January 30, 2013

I’ve Had Enough “Equality” for Now …

(Photo credit: Sojourners)

Last week Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in military combat. Talk about what this means has ranged from saying it actually will not change much, as women already find themselves in combat roles, to pointing out the nature of modern warfare renders physical differences between men and women irrelevant, and plenty of points to the contrary.

Of course Christians disagree about the roles of men and women within and without the Church. But as I have considered this announcement, I am reminded how God created men and women – each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Owen Strachan, an assistant professor of theology at Boyce College summed this truth up, saying: “God doesn’t make Blob A (Adam) and Blob B (Eve). He doesn’t make gender-neutral people. We don’t believe in a divine creation of Teletubby-esque nature as Christians. The Bible shows as a matter of first principles that men and women are different, distinct and complementary.”

Al Mohler called this announcement a “major moral revolution,” pointing out that aside from the “utilitarian” arguments against women in combat, the real historical reasons for such prohibition have been moral. He stated: “women are to be protected rather than to be considered just like men when it comes to such high danger contacts as warfare.” Further,“if you do consider that gender difference matters, then there is a moral aspect that is attached to it … it says something about a society that it now officially forfeits any idea of gender difference that would include the responsibility of men to protect women.”

It is an affront to modern sensibilities to suggest closing a door to an entire group of people based on gender. And as a woman heavily influenced by this equality obsessed culture, my initial reaction is to agree that although I would never want to serve in combat, all women should have the opportunity, if they so desire.

But I realize that if I take seriously the biblical teaching on men and women, accompanied with the traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity supported by scientific research, it would be foolish to insist upon complete gender neutrality. It is not a matter of women being incapable of defending themselves or performing the same tasks as men, but of thriving in the roles God created us for. This, of course, is a hugely unpopular idea, even within the Church.

At the turn of the 20th century, G.K. Chesterton wrote in his wonderful book, What’s Wrong With the World that suffragettes in Britain surrendered when they “owned that the man has been right all along; that the public house (or Parliament) is really more important than the private house; that politics are not (as woman had always maintained) an excuse for pots of beer, but are a sacred solemnity to which new female worshipers may kneel.” He pointed out that despite real abuses women have endured, being the “queen” of the private sphere is, in many ways, a superior position to the narrow and specialized work men must do in the public sphere.

The basic point is that women were wrong to believe they were missing out being excluded from “men’s work,” when all along we did significant work educating and shaping the next generation. Now I wouldn’t want to return to the Victorian era, and I appreciate the opportunity to get an education and pursue a career, but I think all our struggles with work/home life balance indicate that Chesterton was onto something. And in the case of military combat, his point is especially true. Do women really believe they are missing out by being kept from the front lines?

By clamoring for more “equality” with men and asserting, “anything a man can do, a woman can do better,” we concede that “the man has been right all along,” when we might have a better deal after all. Men take on the burden of protecting and defending our country so women don’t have to. Further, this could mean young women bear an equal responsibility as their male peers during a wartime draft if America ever implements one again in the future.

In reality, I don’t know many women who actually want to be treated the same as men. They just don’t want to be excluded. Women are (were) not kept from combat out of discrimination, but for myriad practical reasons, and in recognition of their unique feminine nature and dignity. To those who don’t believe there are real, inherent differences between men and women, though, this sounds like offensive, exclusionary nonsense.

What do you think about the ban repeal? Follow me on Twitter (@Kristin_Rudolph) for more updates.


36 Responses to I’ve Had Enough “Equality” for Now …

  1. J S Lang says:

    Feminists scream about “equality” and say they don’t need a man to protect them – then turn to the Big Protector, government. Their line about a “strong” and “independent” woman is all a sham. Instead of a caring father, brother, son, husband, or boyfriend to turn to, they turn to the all-purpose 24/7 State. Is that “progress”?

  2. Feminists demand equality, and then demand that standards be lowered so that things can be fair for women. How can people not see through this?

    • Gus Ravenwheel says:

      Could you document the “demand to lower standards…”? I am not aware of this happening. Be specific, please.

      I mean, I know the military has lowered standards some over the last decade (or at least I remember reading about that), but as I recall, that was to help with recruitment of military personnel in general, not about “pandering” to “women’s demands.”

