Skip to comments.Women in combat move a 'tragic mistake,' Baptist leaders say
Posted on 01/25/2013 7:53:36 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement that the military will remove its ban on women in combat drew criticism from several Southern Baptist leaders, who expressed concern over privacy and military effectiveness and also warned the move is part of a larger societal effort to blur differences between men and women.
Panetta made his announcement Thursday (Jan. 24), saying the removal of the ban had unanimous approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With the removal, about 237,000 positions on or near the front lines of combat are now open to women.
"If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation," Panetta said.
President Obama also announced his support for the move, saying "every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love."
Although Panetta implied the qualifications for service would not change, the opposite could be the case. Politico.com said military officials are reviewing "how to create a gender-neutral way to test troops' abilities to complete the tasks." The news site also said "the Marine Corps ... will test 400 female Marines and 400 male Marines this summer for physical fitness to determine if the recruiting PT tests need to be changed to make them gender-neutral."
The change raised a question that was not addressed: Will young women eventually be required to register for Selective Service, as young men ages 18-25 currently are required to do, in the event of a draft?
The move did come with one caveat, as reported by American Forces Press: Exceptions could be made to keep some positions closed to women, but only by approval from the defense secretary.
Terri Stovall, dean of women's programs and associate professor of women's ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, said the change is a bad idea.
"There are biological and logistical considerations that make this a difficult situation: accommodations will have to be made to account for differences in physical strength, living quarters will have to be adjusted -- not to mention the issue of pregnancies," Stovall told Baptist Press. "The first time a woman lays down her life for our country and we discover she was pregnant, what will be the outcry then? If culture wants to claim equality, then everything should be equal and that is impossible to achieve."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the change a "tragic mistake" that will have "grievous consequences."
"[But] not because women are not capable of performing most of the combat roles to which they will be assigned," Land said. "They certainly are capable in modern warfare of flying planes and driving tanks and driving jeeps and operating artillery, etc. The problem is if they are captured, they will be treated very differently than male captives have been treated. This is the reason the Israelis, who used to have women in combat, have taken them out of direct combat roles.
"We discovered in the first Iraq war that our female pilots were treated much more barbarously than the male pilots were that were captured. This has been largely covered up by our government, but the fact is we are dealing with enemies who do not obey the Geneva Convention and they will much more savagely mistreat women prisoners than men prisoners and I'm aghast that our government would put our female citizens in such danger," Land said.
The Wall Street Journal ran an opinion piece Jan. 23 by former Marine infantryman Ryan Smith, who described in detail the 2003 invasion of Iraq, in which he and 24 other men were crammed into the back of an amphibious assault vehicle that is built to hold only 15 passengers.
"Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles," he wrote.
That meant the Marines had to relieve themselves in bottles and bags, with no privacy, inches from their comrades. Weeks later, after having not bathed for over a month, they were told to strip off their chemical protective suits, which were being burned in a pile.
"My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers," Smith wrote. "Yes, a woman is as capable as a man of pulling a trigger. But the goal of our nation's military is to fight and win wars.
"Before taking the drastic step of allowing women to serve in combat units," Smith added, "has the government considered whether introducing women into the above-described situation would have made my unit more or less combat effective? Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society.
"It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex. ... Combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. The relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms," Smith wrote.
Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance expressed disappointment in the Pentagon move.
"The point of the military is to protect our country," Nance said. "Anything that distracts from that is detrimental. Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness."
Baptist leaders said they also have biblical concerns about the change.
"Gender is more than biology," Stovall said, "and as much as today's culture tries to convince us that men and women are equal on all fronts, the truth of the matter is, men and women have been intentionally created with differences that complement each other. And it is through these complementary roles that the Gospel is communicated and God's glory is seen in a tangible way.
"To allow women to accompany men into combat ultimately distorts these roles and therefore distorts the picture of the Gospel. Man was created by God with the innate desire to protect. It is part of his DNA. It is not a matter of biological masculinity that makes men better for the task; rather it is a matter of honor and fully embracing his manhood to be the protector of his home, his family, and his country," Stovall said.
"If a woman is fighting alongside him, I wonder whether he will feel that he must keep a peripheral eye on her and be more protective than he would be if one of his male buddies were fighting next to him. If he is a true man of honor, I believe he would," she added.
Owen Strachan, executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, said the differences between men and women go back to the beginning of creation.
"[Adam] and his male descendants are made stronger, larger, faster and with 11 times as much testosterone as Eve, as secular research has shown," Strachan told Baptist Press. "This is why, on average, boys are much more naturally drawn to play-fighting, wrestling, and rough sports than girls. They have over 1,000 percent more testosterone than girls. We're not talking about slight differences here; we're talking about foundational realities. It's just common sense to affirm that men and women are physically different. What does all of this mean for our conversation? It means that men are made for war. Women are not.
