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Your Mother Wears Combat Boots

Now there is a strange title for an article!  This saying became an insult used mostly by children many years ago.  Its origin is uncertain, but it likely was intended to be a reference to a woman’s unladylike character or even her state of poverty (combat boots were obtained cheaply in army surplus stores).  Of course, it is a silly, juvenile taunt, but it has taken on a serious and literal meaning in our country today.

Among the troops putting on combat boots along with helmets and army fatigues today are a considerable number of women.  The use of women in the American military is nothing new, for they first became involved in the military during World War I as Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and then in World War II as Army WACS (Women’s Army Corps).  However, the early presence of women in the military was not in fields of combat.  Now that has changed.  Although not officially used in combat roles, women have recently been used in combat zones, and nearly 200 have died in service in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 (as of 2/17/12).  This rate of female casualties will surely increase, for just this week the Pentagon changed policy to allow women to be assigned to roles related to direct combat on the ground for the first time in American history.

Before I address the serious error of using women in combat, I want to express honor and gratitude to all the individuals who serve and sacrifice in the military.  Whether they are men or women, it is a noble aspiration to defend their families and their nation.  The benefits we enjoy in this nation because of the sacrifices of soldiers are immeasurable, and we should all be thankful for their willingness to go in harm’s way for our sake.  Even when you do not agree with the missions given by political leaders, you must respect the individuals who put themselves under authority to carry out those missions.

That being said, it is an atrocity for any nation to send its women into combat.  This point could be argued on physiological grounds or even by social traditions, but it is definitively proved by the Bible.  Nowhere in God’s word is the use of women in combat authorized or condoned.  Whenever the Bible speaks of war and warriors, it plainly speaks of men and not women.  Many times God called His people in Israel to war, and He always assigned men specifically to the brutal task (Ex. 32:27; Deut. 24:5; Josh. 1:14; 6:3; 8:3).  It was the men who were numbered for war and not women (Num. 1:2-3; 26:2).  The difference between mighty men of war and women is clearly recognized in the Scriptures (Jdg. 9:54; Jer. 51:30).  The Bible indicates that men are to regard women as the "weaker vessel” (1Pet. 3:7), and it is always God’s will for men to protect and defend those who are weaker (Deut. 10:17-18; Ps. 68:5; 82:3; Isa. 1:17, 23).

The Bible even indicates that sending women into combat is an abomination to God.  Consider the meaning of Deuteronomy 22:5 – "A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”  Today, we might view this as merely a prohibition against cross-dressing, but the original Hebrew words of this verse reveal a more specific meaning.  The term "man’s clothing” (geber kĕliy) literally means "a strong man’s articles.”  In other words, a woman was not to put on a warrior’s gear – armor, helmet, weapons, etc.  The term "woman’s clothing” (ishshah simlah) means simply a woman’s wrap or garments.  A man was forbidden to dress as a woman.  If God considered it to be an abomination for a woman in Israel to put on the implements of war, then surely we cannot expect that He somehow approves of it today.

Those who approve of women in combat may seek to find justification in the story of Deborah from the fourth chapter of Judges, but they will find none.  Deborah was a prophetess and judge in Israel, and she called Barak and commanded him by the word of God to make war against Jabin the king of Canaan (Jdg. 4:6-7).  However, Barak refused to go to war without Deborah, and so she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera (captain of Jabin’s armies) into the hands of a woman” (Jdg. 4:9).  The point of Deborah’s statement was that Barak would receive no honor because he required a woman to accompany him into battle.  His honor would go to a Kenite woman named Jael, who was not a warrior but craftily killed Sisera in her tent (Jdg. 4:17-22).  By no means does this story condone women in combat, but rather it shows the shame of men who will bring women into battle.  Besides, Deborah did no fighting, for it was Barak who defeated the army of Sisera with the edge of the sword (Jdg. 4:15-16).

Sending women into combat is just one of the many manifestations of godless feminism that has degraded our culture, and Christians must resist this trend.  How weak men have become to now send their daughters, wives, and mothers to fight for them.  What shame has come on our nation: "The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, they stay in the strongholds; their strength is exhausted, they are becoming like women; their dwelling places are set on fire, the bars of her gates are broken” (Jer. 51:30).  Is death on the battle field our ambition for the women of our nation?  Is this our alternative to the purpose God gave to women (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-24; 3:20; Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:3-5)?  May God have mercy on us.

Stacey E. Durham




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