      I don’t believe there has been any mention of lowering standards in connection with this specific policy change. Let me know if I’m mistaken. According to the news story I read on the topic (from “The Army Times”)…

      Each service will be charged with developing policies to integrate women into every military job. For instance, the defense official said, it’s likely the Army will establish a set of physical requirements for infantry soldiers. The candidate, man or woman, will have to lift a certain amount of weight in order to qualify. The standards will be gender neutral.

      • Mark says:

        Gus, stop buying the rhetoric. They are already signalling that the standards may be lowered: http://www.examiner.com/article/army-chief-signals-lowering-of-standards-for-women-combat

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        So, could you document the “demand to lower standards…”?

        As to whether the military will decide to do this or not, you all appear to be willing to trust the commanders and chiefs to make decisions about life and death – who to bomb, who to shoot, etc – but not willing to trust them to make decisions about staffing? That seems odd.

        I don’t personally know if being in today’s military requires the ability to do a certain number of push ups or sit ups, whether or not it requires being able to carry a 80 pound pack 50 miles or a 100 pound pack 200 miles. It would probably depend on the circumstances, wouldn’t it?

        The great thing about groups of people working together is that each person brings certain strengths to the table. This man may not be able to carry 100 pounds for ten miles, but he does have the endurance to remain still and on guard in 100 degree weather. That woman may not be able to do 100 push ups, but she does have the mental wherewithal and physical acuity to do what it takes to surprise and capture a group of enemy combatants.

        I don’t think warmaking is the best or smartest answer to our problems with “enemies,” but if we are having a military, then I would think you’d want the best of what every person has to offer to make the best military units. Or, put another way, if an average male soldier can do 100 pushups and an average female soldier can only do 80 pushups, I don’t know that the ability to do an extra 20 pushups is going to make a significant difference on the job. That does not seem rational to me, as an outsider looking in.

      • Women simply cannot meet the high standards that are currently in place for men; standards will be lowered, and both men and women will be unnecessarily injured and killed as a result. If I had a son in the military, I would not want him fighting alongside an unqualified woman.

        No one wants to make the NFL co-Ed, because people take football seriously. Un fortunately, large numbers of people seem to take professional sports more seriously than they take war.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        If a woman wanted to and could succeed in professional football, I’d hope that the NFL would allow it. They’d be foolish to limit some people based on cultural prejudices.

        You seem to be dwindling what it means to be a soldier down to a mere matter of upper body strength. If that was all it took, then get the strongest people (men or women), remove the rest (regardless of other skills they might possess) and there you’d have a military with the most upper body strength.

        But that seems to belittle what it means to be a soldier, to me.

      • Dan H says:

        Ever notice that people who have zero connection to the military always seem to be experts on how it should be run? Of course, since this particular expert puts the word “enemies” in quote marks, why do we even need a military at all?

        Since you are so confident that a woman can “surprise and capture a group of enemy combatants,” please cite a few of those cases, they sound fascinating, albeit fictional. The only “surprises” I’ve heard about in units that mix men and women together are those little surprises called “pregnancies,” and we all know how promiscuity and pregnancy do so much to build esprit de corps.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Dan H…

        Ever notice that people who have zero connection to the military always seem to be experts on how it should be run?

        Actually, I was deferring to the testimony of the people in charge of the military. THEY are the ones saying that this is a good idea. I was merely agreeing that it sounds like a good idea.

        Are you saying that those in charge of the military don’t know what they are doing?

        Regardless, Dan, I’ll ask you the same question I’m asking the author of the piece:

        I respect your right to decide whether or not you want to be in the military, whether or not you want to be in a combat unit. Do you respect the right for other people to make that choice for themselves?

        Or are you speaking of imposing rules based upon your idea of what God wants in a military?

        If the latter, I hope you will recognize that not everyone agrees with your hunches about what God thinks a military should look like and why would we implement rules based upon one group’s religious beliefs?

        The author was making the case…

        I realize that if I take seriously the biblical teaching on men and women, accompanied with the traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity…

        that is, she seems to be saying that she thinks God is opposed to women in combat therefore, she thinks it should not be allowed. That would seem like a violation of religious liberty, a point which I would hope we all could oppose.

      • Dan H says:

        I did not mention God or religion in my post, so I have no clue what you’re talking about.

