church or our homes.

In former years, the government respected the natural order determined by marriage. The laws assumed that men bear the duty of defense of the home and that women are to be protected by men, as a matter of rule and principle. Certainly, many noble women served in various capacities throughout our history. Many of us have seen the grey pictures of our aunts or grandmothers who served as nurses in World War II. Many have seen the voluntary service of women in more recent years. The difference, however, is that never before has the government claimed the power to force women out of the home and into the Armed Services. Never before has the government claimed the power to determine the relationship of men to women and to redirect the course of a woman’s life in such a radical way. God has not given that power to government. God has intended that the institution of marriage determine the shape of society and ultimately, the actions of government. Marriage does not depend upon the government, but the government depends upon marriage. The Large Catechism speaks clearly on this priority of marriage: “We should not despise or disdain this walk of life [marriage], as the blind world and our false clergy do, but view it in the light of God’s Word, by which it is adorned and sanctified. Because of this Word it is not a walk of life to be placed on the same level with all the others, but it is before and above them all, whether those of emperor, princes, bishops, or any other. Important as the spiritual and civil walks of life are, these must humble themselves and allow all people to enter marriage as a walk of life, as we shall hear [K/W 414.209].” The Word of God which “adorns” marriage is found most clearly in Genesis 2, 1 Cor. 11, and Ephesians 5. In those texts, it is clear that God created women to live in a complementary and joyous relationship with men and to be served by men. The government does not have the right to force Christian women to abandon God’s natural order and her right, under God’s blessing, to take up the great calling of marriage and service to her family, which God has established as a holy and sacred thing.


A law requiring women to register for the selective service would violate the moral conviction of many Christian people and expressly contradict the Word of God. What a woman might do in Christian freedom needs to be separated from what a woman is forced to do out of government coercion.


For this reason, let us urge our Synod to affirm our conscientious objection to any law that requires women to register for the selective service.


[1] NB: Eric Fanning, appointed by Pres. Obama in November 2015, is the first openly homosexual Secretary of the Army. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-nominate-first-openly-gay-service-secretary-to-lead-the-army/2015/09/18/d4b1aafe-5e30-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html

[2] http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2016/04/27/ndaa-hasc-women-draft/83624490/

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