It is a great national shame that we send women off to fight our wars. I understand that saying such a thing is terribly non-PC these days. The general egalitarian spirit of the age looks askance at the idea that women are to be protected, not deployed. Nevertheless, that used to be the consensus view in the Christian West. But we have fallen a long way from that integrity. That is why I am surprised to see Mary Eberstadt’s OP-ED in Friday’s Washington Post. It goes decidedly against the egalitarian grain. She writes:
“The latest flurry of attention toward gays in the military shows that the question of who gets to be a soldier, and why, is sometimes unavoidably moral. So let’s ask that question about another group of soldiers who haven’t attracted as much talk but should: mothers, many of them single, in combat boots — and combat zones.
“When Congress passed a law in the 1970s allowing women with dependent children to enlist, a collision between motherhood and soldiering became inevitable. . . a mother with a baby might choose the baby.
“The notion that women can be soldiers in war zones, therefore women who are mothers should be soldiers in war zones remains a blatant non sequitur.
“Sending fathers into military zones has been a tragedy for as long as war has been around. Sending mothers along with them — many of them the only parent a child has — is simply wrong.”
Eberstadt’s argument is good so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. It is morally wrong to send mothers off to warâ€”especially single ones!â€”but there is more to it than that. If we understood the difference between men and women, we won’t be sending women to combat at all. Albert Mohler is certainly correct in writing that,
“A nation’s moral character is revealed in the way it fights its wars. This report, filled with documentation, reveals that our nation’s moral character is now being redefined before our eyes. If it is true that a majority of the American people affirm their readiness to see women ‘join combat units, where they would be directly involved in the ground fighting,’ the American people are demonstrating their disregard for the moral wisdom of the ages.Â The nation is forfeiting the responsibility of men to act as protectors of women, and acquiescing to the failure of men to fulfill their duty.
“From a Christian perspective, the concern about women in combat goes far beyond the pollsters’ questions. If we truly believe that God created men and women for different but complementary roles and shows his glory in the faithfulness of men as primary protectors and women as primary nurturers, the entry of women into combat roles is an open rejection of God’s purpose. As military historians document, every society throughout history has normalized the military service of men. Though women have known combat in isolated cases throughout history, the fact that such cases are rare is the exception that proves the rule. This wisdom is part of general revelation and thus the moral wisdom shared by virtually all cultures.”