      • Ray Bannister says:

        I’m trying to follow this character’s logic, which apparently runs this way:
        1. If you identify yourself as a Christian, then
        2. Your opinion on any public issue is religion-based, therefore
        3. You should shut up, because your opinion is only an attemp to impose you religion on others. So apparently this means that
        4. Only atheists should express an opinion.

        Following that logic, since “Thou shalt not steal” appears in the Bible, we should do away with laws against theft, because those laws were passed by those nasty Christians imposing their morality on others. While we’re at it, heck, let’s repeal the laws against pedophilia too, since they’re just more examples of religious people imposing on others.

        Pardon my bluntess, but that is REALLY stupid.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        What I mean is that part of the point of the post written here (the one you’re commenting upon) is that the author believes God would be opposed to women in combat. I said to THAT point, that I respect her right to decide what she thinks is best/what she thinks God’s will is for herself. Does she respect and support others making that decision for themselves?

        I’m asking you the same thing.

        If your point is just to criticize my agreeing with the leaders of the military on this point, I would ask you, who should decide this matter? The leaders of the military or some guy on the internet?

        Also, I might ask if you hold women in low esteem? Your post seems to suggest that women shouldn’t be in combat situations because “they” might get pregnant and be promiscuous. Yet, at the same time, you’re not saying MEN should be excluded because of promiscuity.

        Are you holding men to lower standards than women?

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Ray, if by “this character,” you are referring to me, I will have to say that you have missed my point/misunderstood me. You said…

        1. If you identify yourself as a Christian, then
        2. Your opinion on any public issue is religion-based, therefore
        3. You should shut up, because your opinion is only an attemp to impose you religion on others. So apparently this means that
        4. Only atheists should express an opinion.

        THAT is not my position. At all. I am, after all, a Christian.

        What I’m saying is that I won’t try to legislate my opinions about what God does and doesn’t want based solely on my opinions about what God does and doesn’t want.

        I am a peacemaker and don’t believe Christians should go to war.
        I believe in keeping the Sabbath holy.
        I believe in treating God’s creation with respect and not polluting it.
        I believe in not being greedy.

        Does that mean that, simply because I believe these things, I should try to enact my beliefs by weight of law? No! Of course not. God forbid.

        Do YOU believe that you should try to enact your religious opinions by weight of law?

        On the other hand, my faith tradition does teach me not to steal, not to kill, not to rape. And I am fine with enacting legislation to that end.

        The difference? It’s not ONLY my faith tradition that teaches me these things. stealing, killing and rape are all objectively harmful – causing harm to others – and those things we can reasonably legislate.

        If we think we can and should legislate each and every little belief we have, we’d have a hellish mess on our hands, I’d suggest. “Keep the sabbath holy…” does that mean that no one can work on Saturday? On Sunday? Who decides??

        No, we don’t legislate our religious opinions. That’s part of what makes this great experiment here in the US so wonderful: Not only do we have freedom to worship how we see fit, we have the freedom not to have others’ religious hunches imposed upon us. Your right to worship God or behave as you like ENDS at my rights to the same.

        Do you actually disagree with this very rational, American ideal?

        I hope you can see and agree that this freedom of AND FROM religion is a genius idea, not a “stupid” one.

      • Ray Bannister says:

        Let me get this straight: you think I “hold women in low esteem” because I say that women can get pregnant?

        Umm, how can I communicate this: women CAN get pregnant, men can’t – got it? If you aren’t familiar with this, look up “human reproduction” on Wikipedia. Women and men are just different, and that has nothing to do with my esteem for women. Honestly, I see this in liberals constantly – you don’t deal with REALITY, you deal with these abstractions in your head – “equality,” “freedom,” “choice.” I know you think men and women are totally EQUAL in every possible way, which is why all the professional sports teams are made up 50 percent men and 50 percent women, right, also why day care workers are 50 percent men, 50 percent women? You won’t be happy till we’re 50/50 in the military either.

        “Equality” isn’t the issue. Women can get pregnant if they sleep around. Men cannot get pregnant. Don’t blame me for that situation, blame God or nature or the Force or whatever it is you believe in. When you throw young and physically fit men and women together in close quarters, guess what happens? In your liberal view of things, GI Jane showers naked next to GI Joe and NOTHING happens, because Jane and Joe respect each other as equals, and if Joe, 200 lbs and 6’2 falls on the battlefield, Jane, 5’6′ and 120 lbs, picks him up and throws him over her shoulder and carries him to safety, although so far this has never happened and never will. Incidentally, in the real world, Joe is available to fight every single day of the month, Jane isn’t. Blame God for that too. I can see why liberals would hate God, he has a lot to answer for, making men and women different, when you compassionate smart liberals would have designed a much more efficient universe to your specificiations.

