Several days ago under the post of the Majority Report of the PCA's Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in the Military (AISCOWIM), I'd been asked whether I would support our daughters enlisting in a non-combatant position in our U.S. Armed Forces, today? Here are the questions, along with my response. (TB)
Question from Sue: Tim, Could you answer a question about women in the military that I don't think is addressed in your/your committee's report? What is your position about women serving in military in non-combat roles...Today, this can be a tricky question because "combat-support" roles get very close to the front lines. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I assume that you would oppose women serving in these roles. But what about women serving in roles where they will never see combat, such as a health care professional on a hospital on a military base (stateside, or say in the UK or Germany), repairing electrical modules for combat planes in Alaska or North Carolina, or as a newly minted 2nd Lt. working as a computer programmer in the UK and several stateside military bases, making the military her career and retiring as a Lt. Colonel? I used these examples because I know each of these women personally. All three were single when they joined the service; the last two met their husbands during their military service.
Question from Jessica: I am also curious about your stance on the questions that Sue has asked above. My daughters are far from 18, but I suppose it is not to early to start thinking about the directions in which we would steer them.
Dear Sue (and Jessica),
I'm sorry I've been so long in responding. I spent the past few days in bed, sick, and am clawing my way out from under the pile.
Our committee had former servicemen and officers, some active chaplains, an Air Force General, and a couple of us pastors. We discussed whether or not the distinction between combatants and non-combatants was still observed in our Armed Forces at that time.
Several of the military men who opposed the PCA speaking against woman combatants made light of the distinction, saying it was no longer valid because of the nature of modern warfare. But after their ideological blurring of distinctions had run its course, the general opposed them by stating that this distinction was still valid and officially observed in the military. That while it was at times difficult to observe, conscientious men made the effort. One man said that he would not even assign targeting to women.
At the heart of postmodernism is a hatred for distinctions, and the bad men on our AISCOWIM study committee ("bad" in the sense of unfaithful to Scripture's teaching concerning sex) opposed every distinction other than their precious distinction between what the Church should and shouldn't say to the lost. The string they harped on endlessly was that the church should gag itself about everything but the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
So, assuming the military under Presidents Bush (the younger) and Obama has not obliterated the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, in principle I would not think that Christian women should reject non-combatant military service out of hand. Certainly it's good to have nurses who are women and certainly it's good for Christian nurses who are women to serve our soldiers whether those soldiers are men or women.
But that begs the question whether today's Armed Forces are a place any man, let alone a Christian man, wants his daughters to serve, and I say "no." I don't want my own son serving in the military, let alone my daughter. We have a bunch of men in our congregation who are in the military and one officer in the Navy from our congregation who is a woman. We tried to discourage most of these men (and certainly the woman) from enlisting, but they chose to proceed and we're proud of them and support their work, praying for them when they are deployed and loving them when they get home.
Why then to did we oppose their enlistment?
Because of many factors, including the gross immorality that permeates the military bases, the purposes Washington's pols make of our Armed Forces which often are not only unconstitutional, but contrary to historic Christian just war criteria (NB Vern Poythress' footnoted comment in our report); because of the continuing degradation of the distinction between soldiers and civilians in modern warfare; and on it goes.
The majority of our men serve in the Marines, and if I had to acquiesce to one of my sons going into the military (which I don't ever want to do), I would hope it's the Marines since they're the branch of the military least corrupted by sexual perversions and the loss of military discipline that is its inevitable result.
There's much more to be said, but I'm off and running, dear sisters. The long and short of it is that I don't' want my sons to go into the military because historic just war criteria have been trampled by our Armed Forces this past century, and one criteria still hanging on is almost dead: namely, that men should bear arms in defense of their mothers because those mothers shed blood to give birth to their children.