Evangelical leaders denounce Selective Service for women

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U.S. Brigadier General Diana Holland, right, arrives for a ceremony where she assumed the role as the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on, Jan. 5, 2016. Holland's command is the latest milestone for American women who now are allowed to serve all military combat roles. At left is Command Sergeant Major Dawn Rippelmeyer. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. Brigadier General Diana Holland, right, arrives for a ceremony where she assumed the role as the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on, Jan. 5, 2016. Holland's command is the latest milestone for American women who now are allowed to serve all military combat roles. At left is Command Sergeant Major Dawn Rippelmeyer. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (RNS) Key evangelical figures have come out staunchly against a proposal to register women for a possible military draft, arguing it would weaken America’s military readiness and is at odds with traditional male-female relationships.

“A nation relying on female combatants is a nation that has been brought to its knees by political correctness,” Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission wrote on the group’s website.


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Last week in Congress, Army and Marine Corps leaders testified in favor of registering women for the Selective Service, which has been required of men who turn 18 since the draft ended in 1973. They would be called up in the event of a national defense emergency.

The discussion comes on the heels of the military’s announcement late last year that it will begin allowing women into front-line combat roles, after years of public dispute and resistance from the Marine Corps, which will soon open about 220,000 jobs to women for the first time.

Support for gender equality in the military comes “without fully considering its impact on combat readiness, team-building, military recruiting for an all-volunteer force and the stability of military families,” former Army Chief of Chaplains Douglas Carver was quoted as saying in Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. “In the words of an old World War I song, who will ‘keep the home fires burning’ when both moms and dads are required by law to go to war?”

Also against the move is Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. He said it’s wrong to “tamper with or compromise a culture’s ability for women to fulfill what is made very clear in Scripture.”


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Last month, Mohler joined GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s “Dignity of Life” advisory board. But at Saturday’s (Feb. 6) presidential debate in New Hampshire, Rubio and fellow GOP candidates Chris Christie and Jeb Bush all said they supported female conscription, angering many conservative viewers.

Only Ted Cruz, a Southern Baptist, spoke against the possibility of female conscription.

“It is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it,” he said the day after the debate.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks during the 2015 Association of Certified Biblical Councelors Conference. Photo by Emil Handke, courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks during the 2015 Association of Certified Biblical Counselors Conference. Photo by Emil Handke, courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Chelsen Vicari of the Institute on Religion and Democracy urged Christians to rally against the proposal.

“Forcing mothers, daughters, and our sisters to register for Selective Service would be a tragic mistake,” she wrote on the IRD website. “Not only Evangelicals, but also Catholics and Christian pacifists should speak out. Can the church be silent about the potentially coercive militarization of America’s daughters?”

The IRD’s Marc LiVecche said part of the problem is that men should naturally want to protect women.

“If women are in their ranks, then either gallantry risks jeopardizing combat effectiveness as commanders honor it and shield their women from danger, or commanders override gallantry and treat their women indiscriminately,” he said.

(Aysha Khan reports for RNS)

  • Ben in oakland

    “Key evangelical figures have come out staunchly against a proposal to register women for a possible military draft, arguing it would weaken America’s military readiness and is at odds with traditional male-female relationships.”

    Goshalmighty, those arguments do sound familiar. They said the same thing about gay people in the military, and except for the part about relationships, the same thing about black people. And goshamighty, they are wrong about it again.

    Those straight, white Christian boys sure are delicate flowers. They have to be protected from anything different lest they fold up and blow away. If they have as much trouble with other service people as they seem to, what are they going to do against enemy soldiers with guns?

    Maybe a different career choice is required.

  • Tom Downs

    Why the quote from IRD? They neither speak for religion nor democracy; they are just a right wing organization with an agenda to push that closely dovetails with the most reactionary factions in the Republican Party. Find an ethicist or two to take opposing views. You’ve got the Southern Baptists, why not as a judicatory head of the United Church or Christ or a Catholic bishop?

  • Jay

    We’ve heard all these bogus arguments before. Equal really should mean equal. The only good thing about this flap is that it builds the opposition research to be used against Cruz should he actually win the Republican nomination for President. If he thinks women registering for the draft is “immoral,” he also believes that women serving in the military is immoral, which is not likely to be popular with the people who vote in the general election.

  • ben in oakland

    “Key evangelical figures have come out staunchly against a proposal to register women for a possible military draft, arguing it would weaken America’s military readiness and is at odds with traditional male-female relationships.”

    These “key evangelical figures” sure don’t think much of straight, white Boys, do they?

    Now where have we heard this bit of nonsense before? Can’t integrate the military because southern, white, Christian straight boys will just have a bad case of the vapors if they have to associate with duskier people. Can’t let gay people serve because those straight boys will just fall apart if they have to share a foxhole with one of THEM.

    Straight, white, Christian boys are such delicate flowers. It makes you wonder how they could ever face up to real people with guns, if they can’t handle serving with women, black people, or gays.

    As for being at odds with traditional roles? Those boys should find women like Bristol Palin to date.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    when you see who the opposition is, the rightness of the idea is obvious. Cruz, Moehler, the IRD, etc. are good enemies for good ideas to have. These people and groups manipulate religion to advance their own power and control, and as for the Presidential candidate among them, look up the word “sleazy” in the dictionary and there’s his picture. For definition number 2, they’d have to have the grifting academe there, too.

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  • Fran

    I’m all for not going to war at all to kill our fellowman due to conscientious objection, no matter the gender of the person.

  • Howard

    Try and put my daughter’s boots on the ground in Syria, and you have to come through me first. Newsflash, people: Men and women have physical differences which make men more suited for fighting. Can women serve in some areas? Sure. But that’s not where this is headed. PC junkies believe in sameness. And if men and women are the same, you can’t send only men to the front line. I’m calling BS.

  • Yoh

    Nothing like paternalistic nonsense. The whole forgetting women have the ability to make their own decisions. Newsflash, if your daughter is 18 or older, its none of your business whether she choses to serve her country in the military.

    Women have been fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq with distinction already. With a lot less support than what we would provide any kind of US forces.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-are-afraid-of-girls-kurdish-female-fighters-believe-they-have-an-unexpected-advantage-fighting-a6766776.html

    A 23 year old Russian woman was a bigger badazzmofo than everyone who has or ever will post here.
    http://www.badassoftheweek.com/pavlichenko.html

  • Jim

    maybe these “men of God” should look to the accomplishments of the women of the Israeli Armed Forces…..maybe they should stay out of politics…maybe they should get their heads out of the 15th century

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