        Write yourself a reality check now and then.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Ray, are you being deliberately combative? You won’t engage many folk in a conversation in order to rationally make your point, that way.

        And are you deliberately missing what I’m saying and avoiding answering questions?

        I am a Christian. One from the anabaptist tradition – a tradition that is as conservative or moreso than many other Christians (although, admittedly, we simultaneously hold positions that are sometimes considered liberal).

        My point is that I fully support your right to make these ethical decisions for yourself.

        At the same time, I expect you (collectively) to return the favor and let your fellow citizens have the same freedom to make these ethical decisions ourselves. You can choose that your god doesn’t like women in combat or you can decide that you don’t believe in god and your own opinion is that you don’t like women in combat. You can decide that for yourself all you want.

        But you can’t tell others that we have to abide by your decisions.

        Freedom, my brothers and sisters. Embrace it for everyone, not just for yourselves.

        Can we agree to this very American and rational ideal of liberty of conscience?

    • Gus Ravenwheel says:

      As to your initial claim/question, Judithann…

      Feminists demand equality, and then demand that standards be lowered so that things can be fair for women. How can people not see through this?

      You made a claim. I rather doubt (maybe I’m mistaken) that it is based upon reality.

      I’ve not heard any feminists “demand that standards be lowered…” Maybe people can’t see through it because there’s nothing there?

      • Gus, have you ever heard of affirmative action? Feminists have been demanding both equality and preferential treatment for women for over forty years now.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        As to your claim, I rather doubt that you can support it with some actual evidence. If you want to just offer an empty and unsupported claim, that is your option. You just can’t people to take it very seriously, though.

        Peace.

      • Mark says:

        Gus, I think Ray makes valid points. You suggest with your rhetoric that Christians who oppose placing women on the front lines do so mainly for religious reasons (therefore, they should be excluded from any secular decision-making on the matter).

        Notwithstanding the obvious religious bias inherent in such a position (most perplexing coming from a person who aspires to faith), I would argue that the Biblical viewpoints presented here–many of which are generalities which transcend time and place–also agree with reason.

        (By the way, I hope you know that there are many high and mid-level military leaders who oppose this policy change, but in the current political climate they know their careers could be in jeopardy if they are too vocal. Reading only leftist news sources will not give you balanced information on this).

        Forgive me, but as someone who does have military experience I just can’t get past the notion that a pacifist offering military advice is akin to a fox counselling hens on the finer points of avoiding predators.

        Notwithstanding that, I ask that you think about real-life infantry, Marines, and Special Operations Forces that engage the enemy in places like Fallujah, Iraq. These men carry electronic equipment, weapons, ammunition, heavy body armor, and water weighing up to 100 pounds. Such burdens would weigh more heavily on smaller female soldiers who have, on average, 45 to 50 percent less upper-body strength and 25 to 30 percent less aerobic capacity.

        In the Army’s own surveys, 90 percent of enlisted women have said they oppose involuntary combat assignments on the same basis as men. They know that training for female soldiers is modified to compensate for physical differences, but there can be no modifications on the battlefield.

        In direct combat, women would not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.

        Even if physical capabilities were objectively measured and equal, coed combat assignments would affect discipline and unit cohesion. Women lose more duty time due to medical issues, including pregnancy, and their absence would be particularly disruptive in combat units where concentration and mutual trust are essential for survival.

        At times, we have no choice about sending young men to war, but we do have a choice when it comes to sending young women. That choice should be determined by reality not by political correctness or misguided ideas of what equality is supposed to look like.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Mark…

        I ask that you think about real-life infantry, Marines, and Special Operations Forces that engage the enemy in places like Fallujah, Iraq. These men carry electronic equipment, weapons, ammunition, heavy body armor, and water weighing up to 100 pounds.

        So, you’re saying that you think our military leaders would deliberately put soldier’s in harms way in an effort to be politically correct? And the soldiers who agree with this policy? The men and women in the military who disagree with your opinions?