"... Feminism, egalitarianism, the juvenilization of culture, and sexual 'liberationism' have all deeply affected American men," Strachan added. "We have become weak. We are ignoble. We prey on women. We ask them to do our work, to break their backs; we ask them to fight our wars, while we play 'Call of Duty' on the couch."
Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., asked on his blog, "What kind of a society puts its women on the front lines to risk what only men should be called on to risk? In countries ravaged by war, we consider it a tragedy when the battle comes to the backyards of women and children. Why would we thrust our own wives and daughters into that horror?"
There is always a hidden objective behind liberal proposals. This has little to do with letting women carry 60 lbs. of combat gear and share foxholes ...bank on it!
People just don't know anything about the military.
The Gods of the Copybook Headings will come around and correct things after a bit.
Water is wet, fire burns, and the fool's finger goes wabbling back to the fire.
Girl power!!! >>> <<< KABLAM!
Having been Active Duty Army I can say that I really don’t have a problem with the concept. Problem is when you have different standards for folks in the same job. If we are going to have a Unisex military we should have a Unisex PT standard FOR THE JOB! I have seen women that are perfect for combat and I have seen men that were there only because of their sex. I’m talking about uniform standards by MOS. In fact the U.S. Air Force did a study and the female body can withstand more G-Forces than a man but I seriously doubt that most women can stand the rigors of a full rucksack humping over a mountain while sporting an M60 and attacking an objective like I have seen in Ranger School. There are women who can do this and they should be allowed this option. As far as how they are treated after capture I’ll refrain from any comment.
This must mean showing up to pull the lanyard.
That is how they see everything, it is all simply pulling a trigger, pulling a lanyard, sitting in the seat and steering a tank.
Anyone ever see the report of pregnancy rates on naval ships in combat zones?
First you turn the Joint Chiefs into a pack of liberal political a-holes then you tell them what they think.
If there are they represent a minute fraction of a percentage and there is no logical reason to introduce huge complications simply to accommodate the desires of the few. The mission of the military isn't simply to offer "career opportunities" to females and there is no "right" to serve.
Frankly, the GOP should be pushing legislation to have women register for selective service ASAP. I think that reality would put the situation into sharp focus for those who think this just boils down to more options for women.
Why should the military waste time and money looking for and trying to train exceptional women who can do the job a man can do?
We know what will happen, they will fudge the training.
Perhaps if more of his congregation had voted, we wouldn’t be talking about this.
I’ll say it’s tragic. This is authority vested solely in Congress by Article 1 Section 8 of The Constitution. How can they let Panetta get away with this?
barry must have something on all of them.
I know that most everyone in my Conservative Bible believing Church voted, and they voted for Romney. They understood the evil that Obama is and voted for Romney though he is Mormon. I am not sure that many Churches didn't do the same thing. You can't believe the media's narration of the voting turnout. It was likely a huge scam and Obama was voted out by a good margin, but the cheating took precedence. Obama knew the fix was in and therefore hardly ran a campaign, except as a smoke screen. This was pretty obvious.
I am involved with those who are said to have been part of the block that solidly voted Obama back in, and it is they that are often the ones that say that they didn't vote for him this time, though they did last time. Not because they are against him necessarily, but because they just weren't as motivated this time around and didn't make it down to vote.
The rule of our times is don't believe anything that the media puts forth as facts, as they are sold out liars.
Since the Southern Baptists are the most republican voting group in America, and while voting 80% McCain in 2008 which exceeded the overall Evangelical vote, and in 2012, the Evangelicals voted 79% republican, the Southern Baptist vote for the GOP probably exceeded 80%.
Your statement is pretty stupid since there is NO group, none, for instance the Catholic denomination has voted FOR Obama both times, not even Mormons voting for their Bishop Romney who voted more against Obama than Land's denomination.
By the way, Romney has been trying to homosexualize the military for 20 years, so he was not exactly opposed to things like this.
See post 16, there is zero question of how Land’s denomination voted, they were the most anti-Obama voters in America.
F-in Democrats are scum...F em all....
I know of no woman who could carry a fully combat loaded Ranger ruck for many miles UP hill (mostly) and still fight onto and through an objective, pick up and move several more miles carring the same ruck (up to 120+ lbs) and be able to fight again.
Unless they really lower the standards for a regular infantry unit, they will even not be able to meet those standards.
A Mountain Large ruck can hold a lot of stuff. The new gear can hold even more, and a woman could not pack her fair share.
Lots of men are going to die protecting them and a lot of units moral is going to hit the dumper along with pregnancy rates making units combat ineffective and the sexual harasment/rape accusations climbing through the roof.
NOT A GOOD IDEA.