        Do you think all of these people are deliberately wanting to people in harm’s way just to satisfy a Left Wing Conspiracy to force women in places they “don’t belong…”?

        Do you think this was the motivation of the Israeli army and other military groups who’ve done this? All to satisfy Obama and the Left wingers?

        Do you see how that sounds a bit less than credible and a bit paranoid?

        Mark…

        In direct combat, women would not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.

        I understand that this is your opinion and the opinion of many people. Who should get to decide though? THAT is what I’m asking. Are you saying, “I and the people who agree with me know best, therefore, do what we say and your opinion doesn’t matter… and those who disagree with us who are in charge are part of a careless and vast conspiracy…”?

        And the reason why I approached this as a matter of religious liberty is because the author of this post said that was her reasoning. She said she doesn’t think that God wants women to be in combat and I asked her if it’s okay with her if other people make up their own minds on the issue, remember?

        I would also ask the author, Where in the Bible does it say women should not be in combat? Where does it say women should not be in the military? Does she think that God has an opinion about women in the military or just women in combat and what does she base that on?

        I don’t know if you know, but the Bible (I’m pretty sure) never addresses the issue of women in the military and God has not (I’m pretty sure) offered any of you all God’s opinion on the topic, so I hope you can understand that, as a fan and follower of God and the Bible, I would need more than some stranger on the internet’s assurance that she speaks for God on this point. Isn’t that reasonable?

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Mark, just to be clear, where you said…

        as someone who does have military experience I just can’t get past the notion that a pacifist offering military advice

        I’m not offering military advice. I am offering ethical opinions about how we decide questions of public policy, particularly on matters of faith and conscience. As a human being and a person of faith, I do get to have opinions about ethics and public policy, do you disagree with this?

        And on this…

        You suggest with your rhetoric that Christians who oppose placing women on the front lines do so mainly for religious reasons (therefore, they should be excluded from any secular decision-making on the matter).

        Notwithstanding the obvious religious bias inherent in such a position (most perplexing coming from a person who aspires to faith), I would argue that the Biblical viewpoints presented here–many of which are generalities which transcend time and place–also agree with reason.

        That’s fine, but the author of this essay mentions specifically her reasoning going back to her hunches about what God thinks on this topic which is not addressed in the Bible. She is the one who made it a matter of faith, not me.

        And I am not saying that people of faith should be excluded from any secular decision-making. Do you get that? I am a person of faith and I am offering opinions, as well… it should be abundantly clear, then, that this is not what I’m saying.

        I’m saying that we should not expect people to create public policy based on the religious views alone of a certain group of religious people.

        Could you address that point, please, just so I can see we’re on the same page?

        The anabaptists are a faith community. The anabaptists have an opinion about Christians going to war. What I’m saying is that, while the anabaptists should have the freedom to make those decisions for themselves, they should NOT say (and we DON’T say), “This is our hunch about what God thinks about Christians and war. Therefore, make it public policy.”

        Do you agree with the anabaptists on this point? That they should not try to legislate their religious views simply because they are the religious views they hold? That they can still offer opinions, but saying, “Make this law because WE SAY that is what God wants…” does not hold water.

        Do you agree there is a difference in type between legislating against that which causes harm and legislating that which is merely our opinion about what God wants?

        Do you think that Christians can and should try to legislate each and every little rule about living that they believe God wants?

      • Mark says:

        Gus, it will probably make little difference since you seem to have totally misconstrued or ignored many of my earlier points, not to mention putting words in my mouth and diverting the discussion, but I will present a few more rebuttals to your reasoning (such as it is).

        1. No, I don’t think our military leaders will deliberately, unnecessarily place personnel in harm’s way, but miltary people take orders and if the higher-ups want a particular policy in place it is the subordinates’ sworn duty to implement it (again, you don’t have military experience so you may not get that point, but ignorance of military protocol has thus far served as no impediment to your rendering of firm opinions).

        2. I never mentioned any “Left Wing Conspiracy” or Israeli policies aimed at satisfying “Obama and the Left wingers.” Your imagining that may be symptomatic of some form of paranoia on your part, but that’s for another professional to decide.

        3. The Israelis do what they have to do. They have a shortage of people who can serve and they constantly face an existential threat, partly due to your ideological brethren regularly making up lies about them.

        4. You say it is MY opinion that women would have less chance of surviving in battle…it is also the opinion of centuries of history, not to mention biology. Again, you totally ignore the facts I present to you regarding the biological and psychological differences between men and women. You present an ignorant and prejudicial stereotype of the approach I am presenting (“do what we say and your opinion doesn’t matter… and those who disagree with us who are in charge are part of a careless and vast conspiracy…”–I never said or implied any such thing, I am simply advocating a factual approach).

        5. I am not aware that the Bible directly addresses the issue of women in the military, but the general gestalt regarding cultural roles implies that it would be a bad idea. Quite frankly, based on your extensive commentary here, I don’t think it would really matter to you if the Bible directly prohibited women on the front lines since you would view such rules as outdated or unenlightened. In other words, you know bettter.

        6. You continue to imply that the author of this piece has some delusional disorder because she thinks she is “speaking for God.” In fact, she never made such a dogmatic statement as her approach was more intelligent and rational than you suggest. To wit: “if I take seriously the biblical teaching on men and women, accompanied with the traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity supported by scientific research, it would be foolish to insist upon complete gender neutrality.”

        7. In fact you ARE offering military advice when you render opinions regarding WHO should serve and IN WHAT CAPACITY (Logic 101). As I stated earlier (perhaps you missed that, too), I fully affirm your right to express your opinion, even if it’s illogical and contradictory.

        8. You state “I’m saying that we should not expect people to create public policy based on the religious views alone of a certain group of religious people.” I never said we should, nor did the author of this piece. If you understood my prior commentary I am suggesting that the religious views presented here also agree with secular reasoning. They are not mutually exclusive.

        Aside from that, what’s really perplexing is seeing someone claiming to be a Christian suggest that historical Christian understandings not even have a place at the secular table.

  3. Gus Ravenwheel says:

    For me, this comes down to human liberty, rights and responsibilities. I support your right to decide for you (ideally, within the context of your family, faith community and community, ideally, seeking God’s will) what is best. If you don’t want to be on the front lines – for whatever reason – I support your religious and personal liberty to make that choice.

    The question I would ask in return is this: Do you support the rights of others to make those same decisions for themselves?

    As an anabaptist peacemaker, I don’t believe God’s will is for us to engage in war at all – male or female. BUT, as a supporter of individual and religious liberty, I will not seek to legislate my opinions about God’s will on others. Rather, I’ll leave that up to their individual consciences.

    Do you support the rights of others to decide for themselves, or do you think this is best imposed from the gov’t on people, regardless of their opinions about what is right, what is God’s will, what is best?

    • Mark says:

      As a pacifist I have to wonder why you would be inclined to weigh in on this issue at all. Once you posit that there should be no war then why would you engage in a discussion as to who should serve in war?

      That’s kind of like an atheist saying there is no God but then offering an opinion about what God WOULD be like IF he believed in Him (Her, IT, etc.).

      Don’t get me wrong. I greatly respect your opinion, especially if you are consistent. I wish there were no war, but I have to live in the same world with people who make war.

      And yes, I do support the rights of others to make decisions for themselves, as long as the consequences of those decisions do not risk the lives of others.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        Mark…

        As a pacifist I have to wonder why you would be inclined to weigh in on this issue at all.

        As a Christian and a human citizen of this nation and planet, I am concerned about more than just war and peacemaking. I’m also interested in, for instance, religious liberty. This is a question of religious liberty. Thus I am concerned.

        Does that not seem reasonable?

        Mark…

        Once you posit that there should be no war then why would you engage in a discussion as to who should serve in war?

        I think there should be no drug abuse, either. Does that mean that I should have no opinions about who imbibes in what? I’m not following this line of thinking, Mark.

        Mark…

        That’s kind of like an atheist saying there is no God but then offering an opinion about what God WOULD be like IF he believed in Him (Her, IT, etc.).

        I don’t think that’s a good analogy, but I have no problem with atheists offering opinions about the nature of a possible god/gods that they don’t even believe in. As an intellectual exercise, if nothing else.

        Mark…

        And yes, I do support the rights of others to make decisions for themselves, as long as the consequences of those decisions do not risk the lives of others.

        Excellent, then on those points we agree.

        1. We should not impose our religious opinions about topics that do not harm the lives and welfare of others.
        2. On those areas where there is potential harm, we can reasonably endorse imposing limitations and offer opinions about those limitations, even if our opinions are influenced by religious thought.

      • Mark says:

        Gus, I fully affirm your right to express your opinion about anything, even if it’s merely as an intellectual exercise.

        I am, however, intrigued by your assertion that this is a question of religious liberty.

        If this is a question of religious liberty I should think you would have just the opposite reaction because, in part, the same Good Book that tells you to wage peace also suggests that, while there is overlap, there are different cultural roles for men and women.

        Would you agree that those who accept these teachings are having THEIR religious liberty disregarded, since it is THEIR tax dollars that fund the military and THEIR wives or daughters who could be drafted or co-opted into roles that violate their moral conscience?

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        I meant to indicate (sorry if it wasn’t clear) that this is a matter of religious and personal liberty. That is, just because SOME religious people view that women are the “fairer sex” and too dainty to engage in war, or that they hold the opinion that “God does not want women to fight in wars” (an extrabiblical opinion, by the way) does not mean that their religious opinions about that should be forced on someone else.

        Mark…

        the same Good Book that tells you to wage peace also suggests that, while there is overlap, there are different cultural roles for men and women.

        That would be the interpretation that some hold, and clearly, in the Bible, you can see some differing cultural roles for men and women, just as you can for Israelis and non-Israelis and free and slave. The question for those who treat the Bible as a book of Truth would not be “does the Bible mention cultural roles?” but “Do ancient cultural roles mentioned in the Bible indicate that these are roles that SHOULD be held to or just what they were?” After all, the Bible mentions polygamy and clearly, in that culture (those cultures), polygamy was an acceptable approach to marriage (as well as having concubines), but that does not mean that polygamy or concubinism are morally acceptable ideals.

        Mark…

        Would you agree that those who accept these teachings are having THEIR religious liberty disregarded, since it is THEIR tax dollars that fund the military and THEIR wives or daughters who could be drafted or co-opted into roles that violate their moral conscience?

        1. For ANYONE who is opposed to war in general, or some military actions specifically, I support their freedom of conscience to make decisions for themselves about non-participation. If you don’t think it’s acceptable to work for the CIA and torture or engage in sex to get access to secrets, then you shouldn’t be forced to do that. If you don’t believe in killing enemies, then you should not be forced to do so.

        I oppose forcing people into actions that violate their conscience/belief system, at least at some level.

        2. However, as a tax paying peacemaker, I have to pay taxes all the time that go towards decisions I don’t support. As an environmentalist, I have to pay taxes all the time that go towards policies I don’t support. I’m sympathetic to the problem of taxes being used to go towards programs we don’t believe in or even that violate our religious/personal conscience. But in a large society, I don’t know how to get around that. I’m open to suggestions.

        Could we let people choose broad categories of taxation that they are willing to support versus ones they don’t support? I can’t see how that would work. At any rate, it’s not how we’re set up now.

        Gov’t forcing people to engage in behaviors that they are opposed to, I would call that oppression. Living in a free society that relies upon taxes and those taxes sometimes going towards policies I disagree with? That’s just unfortunate, but what else is there to do? I wouldn’t say that rises to the level of oppression.

  4. Mark says:

    The Obama administration is so obsessed with its distorted notion of equality that it has swept aside centuries of military wisdom by having men-attracted-to-men serve in close combat situations.

    Further spurning historical lessons, it is now implementing policies that will get women on the front lines, potentially placing them in hand-to-hand combat, etc. Such actions will also enhance the likelihood that women will be taken prisoners of war, where they could be raped, tortured, etc.

    And who would be the likely enemy? Radical Islamists who view women as almost subhuman. One does not need a great imagination to guess what might happen.

    Additionally, with the sequester still looming, Mr. Obama has endorsed cutting the military, which only makes sense when you recognize he is part of an ideology that harbors antipathy towards the armed forces (despite disingenuous rhetoric to the contrary).

    The conclusion is inescapable: Mr. Obama and his leftist cohorts want to destroy the military.

  5. bekahbeemays says:

    Wow, the comment session is heating up!

    In any case, Kristin, I was the one who wrote the Patrol article that you linked to. I appreciate your thoughtful approach to this conversation as well as your honesty. And I also think there’s a balance to be found. What that is I’m not exactly sure.

    I do know that it is important to distinguish between equality and sameness. Equality promises equal rights for everyone because we are all human beings with the same status, while sameness implies that we have no differences at all. And yes, feminists may be obnoxious sometimes, but people have to make noise for change to happen. In my book, women still aren’t treated “equally,” even if you take into consideration the supposed “strengths and weaknesses” that men and women have. One example that jumps to mind is equal pay – there’s no reason women shouldn’t be paid the same as men, but they still aren’t.

    • Kristin Rudolph says:

      Bekah –

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree, distinguishing between equality and sameness is important. The problem to me is that often, rhetoric that promotes “equality” means attempting to ignore, deny, or diminish the very real differences between men and women. I understand feminism is a very diverse movement and includes a variety of views about the nature of men and women, but the primary trend I see attempts to make women more like men. The matter of women in combat exemplifies this obfuscation. I don’t think it does any favors to women to try and make ourselves just like men.

      As far as equal pay goes, that is a complicated matter that really can’t be discussed properly in the abstract. There are so many factors that play into this issue, one important one being the different industries men and women gravitate toward. Engineering, finance, and many other male dominated industries simply pay more than teaching, counseling, and other professions where more women are found. I do agree with you, a company should give equal pay to men and women employed in the same position who have comparable skills and education, and who put in equivalent hours. To pay a man more for a job that a woman also does just because he is man (considering all other factors are equal) is discriminatory and wrong.

  6. Gus, liberty of conscience doesn’t give people the right to do jobs which they are not qualified to do. One would hope that women of conscience will now stay out of the military, so that they will not endanger male soldiers who are qualified to be there.

    • Gus Ravenwheel says:

      And so, who gets to decide who is and isn’t qualified, Judithann: You – some lady on the internet? Or are military’s commanders?

      May I ask you something: Suppose there are 100 women who are COMPLETELY able to do everything that all the men are required to do. Are you okay with those 100 women serving in combat?

      If any of those men who, after basic training, were able to meet all the existing criteria – if later on, they get weaker and are no longer able to do the required number of pushups, for instance, do you think that then disqualifies them?

      Some questions to consider.

      Again, my point in all of this is, IF the women are qualified (and I’ll leave it to others to decide what is and isn’t “qualified”), then it should be up to them and their conscience as to whether or not they serve in combat, not some preacher in a conservative church, not some lady on the internet.

      As a peacemaker, I would hope that all of our young men and women would embrace paths of peacemaking (the path that Jesus set for us as an example, and that the early church followed for over 200 years) and seek justice in ways that doesn’t involve combat. But as a citizen, I respect the individual’s liberty of conscience. Do you?

      • It is a moot point, because there aren’t 100 women who can meet the high standards that men are currently required to meet. The Marine Corps recently opened infantry training to women; only two women volunteered, and they both washed out. If it were possible for women to meet the current standards, they wouldn’t be talking about lowering the standards.

      • And yes, if men who were previously qualified become unqualified for whatever reason, then that should disqualify them and as far as I know, it does. There is a reason why combat positions are virtually always filled by young men rather than old men: young men are in better shape, and they are better qualified.

      • Gus Ravenwheel says:

        And so, the commanders should change their position and say, “Oh, some lady on the internet knows better than we do. Let’s go with what she says…”?

        Who gets to decide and on what basis? It’s an important question for folk who take ethical questions seriously in public policy making.

        Which is why “If 100 women could qualify, should they be allowed?” is not a moot question. IF someone is qualified for the job, THEN they should be allowed into that job. That is the only reasonable answer so far as I can see and unless you can offer something more rational than, “I don’t think it would happen, therefore, it can’t happen…,” you won’t win this argument.

        So, the first ethical question to consider is, If someone is qualified, should they be allowed to do the job (whatever the job is)?

        The right moral answer to that is, yes, they should.

        The second practical and ethical question is, “What criteria does one need to meet to be considered ‘qualified’?”

        That is a debatable point that I’d rather leave to people responsible for making the decisions.

        And the third practical and ethical question is, “Who gets to decide the criteria?”

        The correct answer to this would be, Those responsible for getting the job done, seems to me. No offense to random people on the internet, but policy by “some guy/gal on the internet said so” is not rational.

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